Like A Trolling Stone

Bob Dylan, it turns out, is a transmedia pickpocket.

The legendary song/writer has already been accused of lifting material for his 2006 album “Modern Times” from obscure Civil War poet Henry Timrod; stealing passages from Junichi Saga’s Japanese gangster novel “Confessions of a Yakuza” for his album “Love and Theft”; and borrowing phrases and sentences from Jack London and Archibald MacLeish for his 2004 memoir “Chronicles: Volume One.”

Now Dylan is looting the photographic world according to this piece from the New York Times Arts Beat blog:

The freewheeling artistic style of Bob Dylan, who has drawn on a variety of sources in creating his music and has previously raised questions of attribution in his work, is once again stirring debate — this time over an exhibition of his paintings at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side.

When the gallery announced the exhibition, called “The Asia Series,” this month, it said the collection of paintings and other artwork would provide “a visual journal” of Mr. Dylan’s travels “in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea,” with “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape.”

But since the exhibition opened on Sept. 20, some fans and Dylanologists have raised questions about whether some of these paintings are based on Mr. Dylan’s own experiences and observations, or on photographs that are widely available and that he did not take.

The Times blog helpfuly provides some illustrations.


Henri Cartier-Bresson:


Léon Busy:

And etc.

New Dylan tune:  Think twice. It’s alright.

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2 Responses to Like A Trolling Stone

  1. Jack London and “obscure Civil War poet Henry Timrod” are both well out of copyright. Dylan should have no shame for lifting their work — recycle, reuse, adapt — as much as he wants for his own artistic reasons.

    The others? Not so much.

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