“Garo Manga, 1964-1973 will be an exhibition focused around the renowned manga (Japanese comics) journal Garo during the period of its greatest aesthetic experimentation and political commitment. Garo is well-known amongst comic enthusiasts and historians of postwar Japanese culture both for its challenging of formal and thematic conventions within the field of comics as well as for its engagement with the main political issues of the day, from rightwing incursions into national education policy to Japanese involvement in the Vietnam War.”
Did Bob Dylan hate Andy Warhol? Probably not. Were they both aware of the intrinsic qualities that linked them and kept them apart? Probably. At a base level, these icons represent the dichotomy of genius. Warhol practically invented modern notions of art, from the subjugation of popular culture to the indulgences of fame. He realized that if he called himself a genius, and behaved accordingly, the world would follow suit. From Dylan’s perspective, genius was inimitable and unmistakable. If you were a genius, you shouldn’t have to tell the world. Warhol’s bravado and attitude came out of insecurity and defiance… Dylan’s demure mystique was the result of clever confidence… put together, these men embody the dual, ever-contentious sides of artistic ego.
But enough with pretensions… any hint of animosity between the two is evidenced by a collection of rumors and stories surrounding the Silver Elvis painting that Andy Warhol gave Bob Dylan when he visited the Factory.
Andy: I liked Dylan, the way he created a brilliant new style… I even gave him one of my silver Elvis paintings in the days when he was first around. Later on, though, I got paranoid when I heard rumors that he had used the Elvis as a dart board up in the country. When I’d ask, ‘Why did he do that?’ I’d invariably get hearsay answers like ‘I hear he feels you destroyed Edie [Sedgwick],’ or ‘Listen to Like a Rolling Stone - I think you’re the ‘diplomat on the chrome horse,’ man.’ I didn’t know exactly what they meant by that - I never listened much to the words of songs - but I got the tenor of what people were saying - that Dylan didn’t like me, that he blamed me for Edie’s drugs.
In his Diaries, Warhol records the following:
Oct. 77 – Albert Grossman, who used to manage Dylan, told me again that he has my silver Elvis, but I don’t understand that, because I gave it to Dylan, so how would Grossman get it?
May 11, 1978 – Robbie [Robertson] said he knew me from the Dylan days. I asked him whatever happened to the Elvis painting that I gave Dylan because every time I run into Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman he says he has it, and Robbie said that at some point Dylan traded it to Grossman for a couch! (laughs). He felt he needed a little sofa and he gave him the Elvis for it. It must have been in his drug days. So that was an expensive couch.
Dylan, in classic style, kept his commentary to song, such as the following excerpt from “Desolation Row” which was, reportedly, about Warhol and the Factory “superstars”.
Now at midnight all the agents And the superhuman crew Come out and round up everyone That knows more than they do Then they bring them to the factory Where the heart-attack machine Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene Is brought down from the castles By insurance men who go Check to see that nobody is escaping
Years later, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan had second thoughts.
Bob: I once traded an Andy Warhol “Elvis Presley” painting for a sofa, which was a stupid thing to do. I always wanted to tell Andy what a stupid thing I done, and if he had another painting he would give me, I’d never do it again.