Margot Mifflin
January 12, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

STRANGE RITUAL David Byrne (Chronicle Books, $24.95) At a time when musicians from John Lennon to Bob Dylan are being unwisely repackaged as visual artists by overzealous publishers, David Byrne (former Talking Heads lead singer and Rhode Island School of Design student) offers a pleasant surprise with Strange Ritual. A photo travelogue that spans the past 15 years, the book explores cultural collisions between sacred and pop-culture artifacts internationally. Plastic baby Buddha dolls back-to-back with Mexican cherubs, impassioned chunks of graffiti contrasted with Indian movie posters, appear in these pages, which ask, ”With so many of our cultures being made up of bits and pieces of other cultures…will our consciousness become a complete pastiche?” Byrne’s wry humor is also present here: A series of pseudo-self-help books are frozen in time, thus rendered obsolete, and a performing chair takes on a comic life of its own in four poses. Strange Ritual is a smart, handsome, and information-rich collection. A

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