Appropriation of art can be fun! Arab Spring is the title of an album released in 2012 by Literature, an indie pop band from Philadelphia. On the cover they used what seems to be one of Warhol’s famous flower prints or paintings, but 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.
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 marbled vinyl and a different layout. No lettering, just a Warholesque silkscreen of Flowers, ready to hang on your wall. A real treat.
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 he produced.
Other covers inspired by Warhol’s flowers: