David Byrne on Outsider Art

David Byrne

If you’re looking for something arty to do this weekend, check out the Outsider Art Fair (see Preview the Outsider Art Fair). Hey, you might even run into Talking Heads frontman David Byrne there. The musician—who describes his home as “insane wunderkammer—good for inspiration but bad for dusting”—spoke to the Wall Street Journal about his art collecting habits, and it turns out, he’s a big fan of outsider art. But is this really any shock coming from a punk-era icon?

Byrne has been collecting since the 1980s, when he purchased works by Henry Dargers, Joseph Yoakums, and Howard Finsters after reading books on outsider art and Art Brut. He later commissioned Finsters to do the album cover art for “Little Creatures” (Finsters also did an album cover for R.E.M, see Top 12 Artist Designed Album Covers for more).

Talking Heads, "Little Creatures"

Talking Heads, “Little Creatures”

“Some of the stuff I couldn’t afford now,” said Byrne speaking about the rapidly ascending market for outsider art. “My house is pretty full, and I’m not about art as investment, so with a full house I’ve slowed down a bit. The more well-known names are the same price as many contemporary artists, which is as it should be. They’re not at the level of the blue-chip contemporary artists—so the investment vultures haven’t swooped in yet—it still mostly feels like it’s about the art.”


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