Through December 31, 2010, Jazz at Lincoln Center is presenting a free art exhibition entitled Jazz at First Sight: The Art of David Stone Martin, featuring the record-album art of David Stone Martin (1913-1992)—whose brilliantly evocative jazz covers for the Verve label and others set the industry standard. The prolific graphic designer sought visual equivalents of the music contained in the sleeves he illustrated: iconic images instantly recognizable as modern jazz.
Jazz at First Sight: The Art of David Stone Martin, on view at the Peter Jay Sharp Arcade, 5th floor, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle in New York, is curated by Robert G. O’Meally, C. Daniel Dawson, Diedra Harris-Kelley and Linda Florio (designer), with Tad Hershorn of the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, as special curatorial advisor.
Born in Chicago on June 13, 1913, David Livingstone Martin declared at age 16 that he would build a career as an artist. His submission of drawings he made for school publications garnered him a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 1935, Martin worked as a supervisor for the Federal Arts Projects of Western Illinois, and then as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. During the 1940s, Martin teamed up with William Golden (designer of the CBS “eye” logo), and with Ben Shahn, who became a close friend and the most important influence on Martin’s fast-evolving style. During WWII, the trio of Golden, Shahn, and Martin produced charts and maps for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services as well as visuals for the Office of War Information.
Martin’s work for Life magazine during these years set the stage for his painting important cover portraits for Time magazine in the 1960s and 70s.
Martin’s foray into the jazz world began in 1944 when his friend Mary Lou Williams, the composer/pianist, persuaded the producer Moses Asch to hire Martin to design the cover for her new album of 78 rpm records—Martin’s first record cover. Martin did dozens of covers for Ash, which attracted the attention of one of Ash’s associates, Norman Granz, who would become one of the most important jazz impresarios.
With more than 400 album covers to his credit, Martin’s has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. In April 1986, the New York Public Library and the Museum of the Performing Arts presented an exhibition of Martin’s jazz work called “Designs in Jazz.”
Martin spent his last years in New London, Connecticut, with his wife, Sheri. Two of his sons, Stefan and Anthony, also are visual artists. David Stone Martin succumbed to pneumonia in New London, CT, on March 6, 1992.
The exhibition Jazz at First Sight: The Art of David Stone Martin is FREE and open to the public, Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm and 6pm to 11pm and Monday from 6pm to 11pm.
There are also free guided gallery talks with curators. No RSVP required.
Sat., September 25, 2010 at 6:30pm with Robert G. O’Meally
Sat., October 9, 2010 at 6:30pm with Diedra Harris-Kelley
Sat., November 13, 2010 at 6:30pm with C. Daniel Dawson
All tours meet in the Peter Jay Sharp Arcade, 5th Floor, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Columbus Circle, NYC
This exhibition is made possible by a generous gift from Janice and Bob Burns.
MasterCard® is the preferred card of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly acknowledges its major corporate partners:
BET J, Bloomberg, Brooks Brothers, The Coca-Cola Company, Related, and Sirius XM Radio.
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Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.
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