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2011.03.08 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Jazz Album Covers Part of New Criss Library Exhibit

Omaha - The Osborne Family Gallery of the Criss Library at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is featuring “The Jazz Art of David Stone Martin,” an exhibit highlighting the work of a noted American artist who created the covers for about 400 jazz albums between the 1940s and the early 1970s.

The exhibit is on view from April 3-May 19, with an opening reception on April 10 from 5-7 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

“The Jazz Art of David Stone Martin” is drawn from the personal collection of UNO professor Samuel Walker, and features fifty-six LPs, four 10-inch LPs, fourteen 7-inch 45 rpm records, seventeen 78 rpm albums, eight posters and prints, seventeen magazine covers, and nine books. This is the second- ever exhibit of David Stone Martin’s work; the first was at Jazz at Lincoln Center last fall. “The Jazz Art of David Stone Martin” is drawn from the personal collection of UNO Professor Samuel Walker, and features fifty-six LPs, four 10-inch LPs, fourteen 7-inch 45 rpm records, seventeen 78 rpm albums, eight posters and prints, seventeen magazine covers, and nine books. This is the second- ever exhibit of David Stone Martin’s work; the first was at Jazz at Lincoln Center last fall (the UNO exhibit is all new and not connected with the Lincoln Center show.)

Martin’s style is immediately recognizable for his fine twisting lines and impressionistic view of musicians and their instruments – evoking the visual equivalent of the jazz sound – sometimes referred to as the DSM “line.” His jazz album covers were done primarily for the various labels owned by or associated with Norman Granz: Clef, Norgran, and Verve.

“You don't have to be a jazz fan to appreciate David Stone Martin's unique and fascinating work,” said Professor Walker, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he taught from 1974 to 2005. “In today’s era of compact discs and downloads, album cover art has all but disappeared,” Walker added. “This exhibit brings back a lost era and I am happy to make David Stone Martin's work available to the public.”

Walker is an avid collector of items linked to history and music, two of his passions. He owns about 7,000 vinyl LPs of jazz, R&B and folk music, and has also amassed hundreds of original posters of presidents, civil rights, and various pop culture and political events. His posters on the civil rights movement were exhibited at the UNO’s Criss Library in early 2010 in a show called “Posters and Politics.” Walker is the author of 13 books on civil liberties, policing, and criminal justice policy; as well as a forthcoming book on presidents and civil liberties to be published in early 2012 by Cambridge University Press.

Although Martin (often referred to as “DSM”) is primarily known for his jazz album covers, he also illustrated albums for a number of blues, folk, and other miscellaneous categories of recordings, as well as books, theater programs and magazine covers. All are represented in the exhibit. Highlights of the exhibit include:

** Many examples of how DSM repeated certain themes and motifs into a variety of albums, books and magazine covers.

** The program for the successful off-Broadway production of Threepenny Opera that opened in New York City in 1956.

** One of Martin’s World War II posters, Strong in the Strength of the Lord We Who Fight in the People’s Cause Will Never Stop Until That Cause is Won.

** DSM’s very first album cover in 1944, of jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams on a 78 rpm album. This cover launched Martin’s career as a jazz album artist.

** Six Time Magazine covers, including images of Robert F. Kennedy and a Viet Cong soldier during the Vietnam War.

** Eleven Down Beat Magazine covers, including one of Billie Holiday.

Martin’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution. For many years, Martin’s studio was in Roosevelt, New Jersey, also the home of the noted artist Ben Shahn, who was both a friend and an artistic influence. Martin died in 1992 at the age of 78.

Images from the exhibit may be viewed on the Criss Library web site at http://library.unomaha.edu/ (Go to “Events and Exhibits” on the right side of the page.)

Contact Sam Walker for more information: samwalker@unomaha.edu, 402-554-3590 (office, days), 402-556-4674 (mobile), www.samuelwalker.net.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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