Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues, Poster, Signed 1983

by Robert Rauschenberg

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Period 1980 to 1989
Item type All
Product Code ‌0016-0002A

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This rare promotional poster, autographed in red felt-tip along the bottom edge by David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison, was created for the American Rock Band Talking Heads, for their 1983 Speaking in Tongues album, which would later win a Grammy Award for its design. Created by the iconic American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - 2008) who collaborated closely with lead singer David Byrne. The artwork featured originally on a limited edition album cover, the poster, signed by both Byrne and Rauschenberg was of a further limited run, sold exclusively through Art Galleries.

Byrne who pursued a collaboration with Rauschenberg, initially approached him the mid 80's, establishing a lifelong friendship through their collaboration. He would write later in the New York Times of the atmosphere of Rauschenberg's Lafayette Street Studio, and the creative process of the albums creation. Rauschenberg referenced the three coloured printing process by layering coloured discs of cyan, magenta and yellow. Images including a wrecked care, a highway, billboard and bedroom are superimposed for effect. It would later be connected to a series of mechanical sculptures Rauschenberg completed in 1967, titled 'Revolver', currently held by the NYC based Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Andy Warhol, who himself purchased the limited edition album art, recorded on the 11th of the that year that Rauschenberg was upset that he'd negotiated on $2000 for the job, Andy replying that 'he was right, he should've got 25,000!'. 

This signed poster is not just an example of Rauschenberg's artistic genius, but of a well recognised collaboration between two famed creatives. The posters stands as an important example of 20th century album art, as well as American culture.

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