Curating exhausted commodities: A case study of We Buy White Albums

Taylor, Iain A. (2021) Curating exhausted commodities: A case study of We Buy White Albums. Popular Music History, 13 (1-2). pp. 126-146. ISSN 1743-1646

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While there has been growing interest in the curation and exhibition of popular music ephemera in recent years, such exhibitions have tended to focus on propagating canonical accounts, or on the telling of local or social histories. This article considers a different form of popular music curation, one driven not by a desire to preserve, but rather with the revaluing of so called ‘exhausted commodities’—damaged, degraded and defaced artefacts which would otherwise be discarded. Focusing upon the case study of We Buy White Albums—an ongoing collection and exhibition by New York-based collector, curator and artist Rutherford Chang—this article explores the complexities associated with such notions of curation in the context of music-based commodities, and the potential for curatorial recontextualizations of damaged, defaced and degrading artefacts as a means of exploring hidden histories of popular music.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
Date: 5 February 2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: Beatles, records; curation, materiality; collection; exhausted commodities
Subjects: L600 Anthropology
L900 Others in Social studies
P300 Media studies
V300 History by topic
W300 Music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Iain Taylor
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2021 13:00
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2021 13:00

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