Bob Dylan at the National Portrait Gallery

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The now routine phenomenon of paintings by celebrities shown in serious galleries defies belief. You’d
think they’d google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; be sniffy about this sort of populist stunt; and you’d be wrong. However bad the work is people swarm to see it, hexed by the name. Photos and paintings by google_ad_width = 970; pop stars and src="//"> television personalities attract record crowds of worshipers. The best attendance at the 170-year-old Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool,

wince-inducing train crash of that Christmas song album four years ago. Here comes Santa ho ho ho, indeed.

or writing songs
of genius (and no one comes near him as the greatest artist of my lifetime), Bob
relaxes with a spot //--> of drawing, don’t yer know, and in the last year has done a dozen imaginary pastel ‘portraits’ –

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one of which, captioned Ivan Steinbeck, is clearly based //--> on his own face. All the same
size, they are as crude as Wild West ‘Dead or Alive’
posters – though poor old


‘Red Flanagan’
already looks like a decomposing stiff. The works are so obviously those of an amateur that they might, if entered for an art contest in a scout hut, elicit praise and encouragement if only out of sympathy

for the effort made. The only
thing missing is the untidy grittiness of /* 9-970x90 */ pastel, the textural scuffs and drawing-pin src="//"> holes in the corners. These sheets look suspiciously perfect, as though
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made by
a machine, and

the pastel is applied more like make-up or lipstick –


it’s horrible. Either Howgate was deliberately lying when she praised this rubbish or she doesn’t have a //--> clue what she’s talking about: neither is an advertisement for her career prospects. The probability
next, nothing having been learned by
self-criticism or devoted practice. And because Dylan isn’t in full expressive control of what he does, anything readable into these faces has
to be accidental.

Apart from their status as curiosities no point is served exhibiting this stuff. They would not be shown anywhere,

least of all the National Portrait Gallery, were they not by Bob Dylan. If a google_ad_height = 90; would-be artist showed Sarah Howgate a portfolio of