Flaming Lips Frontman Wayne Coyne To Make Museum Debut With Outsider Artists

Wayne Coyne.

Wayne Coyne, the eccentric frontman of psychedelic rock outfit the Flaming Lips, will make his museum debut with an art installation at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum, which specializes in showcasing outsider and self-taught artists.

King’s Mouth, a large, immersive installation in silver and Day-Glo colors that opens October 3 will be one of the centerpieces of “The Big Hope Show,” a group show, according to a press release, set to explore themes of “hope and transcendent survival.”

The American Visionary Art Museum. Photo: Flickr.

The American Visionary Art Museum.
Photo: Flickr.

The Flaming Lips are widely known for putting on elaborate, artistic displays during their concerts, so it comes as no surprise that Coyne would be keen to make a name for himself in the visual arts arena. He’s also recently struck up an unlikely friendship with pop star turned outsider artist Miley Cyrus.

“Wayne Coyne’s work is among the most jubilant in our “The Big Hope Show,” American Visionary founder and curator Rebecca Hoffberger told Rolling Stone. “Surviving a violent, near-death experience awakened in him a joy and a tsunami of endless creativity rarely seen in anyone. His drawings remind me of those most beloved by Saint-Exupéry; his lyrics are poetry.”

Hoffberger was referring to the time Coyne was held up at gunpoint when he was 17 years old while working at Long John Silvers in his hometown of Oklahoma City. “We all laid on the ground. I thought, ‘Fuck, this is… this is it,’” Coyne told Rolling Stone in 2014. “Obviously they robbed us and left and didn’t kill me…We all cried.” Coyne credits the experience with helping him realize the things that make life worth living.

Wayne Coyne, The King's Mouth. Photo: Courtesy American Visionary Art Museum.

Wayne Coyne, King’s Mouth.
Photo: Courtesy American Visionary Art Museum.

While Coyne is best recognized for his work as a musician, he’s been quietly making visual art for years, creating not only album covers for the band, but also films, comic books, paintings, and installations. He even runs a gallery complex (that includes a store and a creative production house) in Oklahoma City called The Womb, which features a massive spin painting that he created with Damien Hirst.

“I’m mostly a visual artist, I think,” he told Hyperallergic in 2013.

“The Big Hope Show” will be his first museum display, and he’ll be doing it in good company. Featured alongside Coyne’s will be the work of photographer Bob Adams, who is also John Waters longtime producer, painter Margaret Munz-Losch, and artist/activist Jackie Summell.

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