Photographer Simon Larbalestier’s iconic Pixies album artwork — created during the college-rock kingpins’ original 1986-1993 run as well as the band’s reunion — will be the subject of a six-week retrospective at a U.K. art gallery beginning next month.
“Simon Larbalestier: A Pixies Retrospective 1986 to 2009” will run from April 17 to May 29 at Snap Galleries in Birmingham, England, and will spotlight Larbalestier’s cover images from each of the Pixies’ five albums — including Surfer Rosa’s famous topless shot, seen at left — as well as photos used on various 12-inch singles.
The show also will feature the new photographs Larbalestier took in 2008 and 2009 for the Pixies’ Minotaur box set, a mammoth visual-art project that found the lensman collaborating once again with original 4AD graphic designer Vaughan Oliver.
According to the gallery, Larbalestier was discovered by Vaughan at the photographer’s final degree show for the Royal College of Art in London in 1987; the designer was taken by “an elaborate and slightly unsettling scene in which a bald headed man with an outrageously hairy back sat with his back to the camera, face obscured.” Vaughan, by then already working for the band, “knew instantly that it fitted perfectly with the brief he had received from Pixies frontman Charles Thompson.” That picture would become the cover of the band’s 1987 debut, Come On Pilgrim.
The gallery quotes Vaughan as saying, “If there were a ‘fifth Pixie,’ it would have been Simon — his work so suited what they were doing.”
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