Speaking In Tongues Album Cover

Designed by David Byrne

UPDATE 11-4-16

This classic cover is a clear (at least to me) homage to Jasper Johns' series of "target" paintings. I'll say it owes the most to "Target with Four Faces" from 1955. Why? Well the elements placed in juxtaposition to the circles total four: four lower faces in one, four chairs in the other. The faces appear to have no "meaning" in relation to the concentric circles. They are just there for friction, and to be weirdly suggestive. It's like a Zen koan. There isn't an answer. I don't want to impute intention to David Byrne (I don't want to insult him like that), but when I see those four chairs they don't quite seem meaningless. They look to me just like the kind of chairs you would see in homes in places where they actually speak in tongues: Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, the Smokey Mountains, like that. Overall, I would say Byrne's rendition feels more tribal too.


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