The Art of Noise

Pundits have been heralding the death of physical music media for years. At Renfro Library, we don’t believe it — and with our new exhibition we’re proud to display the history, variety, and beauty of The Art of Noise.

Musical recordings have taken dozens of physical forms — some famous and some failed. See our showcase of the 125+ year history of physical music media, and try to comprehend why we once thought 8–track tapes were a good idea.

Other showcases are dedicated to the tremendous musical and cultural legacy of The Beatles, and two recently passed pioneers of image and sound, David Bowie and Prince. In the upstairs gallery, we explore music across many countries and genres, and artists who have used their music to examine universal themes like politics, social responsibility, spirituality, sexuality and love.

Beyond recordings, we’re featuring some of our personal collections of musical ephemera, including T–shirts, ticket stubs, fanzines, festival bands, badges, buttons, and other souvenirs.

From musicians who have adopted unique visual identities, to those who create their own album artwork, to subversive takes on portraiture, innovative packaging, iconic album covers, and more, Renfro Library invites you to explore The Art of Noise. Take a new look at the visual art of music!