Whose Hand?

Go down

Whose Hand?

Post  Jim50 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:52 am

In a post on Marianna’s thread Dylan as painter I suggested the possibility that it might be some hand other than D’s that penciled the words Bob Dylan onto the 8,500 “hand-signed” prints lately (and some still) for sale. I’ve opened this thread rather than pursue the matter on Marianna’s because I don’t want to divert her thread from its core subject.

So, first, where does the figure of 8,500 come from? As I understand it, there are 29 separate prints available, each in a limited edition of 295, all hand signed, and 29 x 295 = 8,555 signatures.

Second, Camilo suggests that if anyone other than D had made the signatures, litigation would be the likely result. But without proof there’s no recourse to law and such a thing, I suspect, would be difficult if not impossible to prove. Even if someone other than D came forward and claimed to be the signer, stout denials from BD and his staff would see them off. Handwriting experts? Presumably if a non-D was engaged to apply the signatures, it would have been someone with a hand at least something like D’s own.

But does anything in D’s past behaviour suggest that he would be likely to countenance such a thing? Yes, of course. After he sings Long John to Cynthia Gooding in 1962, she asks him “How much of that last one was yours by the way?” to which he replies “Well, I dunno, maybe one or two verses.” Introducing your own verses or verses from other songs into traditional songs to make them sound better, perkier, more interesting or more current is an elementary part of the folk process. On the album Together Pete Seeger says of Woody Guthrie that when they (Pete and Woody) sang together, Pete could never tell which verses were traditional and which were Woody’s own. He then quotes Woody saying, when talking about another songwriter “Oh, he just stole from me, but I steal from everybody!” So this is the school D grew up in - indeed, not only grew up in, but graduated from with honours. A great deal of his early work would have been more or less directly derivative and no-one would have regarded this as anything other than normal.

But scroll on to 1985 and we find him lifting lines from old movies to form the basis of several Empire Burlesque songs and in the early nineties he plunders assorted nursery rhymes to underwrite Under The Red Sky. Okay, but still innocent enough. With the release of Good As I Been To You, though, things take a different, darker turn when he cops the arrangement of Jim Jones from Mick Slocum and Canadee-i-o from Nic Jones (to cite but two) with no hint of credit where it's due. Slocum threatened to sue and forced a concession. Jones accepted the abasement of his wonderful Canadee-i-o with quiet dignity. Bob’s unacknowledged L&T exploitation of Confessions Of A Yakuza by Junichi Saga is well documented and in Summer Days he borrows too, cheekily, from Scott Fitzgerald. On Modern Times the principal victim is Timrod (unlike Mr Saga, long dead, so no worries about affidavits there) - all unacknowledged. In the service of his art, arguably (presumably how he sees it) anything and everything's fair game?

But most shocking of all is the case of Chronicles:

BD: Walking back to the main house, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of the pines. I wasn't near it, but could feel the power beneath its colors.

Proust (from Within A Budding Grove): But when, Mme. de Ville-parisis’s carriage having reached high ground, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of trees, then no doubt at such a distance those temporal details which had set the sea, as it were, apart from nature and history disappeared ... But on the other hand I was no longer near enough to the sea which seemed to me not a living thing now, but fixed; I no longer felt any power beneath its colours, spread like those of a picture among the leaves, through which it appeared as inconsistent as the sky and only of an intenser blue.

BD: One night when everyone was asleep and I was sitting at the kitchen table, nothing on the hillside but a shiny bed of lights …

Twain (from Huck Finn): Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see…

And there are several other equally compelling instances concerning Sax Rohmer, Mezz Mezzrow / Bernard Wolfe, Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson. For more detail, check this link:

http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2006/09/more-dylan-thefts.html

The conventional term for such unacknowledged recycling is plagiarism but quite clearly Bob either doesn’t recognize it as such or doesn’t give a damn. And, in light of that, why would he, in respect of the mega-bucks “hand-signed” prints he’s presently hawking, be the least bit worried about just whose was the hand?


Jim
avatar
Jim50

Number of posts : 13
Location : UK
Registration date : 2008-07-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

El Salvador

Post  leiper on Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:39 pm

Dali 'signed' prints using the hands of flunkeys, lackeys and counterfeiteys at the end of his cash-obsessed life - I don't think he was sued - the authorities probably stepped back in wonderment and wished they'd thought of it.

I bought Drawn Blank when it appeared - I don't think any of it is very good (I know what I like) and I wonder if Bob Dylan got someone else to do the colouring-in.

mynameishollis

leiper
Top Poster
Top Poster

Number of posts : 145
Location : Scotland
Country :
Registration date : 2008-06-29

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Whose Hand?

Post  marianna on Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:47 pm

Jim and John. Oh, the Infidels! Oh, the Heretics! Oh, my heart!

marianna

Number of posts : 14
Age : 64
Location : Greece
Registration date : 2008-07-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Whose Hand?

Post  marianna on Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:57 pm

OK, my 1 cent. If Bob knows ANYTHING about painting, he MUST know that the most important thing for a painter is his Signature. And the very first thing that any Painter notices on a Painting is the Signature. I can't count the times that I've heard the phrase: painting is crap but What a Signature!

I bet 2 million $, that D signed his prints and that he was enormously flattered to do so. Notice what he says about the signature in his interview. If someone is too bored to sign his work, he has not spent 5 seconds thinking about the art of painting.And I think that D cares about his painting. A LOT.

marianna

Number of posts : 14
Age : 64
Location : Greece
Registration date : 2008-07-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Whose Hand?

Post  Jim50 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:48 am

I don't doubt for a second that Bob signs his own original works. But that original signature has a significance that's very different to the one added later on to several thousand printed copies of those works. When Biograph came out, Bob said that he himself played no part in its compilation or release - the inference being that while he, the creative artist, does the original work, he's happy to leave its marketing to the suits. So why should he think differently about his paintings?


Jim
avatar
Jim50

Number of posts : 13
Location : UK
Registration date : 2008-07-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Whose Hand?

Post  marianna on Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:04 pm

Maybe he is more proud and more fond of his paintings than he is of his songs.
I noticed that he seems more proud of writing Chronicles than he is normally about other aspects of his career. He is Bob, for God 's sake, who knows how his mind works?

marianna

Number of posts : 14
Age : 64
Location : Greece
Registration date : 2008-07-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Whose Hand?

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum