Critics give thumbs down to new Dylan paintings in Denmark

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The Independent Culture

Art critics dismissed Bob Dylan as an amateur painter and said his work had no place in Denmark's largest museum, after the American music icon's new painting collection opened in Copenhagen.

"When we talk about music, Bob Dylan is one of the great Picassos of the 20th century, but this is not the case for his painting," said the daily Berlingske Tidende after "The Brazil Series" opened on Saturday.

"Bob Dylan paints like any other amateur, using a rather oafish figurative style," said the art history professor Peter Brix Soendergaard, interviewed by the daily Information. "He is what we used to call a Sunday painter."

The financial newspaper Boersen turned its criticism to the the Statens Museum for Kunst's management, which it said "put financial interest ahead of artistic judgement", knowing that the Dylan name "would bring in a big public".

In defence, the head of the museum Karsten Ohrt responded: "We think that Dylan is a quality painter and he attracts a lot of interest among Danish painters and art collectors."

Berlingske Tidende also said the museum had been star-struck, exposing the work "not because his canvases are good, but because he is Bob Dylan."

The daily Politiken too could not see any appeal apart from for devoted Dylan fans, and only the weekly Weekendavisen came to Dylan's defence.

He was "not a great painter", it agreed, "but it is interesting because he is not pretentious and he has an eye for drama."

The 68-year-old folk music icon is better known for his songs such as "Mr Tambourine Man" and "Blowin' in the Wind" but he turned to painting in later years.

"The Brazil Series" runs until January 30 and collects together some 40 acrylic paintings and eight drawings Dylan had created over 2009-2010 especially for the gallery.