Bob Dylan art: US exhibition of Face Value portraits – life, personality, individuality

Bob Dylan art - Face Value, London

Face Value London exhibition poster © National Portrait Gallery London 2013

Bob Dylan art, exhibited extensively in Europe since 2007, is now receiving increasing exposure in the USA.

The latest US exhibition is Bob Dylan: Face Value, showing at the Giffuni Gallery of The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio until 12 July.

Face Value is a small exhibition of Bob Dylan art, comprising 12 pastel on paper portraits. It was first shown at the National Portrait Gallery, London from August 2013 to January 2014.

Bob Dylan art

Skip Sharpe portrait from Bob Dylan: Face Value © Bob Dylan/NPG London 2013

The London Face Value show probably attracted the biggest audience so far for an exhibition of Bob Dylan art. The National Portrait Gallery, located in the very heart of tourist London is one of the most accessible galleries in the world.  Free entry, a lengthy run and a fine catalogue helped ensure heavy footfall for this release of Bob Dylan art.

Bob Dylan art: pastel portraits

Bob Dylan art: Face Value, 2013 exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London. photo © Gerald Smith 2013

Face Value: mixed reviews for Bob Dylan art

It had mixed reviews, though.  Waspish critic Brian Sewell (Q magazine, November 2103), dismissed the show: “Contemptible.  Just rubbish.  It is beyond my understanding that the National Portrait Gallery should exhibit such things.”

I saw it differently.  Popping in several times, I enjoyed each viewing. The room of Bob Dylan portraits sat comfortably alongside priceless works by canonical artists like Rubens and Van Dyck, Warhol and Hockney.  I warmed to the quality of the Bob Dylan art on display, particularly Dylan’s technique as a portraitist: he endows his subjects with life, personality, individuality.

If you’re a fan of Bob Dylan art and find yourself anywhere near Youngstown, Ohio this summer, I recommend that you call in to The Butler Institute of American Art to investigate this fine collection of portraits.

Bob Dylan art: Face Value portrait, Skip Sharpe

Bob Dylan art: Face Value catalogue © National Portrait Gallery 2013

If you can’t make the show, consider buying the fine catalogue.  It’s widely available, notably from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

(At the time of writing, was not linking; the Butler has a Facebook page.)

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