One of the most prolific and well-known album cover designers, Storm Thorgerson (1944–2013) cofounded the design company Hipgnosis with Aubrey “Po” Powell straight out of the Royal College of Art, and at the height of 1960s Swinging London. Thorgerson’s youthful friendship with Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, and David Gilmour led to the first Hipgnosis album sleeve, for Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets (1968). Collaborations with hundreds of musicians followed, as Thorgerson and Hipgnosis were sought after for unconventional graphics that acted as a gateway into the ideas and music within. As Thorgerson puts it in the film, “Covers are in a different galaxy for the brain.” After Hipgnosis dissolved in the mid-eighties, Thorgerson continued working as StormStudios until his untimely passing in 2013.
Roddy Bogawa, a filmmaker shaped by the punk scene he discovered as a teen in Los Angeles, fluidly responds to his subject, and he connects the history of album cover art to filmmaking. “My feeling is that not everyone deserves the importance of a movie, but Storm’s story is one that opens up to make one think about culture and technology as well as what makes up identity.”
The Gathering Storm: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson will be available for purchase in the MoMA bookstore and at a kiosk outside the T2 theater before the closing screening on Thursday, October 8.
Organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.