The original artwork for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is considered to be the single most valuable piece of art in rock history. This iconic image, valued at an unspecified multi-million-dollar figure, will be exhibited and available for purchase at the San Francisco Art Exchange (SFAE) gallery from September 15 to October 20, 2018 alongside nearly 100 other original cover art pieces.
The artwork for Dark Side of the Moon was designed by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson of the art design group Hipgnosis– the creative team behind several of rock’s most notable album covers including Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy.
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The design of the album cover itself is unique in that there is no mention of the band name or album title – a bold move that generated an aura of mystery and intrigue around what was quickly called one of the most incredible albums ever made. Dark Side of the Moon spent 741 weeks on the Billboard charts and has, in the 45 years since its release, sold over 50 million copies. In the meantime its cover art has become a visual icon, representing the band itself and helping Pink Floyd become one of the biggest bands in the world.
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Also being displayed at the SFAE are nearly 100 other stunning pieces of art that have been used for the covers of such legendary albums as Wish You Were Here, Abbey Road, Rubber Soul, Meet The Beatles, The Wall, Beggars Banquet, Candy-O(Alberto Vargas), Ummagumma, Hair, The Best of the Doors (The Doors), Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison, and Yes album originals including Relayer and Yesshows.
Bands represented by the art in this collection include Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Yes, The Doors, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Blind Faith, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Lou Reed, Queen, Crosby Stills and Nash, Jethro Tull and many more.
This once-in-a-lifetime collection of the most memorable and revered images of the 20th century was curated by SFAE co-founders Theron Kabrich and Jim Hartley, whose 20-years of experience with pop culture artists and photographers has allowed for this exhibit’s existence. The original works featured in this exhibit come from many private, corporate, and artists’ collections from around the world, making it unlikely that another exhibition of this size and scope will be mounted again.
“We have assembled a collection of many of the rarest and most important original paintings, drawings, and photographs that appeared on the covers of some of the most famous albums of all time,” said Hartley. “This is a museum-quality collection which will only be open to the public for six weeks…Some of these works have never been seen in public before, except at SFAE over the years, and none have ever been exhibited together anywhere.”
Kabrich added, “This exhibition is like a snow flake: Beautiful, amazing, fascinating to see until it melts.”