Art of Pop: Bob Dylan, The Original Drawn Blank Series

Messukeskus, Helsinki, Finland
June 11, 2021 - September 26, 2021
June 11, 2021 – September 26, 2021

The ART OF POP exhibition at the Messukeskus, Helsinki features collections from two of the world’s best-known artists: Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol.

Bob Dylan (1941) is considered one of the most prolific musicians of all time. Equally influential and indomitable, Dylan’s songs helped redefine folk, pop, blues, country and rock music, all while providing a soundtrack to America’s civil rights and anti-war movements. The power and breadth of his artistry, however, has only been fully recognized recently: in 2016 his work creating “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” was honored with a Nobel Prize for Literature.

This collection consists of images drawn by Dylan on his music tours in between 1989-1992 as he traveled through North America, Europe, and Asia. The subjects of the works vary from people, events and landscapes that the artist has encounted on tours. The resultant pencil and charcoal drawings were a way to “refocus a restless mind,” as Dylan claimed, providing him a new outlet to celebrate the comings and goings of everyday life. In 2007, as he has with countless songs over his career, Dylan made three different collections out of the original drawings by ‘remastering’ these works, adding vivid watercolor and gouache to digital enlargements of the drawings to create a new, special edition set entitled The Drawn Blank Series. All three series were first seen in public at the 2007 exhibition at the prestigious Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz Museum in Germany. After this exhibition, the works now seen in Helsinki were left to Dylan himself. Today, this collection of 92 unique original signed works is owned by a private collector while the other two sets were sold to a private gallery. Drawing comparisons to modern masters such as Henri Matisse and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, they reveal the full talents of an “alchemist of the word and the sound,” transforming the world before him into gold.

The exhibition is curated by Ms. Katharine J. Wright, Consulting Curator.

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