Highlights include first regional showing of artist’s renowned Face Value portrait series, and debut of drawings, filmed performances, writings, personal effects and ephemera exclusive to The Bob Dylan Archive®.
TULSA, Okla. (March 26, 2019)—The Bob Dylan Center℠ will present a new exhibition, Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond, beginning May 10 at the city’s acclaimed Gilcrease Museum. Curated by The Bob Dylan Archive®, the exhibition will include the first regional showing of Dylan’s renowned Face Value portrait series, as well as drawings, filmed performances, writings, personal effects and ephemera exclusive to The Archive.
Face Value and Beyond offers an array of fresh avenues to explore the many facets of Bob Dylan’s artistry, enabling audiences to view them as “products of the same extraordinary, inventive imagination,” as art historian John Elderfield recently wrote. Part gallery exhibition, part exploration of the texture and nature of The Archive itself, the works on display will show how the public and private nature of Dylan’s art are often closely linked and part of the same furtive, exploratory mind.
One of the most important cultural figures of our time, Bob Dylan has been creating visual art since the 1960s, but only began exhibiting his work publicly in 2007. The 12 pastel portraits in Face Value represent Bob Dylan’s first public foray into portraiture, having debuted at London’s National Portrait Gallery in 2013 and shown in the U.S. only briefly in 2015. The exhibition will also premiere drawings and sketches from The Bob Dylan Archive, including two recently unearthed Dylan sketchbooks from 1970 and a series of never-before-seen artworks originally created by Dylan for his 1973 book Writings and Drawings, only a fraction of which appeared in that volume or have ever been reproduced in any form.
Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond will also feature archival manuscripts and objects exclusive to The Bob Dylan Archive, including hand-written lyrics to some of the artist’s best-known songs that reveal a glimpse into Dylan’s creative process through the artist’s many visible edits. The exhibition will include numerous elements spanning five decades, including two silent Andy Warhol-directed “Screen Tests,” of Dylan, the leather jacket worn by the artist at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when he famously unveiled his new electric sound, and a wallet and address book from the mid-1960s that contain a number of personal references and effects.
“Bob Dylan is such a uniquely talented and multi-faceted artist, that there is a seemingly endless array of avenues to his artistry for audiences to discover,” said Michael Chaiken, curator of The Bob Dylan Archive. “This unique exhibition shines a particular spotlight on his distinctive paintings, drawings and sketches. We’ve chosen a number of unseen works from his archive that demonstrate Dylan’s decades-long interest and engagement with the visual arts,” he said.
“The arts are meant to inspire, entertain and awe, but more importantly, they offer an opportunity for us to re-evaluate our perspectives and challenge the status quo. Bob Dylan has been doing exactly that for six decades,” said Susan Neal, executive director of Gilcrease Museum. “Gilcrease is proud to be presenting this one-of-a-kind exhibition of rare and never-before-seen Dylan works – complemented by a wonderfully curated collection of elements from The Bob Dylan Archive – which beautifully demonstrate how this artist continues to challenge our thoughts on the American experience.”
Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond runs through Sept. 15. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit gilcrease.org.
About The Bob Dylan Center℠
To be anchored by a permanent exhibit on the life and work of Bob Dylan, The Bob Dylan Center is committed to exploring the myriad forms of creativity that enrich the world around us. When it opens in the Tulsa Arts District, the Center will serve to educate, motivate and inspire visitors to engage their own capacity as creators. Through exhibits, public programs, performances, lectures, and publications, The Center aims to foster a conversation about the role of creativity in our lives.
As the primary public venue for The Bob Dylan Archive, the Center will curate and exhibit a priceless collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, and correspondence; films, videos, photographs, and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments, and many other elements.
About Gilcrease Museum
The Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, commonly known as Gilcrease Museum, has a 400,000-item collection of American art and artifacts as vast as the American experience and is world renowned for the preservation and study of American art and history. Additionally, The Helmerich Center for American Research on the museum’s campus houses a vast archival collection that includes over 100,000 rare books, documents, maps and unpublished material related to the history of the North American continent. The museum is owned by the City of Tulsa, which has partnered with The University of Tulsa to steward the museum. To learn more and view the current exhibition schedule, please visit gilcrease.org.
About The Bob Dylan Archive Composed of more than 100,000 items spanning nearly 60 years of Bob Dylan’s unique artistry, singular career, and worldwide cultural significance, The Bob Dylan Archive includes decades of never-before-seen handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments, and many other items. The collection was acquired in 2016 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and The University of Tulsa and is housed at the university’s Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. The Bob Dylan Archive eventually will be exhibited to the public at the future Bob Dylan Center™ in the city’s flourishing Tulsa Arts District. For more information, visit bobdylanarchive.com.
About Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is generally regarded as one of the world’s most influential and groundbreaking artists. In the decades since he first burst into the public’s consciousness via New York City’s Greenwich Village folk music scene in the early 1960s, Bob Dylan has sold more than 125 million records and amassed a singular body of work that includes some of the greatest and most popular songs the world has ever known. He continues to traverse the globe each year, performing nearly 100 concerts annually in front of audiences who embrace his new material with the same passion as his classic output. In recent years, his work as an author and visual artist has further burnished his popularity and acclaim; a worldwide best-selling memoir, Chronicles Vol. 1, spent 19 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, in 2004, and several major exhibitions of his paintings and iron gates have been shown in recent years at some of the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries.
Bob Dylan’s contributions to our culture have been recognized with numerous honors and accolades. In December 2016, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature by the Swedish Academy “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” In 2012, he was awarded America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama. In addition to winning 11 Grammy Awards, Dylan has achieved six entries in the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honors recordings of “qualitative or historical significance” at least 25 years old.