[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from 29th July 1990 Los Angeles Times. Later appeared in an edited form in December 1993 Mojo Magazine under the title ‘Run Paint Run Run'[/alert_box] Once known as avant-garde musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet has quickly won the art world’s attention as a painter The art world tends to regard popular entertainers with a peculiar mix of infatuation and disdain. Though artists, musicians and movie people amiably rub elbows on the cocktail-party circuit, artists bare their teeth when actors or any of that ilk seek legitimacy as practicing visual artists. Maybe it’s jealousy or territorialism, or maybe they figure the commitment requiredRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was written and sent to me by Neato following a visit to Don Van Vliet’s November / December 1998 New York exhibition.[/alert_box] As unlikely as it may once have seemed, Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) has a one man show of his recent paintings at the Knoedler & Company gallery on New York’s fashionable upper eastside. The show opened on November 11, 1998 (Veterans Day, for those that still believe in cosmic coincidence… see Capt. Beefheart’s tune-veterans day poppy) and will run until December 5, 1998. The 27 works date from 1993 through (as recently as) October 1998, with the majorityRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This interview was taken from the August 1983 edition of Heavy Metal Magazine. A big thankyou to Don Trubey for scanning and sending it along.[/alert_box] Photograph copyright Anton Corbijn, used by kind permission There’s no doubt in my mind that Don Van Vliet (better known by his nom de disc, Captain Beefheart) is one of the most extraordinary humans on the face of the Earth. A few years ago, in a youthfully effusive frenzy, I called him an ubermensch (superman, for you non-Nietzscheans), something he’s never let me live down. But the man isn’t so much a superman, as… well, a separate genus andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Karsten Ohrt is the Director of Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, host of the Danish ‘Stand Up To Be Discontinued’. This article first appeared in the exhibition book.[/alert_box] In 1990, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik organized a large retrospective exhibition Rockens Billeder (Images of Rock), which contained works of European and American artists from the previous three decades. The exhibition included works dealing with the theme of rock music, as well as works by painters who were also practising musicians. One of the most memorable expressive works at the exhibition was the 1986 painting Crepe and Black Lamps by Don van Vliet. The composition of the picture isRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This small piece appeared in the 22nd March 1986 edition of NME.[/alert_box] CAPTAIN BEEFHEART invading Cork Street, discreet and dangerously expensive centre of London’s gallery world? But yes. The Captain’s news is that Don Van Vliet’s paintings will be on show at dealers Leslie Waddington from April 3 to 26, with the artist himself coming in to town for the show. He’s without a current recording contract, but a variety of his best work is still available, repackaged for renewed consumption. Over in the reissued corner are the LPs Safe As Milk, Unconditionally Guaranteed, Blue Jeans And Moonbeams, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), Doc At The Radar Station and Ice CreamRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Article from the Associated Press, published 22nd June 1995.[/alert_box] A long time ago, in an artistic dimension somewhere in another galaxy called the 1960s, there emerged an unlikely musical hero, name of Captain Beefheart. At a time when others sang about peace and love – and played it safe with musical arrangements featuring jingly jangly guitars and thumpty-thump drums – there stood Captain Beefheart as a counterpoint. There he stood, surrounded by bottleneck guitars, electronic pianos, trombones, French horns, Chinese gongs, clarinets, harmonicas – any instrument really, that sounded interesting when matched with his growling, 4 1/2-octave voice. But then – after 20 yearsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This excellent article / interview was taken from the October 1st – 7th 1980 edition of Voice.[/alert_box] He’s alive, but so is paint. Are you? Don Van Vliet is a 39-year-old man who lives with his wife Jan in a trailer in the Mojave Desert. They have very little money, so it must be pretty hard on them sometimes, but I’ve never heard them complain. Don Van Vliet is better known as Captain Beefheart, a legend worldwide whom the better part of a generation of New Wave rock ‘n’ roll bands’ have cited as one of their most important spiritual and musical forefathers: JohnRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article is taken from the exhibition book Don Van Vliet – Stand Up To Be Discontinued. It introduces his exhibition of the same name in Brighton, England of 1994.[/alert_box] 30 years ago Don van Vliet and his friend Frank Zappa wrote a film script and accompanying sound-track with the title Captain Beefheart Meets the Grunt People. Although aspects of the sound-track were recorded the film never materialised but the name and persona of Captain Beefheart was adopted by Don Van Vliet to launch an extraordinarily fertile and innovative assault on popular music preconceptions of the ‘6os and ‘70s. When the rest of theRead More →

Ahm gonna tell you the story of how I came to meet Don Van Vliet. Well, to be honest, I stood in front of him, yes, but whether that qualifies as a “meeting” I’m not sure. In May 1985 about 30 galleries in Cologne were having exhibitions of new artists or new work of old artists. I don´t keep my eye on this stuff, and it was purely accidental when I saw his name in the advert for this gallery-event all over town. I was on my way home from school – Jesus, this is so long ago! I called the gallery, asking whether theRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This was printed in the May 1987 edition of Artscribe.[/alert_box] Last year Captain Beefheart, one of the few musicians left on earth who doesn’t just deserve the label unique but actually embodies uniqueness, made his first public appearance as a painter with an exhibition at Michael Werner. A great deal of pressure from friends and admirers, among them A.R. Penck and Julian Schnabel, had finally produced a small show of the artist’s work, an exhibition to be regarded more as an event for admirers and fans than as the first one man show by an aspiring artist. Because, after all, Don van Vliet isRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the book Stand Up To Be Discontinued which accompanied the exhibition of the same name.[/alert_box] In our days, music is everywhere: on the radio and on TV, at home and wherever you go, on the stage, at the supermarket and in restaurants. Also, the arts have become more and more an everyday affair: The large exhibitions which attract millions of people speak for themselves. And then there is art at your bank, art in buildings, art in public spaces – art, and even supposed art, is all over. No longer does it seem strange to us to find theRead More →

One of the many myths surrounding Don’s early years involves his association with a Portuguese sculptor called Agostinho Rodrigues (sometimes written as Augustino Rodriquez). Don’s story is that he trained under this artist and appeared on a weekly television programme with him sculpting wild animals at Griffith Park Zoo. Searches for information about Rodrigues (using variations on the spelling of his name) have come to nothing. However, in 2003 a bit more about Rodrigues, Don and animal sculpting came to light. The Rhino art box Riding Some Kind Of Unusual Skull Sleigh included a book called Splinters, a collection of personal photos and other ephemeraRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Source and date unknown. Kindly sent to me by Arild.[/alert_box] The Collected Paintings of Don Van Vliet, the once (and future?) Captian Beefheart A reporter from New York Rocker once asked poet, painter and composer Don Van Vliet – better known to many as the influential enigma of electrified clamor, Captain Beefheart – how he produced his scrawling, free-form saxophone solos. “I just paint through it,” came the Captain’s bristly, elusive reply. The first full-scale reminder of Van Vliet’s existence since his musical retirement in 1982, Stand Up to Be Discontinued (Cantz/136 pages/$40, $60 with special edition CD) further expresses that unkempt synaesthesia. SmearyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the 2nd September 1994 edition of The Independent newspaper.[/alert_box] Recording artist: Don van Vliet, the artist, is now back in touch with Captain Beefheart, the legend. Robert Hanks spots the difference. When he was a boy, back in Glendale, California, in the Forties and Fifties, Don van Vliet wanted to be a sculptor; at the age of 13, he even won a scholarship to study in Europe. But his parents thought that was kind of cissy, and wouldn’t let him. Instead, he went off to become Captain Beefheart, performing upright, manly blues-stroke-dada-stroke-field hollers- stroke-atonal collective improvisation with his MagicRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]An exclusive review for two Don Van Vliet exhibitions from 1998 and 1999.[/alert_box] By Who & By What Is One Enlightened Or Deceived? Is it possible to judge with an uncritical eye as if Captain Beefheart never existed? Don Van Vliet – New Work 11th November – 5th December, 1998 Knoedler & Company In association with Michael Werner Gallery 19 East 70 Street New York, New York 10021 USA Don Van Vliet – Works On Paper 28th January – 26th March 1999 Michael Werner Gallery 21 East 67 New York, New York 10021 USA Captain Beefheart combed out his showbiz mane and became, afterRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From the 8th January 1989 Chicago Tribune[/alert_box] Today Captain Beefheart aims to make the canvas sing Captain Beefheart, iconoclastic musical inventor of the ’60s and ’70s, is alive and well – in a sense. He’s going by his real name these days, Don Van Vliet, and he’s not making music anymore. He’s painting. Although the last LP by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band was “Ice Cream for Crow” in 1982, Van Vliet insists that “I am making music-on canvas.” Beefheart’s reputation as one of the most original figures in modern “popular” music culminated in his classic 1969 album, “Trout Mask Replica,” which wasRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review of the 2017 exhibition ‘Works On Paper’ was published on The Quietus website 5 August 2017 [/alert_box] See original article Look At My Beef Art: Works On Paper By Don Van Vliet Adam Lehrer An exhibition at Michael Werner’s New York gallery looks at works on paper in watercolour, gouache, and coloured pencil, by American outsider icon Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. Objectively critiquing the visual art works of a famous musician (or actor, or novelist, etc.) is no small order. How do you not immediately view the work through the lens of the music that you already know well andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Published in The Associated Press, 9th September, 1991[/alert_box] It was music, in retrospect, that was particularly befitting of the 1960s, the decade to which it was born. Like the time, it was young and ambitious and overpoweringly energetic. And it was without precedent; absolutely nothing that had come before sounded quite like it. It sent many a music critic running to a dictionary in search of adjectives with which to denounce it. Trivial, nonsensical, primitive and atonal were some of the kinder ones they chose. At the same time, the music saddled Don Van Vliet with an obsessive band of fans who believed thatRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]John R. Lane is the Director of Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco and provided this introduction to the MoMA New Work 1988-89 exhibition catalogue.[/alert_box] Living on a cliff overlooking the Pacific since the early eighties amid the redwood forests and wildlife, Don Van Vliet has embraced painting with the same controlled passion that made him, as the avant-garde rock composer and performer Captain Beefheart, a cult figure of conspicuous influence and one of the genuine musical geniuses of the past twenty years. Self-trained as a painter and knowing relatively little about the history of art or the current scene, he is a modernist primitiveRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From the Stand Up To Be Discontinued book, Cantz, 1993[/alert_box] Ice Cream for Crow. On the Relationship between Music and Painting in Captain Beefheart’s Work Those who, over the last twenty years, have loved the music of Captain Beefheart cannot forget that he decided to abandon the music scene (it would seem definitively) to devote himself full-time to painting. Specialist rock critics, who were left the sad task of a retrospective tribute to his career, each time have boldly tried to establish correlations bet-ween yesterday’s music and today’s painting, acting in a way that is markedly ‘reparative’ and which, implicitly placing diachronic continuity toRead More →