Marden describes creating this work for Bob Dylan
In a way, this painting started out as a favor to Bob Dylan. Brice Marden tells the story:
It’s called The Dylan Painting, because I had told Dylan I wanted to make a painting for him, so that—put it out into the world to help his career. But by the time I got this painting finished, he was, like, very, very famous. [laughs] Didn’t need my help.
By adding beeswax to the paint, it made a matte surface. It’s a sort of softer, undeclarative surface, and so it creates a different effect with the color.
This is gray, but it also is gray with, like, these very strong kind of alizarin undertones. It tends towards purple. But then you look away, and you look back, and it’s gray again. So it’s an ambiguous experience. It’s more complicated than just gray. And you also want it to give off a certain kind of light. And so if you—if you just get involved with this as light, it becomes part of the experience.
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