[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”]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 →

[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 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 →

[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 →

[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”]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”]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 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”]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”]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”]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”]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”]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 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”]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 →