I’m most interested in the albums as objects (we buy white albums part 3)

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AGED AL­BUMS AS FOUND OB­JECTS for any artist to use for his own work is the topic of this in­ter­view by Eilon Paz with Ruther­ford Chang on the Dust & Grooves Vinyl Mu­sic Cul­ture web­site (Feb­ru­ary 15, 2103). It has been mod­i­fied to fit your screen. In it, Mr. Chang iden­ti­fies him­self as a col­lec­tor of THE WHITE AL­BUM and ap­par­ently noth­ing else. That is, he is not a record col­lec­tor in the sense that the term ' record col­lec­tor' is nor­mally ap­plied.

Nonethe­less, he has cer­tainly at­tracted the at­ten­tion of count­less nor­mal record col­lec­tors and vinyl junkies around the globe (and “nor­mal” is not a word nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with record col­lec­tors), cour­tesy of the world­wide web.

I got into col­lect­ing mul­ti­ple WHITE AL­BUMS be­cause every copy tells a story. Each one has aged uniquely over the course of the last half-decade.

Paz: Why do you find it so great?

Chang: I’m most in­ter­ested in the al­bums as ob­jects and ob­serv­ing how they have aged. So for me, a Beat­les al­bum with an all white cover is per­fect.

Paz: Do you care about the album’s con­di­tion?

Chang: I col­lect num­bered copies of THE WHITE AL­BUM in any con­di­tion. In fact I of­ten find the poorer con­di­tion al­bums more in­ter­est­ing.

Paz: Are you in­ter­ested in the per­sonal his­tory be­hind each al­bum?

Chang: I am, but of­ten this in­for­ma­tion is not avail­able, so it be­comes an imag­ined his­tory based on the con­di­tion of the al­bums.

Paz: Are you col­lect­ing as an artist or as a mu­sic fan?

Chang: I’m col­lect­ing them as cul­tural ar­ti­facts.

Paz: I’m try­ing to fig­ure out if you’re a vinyl col­lec­tor, or a mu­sic afi­cionado, or an artist mak­ing an art piece with an ob­ject that hap­pens to be a Beat­les' WHITE AL­BUM? Can you ex­pand on that?

Chang: I’m mak­ing an art piece us­ing WHITE AL­BUMS as ma­te­rial. But the process also very much in­volves col­lect­ing vinyl and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

Paz: How did you come up with the idea of col­lect­ing first edi­tion WHITE AL­BUMS and why just first edi­tions?

Chang: I got into col­lect­ing mul­ti­ple WHITE AL­BUMS be­cause every copy tells a story. Each one has aged uniquely over the course of the last half-decade.

Paz: Why only num­bered ones? They could be a bit pricey, don’t they?

Chang: The se­rial num­bers make them part of a set. There are enough num­bered copies that I still man­age to ac­quire them at rea­son­able prices.

Paz: How far will you go to pur­chase them? Is there an amount you won’t pay?

Chang: So far, I’ve only been buy­ing cheaper copies be­cause I find these as in­ter­est­ing if not more than the ex­pen­sive ones.

Paz: It seems like THE WHITE AL­BUM is a pop­u­lar al­bum for lis­ten­ers' self in­ter­pre­ta­tions. Like a clean white can­vas. So many of your al­bums are re-imagined, writ­ten on, or abused.

Chang: The cov­ers have cer­tainly been well-loved/abused! The white can­vases have been per­son­al­ized with every­thing from scrib­bled names to elab­o­rate paint­ings. I keep won­der­ing if Richard Hamil­ton fore­saw that all this would hap­pen to the cov­ers when he de­signed it back in 1968.

To read the com­plete in­ter­view, click on over to Dust & Grooves web­site. The ar­ti­cle there is ac­com­pa­nied by twenty-six pho­tographs of Mr. Chang and his col­lec­tion, which make for an in­ter­est­ing in­tro­duc­tion to just what fas­ci­nates the artist about the al­bum as a cul­tural ar­ti­fact and a piece in his artis­tic con­struct. 2


HEADER IM­AGE: This is a right por­tion of the in­side of the folded open gate­fold jacket. The dam­age pro­duced both vary­ing tex­tures and col­oration in a way that makes this photo seem al­most that of a fin­ished piece of art­work, no?


"Ruther­ford Chang And Beat­les (We Buy White Al­bums Part 3)" is one of at least ten parts in the “We Buy White Al­bums” se­ries. They are best read in this or­der: 

  1. ruther­ford chang and the beat­les
  1. just what is it that makes today’s homes so dif­fer­ent?
  1. I’m most in­ter­ested in the al­bums as ob­jects
  1. swirling around in the mid­dle of a tor­nado
  1. they have char­ac­ter, don't they
  1. why the con­tin­u­ing fas­ci­na­tion with this al­bum?
  1. the beat­les un­plugged feels strangely mod­ern
  1. the beat­les un­plugged could have been the off-white al­bum
  1. how dono­van turned the beat­les on to a new di­rec­tion
  1. some ran­dom ob­ser­va­tions and un­touched ter­ri­to­ries


1   This ar­ti­cle, "I’m most in­ter­ested in the al­bums as ob­jects (we buy white al­bums part 3)," is one in a se­ries of es­says about the Beat­les ninth al­bum, ti­tled THE BEAT­LES but also known af­fec­tion­ately and al­most uni­ver­sally as “The White Al­bum.” This out­burst of ac­tiv­ity from me on this topic was in­spired by my fas­ci­na­tion with con­cep­tual artist Ruther­ford Chang's fas­ci­na­tion with THE WHITE AL­BUM as a cul­tural ar­ti­fact and as a found-object.

While the parts can be read in any or­der, it is rec­om­mended that you read them in order—Mr. Chang needs to be in­tro­duced and “un­der­stood” a wee bit for the whole of the sum of these parts to make a mean­ing­ful state­ment!

2   WARN­ING: Spend­ing too much time gaz­ing at those pho­tos may make you en­ter­tain build­ing your own col­lec­tion of dam­aged Beat­les al­bums . . .