The Look of the Listen

From 1948 to 1986, Folkways Records produced over 2,100 recordings of remarkable breadth and diversity. This virtual exhibition presents the look of Folkways through an exploration of the cover art and design of this extraordinary recording company.

The Exhibition

Over 200 album covers are displayed in this exhibit, representing a vast range of artistic styles and genres and through images and textual descriptions, the history and importance of Folkways Records cover art emerges. The exhibit includes a series of galleries that represent key sections and themes of the Folkways Records catalogue, encouraging viewers to explore relationships between the cover art and the recorded sound.

As you move through the galleries, clicking on the thumbnail images will reveal individual album credits and commentary. Audio samples and original record liner notes from the featured albums may also be accessed for further reference.

Visit The Look of the Listen exhibition.

The Back Story

Photo Credit: Ed Ellis

Folkways Records is inextricably linked to its founder and director, Moses Asch. His exceptional story is presented in the first part of The Back Story on this website. The second part presents background on the real place and time exhibition, Seeing the World of Sound: The Cover Art of Folkways Records. This exhibition, which took place in the FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta in 2005, represented the first in depth look at Folkways Records cover art. It serves as the basis for this virtual exhibition.

Explore the back story of Folkways Records.