You don’t often see Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) paintings in London. But there’s a striking canvas now on show that’s well worth a visit.
Beezoo, Beezoo, perhaps one of the best known Don Van Vliet paintings, is now showing at the Michael Werner Gallery, 22 Upper Brook Street, London W1 – that is, in Mayfair, just east of Park Lane. It’s part of Body Shop, a small joint exhibition.
The eye-catching painting – oil on canvas – dominates the gallery. It’s a big piece, 213cm x 183cm, and its forceful Neo-Expressionist style demands your attention. Its bold brush strokes, naif representation of the human body and apparent ignoring of formal composition reminded me of jaw-dropping works I’ve seen recently by both Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miles Davis.
Fellow francophiles will recognise that Beezoo, Beezoo, the painting’s title, is a corruption of the French familiar expression, “bisou, bisou!”, which translates as “love and kisses!”
Don Van Vliet paintings – the best rock art?
Michael Werner Gallery’s representation of Don Van Vliet paintings tells you that the artist formerly known as Captain Beefheart is highly regarded. The gallery represents and exhibits some of the stellar names in contemporary art – including some of my personal favourites such as Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and A.R. Penck.
Many good judges regard Don Van Vliet paintings as the best art produced by any of the rock artists.
Don Van Vliet paintings don’t come round very often: catch Beezoo, Beezoo, a striking example, while you can!
Copyright: painting © Don Van Vliet 1985/Michael Werner Gallery 2015; text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.