Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dylan Returns to the Big Apple... as a Painter

As anyone who knows the story knows even half-well knows, a very young Minnesotan, the former Robert Zimmerman, followed his dream and arrived on the doorstep of the the Big City at the dawn of the 60's. Performing in places like the Cavern and other Greenwich Village hotspots, he blew his lungs out on a harmonica -- a dollar a day's worth -- and sang folk songs rooted steeped in tradition. Striving at first to emulate his hero Woody Guthrie, he sounded far more mature than his years. As Frank Sinatra once sang about this experience, "If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere... New York, New York."

Well, the newswires have been lit up by another side of Bob Dylan which is emerging here in New York once again. That is Bob Dylan the artist, as in painting.

Dylan is not new to the visual arts, though it is only in recent years that I believe he's been showing his work in more serious venues (besides an album cover or two.) His Drawn Blank series exhibited in Germany in 2007, and last winter his paintings of scenes in Brazil were displayed in Copenhagen. The new show here in New York features paintings depicting scenes and people drawn from his recent tour of Japan, China, Korea and Viet Nam. (One benefit of being a globe-trotting performer has to be this amazing access to such a wide range of settings, scenes, imagery, people, places.)

The works will be on display at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side from September 20 to October 22.

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