Bob Dylan was not content with winning the big prize in the music game, besides being a bad singer and an AWFUL harmonica player, but he's also a PAINTER. Tony Bennett and countless other musicians pull this "painting" crap and have shows to soak up more praise for something they are not very good at, but they can leverage fame into at least a few more interviews and get some rich suckers to buy their doodles.
In this case, Dylan was merely doing "color by number." Here's a gingerbread man he forgot to color in, but since he had it in his drawer it may be valuable. Send me money for it right now. Dylan would see a famous photo and paint it. Very gifted. I hear there's a shortage of artists. That's why we need more famous musicians to start painting. You can never have enough product from these renaissance men. I hear Dylan does needlepoint too. It's either that or a cookbook up next.
The freewheeling artistic style of Bob Dylan, who has drawn on a variety of sources in creating his music and has previously raised questions of attribution in his work, is once again stirring debate — this time over an exhibition of his paintings at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side.
When the gallery announced the exhibition, called “The Asia Series,” this month, it said the collection of paintings and other artwork would provide “a visual journal” of Mr. Dylan’s travels “in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea,” with “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape.”
But since the exhibition opened on Sept. 20, some fans and Dylanologists have raised questions about whether some of these paintings are based on Mr. Dylan’s own experiences and observations, or on photographs that are widely available and that he did not take.
A wide-ranging discussion at the Bob Dylan fan Web site Expecting Rain has pointed out similarities between several works in “The Asia Series” and existing or even well-known photographs — for example, between a painting by Mr. Dylan depicting two men and a Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph of two men, one a eunuch who served in the court of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi.
Observers have pointed out that a painting by Mr. Dylan called “Opium,” which is used to illustrate a Web page for the “Asia Series” exhibition on the Gagosian site, appears to be closely modeled on a picture by Léon Busy, an early-20th-century photographer.
Separately, Michael Gray, in a post on his blog, Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, points out that a painting by Mr. Dylan depicting three young men playing a sidewalk board game is nearly identical to a photograph taken by Dmitri Kessel.
Mr. Gray, an author who has written extensively about Mr. Dylan’s work and its artistic influences, writes on his blog:
“The most striking thing is that Dylan has not merely used a photograph to inspire a painting: he has taken the photographer’s shot composition and copied it exactly. He hasn’t painted the group from any kind of different angle, or changed what he puts along the top edge, or either side edge, or the bottom edge of the picture. He’s replicated everything as closely as possible. That may be a (very self-enriching) game he’s playing with his followers, but it’s not a very imaginative approach to painting. It may not be plagiarism but it’s surely copying rather a lot.”
[The New York Times]