Exhibition: Bob Dylan Art Exhibition
Venue: Today Art Museum, Hall 2
Bob Dylan, 79, has an exhibition in Beijing. This poet and singer has opened a painting exhibition.
Look at what he's done in the nearly 60 years since his debut: more than 600 songs, 38 studio albums, 125 million records sold, 11 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Pulitzer Prize, a Nobel Prize in Literature... If there is any Oscar or Nobel in the art world, he must be eager to try it.
It can be said that Bob Dylan is art, and art is Bob Dylan.
The exhibition is held in Hall 2 of the Today Art Museum, and before entering the exhibition hall, there is a whole wall of album covers, and even people who have not listened to Bob Dylan's music will not be unfamiliar with the image of curly hair, wearing the iconic Ray-Ban glasses and top hat.
The exhibition is mainly based on paintings, with a total of 140 works, including oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, manuscripts, acrylic and other shelf creations, as well as wrought iron installations, as well as video materials and manuscripts that record the different stages of his career development.
I saw the word "great" in the foreword to the exhibition, and it is not an exaggeration to describe Bob Dylan's achievements, because no one can do the best in every art field he has been involved in.
But Bob Dylan himself is a complex, born into a Jewish family in Minnesota, where the United States and Canada are handed over, and in interviews with the media, he has always denied his Jewish identity and called himself an orphan of both parents. Throughout his life, he has faced accusations of plagiarism against him, including his tunes, lyrics, and even nobel prize-winning speeches. Back in 1964, he replied to the question in the lyrics: "Yes, I will steal other people's ideas... Whether it's a word, a melody, a story, a poem, a tune in the wind – everything that opens up my inspiration. ”
So, he's Bob Dylan, he's very knowledgeable and confident about his talents, he doesn't care what other people think, he only pursues what he wants. From his first step into the one called "caféwha?" "The café started, and it never stopped moving forward.
Entering the exhibition hall, we first come to a darkroom, an 8-minute video like a preface, taking the audience to a brief taste of the life of this extraordinary artist. Stepping out of the curtain, the exhibition hall lit up, with a large white light box that read "caféwha?" On stage, Bob Dylan's famous song "The Answer Flutters in the Wind." It's home to Bob Dylan's music, a café in Greenwich Village, New York.
In 1961, like all "New Drifters," Bob Dylan, who had just arrived and tried to break into the New York folk scene, had a little hard time. He chose his first stop at "caféwha?" ", this is one of the many cafes that have created a thriving culture of American folk music. He recounted his situation in "Talkin' New York" on his first album: People in the circle said he was "singing like a hillbilly." But that didn't hit Bob Dylan, who always played the guitar, hung a harmonica stand around his neck, sang in various cafes, and could see him at any time.
During a harmonica accompaniment for a singer, he was discovered by a producer at Columbia Records. It was at this time that his fans, The New York Times reviewers, wrote a very praiseworthy review for him, and Columbia quickly signed him and spent three afternoons recording his first album.
At the time, except for the art review magazine "Village Voice", which praised the album as an "explosive country blues debut", other media outlets were surprised that Dylan's broken voice, not very special guitar and blues songs with a dark and cold atmosphere had entered the American folk music scene with a sunny and healthy image at that time.
However, that didn't stop Dylan from taking his first steps. "I know I can't please everyone, there will always be people who are upset with you. If they want to hack you, they can black. ...... They either liked me or insulted me, and I was often belittled. But when they insulted me for some strange reason, I actually understood. ”
The New York ballad circle, even he himself would not have imagined that the future Bob Dylan would go farther than anyone else.
Having read Bob Dylan's chronology, walking past the wall with his hand-copied lyrics and hand-drawn sketches accompanying the songs, a small screening hall in a corner of the first-floor hall shows a music video: "Underground Nostalgia Blues." In the black-and-white picture, the background is an alley, and the young Bob Dylan holds a thick stack of teleprompter cards in his hand, singing and throwing, and in the background there are two people gossiping, the poet Alan Ginsburg and the musician Bob Newars.
At the beginning, where the song is sung, the caption card is turned to which one, and slowly, Dylan's speed of flipping the card can't keep up with the speed of the song, and the card also begins to have puns and spelling errors (success spelled as suckcess, manhole spelled as man whole).
"Underground Nostalgia Blues" is the opening song of Dylan's fifth album" "Take It All Home", and it can be said that even if Dylan stopped writing, he could still be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century with this album, even if it is the only record of his musical career, it is enough to make him famous.
"Underground Nostalgia Blues" is a two-and-a-half-minute song that is a summary of the cultural and political upheavals of the Mid-1960s in the United States. The song sings about civil rights struggles ("It's better to avoid those people, they always drag the fire belt around"), mention the Vietnam War ("Join the army if you lose"), and then the discontent of the people after the war ("After 20 years of school, they will let you go to the day shift"). The song has since been quoted and mentioned by many artists, and the music video is the most cited rock and roll video in history, and to this day, fifty or sixty years later, the action of flipping the telepromp card still appears in the mv of contemporary musicians.
Railways and wrought iron
Walking down the white staircase to the second floor, the colors suddenly became brighter, and following the guidance of the neon lights, we left the black and white atmosphere of the first floor and came to the world of color.
The first to appear were Dylan's early paintings. At that time, the picture was very childish, like a child's brush. Apparently, Dylan didn't have any techniques at that time, and only followed his heart to paint.
Bob Dylan began painting in 1966, the year he had just finished a world tour and moved into his new home in upstate New York, ready to take a break. But at the same time, he had already contracted a drug addiction, and his conflicts with his agents were increasing, the publishers kept urging him to complete a collection of prose poems that he could no longer write, and the ABC kept urging him to deliver a documentary on the world tour. Just as he was anxious to get rid of it all, the opportunity came.
On July 29, Dylan was involved in an accident on a motorcycle, and although the seriousness of the accident has been debated afterwards — whether Dylan broke his neck, disfigured, unconscious, or even paralyzed — he decided to use the opportunity to regain a new life. It was also during this time that Dylan began to paint.
In his paintings, the railway is his motif, and the highway is his inexhaustible source of subject matter.
"I grew up seeing and hearing trains pass by, and they always gave me a sense of security..." In each of Dylan's railway-themed paintings, the tracks lead straight to the horizon, with fiery sunsets at the end of the sky, clear blue skies, or just pale and dull chaos. Bob Dylan watched trains carry iron ore away from his hometown every day when he was young, and when he grew up, he broke through the small town of Hibbing to the big city of New York, and after becoming famous, he toured from city to city, and the scenery on the railway was never forgotten.
Passing through a wall of railway-themed paintings, you immediately enter a hard, cold area where Bob Dylan's wrought iron works are on display. He welded the gears, wrenches, chains, horseshoes, etc. together, and even installed handles so that the whole device could be rotated. He welded coffee tables and bar chairs with large and small gears and iron bars, as if to mix the childhood impressions in his mind with the lively folk cafes of New York.
Dylan grew up in Minnesota, known for its iron ore area, where the clunky machinery and rust-colored iron ore imprinted on the mind of young Bob Dylan, transforming them into art as an adult. Yes, that's Dylan, who can transform a song into a charcoal painting and materialize the music, or soften the steel to form a work of art. People will never guess what Dylan's next creation will look like.
There is no one in the painting
"Picasso smashed the shackles of the art world and opened up a wider territory for it. He was a revolutionary in art, and I became that person. ”
This isn't the first time Bob Dylan has spoken wildly, and he's not shy about comparing himself to Picasso. His latest road series of paintings is indeed markedly different from the childish style of his previous paintings. In this series, Dylan paints on canvas with acrylic. A tall installation of 24 canvases is shocking, his painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, the waves on the surface of the water have the light and shadow of Impressionism; the empty gas station under the scorching sun, the intense red piercing eye. His colors are brilliant, full of red and blue, as if they are in the clear and dry summer days along Route 61.
Since Dylan became famous as a singer and songwriter in the 1960s, touring has been his primary means of artistic expression. He performs a hundred times a year, and he has not stopped. He was familiar with America's roads, city streets, and remote trails, which he had walked all his life.
The exhibition names this section "Ordinary Roads", which present the scenery of American highways to the viewer, with dilapidated motels, all-night street shops, crystal clear empty wine bottles, lonely cacti on the sand... And only the shadow of no one. Bob Dylan, who has been on the tour for almost his entire life, has dealt with countless people all his life, but there is no one in his paintings in his later years, which makes people think about why.
Recalling a clip from the exhibition's first 8-minute video, the reporter asked Dylan: "Do you think words are more important than music?" Dylan gagged for a moment, licked his lips nervously and said, "Uh... Words are just as important as music. Without words, there is no music. "Dylan was a fledgling man with a dream. After watching the entire exhibition, people will clearly feel the strength, sharpness and unlimited creativity of this 79-year-old man.
Walking out of the showroom, there was always a question in my mind that had not been answered - as an amateur player, a singer who had not been very good at painting, how did Bob Dylan improve his painting skills? What time did he spend learning to draw and draw? But I suppose that the answer may not be that important, like his poetry and music, the answer flutters in the wind.