New York mixed medium artist Suze Rotolo, who was put in the spotlight for her three-year relationship with singer Bob Dylan, has died, after a long illness. Her body of artwork was known as, “book art,” or a reinvention of the object, as art.
This often altered the viewers perception of what a book can be, including a sculpture. Her piece, RELIQUARY: Things I Carry. A reliquary was a container where relics were kept for contemplation. “I made my reliquary in the form of a necklace and it contains the story of my life which I am destined to carry”,Her artist statement explains, “The work I make is known as Book Art, a term not easily defined. My definition is that it’s a reinterpretation of the book as an art object, thereby altering the perception of what a book can be.
I taught a Book Arts Workshop at the Parsons School of Design, in New York City, for a few years. As for the world beyond my personal borders, in 2004 I joined the Billionaires for Bush, a street theater organization that took political activism seriously but took action with satire and panache. Their slogans were clever and to the point: Leave no Billionaire Behind, and Privatize Everything, are two examples.
Participants chose a nom di guerre for themselves – the CEO was Phil T. Rich – and mine was Alla DaPie. At the huge demonstration in New York City protesting the Republican Convention, the Billionaires took to the streets in full regalia. Dressed to the nines, carrying signs declaring our loyalty to Bush/Cheney, the Billionaires entertained the police, the press and the demonstrators. And in the end the billionaires have won, haven’t they?”
She was best known as the muse behind some of Dylan’s early and best loved songs, including “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” Rotolo acted as a catalyst in Dylan’s political awakening,” and was an old guard New York communist with the credibility of being a second generation political activist. It was Rotolo who was photographed with Dylan on the cover of his 1963 album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” She was 17 years old when they began dating in 1961. Dylan wrote In the song Don’t Think Twice, “I once loved a woman, a child I’m told/I gave her my heart, but she wanted my soul.” which was self explanatory as to the depth of their relationship leading to its eventual breakdown.Rotolo went on to marry the Italian film editor Bartoccioli, whom she met on a trip to Italy.
Photo: Suze Rotolo, friend of Bob Dylan in 2009 (two Years before she died). Photo taken in Antwerp (Belgium).Eddie Janssens Permission (Reusing this file) Licence cc-by-sa/GFDL