Tuesday, October 23, 2018 — An unparalleled display of Bob Dylan’s contributions to American music and American literature will be unveiled at American Writers Museum on November 16, 2018 and open to the public through April 30, 2019. Sponsored by The Poetry Foundation (Lead Sponsor), Bob Dylan: Electric spotlights Dylan’s writing – song, poetry, and prose – between his 1965 Newport Folk Festival performance and 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Items on display include Bob Dylan’s personal copy of Catcher in the Rye and an original 1965 Newport Folk Festival program autographed by Dylan. The exhibit’s keystone piece is the electric guitar Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The performance, referred to as “The Newport Incident”, is his first ever live performance with a full, electric band and marked a dramatic shift in his writing and popularity.
“Bob Dylan: Electric is a first-of-its-kind experience. American Writers Museum is honored to present one of music’s most iconic instruments together with a unique collection of musical, literary, and cultural artifacts,” says Carey Cranston, American Writers Museum president. “The world knows Bob Dylan as a prolific songwriter. Bob Dylan: Electric gives the public a chance to see how his writing shaped more than just American music but American literature as a whole.”
Bob Dylan: Electric is curated exclusively for American Writers Museum by Alan Light, author, journalist, rock critic and music scholar of great renown and marks the first opportunity the public will have to see many items up-close and in-person. The guitar, a 1964 brown sunburst Fender Stratocaster, was discovered in 2012 by the family of an airline pilot who flew Bob Dylan from Newport Folk Festival and sold for nearly $1 million, the highest price ever paid for a guitar at auction, a year later. The guitar is on loan from the collection of James S. Irsay. Also included are original pages from the film script of the 1967 Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back and Dylan’s collection of prose and poetry Tarantula.
Bob Dylan: Electric includes a series of intimate events throughout the exhibit’s planned six-month run. Current songwriters and musicians from a wide array of genres, including Grammy-nominated folk singer Robbie Fulks on December 1, 2018, will discuss their writing processes and the impact songwriting has had on American writing.