Bob Dylan in plagiarism row over paintings

28 September 2011

When it comes to painting, Bob Dylan may not be such an original. The 70-year-old singer has been accused of replicating several famous photographs in his new art show. The Asia Series includes paintings that seem like acrylic reproductions of images by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dmitri Kessel and Léon Busy.

Dylan's exhibition opened at Gagosian Gallery in New York on 20 September. The show is described as a "visual journal of [Dylan's] travels in Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea", with "first-hand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape". But within days of opening, the New York Times reports, visitors began remarking on the paintings' similarities to well-known photos.

Fans on the Expecting Rain forum have pointed out that a Dylan painting called Opium is almost identical to Léon Busy's 1915 photograph Indochine. Other fans and bloggers have found paintings based on shots by Kessel and Cartier-Bresson (compare here). A fan called Okinawa Soba claims six of the Asia Series' 18 paintings were copied from photos in his Flickr stream, even incorporating the Photoshop edits Soba made to the images.

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