Known as the force behind The Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record-label Luaka Bop, Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has been publishing and exhibiting visual art for more than a decade. Recent works include the release of EEEI—Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (Steidl Publishing & Pace/McGill Gallery), the Lead Us Not into Temptation CD from the film Young Adam, and the Talking Heads box set.
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Grown Backwards is Byrne’s first Nonesuch Records release. “There are a few artists today who are so original in what they do that one can truly say they sound like no one else in the world,” says label president Robert Hurwitz. “This is what we have always felt about David Byrne, and this is how we feel about Grown Backwards, his first record on Nonesuch. It is a great privilege to work with him.”
David Byrne has been involved with photography and design since his college days and has been publishing and exhibiting his work for the past decade. Like his film and musical projects, his artwork is often described as elevating the mundane or the banal to the level of art, creating icons out of everyday materials to find the sacred in the profane. Byrne's works are about interiors, both physical and emotional, as much as exteriors.
Recent museum shows in Germany, Italy, and Japan have mixed these pieces with audio elements, acoustiguides, and sculptural elements. Since the beginning Byrne has mixed exhibitions with public art: billboards in Belfast and Toronto, subway posters in Stockholm, fly posters during the presidential election in NY, LA and Chicago and lightboxes in the streets of San Francisco and Sydney, Australia. Most recently there was a 215-foot long flow chart covering the 5th Avenue side of Saks 5th Ave, multiple-choice questions on the Tokyo subways and an audio piece in the World Financial Center in NYC.
Four books have appeared in recent years, each a kind of piece on its own. The first, "Strange Ritual" (Chronicle Press, 1995) mixed text and image in a notebook-type format. The second, "Your Action World" (Edimar, Italy, 1998 and Chronicle, 1999), was modeled after corporate reports and inspirational and motivational literature. The third book, "The New Sins," looks like a bible and was created for the Valencia Biennial, where copies were placed anonymously in hotel drawers. The book was published by McSweeneys in the USA and by Faber & Faber in the UK, and there is a Bulgarian edition as well. The most recent book project, "Envisaging Emotional Epistemological Information" (Steidl/PaceMacGill, 2003) focuses on Byrne's use of the presentation software PowerPoint as an art medium. This deluxe and expensive book contains a DVD of 5 PowerPoint presentations set to music.
Byrne is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in NYC, where he had a solo exhibition in March–April 2003.
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