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World’s most expensive album goes on public display in Australia

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin news

The Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the most expensive record ever sold, is set to be showcased at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania, Australia.

Recorded secretly over six years and housed in an ornate silver box, this unique piece of musical art features contributions from all nine surviving members of the group, along with appearances by pop icon Cher and actress Carice Van Houten.

Starting mid-June, Mona will host limited listening sessions, offering the public curated 30-minute excerpts of the album, which has rarely been heard outside a select few private playbacks. The display is part of the museum’s “Namedropping” exhibition, exploring themes of status and notoriety.

The album’s release was a statement against the devaluation of music in the digital age, prompting the group to adopt a Renaissance-style approach by making it a singular, commissioned work of art. It comes complete with a hand-carved nickel box and a leather-bound manuscript of lyrics and authenticity, bound by a legal stipulation that prevents its commercial release for 88 years.

Once purchased by Martin Shkreli for $2 million, the album was later seized by US prosecutors following Shkreli’s conviction on fraud charges, and now resides with the digital art collective Pleasr.

Image credit: Wutangcashew, CC BY-SA 4.0

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