Man from The Clash is at the ICA (again)
Musician Paul Simonon can’t keep away from the canvas—the bass guitar player with 1970s punk band The Clash has made a new series of paintings depicting his personal effects (helmets, gloves, boots and other everyday detritus) which are due to go on show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London next month (21 January-6 February). The “Wot no Bike” series is, says a press statement, “a visual diary in print” inspired by the American Ashcan school which flourished around 1900. The Clash performed at the ICA in the 1970s, which means that Simonon is making a return trip (with his art, rather than his music). The man, meanwhile, is an art world veteran; he attended the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and his dad, Gustave, was also an artist. “In 2002, [Paul] had a show, ‘From Hammersmith to Greenwich’, at a posh gallery in Green Park, featuring several big London riverscapes, each of which sold for around £4,000,” reported The Observer in 2008.
In the satirical tradition of “The Great Dictator” and “The Producers”, the veteran animator Bill Plympton is completing “Hitler’s Folly”, a mock-umentary about the Nazi leader’s love of cartoons. The film will be a blend of archival footage (including cartoons), live-action drama, and some new animation, Plympton told The Art Newspaper. Plympton’s script tracks Hitler’s imagined career as an animator who admires Walt Disney cartoons. The failed artist is said to have had a special fondness for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. “Hitler’s Folly”, in which the American actor Dana Ashbrook plays the Nazi leader, is expected to be finished by the summer of 2015. Could the film turn out to be Plympton’s folly, however? The dictator being mocked is dead, so vengeful hacking is unlikely, yet the cartoonist noted that three members of his studio staff quit rather than work on the film. “I like films that go too far,” Plympton said. “If I go to a movie, I want to see something that I’ve never seen before.” —David D’Arcy
If artists have a reputation for big egos and diva-ish behaviour, Olafur Eliasson—whose new light installation Contact opened today at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (until 16 February)—is bucking the trend. The Danish-Icelandic artist was nothing but gracious when interviewed by Le Figaro about working with the architect Frank Gehry and the LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault. The disorientating effect of Gehry’s behemoth building, which might have bothered a “painter attached to the idea of the white cube”, was a source of inspiration, Eliasson says. “I saw the spaces and had the idea of a walk on the horizon. It’s a place of negotiation where one tries to make the impossible possible. Frank was very excited by that idea.” Meanwhile, Arnault, the richest man in France, is “THE specialist” with whom to discuss the popularisation of luxury. “He has a very clear vision of it, which explains his business genius.” Eliasson, who says around 100 people were involved in the making of Contact, is a seasoned team player. “I sometimes wonder if I’ve done anything myself”.
Whitmore joins burgeoning Phillips stable
Phillips auction house seems to be on a hiring frenzy, having appointed Matt Carey-Williams, a former White Cube staffer, as deputy chairman, Europe and Asia. The high-profile signing is the latest weapon in the company's bid to smash the duopoly of Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Lisa King also joined last month as Chief of Staff, after a 15-year tenure at Christie’s. But another recent Phillips appointment has gone under the radar: earlier this month, Damien Whitmore, a former bigwig at the Victoria and Albert Museum, was taken on as “creative director”. “Whitmore managed the complete repositioning of the Tate brand and directed the launch of Tate Modern,” says a company statement. As the director of public affairs and programming at the V&A from 2002 to 2014, the dapper marketing supremo “totally transformed [the V&A] into the museum brand it has become internationally recognised for today”. Whitmore recently worked with another key brand, helping with the planned launch of the Fondazione Prada art complex which is due to launch outside Milan next spring.
Sex, drugs and Kazimir Malevich
If you thought Jay-Z’s "Picasso Baby" was as good as it got for art references in rock’n’roll, think again. The Manic Street Preachers recently released their 12th studio album, “Futurology”, to widespread critical acclaim, and a track called “Black Square” quotes the 20th-century Russian artist Kazimir Malevich (“free yourself from the tyranny of objects”) with no little panache. Wales’s finest have an illustrious history—their 25-year career has produced lyrics and artwork quoting everyone from Pollock and Hopper to Picasso and Munch, while their 1996 album “Everything Must Go” includes the smash hit “Kevin Carter” (about the late photographer) and “Interiors (Song for Willem de Kooning)”. Last night (15 December), the Manics invaded north London’s Roundhouse to play their seminal 1994 album “The Holy Bible"; its front cover features one of the UK artist Jenny Saville's striking triptychs, which the artist gave them special permission to use. Proof that pop hasn’t dumbed down just yet.
Happy Hanukkah thanks to the good doctor of Harlem
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is celebrating Hanukkah this year by displaying a magnificent Menorah with a remarkable provenance. The silver ceremonial lamp, which was made for the Great Synagogue in Lviv in the Ukraine and is one of the largest known, has been lent by the Moldovan family whose collection of Judaica was created by Dr. Alfred Moldovan and his wife. The good doctor, who died last year, worked for almost 50 years in East Harlem and was Martin Luther King Jnr's personal physician in the 1960s. A New Yorker of courage as well as learning, one bloody Sunday in Alabama in March 1965 he was the only medical doctor who ventured onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge to care for the injured on the civil-rights march led by Dr. King from Selma to Montgomery. The elaborate Menorah is on display in the Met's European Sculpture and Decorative Art Galleries (Gallery 556) until 12 January 2015 and forms part of the institution-wide celebration of the Jewish Festival of Light.
All the art that’s print to fit
It has been a good month for 3D printing, which has received endorsements from both the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the leader of the free world. On 9 December, MoMA announced the acquisition of a 3D printed dress by the design studio Nervous System and the software that created it. The custom-fit dress is comprised of 2,279 unique, interconnected triangular panels that were printed as a single piece of nylon, ready to wear fresh out of the machine. Meanwhile, a 3D printed bust of President Obama is due to enter the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The bust, which is on show at the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle until 31 December, carries the obvious but still notable distinction as the first 3D printed portrait of a president.
Naughty and nice
The artist pranksters Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw just made your holiday shopping easier. The pair is advertising a sales extravaganza on their line of satirical art objects—including Nate Lowman air fresheners and “I Klaus Art” tote-bags—this Saturday, 13 December, from 12pm-6pm. The items are all sold from inside their double-decker Chelsea Souvenir Bus, which will be parked “near Gagosian gallery” on West 24th Street. Plus, the duo promises not just discounts, but the chance to “Get your picture taken with Terry Richardson as Santa Claus! Klaus Biesenbach will be taking Instagram Selfies! AND Larry Gagosian loves us so much he is going to stop by and shake everyone's hand!” But believe them only as much as you believe in Santa.
You won’t find spiders in “Charlotte’s Web”, a show opening tomorrow, 13 December at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia—although you may weave a new connection. The “web” examined in this work by Charlotte Potter is the World Wide one, with hand-engraved glass cameo pendants of all 864 of the artist’s Facebook friends’ pictures arranged across a curved wall (through 28 June). But what happens when someone updates their profile?
It’s good to be the Queen
Queen Sonja of Norway, a long-time art lover and artist, found out something new about herself after seeing Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, the room-sized installation featuring a triangular table with place-settings inspired by historic women, at the Brooklyn Museum. “Later, in Oslo, [the artist] asked me if I was a feminist. And to my own surprise, I found myself saying, Yes!” the Queen said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The Norwegian royal also revealed how some of the 700 works in her collection are tied to her own life. The painting For Example 1 by Liv Ørnvall, for example (haha), which hangs in her office depicts a tiny woman in front of a huge staircase with 22 steps. This corresponds to the number of years she had to move from room to room of the palace because her father-in-law, then the King of Norway, did not think it necessary that she have her own office. Queen Sonja is due to show some of her own prints next year at Scandinavia House in New York.
Russian Church wards off evil eye
Moscow is not yet Mordor. The Eye of Sauron will not watch over the city on Thursday, when the latest installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit series premiers in the Russian capital. An architecture and urban design firm called Svechenie planned to top one of Moscow’s new skyscrapers with a huge installation meant to resemble J.R.R. Tolkien’s eerie symbol of evil power. But the Russian Orthodox Church would have none of it. Father Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman known for his dramatic statements, called the eye “a demonic symbol” and activists of “God’s Will” launched a campaign to prevent the installation. The design firm backed down, posting a statement on their Facebook page saying that they had not anticipated such a reaction and were cancelling the project, which, they swore, “does not have a religious or political subtext”. Eye’ll be the judge of that.
Natalie courtesy of Shirin
The Iranian-born filmmaker Shirin Neshat has changed direction in her latest production, she says. Her 12-minute film Illusions & Mirrors, 2013, is a major draw at this year's La Biennale de Montréal on show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (until 1 February). Part of the appeal is down to the film's star, the actress Natalie Portman who runs across a windswept beach into a deserted property (all very Miss Havisham) in the piece. "Thematically, it is a big departure for me, as it moves away from all my past socio-political subjects regarding Iran and Islam and enters a very timeless and universal story," Neshat says, with a nod to Surrealist masters such as Man Ray and Jean Cocteau.
The King of Books
To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the accession of Francis I (1494-1547), one of France’s most munificent royal patrons of the arts, the city of Blois and the Bibliothèque nationale are collaborating to present “Royal Treasures: Francis I of France’s Library” (4 July-18 October 2015) at the Royal Château of Blois. To illustrate the king’s literary interests, 140 items—including manuscripts, printed books, precious book bindings, engravings, drawings, coins and medal, artefacts and jewels—will be on display.
Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Paladino, Giuseppe Penone and Gaetano Pesce are among the 18 Italian artists and designers who have agreed to create furniture and decorative works for a soup kitchen that will open in a disused theatre during the 2015 Milan Expo. Conceived by the curator of Expo’s “Pavilion Zero”, Davide Rampello, and the chef Massimo Bottura, the Ambrosiano refectory will be managed by the local branch of the Catholic aid agency Caritas.
Forty professional chefs will be invited to prepare meals using leftover supplies from Expo restaurants for a month after the launch scheduled between May and July next year. Meanwhile, editions of the artists’ designs will be auctioned on 16 December by Sotheby’s Milan to raise funds for the project.
Shout out to my boy, Sean
You never know when the old-boy network might come in handy. It certainly worked for the dealer James Fuentes when, on the opening day of Art Basel in Miami Beach, he halted the artist formerly known as P Diddy in his tracks by shouting the name of their shared high school. “The Bronx boy just came out of me. I yelled out, ‘Yo! Mount St Michael!’ and he came over, said ‘Yo, how’s it going?’ and shook me by the hand,” Fuentes says. And the dealer has the inside track on his fellow alumnus’s first nickname, Puff Daddy. “Our football teacher used to say that Sean Combs was a scrawny kid, but when he was on the football field, he would inhale deeply and puff out his chest to make himself look bigger—and the name stuck.” You heard it here first.
The Raleigh hotel has been at the heart of this week’s party circuit, but that hasn’t necessarily been a great thing for its guests. Although a select few enjoyed the backyard Miley Cyrus concert, the Land gala and the many other goings-on that have had Basel-ites swarming the property, actual paying guests have apparently not been so amused. One visitor to the fair complained that the hotel’s apology was barely adequate. “They left us notes that said: ‘Sorry—we know it has been difficult. Here are some mints,’” she said. “Mints!”
Guns ’n’ poses
Over at the World Erotic Museum on Washington Avenue, founder Naomi Wilzig, who turned 80 this week, is staging a special event for fair-goers. “Erotikostabi” is an exhibition of paintings by Mark Kostabi, the painter, occasional television personality and album designer for Guns N’Roses. He says: “Around 1% of my production is erotic or has erotic overtones, and since I’ve made around 20,000 paintings, I had a lot to choose from.” The works range from softcore images of lovers lying in bed to an adult man being born from a giant vagina, already texting on his phone.
Mind those needles
In a radical departure from the usual grandmotherly respectability of knitting, the Los Angeles-based artist Ben Cuevas will be clicking his needles in the buff to fashion himself a woolly jockstrap today and tomorrow at the Hotel Gaythering on South Beach’s Lincoln Road. His naked knit-athon is just one element of Queer Biennial 1, an LGBT-focused art exhibition involving 35 artists and more than 100 works. Ruben Esparza, the curator of the show, describes it as “a national survey of the current moment in queer/LGBT culture” that invites its visitors “to parse and ponder queer archetypes, from the sacred to the profane”.
Proof that today’s mega-curators are an advanced evolutionary type—immune to jet lag, needing virtually no sleep and with seemingly boundless reserves of energy—came in the form of an invitation from MoMA PS1’s Klaus Biesenbach to a “Not Exactly Friday Any More” party, which kicked off with cocktails at the Edition hotel at 1am on Saturday. Asking guests to “bring your bathing suit to bring in the new day”, it assumed that mere mortals would be able to remain upright for that long, when after a week of the fair, most art-worlders are less likely to don beachwear than throw in the towel.
We love Luisa
The love and affection inspired by the veteran Brazilian dealer Luisa Strina was confirmed by the top-notch turnout that braved Biblical rainstorms and gridlocked traffic to toast her gallery’s 40th birthday with caipirinhas (of course) at the Standard hotel this week. “Luisa is a legend,” declared the artist Pedro Reyes, who joined guests including Art Basel supremo Marc Spiegler and U2 bassist Adam Clayton. There was talk of how Strina often visited police stations in 1970s São Paulo to negotiate the release of one or another of her politically outspoken artists; one wonders how many of today’s leading dealers would be prepared to do the same.
“My practice is always about the people we don’t see,” says the painter Kehinde Wiley, whose Renaissance-style portraits often swap aristocratic subjects for young black men. But earlier this year, the artist teamed up with Grey Goose to photograph some very visible subjects—the film-maker Spike Lee, the basketball player Carmelo Anthony and the music producer Swizz Beatz—and the three works each fetched between $8,500 and $10,000 at an auction organised by Sotheby’s at the SLS hotel in South Beach on Thursday night. But Wiley doesn’t think that his famous subjects will reduce the impact of his work. He says: “There’s just something about going to a wealthy collector’s home and seeing a black man on the wall.”
The film director Baz Luhrmann is not known for his restraint—and, true to form, the man behind the films “The Great Gatsby” and “William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet” has curated one of the showier stands at Art Basel Miami Beach. Along with Nellee Hooper, Luhrmann has dressed up Galerie Gmurzynska’s space to look like a schoolroom, with a chalkboard at the entrance bearing the show’s title, “A Kid Could Do That!” Luhrmann appropriated the insult to remind people how often great artists are maligned and to encourage them to “not lose their sense of self”, he said during a dinner earlier this week. The booth includes works by Kazimir Malevich and Joan Miró, as well as Luhrmann’s own short film made from old footage of Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballet Russes. This may be a clue to a future creative venture. “Diaghilev has always been my guiding light," the director says. "Probably one day when I’m old, I’ll do the Diaghilev story.”
Going the extra Miley
Jeffrey Deitch always likes a big name for his Art Basel opening parties, and he excelled himself this year with Miley Cyrus, who, clad in a silver wig and a pair of spangly nipple pasties, and with the help of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, raunchily rocked the Raleigh hotel for more than an hour in a spirited gig that culminated in clouds of bubbles, explosions of Miley dollars and the launching of a giant silver inflatable saying “FUCK YEAH BASEL”. In between, the audience, which included co-host and Raleigh owner Tommy Hilfiger, was treated to energetic covers of Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash and the Beatles, ample swearing, an inflatable rainbow, a dancing penis and—of course—twerking in abundance. All in all, a grand night out.
Follow the leaders
An artist’s Instagram is like an “amazing solo exhibition”, said the uber-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist during yesterday’s Salon panel about the social-media network. So who does he follow? Obrist named Fritz Haeg and Tauba Auerbach, and encouraged the audience to check out Frances Stark, saying: “It’s urgent that she be seen.” Fellow panellist Simon de Pury said that everyone becomes an artist while using Instagram—and one of his favourite “artists” is Snoop Dogg. Meanwhile, Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMA PS1, shared some of his favourite selfies, taken with the likes of Lana del Rey. He did, though, admit that public humiliation is part of the deal. “Instagram is about embarrassment,” he said.
Feeding the masses
It is an Art Basel in Miami Beach tradition that the opening of the annual show at the Rubell Family Collection comes accompanied by a gastronomic extravaganza, courtesy of the collector couple’s artist daughter, Jennifer. This year, to mark half a century since her parents began to acquire art, Jennifer pulled out all the stops with 50 elaborate cakes, laid out on trestle tables and each guarded by a black-shirted attendant. Mera and Don—she in hat, he in tux—then personally fed forkfuls of creamy sponge to their visitors as they bent down to pay homage. “To celebrate them is to put them in a position to give,” the Rubells’ proud offspring says. “It is their greatest joy; it is what they do and it is a marker of who they are.”
Life on Mars
Put your fears about global warming to rest: Bjarne Melgaard has a plan. The brilliantly bizarre Norwegian artist has drawn up sketches for a model home to install on Mars in the event of a worldwide climate catastrophe. The state of our planet is apparently so bad that “disasters are no longer something we might fear but an opportunity to simply clear the Earth of the degenerate humans who inhabit it”, Melgaard says in a statement posted at Rod Bianco Gallery’s stand at Nada, which is showing the colourful drawings (complete with aliens). The artist aims to create a full-sized prototype of the house with Snøhetta, having previously collaborated with the leading architectural firm on his equally dystopic project A House to Die In, 2012.
Fair-goers seeking rock’n’roll excess should head to Nada, and Edgardo Aragon’s limited-edition bottles of mezcal—tequila’s slightly rougher country cousin—on Laurel Gitlen’s stand. The town of San Vincente in Oaxaca, Mexico, banned the sale of alcohol 35 years ago in an attempt to curb excessive drunkenness, and the Oaxacan artist wants to draw attention to the punitive fines, which are widely seen as a tax on the poor. The labels on Aragon’s $1,000 bottles state the punishment for being caught imbibing, and there is an added frisson given the fact that all except two of the 35 have been smuggled into the US—although the general consensus is that, despite being boringly legal, the tax labels make the two legit vessels rather prettier.
Another fine mess
Is Dan Colen all grown up? The bad-boy artist, known for trashing hotel rooms with his late buddy Dash Snow, has created a Minimalist rendition of one of the pair’s infamous “hamster nests”—messy interpretations of the rodent’s habitat—for Karma Gallery’s stand at Nada. The space is strewn with party debris, but this time, the cigarette butts are all hand-painted and the beer bottles are made from blown glass. The installation will be included in Colen’s show “The L…o…n…g Count”, which is due to open in the late artist Walter de Maria’s former studio in New York’s East Village later this month.
“André 3000” Benjamin, one half of the hip-hop duo Outkast, has a well-reasoned approach to art criticism. “When my son and I see something hanging on a wall, he says: ‘Art or fart?’ And then we have to make a decision,” the rapper said at a talk yesterday at Mana Miami, which coincided with the opening of his show, “I Feel Ya” (until 14 December). The exhibition, presented by the Savannah College of Art and Design, features dozens of black jumpsuits emblazoned with absurdist statements such as “make love like war”, “children of the cornbread” and, of course, “art or fart?” Mr 3000 says the messages came from everywhere. “Some were instant, some were last-minute. Some are lyrics to songs you haven’t heard yet. Some are me just saying sexually nasty things.” Hey ya!
Beasts of the beach
It takes something pretty special to get art-worlders out of their beds at 6.30am. But the stalwart souls who made it down to the beach for yesterday’s sunrise InstaMeet, marking the Miami debut of the Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s kinetic “Strandbeests”, were not disappointed. Although a brisk breeze prevented the largest of the wind-propelled beasties from having an outing, two of his smaller, but no less intricately constructed, specimens scuttled across the sand with an uncannily realistic gait after a little encouragement from the artist, along with a band of helpers from sponsors Audemars Piguet and Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum. For those who prefer a lie-in, “Strandbeests” of various shapes and sizes will be making daily perambulations between 21st and 22nd Streets at 10.30am and 4.30pm until Sunday.
Jack the lad
The experience of growing up as a young, gay man in North Carolina in the early 1970s is the starting point for the artist-musician Jack Early’s striking multimedia solo show on Fergus McCaffrey’s stand, as well as his subsequent—and better known—experiences in 1980s New York, where he worked for Andy Warhol and with Rob Pruitt as the artist-duo Pruitt-Early. All of this is recounted for visitors to hear on a special record emanating from the horn of a giant canary-yellow gramophone—and more revelations are promised from the artist, who is due to be at the stand today (at 3pm and 5pm) to talk interested visitors through the exhibits. He has already divulged that the life-sized beanbags bearing the images of his parents and relatives relate to the one in his childhood bedroom where he used to conceal his secret stashes of pornography, now rendered in huge paintings around the booth.
Forty years may have passed since she made her notorious appearance on the cover of the November 1974 issue of Artforum magazine, and she may now be clutching a dachshund rather than a dildo, but Lynda Benglis, who launches Art Basel’s Conversations series this morning, is as committed as ever to challenging preconceptions about what art and artists are expected to say and do. Benglis describes Pink Lady, 2013, her brightly coloured polyurethane fountain in Art Basel’s Public sector, as “relaxed” rather than didactically anti-monumental. She says that her interests in classical form and nature have always run through her work, and have been just as relevant as gender politics to both her priapic Artforum cover and this liquid, lipstick-hued work. “I just do what I want to do—and I can’t control what people think,” she says.
We all know that Art Basel in Miami Beach is a crucible of creativity, but the owners of South Beach nightspot Purdy Lounge have been treated to rather more artistry than they bargained for. One of their clientele hid in a bathroom until the lounge closed at 5am, before meticulously covering two of the establishment’s walls in enormous abstract paintings. There was a performance element, too, given that the mysterious muralist, described by the venue’s general manager as an “Art Basel terrorist artist”, was also caught on its surveillance cameras. For the time being, however, the management have decided to keep the unexpected additions to the house décor, with its notoriety already proving good for business.
Tune in and party
Who wants to watch a television show about people going to parties you weren’t invited to? The writer Glenn O’Brien thinks you will, so long as the revellers are his fabulous A-list friends. That’s the premise of O’Brien’s “TV Party”, a show he launched on public-access television in the late 1970s and is now reviving for the Vice channel. “I’m surprised no one’s done it before,” he said, dressed in “Miami Vice” white for a taping at Casa Claridge on Tuesday night. NeueHouse produced the event for O’Brien and his co-host, the professional party-goer Andre Saraiva. The pair invited several dozen of their favourite friends, including Scout Willis, Marilyn Minter, Leo Fitzpatrick, Kembra Pfahler and Theophilus London.
Someone call security
The superstar status of the art curator has received a further boost courtesy of cheeky artist Ryan Gander, whose contribution to Art Basel in Miami Beach’s Public sector has been to issue its curator, Nicholas Baume, with two strapping armed bodyguards to be at his side during yesterday’s VIP opening party and tonight’s opening of the main fair. According to Gander, “the curator becomes the performer, or the spectacle, and the bodyguards become devices to facilitate that spectacle”. Mr Baume confessed that he was rather enjoying the constant company of his burly minders, declaring: “I wasn’t sure at first, but now I’m wondering how I’m going to get by without them.”
Feel that eel
There was much excitement at the Bass Museum of Art’s glamorous 50th birthday transformation, courtesy of the leather-clad architect and designer extraordinaire Peter Marino, whose engagement with the art of the past and the present, as well as his own extensive output of international projects, is celebrated in the exhibition “One Way”. Attracting as much attention as the often specially commissioned works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Mapplethorpe et al was a life-sized waxwork of Marino, which put even the most respectable art folk into selfie heaven—including the show’s curator, Jérôme Sans. The other stars of the show were the strips of soft black eel skin that covered the walls of a gallery and caused an outbreak of spontaneous stroking. Such enthusiasm among so many high-end art-worlders does not bode well for the eel population at large.
It was both poignant and serendipitous that this year’s opening night of Untitled happened to fall on 1 December, World Aids Day, when the photographer Ryan McGinley had already agreed to host the vernissage and raise funds for ACRIA, the HIV and Aids research and education organisation. During the evening, McGinley revealed that Prairie (Pond), 2014, a large-scale photograph of a naked young man curled up in long grass that the artist was offering directly to ACRIA in a limited edition of three (starting price of $45,000 for each), was “my favourite picture that I made last summer”, adding that he had lost a brother to Aids.
Your Bentley awaits, m’ladies
Having trouble getting one of the BMWs offered to VIPs during the fair? Not to worry: Bentley, too, has entered the art-fair automotive fray by offering rides to a lucky few travelling between the Edition hotel in South Beach and the Design District, where the luxury-car maker has commissioned Bentley Elements, 2014, a neon installation by the Italian artist Massimo Uberti. The offer was not wasted on staff at The Art Newspaper, who are shown posing with a new model of the luxury car. Complete with crystal flutes, massaging seats and built-in iPods, the new Bentley can be yours for a mere $400,000 (Glenn, our handsome driver, is not included). See more pictures from the Bentley’s art tours on Instagram with the hashtag #BentleyElements.
The Seventh Seal comes to SoBe
The art world is littered with corpses (both literally and metaphorically) and this week is no exception. There are cadavers aplenty in the Wynwood district, where more than 30 artists are showing works that reflect on life and death at the Emerson Dorsch Gallery (until 7 December). This grim meditation on life, the universe and everything, entitled “Cemeterium”, is being staged in a sculpture garden that resembles a graveyard. The New York-based artist William Powhida will give his own take on the Grim Reaper during a special performance at midnight on Friday. “I’ll be laid out in an open tomb for around an hour after a procession from Art Basel in Miami Beach. There may be some words spoken,” Powhida says. “It’s about uncovering art amid all the commerce, which is what some of us might be mourning. I don’t think this will just be some ironic celebration, but it should be fairly weird.”
Artist’s duvet day pays dividends
It’s the worst nightmare of every artist and gallerist: works get sent off in ample time to reach an art fair, but for some inexplicable reason, they remain incarcerated at Customs, resulting in an empty stand on the opening night or, sometimes, throughout the entire event. This has been the plight of the London-based artist Shaan Syed, whose new paintings, destined for the booth of New York’s Ana Cristea gallery at Untitled, were still suspended in Customs limbo as we went to press. But rather than being downhearted, the plucky Mr Syed has rustled up a few suitably placard-like prints from a previous New York show and, armed with a cosy futon and duvet and a restorative bottle of champagne, has decided to hunker down on the gallery’s stand and stage a solo version of John and Yoko’s Bed-In. Here he will remain until his work is released—but, ironically, it turns out that this impromptu performance has been rather good for sales.
Peter Marino's 100% at home in Miami Beach
To say that Peter Marino, the architect slash designer and art collector extraordinaire, has made a home from home in Miami Beach's Bass Museum of Art is a bit of an understatement. "One Way", a show of works from his burgeoning contempoary art collection, which opens on Thursday to the public, has transformed the institution. We asked Mr Marino about his different casas and whether they are burgeoning too. Does he really have them in every country, like fellow über-designer Philippe Starck? "I’m a 100% American young fellow," he reassures us. "I just have New York, Southampton and Aspen. I ski all winter and motorcycle in summer, ergo the location of my extra homes."