Music is amplified by great design, from the concert posters that paper bedroom walls to the Sony Walkmans and Apple iPods once carried in our pockets. Through over 800 works, Art of Noise explores this essential relationship and the ground-breaking designs that enrich our collective memory, touching all our lives and giving form and color to sound.
Heavily drawn from SFMOMA’s collection, the works on view include over 500 concert posters and flyers, 150 record album covers, 100 design objects, and three sound installations that chart the evolution of music-centered design over the past 100 years. Enter the exhibition’s “temple” to music graphics where hundreds of psychedelic rock posters extend from floor to ceiling, highlighting San Francisco’s integral role in the 1960s and ‘70s scene and the artwork that turned it up. Across the exhibition experience, designed in collaboration with teenage engineering, you can track the development of playback devices, radios, and stereos that have shaped how we listen and what we listen to, from the gramophone to the boombox and beyond, or immerse yourself in installations designed for communal listening by teenage engineering as well as outdoor sonic seating by Yuri Suzuki and an ultra-high-fidelity sound system by Devon Turnbull.
Header image: Hugh Spencer and Clairtone Sound Corporation, Project G, 1963, photo: Joe Roldan / 20cdesign
Major support for Art of Noise is provided by Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund.
Significant support is provided by Deborah and Kenneth Novack.
Meaningful support is provided by Sonya Yu.
Additional support is provided by Aston and Aushlee Motes and the Diane and Howard Zack Fund for Architecture and Design.