SoHo gallery opens new exhibit honoring Bob Dylan

Sandy Kenyon Image
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Celebrating Bob Dylan at a new museum exhibit
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Sandy Kenyon has the story.

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- He's an American icon whose music has remained part of popular culture for more than five decades transcending time and even genres.

Now, a SoHo gallery is paying tribute to Bob Dylan with a new exhibit.

Dylan celebrated his 75th birthday this week and his first movie has been around for half a century. The title of this famous documentary warns "Don't Look Back," but that's just what fans are doing.

The portraits of the artist as a young man are taken from the film and are being remembered now at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo.

"It was one of those documentaries that really broke ground in the 1960's," said Peter Blachley, co-owner.

Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker followed Dylan to England in 1965.

"He had that quality of a poet looking for himself, and I thought that's what I want my movie to be about," Pennebaker said.

Years later, Dylan would write he was just "trying to deal with the madness of what his career had become."

"It was madness. It wasn't anything you could look up on Google and find out how to get around this or what it spells. There were no answers," Pennebaker said.

The stills from the movie and harmonicas played and signed by Dylan are for sale.

"Great respect for him because I know how hard it is, what he's trying to do, and he's still doing it full tilt, and that to me is a test of some sort, that he's survived," Pennebaker said.

And so has Pennebaker's movie which has now been fully restored, as befits a priceless record of a time when music really mattered.

At the time "Don't Look Back" was made, Dylan was known as a Folk singer, but just a year later he made history in Forest Hills when he plugged in an electric guitar for the first time in public and joined the rock revolution.

He'll mark the 50th anniversary of that by appearing there in August.