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PostPosted: Fri March 1st, 2013, 13:40 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Talk about prejudice. :lol:
I don't know about every public street in Europe, I don't think I've seen all of them (yet). It certainly depends on where you go. Where I live, adult magazines are usually on the upper shelves out of sight and reach for children. But okay, that answers my question regarding that particular possible cultural difference.



It's not prejudice, it's an observation. Zoning laws in the U.S. have been enacted placing pornographic materia out of the viewing range of children (and adults) in the majority of jurisdictions in this country. It's rare for people to 'accidentally' encounter pornographic material on the street in the United States. It's the norm for Americans to register surprise at the prevalence of magazines with pornographic covers displayed openly at kiosks on busy streets in major cities in France, Spain, Italy and many other countries. It's common for Americans to comment on how uncomfortable they are with what they regard as the extraordinary ubiqitousness of pornographic material on public streets in Europe and people routinely remark on the difficulty of shielding young children from this material on the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, etc. You just haven't noticed or possibly this material is less visible in Germany, which may be a more sexually prudent society. My post was about Europe, not Germany.

I don't necessarily regard this openness as a good or bad thing. But it's something much remarked upon by Americans visiting Europe. The culture of the U.S. is more deeply conservative when it comes to the availability of pornography, with the exception of the internet. Your attempt to ascribe a prejudice to what is an observation about a deep-rooted cultural difference between the U.S. and Europe and your inclusion of a laughing emoticon while claiming this is evidence of bigotry on my part are typical of the often haughty way you attempt to dismiss the opinions/observations of people you disagree with - an unfairness not infrequently on display here and it's been in evidence even when you are wrong.


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PostPosted: Fri March 1st, 2013, 14:06 GMT 
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Uh-huh.... I've been around Europe a bit, if that helps. And if you want to have a fair discussion, you'd have to admit that not everything is the same everywhere in Europe just as, I believe, it isn't in the US. It's certainly not a bad thing for people who travel places to notice things, Europeans traveling to the US remark on certain things too, but I guess generalization doesn't work well either way. And frankly my question was answered before you decided to jump on it for a chance to tell me I was wrong.


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PostPosted: Fri March 1st, 2013, 16:59 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Image

Hope this works.


Impressive.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 01:28 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Uh-huh.... I've been around Europe a bit, if that helps. And if you want to have a fair discussion, you'd have to admit that not everything is the same everywhere in Europe just as, I believe, it isn't in the US. It's certainly not a bad thing for people who travel places to notice things, Europeans traveling to the US remark on certain things too, but I guess generalization doesn't work well either way. And frankly my question was answered before you decided to jump on it for a chance to tell me I was wrong.



I responded to Milkcow's post, not to you. Not everything people write here is in service of providing you in particular with answers to your questions - there are people on this site from all over the world who read these threads and may have wondered about why the paintings were exhibited in Milan but not in the U.S. - begging a number of questions. I tried to answer this based on the fact that I've worked in galleries and museums and been attending art exhibitions since the 1960s, both in this country and in Europe and have some idea whether the sexual content of the paintings would preclude a gallery or museum exhibiting them in the U.S. - as I said, I don't think that had anything to do with the fact that they haven't been exhibited here. This show may be exhibited in the U.S. in the future. I assume the show is in Milan because the owner of the gallery thought he would get some foot traffic into his gallery with an exhibit by Dylan - which seems to be true, it has garnered publicity for his space. Milan is not especially a hotbed for showing contemporary art.

I was making an observation, not trying to open a discussion with you about this - although you are free to respond to any comments, and you did, but not in a useful or courteous way that added anything to the topic. Barring scientific evidence, yes, you could say that my comment was a 'generalization' about the public availability of pornography in Europe, as opposed to the U.S. However, I named at least 3 specific countries (I could have named more - and in this regard, pornography is even more 'inescapable' in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe) - each of which I have visited dozens of times and am always struck by the prevalence of the open display of pornography in public in Europe. This isn't true in the U.S. and the U.S. actually has laws that prohibit sex shops, adult bookstores and strip clubs from operating in most jurisdictions - laws I don't believe exist in Europe. The U.S. is a country which only very recently got rid of laws criminalizing sodomy - there were never any laws in Europe in modern times that criminalized sexual behavior between consenting adults. Major cultural difference between the U.S. and most European countries - Europe is more culturally liberal about sex in a significant number of ways. This is just commentary for anyone on the site who may find this interesting - you don't have to. I'm always interested in what people from other regions and countries post here about their cultures. It's one of the things I like best about this site - what I learn from other people.

The first time I spent a day in Milan, I climbed to the top of the Duomo (I recommend going inside if you ever return), visited Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Pinacoteca di Brera and (because I paid a fortune to a scalper) attended a performance of Aida at La Scala. I understand that you were around Milan a bit. I hope someday you get to go back - it's an extraordinary city with much to offer, even when there for only a day.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 09:55 GMT 
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One of the things I like best about Dylan touring is that I can get some idea of a lot of places and can decide where I want to go back to with more time to spare. I'm also fortunate to have a friend in Milan who showed me around for a few hours when I was there for Bob's art. I don't think you can do better than to be shown places by someone who actually lives there.

I can see how it's prestigious to the museum to have Bob's art there for a show, but the museum was by no means crowded because his paintings are there. In fact it was near empty each of the three times I went, unlike when I went to see his art in Chemnitz or Copenhagen.
Alsom I strongly doubt that these particular paintings will be displayed anywhere else in the near future, or ever, based on the fact that all the works from his earlier series were sold immediately and as far as I'm aware the situation isn't different with the new ones. They will just disappear. I think a few of the Drawn Blank Series paintings that were seen in Chemnitz were later also shown in London, along with many new versions, but so far no two art shows Bob had at different places ever were the same.

That said, I can only repeat what Mutabor and I both said earlier - the focus of this collection of paintings is not on the sexually explicit content any more than on any of the other subjects Dylan chose to paint. That's just the impression you get from reading comments here and elsewhere. It seems to work almost as well as to promote this show as the accusations of plagiarism did for the Asia Series. Nobody seems to talk about that anymore these days. I guess the same will be true next time he choses to paint a sex scene.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 12:54 GMT 

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europe might have more porn on the newstands, but in the us you can just watch tv, go to the movies, or pick up a copy of people magazine... plenty of sex there, kinda reminds me of dylans magazine art exhibit. i am surprised no one seems bothered by a picture of a black woman with a rope tied around her like that ?


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 14:40 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
One of the things I like best about Dylan touring is that I can get some idea of a lot of places and can decide where I want to go back to with more time to spare. I'm also fortunate to have a friend in Milan who showed me around for a few hours when I was there for Bob's art. I don't think you can do better than to be shown places by someone who actually lives there.

I can see how it's prestigious to the museum to have Bob's art there for a show, but the museum was by no means crowded because his paintings are there. In fact it was near empty each of the three times I went, unlike when I went to see his art in Chemnitz or Copenhagen.
Alsom I strongly doubt that these particular paintings will be displayed anywhere else in the near future, or ever, based on the fact that all the works from his earlier series were sold immediately and as far as I'm aware the situation isn't different with the new ones. They will just disappear. I think a few of the Drawn Blank Series paintings that were seen in Chemnitz were later also shown in London, along with many new versions, but so far no two art shows Bob had at different places ever were the same.

That said, I can only repeat what Mutabor and I both said earlier - the focus of this collection of paintings is not on the sexually explicit content any more than on any of the other subjects Dylan chose to paint. That's just the impression you get from reading comments here and elsewhere. It seems to work almost as well as to promote this show as the accusations of plagiarism did for the Asia Series. Nobody seems to talk about that anymore these days. I guess the same will be true next time he choses to paint a sex scene.


I don't see it as people are saying all he painted was sex at all. I think as I said, people picked a sub theme he used from NO and talked about it. Of course I didn't read the complete thread...but make no mistake, at least 3 of those paintings are pornographic in nature.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 14:43 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
europe might have more porn on the newstands, but in the us you can just watch tv, go to the movies, or pick up a copy of people magazine... plenty of sex there, kinda reminds me of dylans magazine art exhibit. i am surprised no one seems bothered by a picture of a black woman with a rope tied around her like that ?



Sexual content and porn are 2 different things....

The woman with the rope is provocative not pornographic... The 2 asses are sexual not pornographic, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 18:54 GMT 

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I found the woman with the rope the most pornographic of them all.... It really made me feel uneasy. Maybe it lies in the eye of the beholder?


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 20:28 GMT 
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Mutabor wrote:
I found the woman with the rope the most pornographic of them all.... It really made me feel uneasy. Maybe it lies in the eye of the beholder?

For you, I guess it depends on what the rope is doing.... What is the rope's purpose...


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 20:45 GMT 
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It has been suggested that the woman in "Fire Dancer" is Betty Howard, "The Girl Who Has Everything." You can read part of her name and catchphrase on the bass drum in the painting.
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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 07:15 GMT 

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Milkcow wrote:
Mutabor wrote:
I found the woman with the rope the most pornographic of them all.... It really made me feel uneasy. Maybe it lies in the eye of the beholder?

For you, I guess it depends on what the rope is doing.... What is the rope's purpose...

The rope is not doing anything. The nude woman has been tied up with it, and is maybe about to remove it. But she is looking away from the viewer, in a way that seems to indicate shame. Also, her whole position looks not strong and self assured. So she appears to be some kind of victim to me. It reminds me of slavery. If this is taken from a picture, what kind, other then some bondage pic would it come from?

Every time I see it I wonder how a black woman would react to it.


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 07:24 GMT 
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that's not what I see when I look at that...
I see her using the rope as a prop... in a sensual way... she is looking away but that doesn't mean she is shamed or anything... to me she doesn't look weak at all but provocative in the way her hip is curved... it's the way she is standing... I see a completely different thing than you... isn't that what art is all about?


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 08:19 GMT 

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Milkcow wrote:
that's not what I see when I look at that...
I see her using the rope as a prop... in a sensual way... she is looking away but that doesn't mean she is shamed or anything... to me she doesn't look weak at all but provocative in the way her hip is curved... it's the way she is standing... I see a completely different thing than you... isn't that what art is all about?


It is. We seem both to agree that the rope is in place mainly to put emphasis on her boobs though. How sophisticated of the artist to not call the work "Boobs" but " Rope"...


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 10:09 GMT 
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The Rope painting is in the same room as Storyville and Blindfold Test, and since the rest of the paintings are grouped together in the different rooms of the museum kind of logically, I guess that tells us something about the background to this one. I never thought the picture was about slavery even before I knew about that. I'm surprised even that two people on this thread so far assumed the woman in the painting is black. I've seen it "live" and couldn't tell. Same with the men in Train Station (and various other earlier Dylan paintings). It's like he's keeping that too open to interpretation.


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 10:49 GMT 

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She looks so clearly like an african woman that I would have never thought that it could be a question to anybody. It's not just the colour of the skin, but the purple nipples and the hair.

What makes me feel uneasy is that it is not obvious to me that she is in whatever the situation out of her free will. Unlike the other explicit paintings, where it is clear that the woman want to do what they do.


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 11:06 GMT 
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Mutabor wrote:
What makes me feel uneasy is that it is not obvious to me that she is in whatever the situation out of her free will. Unlike the other explicit paintings, where it is clear that the woman want to do what they do.


Storyville was a red light district, so since it is called that, I guess that painting is about prostitution? Just an aside re. wanting to do it.


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 11:19 GMT 
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Mutabor wrote:
She looks so clearly like an african woman that I would have never thought that it could be a question to anybody. It's not just the colour of the skin, but the purple nipples and the hair.

What makes me feel uneasy is that it is not obvious to me that she is in whatever the situation out of her free will. Unlike the other explicit paintings, where it is clear that the woman want to do what they do.





It's hard when not seeing the painting in person, but her race seems indeterminate to me.

I read the rope as being draped on her. Other than that, it doesn't have any particular context to me, sexual, about free will or otherwise. The rope seems decorative, from my p.o.v.

What I think whenever I see his more recent work is how lifeless these paintings are that are obviously based on photographs, stiff and dull. I have no idea why he does this rather than paint from life.........


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PostPosted: Sun March 3rd, 2013, 16:29 GMT 
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I couldn't tell her race either

Also I thought the rope was draped on her


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PostPosted: Mon March 4th, 2013, 10:54 GMT 
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My feelings too, rev., about his more recent paintings. Many of them are dull and wooden, whereas the earlier 'Drawn Blank' paintings had movement and a restless fidgety energy about them almost as if they were animated. The woman in 'Rope' even has a wooden left breast if you look at it closely. It's a log!


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PostPosted: Mon March 4th, 2013, 10:58 GMT 
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Must be the Log Lady!


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PostPosted: Mon March 4th, 2013, 20:42 GMT 

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the_revelator wrote:
What I think whenever I see his more recent work is how lifeless these paintings are that are obviously based on photographs, stiff and dull. I have no idea why he does this rather than paint from life.........


I agree partly. But Dylan is a master songwiter, he is not a master painter. He seems to have the most difficulties in painting people, animated people. The piano player in the painting of the Big Pink album, the few people in the drawn blank series are rather clumsy. The Drawn Blank series consist mainly of landscapes and interiors. What does a painter do when he likes to work and learn in a specific area? He copies and copies and copies... Of course Dylan could copy old masters, or Manets "Dejeuner sur l'herbe" - but then people might call him a plagiarist. :roll: Maybe he does copy paintings, but chooses to not exhibit them. The paintings shown in Milano are all showing people, only people, most in action. That is why I wrote earlier on that he is bold in his choice of motives. He dares to paint what he cannot do best.

And the breast of the rope lady looks not at all like a log in reality. It looks like a lovingly painted pair of boobs. Her body comes across very real and present. His oil painting technique is ok, he just has a hard time drawing the flow of people in action.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 02:13 GMT 
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Mutabor wrote:
the_revelator wrote:
What I think whenever I see his more recent work is how lifeless these paintings are that are obviously based on photographs, stiff and dull. I have no idea why he does this rather than paint from life.........


I agree partly. But Dylan is a master songwiter, he is not a master painter. He seems to have the most difficulties in painting people, animated people. The piano player in the painting of the Big Pink album, the few people in the drawn blank series are rather clumsy. The Drawn Blank series consist mainly of landscapes and interiors. What does a painter do when he likes to work and learn in a specific area? He copies and copies and copies... Of course Dylan could copy old masters, or Manets "Dejeuner sur l'herbe" - but then people might call him a plagiarist. :roll: Maybe he does copy paintings, but chooses to not exhibit them. The paintings shown in Milano are all showing people, only people, most in action. That is why I wrote earlier on that he is bold in his choice of motives. He dares to paint what he cannot do best.

And the breast of the rope lady looks not at all like a log in reality. It looks like a lovingly painted pair of boobs. Her body comes across very real and present. His oil painting technique is ok, he just has a hard time drawing the flow of people in action.



He's free to copy from photographs if he wants but I wouldn't ascribe it to a 'learning your craft' experience at this point, when he's been painting all his adult life, shows his work in galleries and sells his work. Plenty of people make a life choice of daring to do what they cannot do best - that's about motives and judgment. The recent work is, as someone noted above, fidgety (good word). For me, he has little talent as a draftsman. I also think that the current use of color (and again, I'm only looking at reproductions online) is abysmal - muddy and nasty, as opposed to the often beautiful color in the "Drawn Blank" series. In this particular series, he doesn't render well, the color is unattractive and he is copying from images created by other people. I'm not sure what the point of this series is beyond just doing it because he enjoys it. Which is fine, but it isn't making for very good art. This seems of a piece with his filmmaking, which wasn't a strong point either, but he had money to make "Renaldo and Clara" and distribute it. He's great musical artist, one of the best alive. This allows him, when he creates things for which he has little discernible gift (paintings, films) to get public attention for them because he has the money, power and fame to facilitate promoting them.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 07:26 GMT 

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He's free to copy from photographs if he wants but I wouldn't ascribe it to a 'learning your craft' experience at this point, when he's been painting all his adult life, shows his work in galleries and sells his work. Plenty of people make a life choice of daring to do what they cannot do best - that's about motives and judgment.

Many people indeed stick to that which they already know. Many never experiment or do something that they or others have not done before. Obviously Dylan never belonged to that kind of person. He is given to experiment, be it in music, in film or in pictures. In the New Orleans serie he experiments with a limited range of motives and a limited palette. That is an obvious attempt to work consciously. It is true that he will be no Picasso, but to say that he has no talent is underestimating his work. He had in fact been asked to do a show in Milan by the curator of the museum. I'm not even sure if the works are intended to be sold, they do not have prices and they are not signed. "Dance hall" is a very good painting that would impress even if the painter would be called Joe Who. People may, you know, paint even if they do not revolutionize the visual art world like Picasso or impress people for centuries like da Vinci. Or as the curator of Palazzo Principale put it: if he would be a no-name, his paintings would be judged less harshly, but they are as good as much stuff in the galleries.

And last but not least: the much beloved Drawn Blank series are coloured copies of nice drawings, as such they make nice decoration for Dylan fans and bring some money, this here is serious painting.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 07:58 GMT 
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I didn't say he had no talent. I said he has little discernible gift as a painter (to me). Famous people, by virtue of being visible and popular, have lots of outlets for their creative experiments that other people don't. Paul Simon was once contracted to write a Broadway musical, which was a giant flop. Paul McCartney has exhibited paintings and written symphonies, although not to much acclaim. There's absolutely nothing wrong with people like them pushing themselves to try new things. But most instances, someone possessing a great artistic gift in one area does not translate into artistic genius in another area. This is obviously a nice thing for Dylan to do, better than spending his time drinking or gambling. But I also think that the shows of his work are often 'vanity exhibitions' which would never be mounted if he wasn't the famous rock star Bob Dylan. He's been painting seriously at least since the 1970s. It's not like there have been many exhibitions of his work and those he has had of late have been roundly slammed, if the reviews on the ER news page are any indication. This takes nothing away from his genius as a songwriter. But it doesn't add anything to it, either. This is Dylan having a nice hobby which he gets to indulge on a level that few people can do with their hobbies.


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