Warhol vs. Dylan
A still from the second-to-last Warhol "Screen Test" that I'll be showing this week, thanks to a show of 20 now at the museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, on loan from the Warhol Museum. This four-minute film shows Bob Dylan, and its hardly a secret that Warhol and Dylan had tensions, to say the least, since they were rivals as leaders of their cultural moment. Although today's "Screen Test" seems quite like the cover-girl ones Warhol did of his beauties (male and female), it subtly conspires to chip away at Dylan: the lens is on the high side, which shrinks and fattens its subject, and the lighting often pushes Dylan's eyes into shadow. Dylan seems pouty and self-absorbed, like any self-respecting beauty, but thanks to Warhol's artifice he never delivers the appeal we expect. If the "Screen Tests" can seem like a mostly conceptual gambit, it's clear that in some cases their visual subtleties matter.
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