Dec 2, 2011

REVIEW | Custodial Corner, 4th Floor JCM Texas State, San Marcos

Custodian, Mountain Vinyl Covers, 2011

On the forth floor of the JCM fine art building at Texas State University there is a small, glass wall case that went unused semester after semester until a mystery custodian decided to occupy the space.  The case is located in the back left corner of the forth floor near the mens rest rooms.  The "Custodial Corner" as it is so cleverly named, gives this one man a chance to show off his collection of old vinyl covers four at a time. The physical content coupled with the back story of the curator come together to create a very interesting exhibit.
The organization of the show is simply four vinyl covers placed in a square evenly occupying all of the space in the glass wall case.  The layout is pleasing to the eye due to the even layout which also allows the viewer to easily survey the works.  There is also a small title of the exhibit in the top left hand corner along with a picture of the grounds keeper from the Simpson's which the custodian is said to share a striking resemblance with.  The decision to display four covers all from the same band speaks a lot about the curator's purpose.  He seems to be focused on giving the viewer a quick retrospective of the group.  This makes the works very cohesive and informative. 
Flowers of Evil, 1971
The cover with the picture of the band is a big decision be the Custodian because it gives a face to the band that has chosen to use these works of art to voice their image.  The photo in the center of the cover  also does a great job of aging the works giving them an iconic feel.  The age of the covers also gives some insight into what the custodian relates with and finds to be interesting enough to exhibit.  
Mountain Live, 1968 
The live album really starts to explain the Custodian's main focus, beautiful artwork.  The underlined intention seems to be focused on highlighting the art on the outside of the album that may be hindered or overlooked due to the focus on the music inside the sleeve.  Taking the time to appreciate the wrapper on the gift is so often skipped over.  The anonymous identity of the man behind the idea to show these works off adds to the power of the exhibition.  There is also a lot to be said about the initiative to take an empty case and turn it in to a place to share artistic interests. Here is an example of another exhibition of album art by Travis Barker, The story behind the exhibit is a great source of motivation to those who may not even practice any form of art to realize that by displaying things of interest in a cohesive manor can be its own from of artistic expression. 
Nantucket Sleighride, 1971
Climbing, 1969
-Taylor Williams


  1. I have actually seen that display and noticed the work in it, but never really took the time to check it all out! This is awesome! Did you get to talk to the custodian? I love how you can take something as simple as a display case and analyze it, portraying to others how special it is. Even though it's small, it changes all the time and it's a wonderful exhibition that many people (including myself) take for granted! Thanks for shining the light on the custodial corner, I'll make sure to check it out more often.

    -Jennifer Wright

  2. This is great!!! I can look through old album covers for hours.The art work is just so different from what you see today on cd's (yes, I still buy cd's) and on iTunes. After reading this blog I want to go check it out everytime the custodian changes out his vinyl collection. Do you know how long he leaves it up for before he changes? It makes me wonder what other music he has on vinyl and if he looks like an old rocker dude. I'm definetely gonna be popping up in the Custodial Corner to see what he will be listening to next.

    -Amye Patrick

  3. I see this all the time and love it mostly because some times i learn about music i didn't already know about. I'm glad he does this and I hope he or she keeps doing this for a long time.

    -Jarrad Taylor

  4. The covers change every week or two. I didnt get a chance to meet the custodian but i would have loved to have interviewed him for my blog post. Thank you for the comments i was not too sure that his work would appeal to others the way it did to me.

  5. I'm really glad you choose to write about this mini exhibit, i never would have thought about it! I've always been curious where those displays were coming from and would have liked to see some of that background on them and how he came across these covers. Either way I enjoyed the insight.
    -Alyssa Moody

  6. Wow, I see this all the time and have never really taken the time to look at this before! This is a really creative idea and so neat! well done! you should be proud for coming up with this idea! Next time I see this I will have to pay more attention!

    - Erin Davis

  7. I have to agree with everyone else. I've passed this a hundred times and I always glance at it, but I've never really stopped to figure out what it was or why it was there. I guess I'm gonna have to pay more attention. I think it's really awesome that a janitor got a chance to do this. Everyone has something that inspires them in life.

  8. I am so glad someone wrote about this. Your overview and analysis definitely dives in past the surface.
    As we do not fully understand the origins of this space it is hard to place the Schools involvement with this project. I have seen this space filled with many different album covers for years now so it is safe to assume the School Administration either facilitates or allows this display in some manor. I find it incredibly refreshing that our institution is able to see creativity in this way.

    Although I wish this could get a bigger audience sometime, maybe on a lower floor and in a more predominant area for a few weeks or so.

    Thanks again for bringing this to light for anyone who has never been up to that 4th floor corner.

    -Daniel Burns