Bob Dylan Spotted Painting Topless Women in Central Park

Bob Dylan ditched his microphone for an easel last Thursday (June 13) when he was spotted in Central Park, seemingly painting portraits of topless models lounging in the grass.

The musician tagged along with artist pal Richard Prince for the outing, which has caused a bit of a stir.

While onlookers and art bloggers initially assumed Dylan was basing his work off the live models in front of him, it has been revealed that the inspiration behind his painting is actually a photo of Italian actress Sonia Aquino by fashion photographer Bruno Bisang. Read more, and see the NSFW image here.

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This comes over a year in the wake of his 2011 painting scandal, in which Dylan was confronted with the very same issue of basing his work off of existing photographs.

Some even speculate as to whether Dylan even painted the latest work himself at all, or if Richard Prince might have lent an artistic hand. Critics of Dylan’s past shows addressed the probability of his work acting as social commentary rather than art, making the integrity of its originality irrelevant.

Animal New York points out that Dylan is not be the first artist to take inspiration from others’ photos. And, of course, Dylan comes from the music industry where  plagiarism is always an issue. Indeed, Dylan has accused others of copying him (notably Hootie & The Blowfish in 1995, when they borrowed five lines of his “Idiot Wind” for their “Only Wanna Be With You”*; they reportedly settled out of court) and has also been accused of plagiarizing other people’s music (though he told Rolling Stone that those who accuse him of that are “wussies”).

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It is unclear if the recent outing signals a foray back into the art world for Dylan, or if he was simply enjoying a relaxing afternoon with friends before heading out on his 26-date AmericanaramA Tour later this month.

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Fellow rocker Radiohead front man Thom Yorke is also taking a stab at painting, collaborating with his artist friend Stanley Donwood on a piece to be auctioned off in support of the anti-poverty Trade Justice Movement. Pitchfork reports that the piece, called “Business School For the Dead” is estimated to be worth between $5,500 and $6,300.

– Nee-Sa Lossing,

*this article originally stated that the lyrics were from “Tangled Up In Blue.” Hootie & The Blowfish namedrop that song’s title in the “Only Wanna Be With You,” but the lyrics were actually from “Idiot Wind.”

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