ARIEL STINKS (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn), 2023
50 direct-to-board cardboard record jackets
12.5" x 12.5"
When musician Ariel Pink used an unauthorized image of her face on his album cover “Thrash and Burn,” artist Jill Miller responded by making a series of fifty “alternative” album covers. Working in collaboration with artificial intelligence software, Miller created a series of images that use humor and parody to address the original cover’s violations to personal rights and offenses to good taste. She leaves the text “ARIEL STINKS” but swaps the original cover for 50 different versions that feature Ariel Pink, rather than herself.
The album covers explore comical parallel worlds and fantastical situations. There are four categories: Alternative Careers (Ariel as a TSA agent, a Walmart associate, a spin instructor, and more); Animals and Vegetables (Ariel holding stinky objects); Parallel Realities (Ariel being pied in the face, on a wanted poster, as a garden gnome, etc); and The Backrooms (interior and exterior spaces catastrophically destroyed or abandoned).
Jill Miller is a visual artist and Assistant Professor in Art Practice at UC Berkeley. She works across a wide range of media, from video installation to public practices (and many hybrids in between). She often collaborates with individuals and local communities in the form of public interventions, workshops, and participatory community projects. She describes humor as “the greatest social lubricant” for opening up meaningful conversations about difficult subjects. In past work, she: lived in the remote wilderness in search of sasquatch (Waiting for Bigfoot), assisted mothers who were harassed for breastfeeding in public (The Milk Truck), and organized teenage girls who were closing the gender gap by learning to edit Wikipedia (WOW! Editing Group). In 2019, she received an Artists in Communities Grant from the California Arts Council to create the first commissioned socially engaged artwork at the Palo Alto Art Center and the Mitchell Park Library. Miller is on the Executive Committee at Berkeley Center for New Media. She is affiliated faculty at the Berkeley Food Institute and Global Urban Humanities, and she teaches courses that use creative strategies to address food insecurity through community-building and activism.
Born in Illinois, Miller received her MFA in from University of California, Los Angeles and her BA from University of California, Berkeley, in English. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and collected in public institutions worldwide including CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In 2019, she received an Artists in Communities Grant from the California Arts Council to create the first commissioned socially engaged artwork at the Palo Alto Art Center and the Mitchell Park Library.