Getty Museum book links Dylan's lyrics with Ensor's painting
September 29, 1999
(CNN) -- The J. Paul Getty Museum has brought the works of two artists working in different media and created nearly 80 years apart together in a new book entitled "The Superhuman Crew."
Getty Senior Editor John Harris combined the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" and painter James Ensor's "Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889."
"No painting at the Getty is bigger or more complex than Ensor's painting ... But we needed a new concept, some sort of text to go with the pictures. I thought, 'Well, maybe a poem.' The problem was the painting is so overwhelming -- it's a huge painting -- what poem could hold its own with these powerful images? I have a fondness for Dylan, and I thought: Well, what about 'Desolation Row?'" Harris said.
Ensor was born in Belgium in 1860. Most of his work is colorful and expresses a satirical look at the world. "Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889," according to the Getty, is considered to be his masterpiece. The piece shocked viewers when it was painted in 1888 and was not publicly exhibited until 1929.
Dylan released "Desolation Row" on his 1965 album "Highway 61 Revisited." The book includes a CD with Dylan's recording of the song as well as a reproduction of Ensor's painting.
"Both the painting and the lyric have so many characters and a mixture of the real and the made up. They share this love of the grotesque, the macabre, this kind of ghastly sense of humor about modern life," said Harris.
"The Superhuman Crew" will be available in October.
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