Bob Dylan: Face Value Exhibit Opening

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The Bob Dylan Center will present a new exhibition, Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond, beginning May 10 at Tulsa, Okla.’s Gilcrease Museum. Curated by The Bob Dylan Archive®, the exhibition will include the first regional showing of Dylan’s Face Value portrait series, as well as drawings, filmed performances, writings, personal effects and ephemera exclusive to the Archive. The exhibition runs through Sept. 15.

From the March 26 announcement: Face Value and Beyond offers an array of fresh avenues to explore the many facets of Bob Dylan’s artistry, enabling audiences to view them as “products of the same extraordinary, inventive imagination,” as art historian John Elderfield recently wrote.

Part gallery exhibition, part exploration of the texture and nature of the Archive itself, the works on display will show how the public and private nature of Dylan’s art are often closely linked and part of the same furtive, exploratory mind.

A pastel portrait from Bob Dylan’s Face Value series. (From the Jenny Norton and Bob Ramsey collection via The Bob Dylan Center)

Dylan has been creating visual art since the 1960s, but only began exhibiting his work publicly in 2007. The 12 pastel portraits in Face Value represent his first public foray into portraiture, having debuted at London’s National Portrait Gallery in 2013 and shown in the U.S. only briefly in 2015. The exhibition will also premiere drawings and sketches from The Bob Dylan Archive, including two recently unearthed Dylan sketchbooks from 1970 and a series of never-before-seen artworks originally created by Dylan for his 1973 book, Writings and Drawings, only a fraction of which appeared in that volume or have ever been reproduced in any form.

Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond will also feature archival manuscripts and objects exclusive to The Bob Dylan Archive, including hand-written lyrics to some of the artist’s best-known songs that reveal a glimpse into Dylan’s creative process through the artist’s many visible edits.

Related: More about Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Archive and Bob Dylan Center

Not just any leather jacket…

The exhibition will include numerous elements spanning five decades, including two silent Andy Warhol-directed “Screen Tests,” of Dylan, the leather jacket worn by the artist at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when he famously “went electric,” and a wallet and address book from the mid-1960s that contain a number of personal references and effects.

“Bob Dylan is such a uniquely talented and multi-faceted artist, that there is a seemingly endless array of avenues to his artistry for audiences to discover,” said Michael Chaiken, curator of The Bob Dylan Archive. “This unique exhibition shines a particular spotlight on his distinctive paintings, drawings and sketches. We’ve chosen a number of unseen works from his archive that demonstrate Dylan’s decades-long interest and engagement with the visual arts.”

As the primary public venue for The Bob Dylan Archive, the Center curates and exhibits a collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, and correspondence; films, videos, photographs, and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments, and many other elements.

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  1. Bjorn
    #1 Bjorn 27 March, 2019, 11:49

    What impresses me most about BD, aside from his talent and art, is how well regarded he is by his peers.

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