Bob Dylan's Paintings Gathered For Exhibit At NOMA Coincides With Jazz Fest

Apr 21, 2016

"Rampart Street Courtyard" by Bob Dylan is among the paintings in the new exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Credit New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art is set to open a showing of paintings done by one of the world’s most famous singer-songwriters.  It’s timed to coincide with the start of Jazz Fest.

People all over the world will recognize the work of Bob Dylan. “Blowin’ in the Wind” written in 1962 is iconic. So is that harmonic refrain.

Dylan has been a major music influence for more than half a century.

But that’s not his sole artistic endeavor. He’s also a painter.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is opening an exhibit tomorrow – the first day of nearby Jazz Fest – to show off some of his paintings.

Lisa Rotondo-McCord is curator at the New Orleans Museum of Art’s show on Dylan’s painting. The pieces are still arriving at the museum from around the world, and the staff is still designing the outdoor banner.

She outlined the ideas behind the exhibit from her office in the museum basement.

“There’s a certain quality that the tonalities that he’s choosing to work with are very subdued – you know, grays, whites, blacks, browns –it’s a very muted kind of palate,” she said. “The brush work is quite minimal, but they’re very descriptive of and evocative of a particular mood.” 

As a musician, Dylan has been long inspired by New Orleans and it has proved to be his muse once again as a painter. In the first volume of his autobiography, Chronicles, he wrote, "There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment...No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem."

The “Bob Dylan: New Orleans” exhibit opens Friday and runs through July 31st. The paintings will be rotated in two shows in the Great Hall. The second set will be displayed in mid-June.