Mixed-up confusion: Bob Dylan accused of plagiarising art


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The Independent Culture

How many roads must a man walk down, before he... realises that he's seen this somewhere before? Bob Dylan is facing some awkward questions after it emerged that several of the paintings in his latest art exhibition were copied from photographs that he found on the internet.

The freewheeling musician's show, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, was billed when it opened last week as a "visual journal" of his travels in Asia, containing "first hand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape" that he encountered.

It has since emerged, however, that more than half of the 18 oil paintings in the show were direct copies of photos that any would-be artist can find on Google. One is based on an image Henri Cartier-Bresson captured in 1948; another, called "Opium," replicates a Leon Busy shot from 1915. Several more were cribbed from an account on the photo-sharing website Flikr belonging to a user called "Okinawa Soba". In comments on his site, "Soba" notes that a Dylan painting called "Shanghai" was copied from a photo he had taken in Guangzhou.

Strangely, Dylan chose not to attribute the original sources when the Asia Series exhibition opened. In an interview, he claimed: "I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that."