Silkscreened flowers on Literature cover

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Bootlegs, Eighties, Homages

Appropriation of art can be fun! Arab Spring is the title of an album released in 2012 by Literature, a pop band from Philadelphia. On the cover they used what seems to be one of Warhol’s famous flower prints or paintings, but hey, they were wise enough to use different color schemes. So not exactly a Warhol copy. The credits say: “Layout and design by Literature and the Family Cardigan.”
Shortly after the release, collector Frank Edwards has interviewed two band members for his blog Warholcovers, about why and how they came to make this cover.

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Front and back cover of the original 2012 release of Arab Spring by Literature (Square of Opposition Records/ Austin Town Hall). “Layout and Design by Literature and the Family Cardigan.”

The first pressing on vinyl was a limited edition of 500, of which about 400 on black vinyl, 98 on white vinyl and a handful in grey. To satisfy the needs of collectors and fans, later issues also included pink, red, green, clear or gold vinyl versions, and the record was recut to 45 rpm speed. Nearly all had the same cover though. Except for the most interesting reissue of them all, in 2014: 99 numbered copies, with a silkscreened cover, lavender vinyl and a different layout. No lettering, just a Warholesque silkscreen of Flowers, ready to hang on your wall. A real treat.

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Silkscreened cover on a 2014 reissue of Arab Spring, limited to 99 copies. My copy is nr. 66.

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Also the back cover of the special release  has a different layout.

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Left the original issue on black vinyl, right the lavender colored vinyl of the limited release.

The band told Edwards that they were well aware of the copyright issues Warhol himself had to deal with in the Sixties, for the Flowers series in particular. To create this series, Warhol made use of a picture of hibiscus flowers he found in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography. In this magazine the color picture was repeated a few times, to show different print results for a technical article:  a test of the Kodak Rapid Color Processor Model 11. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Patricia Caulfield, recognized said picture in Warhol’s paintings. The photo has no credit in the magazine, but Caulfield claimed it was hers and sued Warhol. The dispute was settled out of court, but it was because of this and some other cases Warhol started to take his own pictures as a base for paintings. Hence the hundreds of Polaroids.

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Patricia Caulfield’s pictures of hibiscus flowers on the cover and two spreads in Modern Photography, June 1964.

Other covers inspired by Warhol’s flowers:

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The Darling Buds: 12″ single It’s All Up To You (1988). Credits on back cover: “warhol flowers by s. riley photographed by a.j.p. lawrence“.

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A very cute flowers cover by The Great Unwashed, a band from New Zealand, on the cover of their album Clean Out Of Our Minds, 1983. Cover art by (singer of the band) David Kilgour.

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Velvet Underground bootleg: Screen Test: Falling in Love With The Falling Spikes. (1985, other color versions exist).

 

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