[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”]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”]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”]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 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 →

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 →

The inside image from the rather beautiful exhibition invitation. [simple_box] Paintings from the Eighties was a solo exhibition which ran from 12th July – 8th September 2001 Presented at: Michael Werner Gallery 4 East 77 New York [/simple_box] View the paintings featured at this exhibition. The exhibition also include “A Bride for Wallah” (1986, oil on canvas, 83.75 x 48 inches) which we don’t have a copy of. Can you help? Front of the exhibition invitation. Many thanks to Brainpang for very kindly sending this along.Read More →

The front of the exhibition’s promotional postcard featuring “Bat Day in the Night”, 1993. [simple_box] The Lowe Gallery\’s 2001 exhibition was a solo exhibition which ran from 7th – 20th January 2001 Presented at: The Lowe Gallery 75 Bennett Street, Space A-2, Atlanta, Georgia, 30309 [/simple_box] Exhibition features: A few items relating to the 2001 DVV exhibition at The Lowe Gallery: The Lowe Gallery’s online catalogue for the exhibition. Information from the Lowe Gallery’s exhibition postcard. Listing from the arts page of 8th January 2001’s Creative Loafing.Read 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 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 →

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 primitive but also an artist whose remarkable intuitive gifts and love of nature have combined to create highly charged paintings that are at once jolting asRead More →

The Knoedler & Company press release: Don Van Vliet Recent Paintings November 11 – December 5, 1998 One senses that Van Vliet doesn’t see these images so much as receive them. They rise up in him, like dreams which seem to arrive from some remote and mysterious place, and they emerge on the canvas. – John Yau (1) Knoedler & Company, in association with Michael Werner Gallery of New York and Cologne, is pleased to present an exhibition of the recent work of Don Van Vliet. Don Van Vliet (b. California 1941) was a critically recognized underground composer, rock musician and author in the mid-1960s,Read More →

New Work 1998 catalogue

[simple_box] New Work was an exhibition which ran from 11th November – 5th December 1998 Presented at: Knoedler & Company -Established 1846- 19 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021 In association with Michael Werner Gallery [/simple_box] The paintings Official press release Catalogue notes ArtNews advertisement Piece from New York Times American Primitive on Madison Avenue – report from NeatoRead More →

One of the earliest and little known of Don’s exhibitions. This time it’s shared with Cal Schenkel, Frank Zappa’s ‘art engineer’, who also worked for other artists represented by Herb Cohen, including Tom Waits, Tim Buckley and Captain Beefheart. Perhaps one of Cal’s best-known album covers is Trout Mask Replica. The venue was an art gallery at the school which Matt Groening was attending at the time: Evergreen Galleries at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Matt Groening’s interest in Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band is well known.  Read More →

Don Van Vliet Works On Paper

An exhibition entitled ‘Don Van Vliet Works On Paper‘ runs 27 October 2007 – 1 December 2007 at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Michael Werner Gallery and includes Van Vliet works from the mid-1980s to the early 90s. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 27th from 6 to 9 pm. Further information can be found at David Kordansky Gallery’s website. David Kordansky Gallery, 510 Bernard Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90012 Tel. 323-222-1482 Fax. 323-227-7933Read More →