If you are Denmark any time between September 4 and January 30, you owe it to yourself to check out the Dylan show on display at the National Gallery in Copenhagen. Yes, the venue is an art museum, and the show is not a live performance but rather a collection of 40 paintings and 8 drawings by the artist Bob Dylan.
Most Dylan fans have been aware of this other side of the fabled songwriter/musician. Yet many do not know how serious he has been about his art through the years. So it is quite interesting that a major gallery has also taken notice and given Bob the opportunity to create a collection just for this purpose, kind of a high level commission.
According to a story in the ArtDaily, ”I've been to the National Gallery of Denmark and it definitely is an impressive art museum. It was more than a little surprising when I was asked to create works specifically for this museum. It was an honor to be asked and a thrilling challenge. I chose Brazil as a subject, because I have been there many times and I like the atmosphere,” Bob Dylan states.
Bob Dylan’s new series reflects the settings and people he came across in Brazil. Here, we find depictions of everyday scenes in cities and in the country. Wine growers, gypsies, politicians, gamblers, and gangsters. A motley collection of motifs and subject matter that accentuates the artist’s fascination with the diversity of Brazil. The works appear almost like anthropological records, shorn of any romantic sentiments, preconceptions, or social commentary. The motif itself, its compositional potential, and the underlying narrative would appear to be the features that most interest the artist.
The article went on to say, Dylan's visual art should not be interpreted in conjunction with his music, that clues for meaning or understanding are within the art itself, which is a separate universe from his music. Said Dylan, "If I could have expressed the same in a song, I would have written a song instead.”
Frankly, I don't think I'll be able to make it to the show since I have no trips to Europe planned any time soon, but I might buy the book. The piece I saw looked quite interesting.
Top: Favela Villa Broncos by Bob Dylan, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 106.7 x 142.2 cm. Posted here without permission.
Here's a link to my own most recent portrait of Dylan.