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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Look At My Beef Art: Works On Paper By Don Van Vliet

An exhibition at Michael Werner's New York gallery looks at works on paper in watercolour, gouache, and coloured pencil, by American outsider icon Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart
All images courtesy Michael Werner

Objectively critiquing the visual art works of a famous musician (or actor, or novelist, etc.) is no small order. How do you not immediately view the work through the lens of the music that you already know well and potentially love and/or loathe? When the artist in question is none other than Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, already iconic for his wildly unpredictable approach to blues and rock n’ roll, that subjectivity gets mired in even more layers of preexisting opinion, and in my case, a deep and long-standing love and appreciation. But in the case of Van Vliet’s paintings and sculptures, an understanding of the man’s music actually helps understand what he was trying to do with visual art.
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, with records like Safe as MilkDoc at the Radar Station, and his magnum opus Trout Mask Replica, sought a contemporary and avant-garde subversion of musical genres steeped in decades of Americana: rock n’ roll, country, and the blues. Van Vliet’s paintings, by turn, examine the landscapes of the United States – and in particular the deserts of California – finding in its visual cues something more sinister, unhinged, and wild.
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Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..


Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..

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