David Byrne

Exhibition Label
As a singer-songwriter, director, composer, and impresario of world music, David Byrne has been described as the "thinking man’s rock star." A shy art student, he attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he teamed up with his friends Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth to create the thoughtful, danceable industrial rock of the Talking Heads. Collaborating with Brian Eno, Byrne led the band’s evolution from venues like CBGB into studio-driven world music—first with Remain in Light (1980)—while also composing scores for Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, and Jonathan Demme. As Talking Heads concerts evolved into theatrical funk spectacles, Byrne became a nerd fashion icon in his oversize white suit, as captured in Stop Making Sense (1985). Byrne founded the world music record label Luaka Bop, and has more recently favored Latin American rhythms in his own compositions.

Object Details

Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Marcia Resnick, born 1950
David Byrne, born 14 May 1952
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Gelatin silver print
Image: 21.8 x 32.5 cm (8 9/16 x 12 13/16")
Sheet: 40.4 x 50.4 cm (15 7/8 x 19 13/16")
Mat: 40.6 x 55.9 cm (16 x 22")