Bob Dylan, the legendary musician whose recent art collection went on display at New York's Gagosian Gallery, has come under fire for the work's apparent similarities to other well-known photographs. Since the exhibition opening on 20th September 2011, some Dylan fans have raised questions about the work's originality, reports the New York Times.
When the gallery announced the exhibition, titled 'The Asia Series', it stated the songwriter's paintings and artwork would provide a "visual journey" of his adventures "in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea", with "first hand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape". Concerns were first raised on the popular Dylan fan website 'Expecting Rain', whose users pointed out the similarities between several pieces in 'The Asia Series' and a Henri Carter-Bresson photograph of two men. Some observers also pointed out that a painting titled 'Opium', appears to be closely modelled on a picture by the 20th century photographer Leon Busy. In a post on his blog 'Bob Dylan Encyclopaedia', writer and broadcaster Michael Gray brought up the fact that one of the musician's paintings is nearly identical to a photograph taken by Dmitri Kessel, saying, "The most striking thing is that Dylan has not merely used a photograph to inspire a painting: he has taken the photographer's shot composition and copied it exactly".
A spokesperson for the Gagosian Gallery explained in a statement that while "some of Bob Dylan's paintings is based on a variety of sources", the works "vibrancy and freshness" comes from his own personal travels. In 2006, lyrics on Dylan's No. 1 record 'Modern Times', were found to bear a strong resemblance to the poems of Civil War poet Henry Timrod.