‘Do You Collect Art?’ ‘I Can’t Afford It Anymore!’ Two Minutes With David Byrne

Byrne. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Byrne. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Just as the Armory Show opened this afternoon, we bumped into everyone’s hero, David Byrne, near the Artforum lounge, leaning back slightly as he took in a tall abstract painting on the outside wall of a booth. He wore dark blue coveralls and had taken off his glasses.

Do you mind if I ask for your opinion of the fair?

I just got here. I started at this end. This is contemporary, the kind of, contemporary? And when it gets to the other end it gets into the classic, Modernist stuff?

Do you have a preference between the two?

I guess contemporary stuff. It offers more surprises.

Do you collect art?

I can’t afford it anymore! [Laughs]

Who did you used to collect?

Mostly outsider, outsider art. You still get that up here, for want of a better word. And odd things that catch my eye.

Is there anyone you enjoy looking at when you come to a fair like this, any artist, or maybe, any medium?

No just surprises. There’s something for everyone. You can get jaded sometimes, you can get very jaded, but there are some nice surprises.

There must be some good conversations going on. I overheard some collectors say, “Well, we’ve got one of those [points at invisible artwork] and we’ve got one of those [points] and we’ve got one of those [points, laughs]!”

It’s a shockingly small group of people, that this is actually for.

Quite a few of them are possibly here.

[Gestures at coveralls] This seems to be a work suit.

Yes. I was working today.

Oh, really? What on?

I was writing songs!

You have to wear that to write songs?

Well, you don’t have to, but it’s a dirty business! [Laughs very hard]

Are you going to play a building again?

Yeah, I hope so. We’re looking at one in Norway.

Is that what this [gestures at coveralls] is about, then?


‘Do You Collect Art?’ ‘I Can’t Afford It Anymore!’ Two Minutes With David Byrne