Bob Dylan: Face Value - new exhibit of portraits by Bob Dylan to be show at London's National Portrait Gallery

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Portraits by Bob Dylan to Be Shown at London’s National Portrait Gallery By DAVE ITZKOFF Bob Dylan/National Portrait Gallery of London “Nina Felix,” a pastel portrait made by Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan told us that everything would be different when he painted his masterpiece, but for this iconoclastic singer-songwriter, creating artwork and having it shown at internationally regarded institutions is becoming an increasingly regular experience.


On Monday, the National Portrait Gallery in London became the latest museum — and the first ever in Britain — to announce that it will devote to Mr. Dylan’s (non-musical) work. This exhibition, called “Bob Dylan: Face Value,” will open on Aug. 24 and will display 12 pastel portraits made by him, the museum said. In a news release, the National Portrait Gallery said that the people depicted in these portraits “are not of subjects from British public life, past or present, nor are they made by a working portrait artist.” Rather, the museum said, they “represent characters, with an amalgamation of features Dylan has collected from life, memory and his imagination and fashioned into people, some real and some fictitious.”


The exhibition is curated by Sarah Howgate, the contemporary curator for the National Portrait Gallery, who has also overseen showings of portraits by Lucien Freud and by David Hockney. Mr. Dylan, who has also had his paintings and artwork shown in Copenhagen, Milan and Chemnitz, Germany, caused a stir with a 2011 exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in New York called “The Asia Series.” Though these paintings were originally said to be made from Mr. Dylan’s own travels and experiences, they were later shown to resemble famous photographs that he did not take. More recently, Mr. Dylan seems to have found himself in a portrait-painting mood: later this month, Columbia Records will release his album “Another Self Portrait,” which includes outtakes and unreleased tracks from his notorious 1970 record “Self Portrait.”

Nina Felix