Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Bob Dylan paintings

I just saw this posted on ArtInfo's website. It's from Bob Dylan's recent 'Favela Villa Broncos' exhibition. Below are three of his Brazilian-inspired paintings.

First off, I'd like to say that I'm a big fan of Bob Dylan's music and have been for years, but I'm not too crazy about these paintings. They do recall Matisse and maybe a little Gauguin, but they read pretty dull and uninspired, like they'd best be fit for a wall in a hotel lobby, a cafe, or a doctor's waiting room. I've never been to Brazil myself, I'm sure it's beautiful, but Dylan's representation of the countryside looks like an afterthought.


The faces of the men and women in the vineyard are done in an almost Fauvist abstraction, but they don't really read as anything. They don't look weary, or menacing, or even tired. As a whole, the vineyard workers look curious as to why the painter was there in the first place. The Joe Pesci line from Goodfellas, "Hey, what do you want from me" in reference to his mother's dog painting comes to mind here. The colors are also pretty drab, it's hard to tell that the grapes are grapes, because he didn't channel the color saturation that the fauvists nailed.


With this piece, too many things blend in and are difficult to access. The tree in the center looks awkwardly shaped because the branches and leaves are blending in with the shrubbery in the background. Powerlines seem to go in all different directions, the clothesline looks like it's hooked on to a metal pipe and strung in between two poles, and what are the white bars on the bottom right?
Overall, it's a mess.


This last one is the only one I can say I kind of like of the three. I like the juxtaposition of showing an abandoned, urban street with parked cars in the background and a car in the foreground, presumably there to pick up the streetwalker on the left. The fact that no one is on the street except for a streetwalker and two working class street sweepers (one of which looks like a farmer, for some reason) gives the painting a socio-political slant and I'm normally a sucker for those.

1 comment:

  1. My god, he is a horrendous painter. I am speechless, truly.


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I love to read about linguistics, behavioral economics, theory and philosophy. I listen to music some might call outdated, write satirical and high testosterone plays, consume too much caffeine and ruthlessly defend modern and contemporary art.