Bob Dylan, Sculptor (Yes, You Read That Right)

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Bob Dylan at work on "Portal," courtesy of MGM National Harbor

Bob Dylan at work on “Portal” © John Shearer, courtesy of MGM National Harbor

You can add sculptor to Bob Dylan’s considerable résumé. As if being one of the most important singer-songwriters of all time isn’t enough, Dylan is also an accomplished sculptor, using iron as his medium. One of his works, “Portal,” will be featured at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland’s Prince George’s County when the $1.3 billion resort casino opens later this year. It is Dylan’s first permanent work of art for a public space.

“Portal” is described in a press release as a “26-foot by 15-foot custom piece [that] will adorn the west entrance as part of the property’s art collection.” Guests will walk through “Portal” as they enter the new resort.

“Mr. Dylan is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians of our time, but his incredible metalwork sculptures are a testament to his creative genius and ability to transcend mediums,” said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.

Related: Our feature on Dylan at 75

Bob Dylan in Santa Monica, Sept. 13, 2013. © John Shearer, Courtesy MGM National Harbor

Bob Dylan in Santa Monica, Sept. 13, 2013. © John Shearer, Courtesy MGM National Harbor

Dylan, notes the announcement, “has sculpted iron pieces for family and friends for the past 30 years, but it wasn’t until 2013—at London’s Halcyon Gallery in an exhibition called Mood Swings—that his metal artwork was first viewed publicly. His works feature found objects, vintage scrap metal and industrial artifacts collected from junkyards. Dylan collects everything from farm equipment, children’s toys, kitchen utensils and antique fire arms to chains, cogs, axes and wheels. He then welds these curiosities into thoughtfully juxtaposed masterpieces.”

Dylan was commissioned by MGM National Harbor to “envision an open entrance,” then hand-selected unique objects and will weld a stunning composition into a soaring archway. Gates are elemental in Dylan’s body of welding work, the release continues. “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow,” Dylan is quoted as saying. “They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.”

Watch a brief video showing Dylan’s London sculpture…

Dylan’s welding work “pays homage to America’s industrial core as well as his personal history,” the announcement adds. Fittingly, each work of art contains a small metal buffalo, signed Black Buffalo Iron Works, followed by Dylan’s signature.

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