We Buy White Albums looks like a record store. But upon closer inspection visitors will discover that the store only stocks one title: The Beatles’ “White Album.” And nothing is for sale. In fact, Chang is interested in buying more copies.
Pursuing an interest in exhaustive cataloguing, Chang has collected over 750 first-pressings of “The White Album,” featuring an all-white cover designed by Richard Hamilton. He considers the serialized first-press, an edition running in excess of 3 million, to be the ultimate collector’s item, and aims to amass as many copies as possible. Chang has created an archive, listening library, and anti-store to house and grow his collection of the Beatles’ iconic record.
The album covers are weathered, often with marks or writing from previous owners, and the vinyl discs are usually scratched or warped. The character of each copy, distinctly shaped by its history, is told through the physicality of the media. This phenomenon, at the cusp of extinction due to digital technologies, is made apparent by the identical yet unique multiples that comprise Chang’s collection.
Visitors are invited to browse the collection and listen to the records. They are also encouraged to bring their copy of “The White Album,” as iMOCA will continue to buy albums on Chang’s behalf, expanding the collection throughout the exhibition.
Rutherford Chang was born in Houston and currently lives and works in New York and Shanghai. He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2002. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including White Space in Beijing, Brown Gallery in London, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
This exhibit is sponsored by Big Car, Smallbox, Steven Pettinga and Michael Byrum, and Luna Music.
All our programs and exhibitions are made possible with support from The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, The Anonymous Fund, The Efroymson Family Fund, Deer Zink Foundation, KEJ Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation, The Tracy Haddad Foundation, The Netherleigh Fund, The Indiana Arts Commission, The Arts Council of Indianapolis, The Murphy Arts L.L.C., Penrod Foundation, and Big Car Art + Design.