Tag Archives: Brian Sewell

Bob Dylan art: Face Value portrait “contemptible” – Brian Sewell, top English critic

ROCK ART EDITIONS published an earlier version of this post in October 2014. It’s republished here to commemorate Brian Sewell, art critic of the London Evening Standard. He’s the best-known English critic, particularly among those who share his rejection of much contemporary art. Brian Sewell died last weekend, aged 84.

Bob Dylan art gets the thumbs down: his Skip Sharpe portrait is “Contemptible.  Just rubbish”.  It should not have been exhibited by the National Portrait Gallery, according to top critic Brian Sewell, in his Pop Goes The Easel, a scathing survey of rock musicians who paint.

Q magazine published Sewell’s damning piece in November 2013, to coincide with the Bob Dylan Face Value show at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Bob Dylan art: Face Value

Skip Sharpe by Bob Dylan, Face Value exhibition 2013. © Bob Dylan 2013

Bob Dylan art “just rubbish”, Macca paintings “childish rubbish”

The critic goes on to lambast other rock-musicians-turned-painters. He dismisses artwork by Beatles bassist Paul McCartney as “childish rubbish”. Edwyn Collins’ artwork shows promise… when judged as the work of a 14-year old! Daniel Johnston’s Captain America is “… just awful.  Utter, utter rubbish”.

Funny, that.  I enjoyed the Bob Dylan art in the Face Value exhibition, a small gallery of distinctive portraits, held in 2013. The portraits are representative Bob Dylan art – they successfully capture Dylan’s penetrating, sceptical, questioning worldview. My only criticism was that the show didn’t have enough pictures.

Bob Dylan art: judge for yourself – catalogue still available

You can judge for yourself the Bob Dylan art dismissed by Sewell. Bob Dylan Face Value, a handsome, collectable catalogue, published by the National Portrait Gallery, London, is still widely available.

Bob Dylan art: Face Value catalogue

Bob Dylan Face Value catalogue © National Portrait Gallery 2013

I was also impressed by Paul McCartney: Paintings, the 1999 and 2000 catalogues of the Beatle’s artwork: I’m not keen on Macca’s music, but I do like his painting.

Brian Sewell is a celebrated London-based art critic known for his lively journalism and entertaining TV appearances. He tends not to, er, sit on the fence.

The dismissive tone in his Q article was echoed in the recent assessment of some rocker-painters by Guardian critic Jonathan Jones, covered here last week. (Bob Dylan got off lightly.)

I’m collecting critical commentaries – positive and negative – on Bob Dylan art and work by other rock musicians who paint, to discuss on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS.  If you come across any critiques, please Leave a reply, at the top of this article.  Thanks, in advance.

 

Copyright: images © Bob Dylan and © National Portrait Gallery, London, as indicated in captions.  Brian Sewell quotations © Q magazine.  Text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015.  Unauthorised reproduction prohibited. 

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, http://www.butlerart.com/ was not linking; the Butler has a Facebook page.)

Bob Dylan art “contemptible”, Paul McCartney’s “childish” – Q magazine on rockers who paint

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan art: Skip Sharpe, Face Value exhibition 2013. © Bob Dylan 2013

Bob Dylan art On The Face Of It: Skip Sharpe is “Contemptible.  Just rubbish”.  The portrait should not have been exhibited by the National Portrait Gallery, according to critic Brian Sewell, in his Pop Goes The Easel, a scathing survey of rock musicians who paint.

Sewell’s damning piece was published in Q magazine, November 2013, to coincide with the Face Value show of Bob Dylan art at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The critic goes on to lambast other rock-musicians-turned-painters. Artwork by Beatles bassist Paul McCartney is dismissed as “childish rubbish”. Edwyn Collins’ artwork shows promise… when judged as the work of a 14-year old! Daniel Johnston’s Captain America is “… just awful.  Utter, utter rubbish”.

Funny, that.  I like Bob Dylan art. I enjoyed the Bob Dylan Face Value exhibition, a small gallery of distinctive portraits. They successfully capture Dylan’s penetrating, sceptical, questioning worldview. My only criticism was that the show didn’t have enough Bo Dylan art.

Bob Dylan Face Value portrait, Skip Sharpe

Bob Dylan Face Value catalogue © National Portrait Gallery 2013

You can judge Face Value for yourself – the handsome, collectable catalogue, published by the National Portrait Gallery, London, is still widely available. I was also impressed by Paul McCartney: Paintings, the 1999 and 2000 catalogues of the Beatle’s artwork: I’m not keen on Macca’s music, but I do like his painting.

Brian Sewell is a celebrated London-based art critic known for his lively journalism and entertaining TV appearances. He tends not to, er, sit on the fence.

The dismissive tone in his Q article was echoed in the recent assessment of some rocker-painters by Guardian critic Jonathan Jones, covered here last week. (Bob Dylan art got off lightly.)

I’m collecting critical commentaries – positive and negative – on rock musicians who paint, to discuss on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS.  If you come across any critiques, please email me.