She's an Artist wrote:
There is something about this whole thing that just seems like there must be more to it than we know yet. Gagosian Gallery is HUGE in the artworld. Gagosian has had an interesting past. Even saying that, I don't think anyone would wish to face two lawsuits about the same issue within a year. I could be wrong. But it doesn't make much sense.
I don't see how anyone like Gagosian or also John Elderfield (a Chief Curator of Painting at MoMA for many, many years and the person who conducted the interview with Dylan that appears in the catalog for the Asia Series show) could have looked at the paintings we've seen from the photos from the Gallery and not immediately realized that these were painted from photos - they have that 'Tell Tale' look. And then asked Dylan outright to comment on his process. And if they still had any doubts, not to do a search on their own before signing a contract to show this work. Doesn't make sense.
And it is beyond laughable that they could see this work, that we've seen so far, and believe that it was Dylan's own 'visual journal' and 'firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape'. It doesn't make sense.
If they knew that this work was done directly from photos that were not Dylan's - and if they knew he had cleared the rights to use this work - why would the catalog state that it was Dylan's own 'Visual journal' and 'firsthand despictions...'? And what would they have seen in this work that would make it so interesting for a major Gallery to show? (I'm hoping it was something more than the 'charm' of the signature.)
I keep thinking there has to be something more to this. Otherwise it is incredibly stupid.
I don't have a clue what this thread is about anymore.
Larry Gagosian is the most powerful art dealer in the world. Rest assured that Bob Dylan did not pull any kind of "fast one" over on Gagosian about whether there would be a lawsuit in regard to the paintings. It seems like it's been very easy for amateurs to source the photographs they reference. If you can do it, what makes you think the staff at Gagosian didn't do this long ago or that Bob hasn't discussed it at length with many people he knows. Bob is way beyond stretching his own canvases. It's likely he employs a number of assistants in his painting studio who are well aware much of his work is "appropriated" from photographs. It's not like he has tried to keep all of this some big secret. Dylan has been friends with some of the most successful artists in Los Angeles for decades. It's not reasonable to think these people have never been in Dylan's studio or ever seen his work. L.A. is a fairly small town, art-wise. It's likely a large number of people have viewed his work long before it was every commercially displayed. Paintings based on photographs, or photographs based on other artists imagery are extremely common in contemporary art. There's nothing weird or underhanded about Dylan painting from photographs. As far as any interviews Dylan has given about his paintings, he can, like other artists, claim any inspiration he wants to about how or why he paints what he paints. He's never been all that forthcoming about his music, has he? Why would anyone expect him to be clinically exact about his paintings?
Why is Gagosian showing Bob's work? Gagosian has always been willing to exhibit people who were just as much celebrities as artists. A lot of famous artists at this point are little more than celebrities (check out Tracy Emin).
Once it became obvious to someone at Gagosian's Gallery there would be a huge amount of publicity for the galleries and possibly a large amount of money to be made by exhibiting Dylan's work, there was no reason not to show it. Look at the huge amount of publicity it has already brought Gagosian, albeit some of it bad. Even bad publicity is useful publicity.
Many artists do not sign their work. It means nothing. There are other ways of establishing provenance of an artwork besides it having a signature. I used to buy photographic prints from galleries in New York by well known photographers. In the same edition, some prints would be signed and some would not. It was often totally random which photographs bore a signature. The fact that there is a receipt from the gallery for the purchase of the work is usually adequate authentication for contemporary art. There are also unique aspects to the work of any artist that make them fairly easy to establish as someone's work. Anyone fretting about buying an unsigned Dylan painting from Gagosian should just find a reputable autograph dealer and purchase a signature. Buying a painting by Dylan just because he signed it is like the art collector Daniel Stern played in "Hannah and Her Sisters" who tells the painter played by Max Von Sydow that he's looking to buy a painting with orange in it to complement his orange sofa.
It's also not at all unusual for galleries to make you ask for a price list if you want to know if a painting is available for sale, and if so, how much it cost. News flash - many of the works by the most prestigious artists showing in the most prestigious galleries in New York, who may be asking half a million dollars for a painting - their work is not for sale to people who visit the gallery. There are waiting lists of collectors who are waiting for the privilege of buying works by particularly successful artists, lists people get on by being early patrons of particular artists, by repeatedly buying their work, or by repeatedly buying a lot of work from the same dealer, or because they have an impressive collection of paintings that an artist would like their work to become a part of. Just because you have half a million dollars and can afford to buy someone's painting doesn't mean the gallery will sell it to you. The art world has some very byzantine rules about who is allowed to own what, where someone is allowed to show their work, what work is allowed to travel to be shown in museums. And don't forget that unlike buying a book or a cd, paintings and other kinds of plastic art are typically one of a kind commodities and as such, represent major investment opportunities and your viewing pleasure in a gallery has next to nothing to do with why a particularly successful artist has a show in that gallery, especially a gallery like Gagosian's. If people think music has become extremely commercialized, they would gag if they knew the truth about the art world. Transactions in galleries like his typically involve breath-taking amounts of money. Bob is probably on the very low end of the price scale in terms of the work sold at Gagosian. His work is likely considered more a novelty than fine art.
Likely that Bob has the show at Gagosian because he's the famous musician Bob Dylan (like this is news to any of you?) and there's no big conspiracy about why a particular piece of work may not be hung in the gallery but only shown to private visitors. This could be because the work has already been sold, because it's not for sale to anyone, because it's only available for sale to certain people, or because the work is especially fragile and cannot withstand being shown in the normal gallery space without the possibility it might incur some damage.
As to the person who mentioned that the painting in question has no brushstrokes: neither do many paintings done using airbrushing.