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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 08:50 GMT 

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the_revelator wrote:
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.


Yes. And since people are discussing his jawline and whether or not he is married or smoking cigars, he probably thinks they might as well discuss his paintings... after all there seems to be a huge interrest in every crumb he drops along the way. Is/was his guitar playing much better than his painting?
I don't think he has "little gift". Had he painted for a living all his life, he probably could have made a living from his visual arts. It would probably be easy to create more Drawn Blank pictures. (And not have gone near the plug with the guitar, get a decent haircut, have a serious director make a streamline Hollywood production, stopped touring at 66, always oil his voice well, get a facelift, choose striped instead of polka-dot shirts, give friendly vain interviews, convert to modern who-really-caresism, sell his marriages and divorces to Hello magazine, and say: I love you all! at every concert.) Yes. But what would you gain from one more boring person?


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 09:09 GMT 
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Just because someone thinks he's a great songwriter, they don't have to be impressed with everything else he's done. I know some people like the artwork. More power to them. I'm sure that makes him happy.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 11:57 GMT 
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@Mutabor:
Truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
There are at least two Dylan films which I consider very well worth watching.
I'm not a judge of talent, otherwise I'd say he has some in the field.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 12:55 GMT 
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If I remember correctly, he was approached about showing his art in the first place. He wasn't looking for an outlet to gain more "rock star" attention.

Seth Avett said they weren't sure if the Grammy performance with Dylan was going to happen because Bob didn't know if he would be finished with the painting he was working on at time.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 13:00 GMT 
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raging_glory wrote:
If I remember correctly, he was approached about showing his art in the first place. He wasn't looking for an outlet to gain more "rock star" attention.


You're right. Ingrid Mössinger of the Kunstsammlungen museum in Chemnitz, Germany, saw his 1994 Drawn Blank sketch book and upon reading the foreword contacted Bob's people asking if he was interested in making paintings from these sketches, as he had written in that book. He said in an interview later he was surprised there was interest in his artwork. That was before he went commercial. :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 19:23 GMT 

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Johanna Parker wrote:
@Mutabor:
Truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
There are at least two Dylan films which I consider very well worth watching.
I'm not a judge of talent, otherwise I'd say he has some in the field.


Me, I loooove Masked and Anonymous. I might like Renaldo & Clara, if the copy I saw was not that bad. But actually I think I am too old to find much pleasure in all of that love/marriage, this woman/that woman woman/man business, and as far as identity goes, I take it a day at a time. It ain't me who said his other artwork is not good enough.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 19:31 GMT 
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R&C is brilliant if you don't expect it to be mainstream. I love watching it at night with no interruption. It's just not for people who like their "art" at pre-packaged three-minute music video bite size.


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PostPosted: Tue March 5th, 2013, 20:46 GMT 

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the_revelator wrote:
Just because someone thinks he's a great songwriter, they don't have to be impressed with everything else he's done. I know some people like the artwork. More power to them. I'm sure that makes him happy.

Absolutely so. I like some of the paintings, some I don't like. But most of all I admire the boldness that lets him go to his limits and beyond in various disciplines.


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 01:02 GMT 

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Johanna Parker wrote:
@Mutabor:
Truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
m&a, the magazine cover art, and this series remind me of that whole thing he said in the movie at the end: the way we look at the world is the way we really are. see it from a fair garden everything looks cheerful. climb to a higher mountain and you see plunder and murder. truth and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
then it reminds me of that other line- all he believes are his eyes, and his eyes they just tell him lies


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 11:32 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
R&C is brilliant if you don't expect it to be mainstream. I love watching it at night with no interruption. It's just not for people who like their "art" at pre-packaged three-minute music video bite size.



A friend and I sat through the whole unedited thing at a Los Angeles theater during it's brief theatrical release in 1978. It was endless and about 90% of the audience, whom I assume were Dylan fans, walked out. My friend, a huge Dylan fan, said of the film "THIS IS EMBARRASSING!" Every single review was negative, including a multiple takedown of at least 5 different critics - all of them Dylan fans - in the Village Voice. I don't remember a positive review anywhere. When I obtained my own copy in the late 1990s on video, I had basically the same reaction. It's terrible except for the opportunity it provides to see Dylan walking around and talking. A shame because the concert footage is tremendous and never fails to thrill. But his conception of the film was half-baked and far exceeded his gifts as a filmmaker. Who knows what he might have come up with if he had tried to come up with a coherent script and p.o.v. He greatly overestimated how easy it would be to make a film as witnessed by the incredibly indulgent length (292 minutes in theatrical release, at least an hour longer than what is available on bootleg!!!!! The same length as part one of SHOAH!!!) and turgid, embarrassing plot. Many reviewers considered it a 'vanity' project and there were particularly unpleasant comments about the use of Sara Dylan and Baez. Make an ultra-long nonsensical film in which you've cast your estranged wife and prior girlfriend as bitchy, jealous hookers in a lurid love triangle and watch the critics slam you up against a wall. And yes I've heard all that pretentious stuff about the rose symbolizing a 'traveling x.' Anyone seeing the film who doesn't know that Sara Dylan was his wife and about his affair with Baez - to follow the back-and-forth "which one does he really love" - plus ringers including look alike (and sometime girlfriend) Ronee Blakeley as an impersonator of the objects of his affection - and unless you're very interested in Bob Dylan's love life, the film has nothing of interest plotwise. Many thought his mining of his bewildering personal relationships was unsavory. He could have done better by the mother of his children.

The concert footage is still awesome, buried in there somewhere.


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 11:52 GMT 
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I'd really be interested in reading about the reactions to the recent R&C screening at Milan. See if people still don't get it. It's a shame really a two-hour version even was released at the time, and a pity it took until 2002 until he made another film of his own.


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 12:01 GMT 
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292 minutes - the original theatrical release was a jot under four hours. Sitting through it was a nightmare.


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 12:09 GMT 
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Fits nicely on a standard video cassette, yes. I've seen it repeatedly, never had nightmares. It even was on TV here.... did it get TV release elsewhere?


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 13:38 GMT 
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I feel like many people on this site set the bar very low for Bob Dylan. A sad thing given what a genius he is in his field.


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PostPosted: Wed March 6th, 2013, 13:54 GMT 
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Does it ever occur to you others might see artistic merit in things that you don't?


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 03:45 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Does it ever occur to you others might see artistic merit in things that you don't?



Absolutely. But I also think it's often the case that some people who are obsessed are not realistic about him. Fair enough but it sometimes makes any honest discussion of him very difficult. Obsessive love sometimes leads to self-dramatization and suspension of any judgement about the beloved which I think is sometimes in evidence with folks who are obsessed with celebrities and sometimes seem to admire Dylan just for breathing.

Basically nothing he does will ever diminish his greatness as a songwriter and musical performer. He also showed himself to be a very talented prose writer with "Chronicles" and I hope very much that we get another book from him. That was a terrific book. I've bought every record the guy has released and will continue to do so. I admire him enormously as an artist. I think I'm also realistic about him - he's not great, or even necessarily good, at every single thing he does. And I don't expect him to be. And I don't think anybody who's a fan of his should be expected to take some loyalty oath that we all agree he's great at everything, that his creative powers are constant and never diminished, that he's a realistic model for how to live one's life or that he has not been affected (and diminished) by aging, which is just the reality of life. I don't think saying that you don't like something he's done, or saying that you don't think it's very good, really has the power to diminish anyone else's enjoyment of him. Of course people don't have to agree with me. But there isn't anything inherently wrong or horrible about honest criticism of his work. I can't remember a single time here I've ever criticized him as a songwriter - I think he's basically perfect at that, and I know lots of people who don't agree with me.

I don't take great personal offense if people don't like someone or something I like, or feel I have to constantly defend everything someone does just because I like them or have some emotional investment in them. Most people who are married have to spend some time sorting out the dilemma that your spouse is not you and not a reflection of you and doesn't have to be perfect or awesome in every way for you to love them. Even marriage doesn't demand absolute blind loyalty and blind admiration of the other person - I think that's a big life lesson many people have to grapple with. One can take a look at that and then ask oneself how much blind faith and adoration one wants to invest in a celebrity who's a complete stranger, no matter how much one responds to their work.

I say this in regard to the folks who are defensive or irritated by any criticism of Dylan and take it personally. I think it's fine for people to have differing opinions and also okay to be critical of his work - as long as it's respectful criticism and isn't ugly or abusing him as a person. He's been putting himself out there for decades, and it's obvious he can take it or he would have disappeared long ago.

I'm not going to ask you if you are absolutely sure that you have a realistic take on the guy.


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 10:08 GMT 
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I'm not going to ask you what marriage has got to do with anything, even though I can't see for the life of me what it does. However I do think you indicate your criticism is in some way more honest (because it is negative) than that of others including myself (because it is positive) - esp concerning the current subjects of R&C as well as recent NET shows. It's not like I have never criticized anything Dylan did or does, here or elsewhere. Usually though the things I negatively criticize are those that most people (on here as Dylan fans) agree are perfectly brilliant. (Watching Dont Look Back or Eat The Document does far less for me than R&C does, for example.) That is honest criticism, too. It doesn't have to do with agreeing about anything and everything. Enjoyment of art is an immensely personal thing and shouldn't come out of wondering if it's acceptable within a group like ER to enjoy the part of someone's art that you do. If it wasn't like that I would fail to see any honesty about it, or respect, for that matter. But maybe you do consider "it was a nightmare" to be respectful criticism.


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 12:55 GMT 

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some comments have been about whether his painting technique is the best- how realistically the bodies are painted, the muddy colors etc. maybe he doesn't want people to think about how nicely he reproduced these figures, maybe he is wanting us to think of the people. i was thinking the photoshop-like qualities with the mag paintings was because dylan was bypassing whether he was a great painter in a technical sense, because that wasn't necessary to the feeling. when he revised the magazines it reminded me of the truth and beauty passage from m&a


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 16:33 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
I feel like many people on this site set the bar very low for Bob Dylan. A sad thing given what a genius he is in his field.



exactly.

it's a problem of any fanbase, though.
any given artist has less certainties about his work than his fans do.

sad, actually, but somehow unavoidable.


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 16:50 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
some comments have been about whether his painting technique is the best- how realistically the bodies are painted, the muddy colors etc. maybe he doesn't want people to think about how nicely he reproduced these figures, maybe he is wanting us to think of the people. i was thinking the photoshop-like qualities with the mag paintings was because dylan was bypassing whether he was a great painter in a technical sense, because that wasn't necessary to the feeling. when he revised the magazines it reminded me of the truth and beauty passage from m&a


Thanks for trying to get this thread back on topic. It actually was about paintings at one point. The Revisionist Art catalogue will be published next week (12 March according to amazon), and I'm looking forward to seeing it.... and reading, in case the commentary really turns out to be written by Bob. That'd give rev another book written by Bob, too.


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 16:59 GMT 

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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
some comments have been about whether his painting technique is the best- how realistically the bodies are painted, the muddy colors etc. maybe he doesn't want people to think about how nicely he reproduced these figures, maybe he is wanting us to think of the people.


You see, an excellent picture is one where one does not think about these technical things anymore...


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PostPosted: Thu March 7th, 2013, 22:45 GMT 

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Mutabor wrote:
You see, an excellent picture is one where one does not think about these technical things anymore...

i'm not quite sure what you mean. do you mean if it's painted with nice technique then it is always better. i'm not an artist, but to my mind, i think of that in a kind of american idol type way- if some one has a technically perfect voice, does that communicate the song better? bob has never had a perfect singing voice type way, but the way he sings seems better than most singers for me. i don't know... just something interesting for me to think about, and johanna, i would be interested in what is written in that new art book too, im not getting that, but maybe you'll write something about it


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PostPosted: Fri March 8th, 2013, 07:30 GMT 
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I think what Mutabor meant was if the painting is successful, no one is bothered by technical aspects that may be mildly flawed. With work where things fall into place that gives pleasure, critical faculties may be suspended when provided with the option of simply indulging in the pleasure of experiencing. If I didn't get it, Mutabor, let me know.


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PostPosted: Fri March 8th, 2013, 08:13 GMT 

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Yes, you got that right, revelator. I just wrote a longish answer this morning, adding examples of pictures and then aborted it... :( . Never mind. Dylans brush technique is good, by the way. The difficulty is how to get a life of its own into a flat picture. Dylan once said: "a song is anything that can walk by its own". Now I don't know what he meant, but I understand it as saying if you can sing it and let if be sung and it "works", it is a successful song. Same goes with pictures. Some of his pictures walk while with others you find yourself standing there asking: "why do these ladies look so... wooden? stony? unfleshy?" I am sure he is aware of that too, one cannot paint so long and so much and look at other peoples paintings without getting a certain eye for these things.

"Sobald jemand in einer Sache MEISTER geworden ist, sollte er in einer neuen Sache SCHÜLER werden". ( Gerhart Hauptmann)

(as soon as someone became a master in one thing, he should become student in another)


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PostPosted: Fri March 8th, 2013, 08:26 GMT 
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Mutabor wrote:
Yes, you got that right, revelator. I just wrote a longish answer this morning, adding examples of pictures and then aborted it... :( . Never mind. Dylans brush technique is good, by the way. The difficulty is how to get a life of its own into a flat picture. Dylan once said: "a song is anything that can walk by its own". Now I don't know what he meant, but I understand it as saying if you can sing it and let if be sung and it "works", it is a successful song. Same goes with pictures. Some of his pictures walk while with others you find yourself standing there asking: "why do these ladies look so... wooden? stony? unfleshy?" I am sure he is aware of that too, one cannot paint so long and so much and look at other peoples paintings without getting a certain eye for these things.

"Sobald jemand in einer Sache MEISTER geworden ist, sollte er in einer neuen Sache SCHÜLER werden". ( Gerhart Hauptmann)

(as soon as someone became a master in one thing, he should become student in another)





Thanks for this. I'm sorry you did not post your longish answer and the accompanying illustrations.


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