Via The New York Post...http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/s ... z1YUlyy1Wo
Simple twist of paint
By BILLY HELLER
Last Updated: 1:43 AM, September 20, 2011
Posted: 10:42 PM, September 19, 2011
‘Someday, everything is gonna be diff’rent,” sang Bob Dylan in his 1971 song “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”
Today, there is gonna be something different in the New York art world — as Dylan displays his paintings in his first-ever gallery show in the city. Eighteen works, in acrylic, are hanging on the walls of the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue.
As it turns out, Dylan is “a talented painter,” according to John Elderfield, the chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. Elderfield conducted an interview with Dylan for the exhibition’s catalog.
“Some people say to me, ‘Would you be interested in these works if they were not by Bob Dylan?’ ” Elderfield tells The Post.
“And I say, ‘Would you be as hard on them if they were not by Bob Dylan?’ ”
The show, called “The Asia Series,” consists of paintings of scenes in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea — where Dylan had been touring during the last three years. While some images, such as “Kitchenette,” have a contemporary subject and look, others, such as “Emperor,” are more historical in nature.
The paintings, which measure up to 5 feet wide, are on sale. The gallery hasn’t revealed prices, but a series of original paintings by Dylan on sale last year in a London gallery went for $150,000 and up. These latest works are more sophisticated than two of Dylan’s best-known paintings — covers for his 1970 album “Self Portrait” and for The Band’s 1968 debut “Music From Big Pink.”
In the catalog interview, Dylan says he doesn’t follow contemporary art much, adding, “I think miniature golf courses are great art forms.”
The singer goes on to say, “I’ve done sketching most of my life. In notebooks, on napkins, on rough paper or cardboard, plates and coffee pots . . . basically when there’s something to look at — so it’s not new for me.”
Elderfield describes Dylan’s painting as a “neo-expressionist, beat style. And Dylan likes that.”
Among the paintings are the Gauguin-inspired “The Game,” which shows three men playing the Chinese board game go. Dylan tells Elderfield his Gauguin reference is “underpainting and muted color,” adding, “I might have even been tempted for a second to paint out the rest of the picture in that style, but I’m not Gauguin.”
Elderfield first became involved with Dylan a few years back when he got a call from the musician’s manager. Dylan had been asked to exhibit some work in Germany, and, the manager related, “Bob asked me to find someone who can take a look at it and see whether he was gonna embarrass himself,” Elderfield says.
Elderfield wound up visiting Dylan’s art studio in LA, which, he says, “is like no art studio that I’ve ever seen. I think he bought this building with all the furniture and just kept it. It’s like a little house, and it’s got old couches and stuff, crossed swords on the wall. And it’s kind of cramped.”
And the verdict on Dylan’s art?
“Look, the guy’s a genius,” says Elderfield.
Dylan has another studio where, according to Elderfield, he’s now making sculptures.
“It’s more industrial, where he makes these welded sculptures,” he says.
As for the singer, who’s had earlier art exhibits in Europe, he paints mostly from life.
“It has to start with that,” he told Elderfield. “Real people, real street scenes, behind-the-curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs . . . whatever it takes to make it work.
“But it has to start with something tangible.”
Interesting that Mr. D. is also doing sculpture. There was some speculation in another thread that he was doing welded pieces, which is apparently true.