Bryan Ferry in both his solo CD’s and his iconic records with Roxy Music - Flesh and Blood, Boys and Girls, and most recently, Olympia – has always had equally iconic images on this album covers. That’s no accident. Ferry has spoken in many interviews about his passion for fine art and interest in visual culture. One look at the way he dresses could tell you a lot of that – the man is glamourous, meticulous and profoundly urbane. Well, Ferry has conceived of and directed all visual aspects of his music – album covers and music videos. Some of the artwork for the eight Roxy Music studio albums, created between 1972 and 1983, will be displayed in a new exhibition at the Michael Kohn Gallery in L.A. titled Olympia. Described by one critic, on its initial release, as "nothing less than a manifesto", the artwork for 'Roxy Music' (1972) was seen as a fabulous visual and conceptual continuation of the album’s seductive music. It’s a great merger of American glamour and European intellectualism, mass culture and fine art, Fashion designer Antony Price's collaboration with Ferry on the styling of both the Roxy Music and solo album artwork is also a major factor in their glamour and impact.
Also in the Michael Kohn show: a series of exhibition prints of Kate Moss, created for 'Olympia' by Bryan Ferry in collaboration with Adam Whitehead, former assistant photographer to Mario Testino, as well as with Moss herself. Ferry’s imagery is both an exercise in pure Pop and an elegant, mass cultural example of conceptual art. There is a perfect twinning of Ferry's artistic vision and the choice of Kate Moss, the most successful and iconic model of her generation, to create the cover art for 'Olympia'. Moss herself is a famous figure who blurs the boundaries between 'high' and 'low' culture.
"I approached the record with the same intensity as the early Roxy Music albums," says Ferry, on the Michael Kohn website; "and I wanted the artwork to represent this. One of the inspirations for the cover was the 19th century painting 'Olympia' by Edouard Manet - a kind of early pin-up picture, and in a sense a forerunner of some 20th Century Pop Art, which I feel strongly connected to. I wanted a cover girl for this record who could convey the glamorous notoriety of the original 'Olympia' painting, and my choice was Kate Moss. Kate has long been the 'femme fatale' of our age, the most glamorous female icon since Marilyn Monroe. The shoot took place at Sunbeam Studios in London, and the designer Gideon Ponte built a fantastic set with the finest linen and the perfect bed...Shoes and dresses were flown-in from Paris, jewelry escorted by security guards, flowers everywhere, a supporting cast of thousands... and everyone involved worked really hard to get the right picture, especially our photographer Adam Whitehead. Kate, needless to say, was incredible - the ultimate professional, and the star that everyone dreams of working with.”
The show will run at the Michael Kohn Gallery, 8071 Beverly Blvd, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5, 2011, www.MichaelKohngallery.com, and seems a must for those who love the crossover of rock n’ roll with photographer, fashion and beauty.
Ferry plays the Greek Theater this weekend on October 15, with his first solo tour of America for ten years. It’s the “Olympia Tour 2011.