Bob Dylan Museum Opening In Tulsa But Dylan Himself May Not Be Around
Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, and Mavis Staples will be among the dignitaries expected in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend for the opening of the Bob Dylan Center, the museum and archive celebrating the Nobel laureate’s work.
Photo Insert: The Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Dylan himself won’t be among them unless he surprises everyone, David Bauder reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The center’s subject and namesake has an open invitation to come anytime, although his absence seems perfectly in character, said Steven Jenkins, the center’s director. Oddly, Dylan was just in Tulsa three weeks ago for a date on his concert tour, sandwiched in between Oklahoma City and Little Rock, Arkansas.
He didn’t ask for a look around. “I don’t want to put words in his mouth,” Jenkins said. “I can only guess at his reasoning. Maybe he would find it embarrassing.”
It’s certainly unusual for a living figure — Dylan is due to turn 81 on May 24 — to have a museum devoted to him, but such is the shadow he has cast over popular music since his emergence in the early 1960s.
He’s still working, performing onstage in a show devoted primarily to his most recent material. And he’s still pushing the envelope. “Murder Most Foul,” Dylan’s nearly 17-minute rumination on the Kennedy assassination and celebrity, is as quietly stunning as “Like a Rolling Stone” was nearly a half-century ago, even if he’s no longer at the center of popular culture.
Dylan sold his archive in 2016 to the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation, which also operates the Woody Guthrie Center — a museum that celebrates one of Dylan’s musical heroes and is only steps away from the new Dylan center.
Dylan likes the Guthrie museum, and also appreciates Tulsa’s rich holdings of Native American art, Jenkins said. Much of that is on display at another new facility, the Gilcrease Museum, which is also the world’s largest holding of art of the American West. “I think it’s going to be a true tourist draw to Tulsa for all the right reasons,” said Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum.
“This is one of the great musicians in the history of humankind and everyone who wants to study his career and see the evolution of his talent will be drawn to it.”