Dan Graham on Bob Dylan’s heart

A new exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis traces the career of Dan Graham. “Dan Graham: Beyond” includes examples of Graham’s magazine pieces, films, sculptures and live performances that go all the way back to the 1960s. One of the subjects that Graham has been intrigued by throughout his career is pop music. He’s written about the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, punk rock and the place of women in rock and roll. Graham came to Minneapolis for the opening of the exhibit and Minnesota Public Radio’s Jim Bickal asked him what music he’s interested in right now. Bickal found the response interesting, and passed it my way to share:

DanGraham1.jpg“I’m intrigued by Bob Dylan’s new persona. On the album “Together through Life” his persona is that of an 80-year-old guy who has a romance in a nursing home and takes his new girlfriend or wife to Niagara Falls. It’s 1940s or ’50s songs, very trite. There’s a lot of doggerel I think. He’s using accordion and trumpets. And I think when he had his satellite radio program he got very involved in the ’50s and ’40s, but his persona is like an old guy now. I think (“Together Through Life”) is a great album. It’s all about cliches; it’s very humorous. I think he’s going back to his teenage years.

I think on the new album “Christmas in the Heart” he’s trying to be like his hero, Dean Martin. He’s always loved Dean Martin. Of course there’s the whole idea of if he’s doing things from the heart or not; he’s dealing with the cliche of doing things from the heart. In “Chronicles” (Dylan’s autobiography), he talks about being a normal family man, having a good marriage, but in fact he was cheating on his wife the entire time. So, I think he’s trying to portray himself as somebody who has heart.”

What do you think of Bob Dylan’s image? Do you see an attempt to recreate himself, or to rewrite his history? Oh and if you haven’t heard the new Christmas album, you must check this out.

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