[alert_box type=”info”]This article originally appeared in Hyper, September 1994 to announce the arrival of Stand Up To Be Discontinued in Brighton.[/alert_box] This month Brighton Museum is staging two of the most exciting exhibitions seen in the town for years. Underground London and Stand Up To Be Discontinued bring the photos of Robert Whitaker and the art of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) to the museum at the same time. You lucky people. BRIGHTON Museum celebrates the work of one of rock’s most extraordinary and enduring artists, Captain Beefheart, from September 2. Alongside the rock memorabilia will be the first ever UK exhibition of his paintingsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article looks at the then-impending Brighton exhibition and originally appeared in The Observer newspaper on 28th August 1994.[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart was a music legend; now he’s Don Van Vliet, genius of paint. `You can physically drown in paint, you can mentally drown in music,’ declares Don Van Vliet, pronouncing one of his less obscure aphorisms. Cult rocker turned successful painter (but still better known to the world as Captain Beefheart) Van Vliet can claim intimate knowledge of both mediums. While a devoted public continues to mourn his absence from the music scene, which he abandoned in 1982, Van Vliet’s status as a fineRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article appeared in the 21st August 1994 edition of The Independent on Sunday, prior to the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition opening in England.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet is probably the only full-time painter who used to be a mythical figure in music. Once Captain Beefheart, he is soon to exhibit in Brighton. Ben Thompson sent him a fax. DON VAN VLIET lives in the small and beautifully named town of Trinidad in Northern California, up by the Oregon border, 135 ft from the ocean. He paints there. He is a painter of note – “Stand Up to Be Discontinued”, the second BritishRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review of the 1990 Paintings and Drawings exhibition appeared in Artweek (v.21 n.28) 6th September 1990[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet at Fred Hoffman Gallery Fans from Don Van Vliet’s (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart’s) rock ‘n’ roll past will no doubt be curious to see what kind of paintings and drawings have resulted from Van Vliet’s last few years of working in these media. Given Captain Beefheart’s zany antics and his usually enigmatic, eclectic and sometimes provocative music, there could be no telling what he might come up with unless you hazarded a guess based on the cover art he has produced for his albums. VanRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition book.[/alert_box] The terse, succinct, even programmatic formula enunciated by Don Van Vliet alias Captain Beefheart, is both peremptory and cryptic: “Stand up to be discontinued!” When a person makes an utterance, [s]he also gives something of [her/]himself- a fact that makes every statement into a miniature sample of a personality. When a person says something, [s]he usually also wants to make something happen. Don Van Vliet is said to be no lover of straight-line thinking, but a creative conversationalist, who makes unexpected conceptual leaps, and who possesses a wide mental horizon, a wild sense ofRead More →

Published by Cantz Paperback £21.95 1993 ISBN 3-9801320-2-1 Hardback Limited Edition (1500) with CD £32.50 1993 ISBN 3-9801320-3-X Deluxe Slip Cased Limited Edition (120) with original etching £180.00 1994 136 pages with 70 colour plates Contents: Don van Vliet in Bielefeld: Andreas Beaugrand Animals and Black Ladies: Karsten Ohrt Don van Vliet – The Painting: Jessica Rutherford “Stand Up To Be Discontinued”. On Don van Vliet as Painter and Musician: Paolo Bianchi Pearls before Swine. Ice Cream for Crow. On the Relationship between Music and Painting in Captain Beefheart’s Work: Luca Ferrari Captain Beefheart: Diedrich Diedrichsen Don van Vliet: Roberto Ohrt Fur Don van Vliet:Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Article taken from Volume 13 #1 of Cover Magazine (March 1999). Many thanks to Brian Smith for kindly sending me a copy of the magazine.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet; poet, musician, composer, anti-rockstar, aka the legendary Captain Beefheart, has been off in the wilderness making pictures since the early seventies. Exhibiting his paintings under his own name since the early eighties, his most recent work was shown this winter at Knoedler & Company, in association with the Michael Werner Gallery. What has been said in the past about his work as a musician and poet, namely that it is visionary and apocalyptic, is also trueRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This piece introduced the 1990 Paintings and Drawings exhibition catalogue.[/alert_box] After having followed Don Van Vliet’s work for sometime, it is now appropriate to salute the artist on his arrival as a significant force in the arena of picture making. What initially drew me to his work and what I continue to find compelling, is the artist’s intense personal exploration of the deeper, non-material realms of individual and collective consciousness. How rare such a vision is in today’s world. Don Van Vliet’s art separates itself from the conditions guiding today’s art world in which too many of today’s creators are aligned with the world ofRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition book.[/alert_box] In the early 1970s the voice of Don Van Vliet, alias Captain Beefheart, was a signal and a proof that something else is possible -that nothing has to stay the way it is. His music came out of a space in which the power of existing laws was broken. It expanded the framework of the imaginable, for the members of a generation whose own attitudes and ideas embodied a radical aspiration, but who had let their own lives be defined by a set of descriptions and signs over which they had virtually no control.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From the 18th December 1985 New York Times[/alert_box] A painter whose first one-man show in New York runs through Saturday at the Mary Boone Gallery, 417 West Broadway, may be better known to music-lovers than to the art world. The prestigious gallery, which has represented David Salle and Julian Schnabel, has a show of eight large, boldly colored canvases by Don Van Vliet, the composer, saxophonist and harmonica player who has been making records since the 1960’s as Captain Beefheart. The style of such paintings as ”Eye Whine” and ”Gum at the Bottom of the Grocery” will be familiar to owners of the albumsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From Artweek (v.20 n.2) 14th January 1989[/alert_box] Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – Frank Zappa Indeed, and I would suspect that Frank Zappa might have similar opinions on the subject of writing about paintings, at least those of his long-time protege Don Van Vliet (more popualarly known by his stage name of Captain Beefheart). Seven of Van Vliet’s recent oil-on-linen efforts are currently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of the ongoing series of small-scale exhibitions titled New Work. Now you might ask, “Why is the museum devoting exhibition space to the essentially naive paintings of aRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This small piece was taken from the 27th November 1998 edition of the New York Times and was written by Grace Glueck. Many thanks to Michael H. for sending it along.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet Knoedler & Company 19 East 70th Street Through Dec. 5 Known in an earlier incarnation as the rock musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet left the music world in the late 1970s to concentrate on painting. Self-taught, he works in a primitive style, deploying crude animal and more abstract shapes in black and various colours on snowy white grounds. For a rock musician, he knows how to keep his decibelsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This highly recommended interview was taken from the January 1988 edition of Spin magazine.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet was born in Glendale, California, on January 15, 1941, the only child of Glenn and Sue Van Vliet. Don began showing artistic talent at a very young age but Glenn and Sue were none too keen on having an artist in the family. “Cause you know, all artists are faggots,” Don explains. When he was young, the family moved to the Mojave Desert, an isolated, brutal environment that they hoped would bleach the creative juice out of their son. But Van Vliet’s drive to translate the worldRead More →