Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Cinch Review

“The Asia Series” by Bob Dylan at the Gagosian Gallery in New York

Bob Dylan: The Asia Series - Gagosian GalleryWhat a difference five or six days make. In a certain sense, at least. I visited the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City last Saturday afternoon, with two companions, to view the exhibition of Bob Dylan’s “Asia Series,” which was described in a press release as “a visual journal of his travels in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea.” I’m not an expert on the visual arts, nor someone who invests any significant amount of either passion or money into that area, but as I wrote when the exhibition was announced, I thought (as a long-time dedicated fan of Bob Dylan) that it would be real nice to have this opportunity to see some of his much-talked-about artwork up close and personal, the way it’s meant to be seen. Pictures on the internet or in a book only go so far. A painting is what it is based not only on the pure image but on qualities like texture and size which you can only appreciate when you’re right in front of it (I’m no expert but I’ve been in enough museums to at least know that much).

So we went to see Bob Dylan’s paintings last Saturday afternoon. I’ve been meaning to write a little on it ever since, but I didn’t really have much of significance to say; other than that, yes it really was nice to see some of his artwork up close and personal. So I was putting it off for an idle moment which wasn’t in a hurry to arrive.

In the last couple of days, however, a huge brou-ha-ha has developed over this exhibition, as explained in this Daily Mail story and countless others. The gist of it is that quite a few of these paintings are not of unique scenes that Mr. Dylan encountered during his concert tours in Asia, but are in fact based on old and classic photographs taken by some quite well-known photographers. (And not loosely-based either.) It seems perhaps to have set off the firestorm which previous allegations of plagiarism against Bob were merely kindling. But that remains to be seen. Certainly, it has to be deeply embarrassing for the gallery which characterized the work as something which it simply is not; i.e., a personal travelogue by Bob Dylan. Continue reading “The Asia Series” by Bob Dylan at the Gagosian Gallery in New York

The Cinch Review

Grace in the Word: Samuel Menashe

I’ve written several times previously on the poetry of Samuel Menashe. He passed away last month. The magazine First Things published many of his poems in recent years, and it’s in fact there that I first encountered his work. Today a tribute to Samuel Menashe by Yours Truly is published on that magazine’s website.

By the way, I do highly recommend his book, New and Selected Poems, either in the Library of America editionor the updated British version from Bloodaxe Books.

The Cinch Review

Rosh Hashanah

L’shanah tovah to all Jewish readers, and indeed to all of us. May 5772 be a good and blessed year indeed.

(I think it’s going to take some work on our end.)


The Cinch Review

Jon Huntsman falls behind nothing in latest poll

Former Utah governor and Ambassador-to-China under President Obama, Jon Huntsman, may not qualify to participate in the next GOP debate based on his recent poll numbers. (A threshold of one percent is demanded.) As reported here:

The CNN/ORC poll released Monday found Huntsman trailing unknown candidates in the race, including “none/no one,” a choice that received 4 percent support; “someone else” (3 percent) and “no opinion” (2 percent).

Just to reiterate, Jon Huntsman has fallen behind “none/no one,” “someone else,” and “no opinion.”

It was on August 12th, after the debate in Ames, Iowa, that it was observed in this space of Jon Huntsman: In the current political climate he represents antimatter. Continue reading Jon Huntsman falls behind nothing in latest poll

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan and “Forgetful Heart”

Just thought I would mention it while it’s on my mind: I do think that “Forgetful Heart” (from Together Through Life) is one of the great latter-day Bob Dylan songs. And the live version of “Forgetful Heart” which Bob Dylan has been performing on recent tours, with Donnie Herron playing viola and Dylan singing center-stage, is one of the most beautiful, deeply resonant and spine-tingling things to ever occur during a Bob Dylan show, in this decade or any other. Continue reading Bob Dylan and “Forgetful Heart”

The Cinch Review

Tony Bennett and the incoherence of pacifism

In an interview with Howard Stern the other day, the 85 year-old singer Tony Bennett made some statements about September 11th, 2001, for instance:

“But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right,” and, “They flew the plane in, but we caused it. Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.”

The obvious response to this is to say that Tony Bennett should stick to singing, and to talking about music. In those areas he’s pretty smart. In terms of politics, simply put, he’s always been a liberal wacko. When asked the kinds of questions Stern asked, Bennett is guaranteed to show his wackiness. He also said, maybe most absurdly of all, that President George W. Bush had confided in him at the White House that the war in Iraq had been “a mistake.” Continue reading Tony Bennett and the incoherence of pacifism