Exclusive Wu-Tang Clan album to be showcased at Australian gallery

An album so rare that only a select few have ever heard its tracks is set to be unveiled at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), per bbc.com. The Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, recorded in secret over six years, is housed in an ornate silver box and exists as a single CD copy, making it the most expensive record ever sold.

This exclusive album will be featured in Mona’s upcoming Namedropping exhibition, which explores themes of status, notoriety and “the human pursuit.” Over ten days in June, the museum will host intimate listening parties, offering the public a 30-minute curated sample of the album’s tracks.

“Every once in a while, an object on this planet possesses mystical properties that transcend its material circumstances,” said Jarrod Rawlins, Mona’s Director of Curatorial Affairs. “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is more than just an album, so… I knew I had to get it into this exhibition.”

The album, recorded in New York City and produced in Marrakesh between 2006 and 2013, features all nine surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan, alongside pop artist Cher and Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten. The group intended to challenge the devaluation of music in the digital age by creating a unique, Renaissance-style commissioned piece.

The CD comes with a hand-carved nickel box, a leather-bound manuscript of lyrics, and a certificate of authenticity. The owner is legally barred from releasing the album’s 31 tracks for 88 years, making it a singular piece of musical history. 

Initially sold to disgraced executive Martin Shkreli for $2 million, the album was confiscated and later sold to digital art collective Pleasr. The upcoming listening sessions at Mona will mark a rare public opportunity to experience a glimpse of this exclusive work.

Pleasr noted that these events align with their vision of presenting the album as a unique piece of fine art, continuing the Wu-Tang Clan’s revolutionary approach to the music industry. The listening parties will run from June 15 to 24.


Featured image: The album is the most expensive ever sold/Jon Lynn 


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