MIAMI – Bob Dylan has been telling stories through song for 60 years. But recently, the American lyricist has also captured moments in a new series of paintings which, like his songs, are intimate and a bit of a mystery.
The Nobel Laureate’s most comprehensive visual art exhibition to be held in the United States will be on Tuesday in Miami at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. Forty new pieces by the 80-year-old songwriter will be presented for the first time.
The exhibition with more than 180 acrylics, watercolors, drawings and metalwork sculptures will begin the same week as Art Basel Miami Beach and will run until April 17 with no stops announced at this time. Tickets cost $ 16 and are booked by time slot.
“Retrospectrum” includes some of Dylan’s works from the 1960s, starting with pencil sketches he made of his songs such as “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Like a Rolling Stone”. sketches from the 1970s, and covers six large rooms, but the vast majority have been created in the past 15 years.
âHe was recognized in every way possible as a writer, composer, singer, performer, etc. Now is the time when the audience sees the last element as well, âsaid Shai Baitel, who designed the show as artistic director of the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art, where it debuted. “Dylan is able to express himself in so many ways.”
A breathtaking giant canvas of a sunset in Monument Valley on the Utah-Arizona line serves as an introduction to Dylan’s latest works. He mentioned his admiration for Western filmmaker John Ford, who used that same iconic landscape in several of his films.
Past the wall with the painting of the reddish mounds is a room with the new series entitled “Deep Focus”, named after a cinematographic technique where nothing is blurred.
âAll these images come from films. They try to highlight the different difficult situations people find themselves in, âDylan reportedly said on one of the walls. âDreams and patterns are the same – life as it befalls you in all its forms.
Dylan offers a lot of city life as the artists of the Ashcan School advocated when they depicted lifelike images of people’s hardships at the turn of the 20th century.
A jazz band is playing in a colorful club in one of the paintings; one gray-haired man counts wads of banknotes in another. It depicts two men fighting in a boxing match and depicts a woman sitting alone in a bar drinking and smoking with an intriguing look on her face.
Linking images of Dylan’s latest works to specific films will require some internet research.
Richard F. Thomas is a Harvard University classic who has studied and written on Dylan. He said in an essay for the exhibition that he found references online linking one of the paintings showing a man in a black leather jacket pouring sugar on his coffee at a scene at a restaurant in the film of 1981 “The Loveless”, where actor Willem Dafoe plays a biker.
Thomas found a scene from the 1971 movie “Shaft” with actor Richard Roundtree commanding street food in Times Square. Other new works show cowboys, men in undershirts and barber’s sticks, another recurring object used by Dylan.
“Much like the scenes he created in his songs over all these years, the ‘Deep Focus’ scenes will keep Dylan researchers busy for years to come,” Thomas wrote.
In addition to the works in his new series, other works that will be exhibited in Miami have already been exhibited in places such as the Halcyon Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Previous paintings reflect images of America from the perspective of a traveler on the road. Realistic depictions of diners, motels, marquees, gas stations, and railroad tracks appear frequently throughout his work.
âIt’s almost like looking at a brochure of his memories,â said Baitel, the art director.
Dylan also experimented with perspective, apparently mimicking Vincent Van Gogh’s work in “The Bedroom” to paint the corners of a New York apartment. And he made variations by drawing the same characters by changing the color of the backgrounds and their clothes, or simply by representing them at another time of the day, like the Cathedral of Rouen series by Claude Monet.
The exhibit has interactive displays for music fans. The 64 word cards with the lyrics of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” that he leafed through in one of the first music videos ever made have been framed and lined up in eight columns in eight rows, while the clip is played on a loop.
It is not yet known whether Dylan, who is currently on tour for his 39th album “Rough and Rowdy Ways”, will visit.
Jordana Pomeroy, director of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, said it will be her first paid event since the museum opened in 2008. Florida International University will host a symposium on Dylan inviting academics to discuss the entire work of the songwriter. .
âThis is the treatment we’re going to give Bob Dylan,â Pomeroy said.