Bob Dylan at National Portrait Gallery

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Bob Dylan at National Portrait Gallery

Postby jasperjoffe » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:36 pm

Dylan is not a Renaissance man. .is there a term for this. . A medieval man perhaps. . He's good at music and these portraits are celebrity used to sell mawkish cack.
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Re: Bob Dylan at National portrait gallery

Postby CAP » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:47 am

I call it Star Art - celebs trade on their reps to indulge themselves with a sideline. Actors, musicians, writers, photographers - they all find painting terribly therapeutic. Captain Beefheart/Don Van Vliet ended up a painter when disease robbed his limbs of sufficient control to continue as a musican. He was okay, in a Pencky kind of way. :|

Didn't Sly Stallone show at Basel Miami once? :lol:
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Re: Bob Dylan at National portrait gallery

Postby MyFistIsMyBond » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:40 pm

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/14/ ... bob-dylan/

The most encompassing of these concentric circles of lies was the nonsense Dylan spouted about how you can’t import true American cool or legacy or the heart and soul of American workers. Chrysler is owned by Fiat, not even Italian in any legal sense but soon to be incorporated in The Netherlands. That this transnational corporation was revivifying the Motor City was sadly laughable. Detroit has lost two-thirds of its population and even the street lights are being turned off in the most forsaken districts of the city. Dylan’s chords strummed on hypnotically, lulling reason to sleep amidst the blitz of banality.


and

for the right price humble beginnings can always be forgotten
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Re: Bob Dylan at National portrait gallery

Postby CAP » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:29 am

I suppose for Gridiron fans that might go to the heart of the matter, for the rest of us, Dylan’s decline has been a long and fairly unremarkable one. I feel the same way about Clement Greenberg – started off a socialist and ended up a ranting imperialist lackey – deploring Stalin and excusing the industrial military complex – in the name of Washington and its largesse. Start off radical and you’ll end up conservative, seems to be the lesson. As for Yearsley’s take on Inside Llewyn Davis – obviously the Welsh name play is supposed to alert us to some sort of parallel between Llewyn and Dylan and the Coen Brothers want the road to fame to seem hopelessly compromised and corrupt (implying Dylan’s success was not really deserved) but frankly I think they miss the whole point of folk music.

Then again I never really got with The Zimm – even though I’m in the demographic. I finally sat through the marathon Scorsese doco, toothpicks wedged under my eyelids and learned why he sang that way, wrote the hipster take on Woody and Pete before being run over by The Beatles and gettin’ electrified and then crucified. Amen. I learned, but I never really liked. I liked it when The Byrds or Manfred Man covered the songs – even more when Jimi Hendrix did it – but the songs themselves no more than OK – heavy on the symbolism and parable, in a skewed beatster kinda way. You dig the words that dig. But I never got why he was so popular – especially with young girls. Going through their record collections – you could always count on some Bobby D. DJs were just as bad. Why is that? And when not reporting on The Man and The Scene from the ground – The Zim unleashed furious vitriol on female acquaintances, really unloaded on the ladies. How Does It Feel? And She Breaks Just Like… what were the girls hearing there? Later there were allegations of wife beating.

Forgive me a lapse into Salingerism – but the thing is Bob was always a phoney – always pretending and wanting to tell everyone how it is, wanting us to accept the pretence. There’s a problem there. Those wide-eyed interviews when the press wanna know How Does It Feel To Be A Self-Appointed Spokesman Of A Generation? A Poet on the run, an existential socialist outsider? and he stares back innocently “Who, Me?” Yeah - try reading back some of your own lyrics Zim – ‘Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ – not that you need to be a Weatherman, to know which way the wind blows. And the answer my friends is right there - blowin’. Oh yeah blowin’ big time. Zim had all the answers when the talk got general enough. Still we know who had God on his side back then, I guess, even if God only turned out to be a hustling manager, with his heart in the cut. That’s just so biblical, isn’t it?

When I read about those times now guys like Dylan or Zappa always sound so interesting – you want to like them, even before you’ve heard them. But then I remember I have heard them – I heard them in the 60s and I didn’t like them. Was I too young, were they too sophisticated for me? No, when I go back and listen I know right away why I didn’t like them. They were sort of clever but heartless. Zappa was a very skilful guitarist alright but he couldn’t resist letting you know. His music drowns in tricksy, heavy-handed allusions and quotation. He was so arch he was like a Post Modernist rocker and I lost interest by the second chorus. Someone from that time described him as Spike Jones for the West Coast Underground. That seems about right. Google Spike. With Dylan and his creepy backing band the feeling was always of this cold and spiteful little man locked in a runaway sermon. Forget about the beat, there was none. He got the image thing from The Beatles, but not the beat somehow. The guy never found a rhythm - just a cadence. This was all about the lyrics detached from anything like a normal or credible voice. You listened but you instinctively didn’t trust the teller, strained after the accent. This was someone pretending they know a lot of stuff about life and that, but they weren’t about to vouch for it or explain how they knew it. It was like watching a really bad ventriloquist act.

For some reason he never went with the psychedelic phase in the 60s and instead did a country and western album and sang properly. He obviously wanted to go straight but the songs were so dull no one cared whether he’d found a new voice for his ventriloquist’s doll or a more convincing message. But obviously he retained this enormous following somehow (I think it’s called blind worship) that remains just a closed book to me. I get he did something different with song lyrics, but then so did lots of others! The Beatles were probably covered by more artistes than Dylan and wrote all sorts of crazy and beautiful stuff. Burt Bacharach remains an evergreen. Paul Simon probably started out wanting to be like Dylan but after a few years (around the English folk scene) must have realised “I’m chasing an enigma wrapped in bullshit – show me where the top forty is again – oh yeah – folk rock – got it”. Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch wrote great pop songs as well, but no one wants to elevate them to the level of edgy poetry. The Cult of Dylan (which brings with it exhibitions of his indifferent paintings) is symptomatic of a generation that can’t move on, can’t let go, are trapped in the narrow and impulsive commitments of their youth.
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