The show needs more holy relics, like the viophonograph Laurie Anderson performed with in 1977. She customized the violin to spin a record on its body that she could then "play" with a record needle attached to the bow. Genuflect before the art-rock offspring that is David Byrne's 7.5-foot-square Polaroid composite portrait of his band Talking Heads for the cover of their 1978 album More Songs About Buildings and Food, which may pre-date David Hockney's exploration of the same photo technique. Feel the joy in Malick Sidibé's photos of hipsters posing with records in Mali music clubs in the '60s and '70s.

The coolest stuff here is a collection of fake album covers and cardboard records that a DC teen named Mike Stevens painted from '69 to '76 for his fictitious soul superstar alter ego Mingering Mike. Titles like Joseph War: Ghetto Prince, United States of America Puppet Force: You Only Know What They Tell You, I'm Superman, Boogie Down at the White House, and, with a wink, Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing provide a passionate fan's folk-art funhouse-mirror reflection of America.

“Catherine Opie: Empty and Full”
“The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl”
Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern AVE, Boston | through September 5

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal. 

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