The cream of Delhi’s art scene recently celebrated artist Bharti Kher’s 40th birthday in style with a raucous all-night bash (until the stamina stretching time of 5.30am) at hubby Subodh Gupta’s studio. The action kicked off with a special performance by a 70-year-old Sikh who strutted his stuff to hot 60s tunes. Art world luminaries who then leapt on to the dance floor included Kher’s French dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, a contingent from Hauser & Wirth (her London-based gallerist) and the ever-effervescent Peter Nagy, the director of Delhi’s Nature Morte gallery. Artists flew in from Mumbai and Bangalore with special installations on show by Kher (a signature ‘bindi’ piece) and Paul McCarthy (a party’s not a party without a gold butt plug hanging above the DJ). And who shook his booty the best? Sources say that Subodh displayed the best disco moves. The Art Newspaper looks forward to seeing the self-confessed party animal grace the floor at the private view of his first major solo UK show in London this autumn (Hauser & Wirth, 1-31 October).
Another Thriller from Britto
The Art Newspaper has always had a soft spot for the Brazilian “neo-pop” star Romero Britto. And we’re not alone. According to the press release for Britto’s forthcoming show at Opera Gallery in London (17 September-14 October), Eileen Guggenheim, former professor of art history at the New York Academy of Arts, believes that “Romero Britto’s paintings overflow with joy. He constructs worlds where bliss and serenity reign supreme; couples dance, pussycats smile, flying fish soar, flowers bloom and lovers kiss” (we couldn’t agree more Eileen). Britto has painted luminaries such as Princess Diana and singer Gloria Estefan (a piece of art he calls Viva Gloria!). But Britto is set to surpass himself with images of none other than the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, set to go on show in London. You rock my world Britto.
Yay or neigh Gordon?
The UK is in desperate need of a museum of the horse-so much so that a petition has been posted online at the official website of the Prime Minister's office. Caroline Baldock, petition creator, writes: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Support the establishment of a museum of the horse for the UK. We are the only European country that does not have an official museum of the horse. Such an oversight from a country of horse lovers needs to be corrected...This campaign has been launched to raise awareness of this oversight and to establish a museum of the horse." The petition already has 25 signatures including horse fans Lavender Hastie and Coran Foddering. If you're keen to get all equine, then go to http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/horse-museum/
Good sport Julia
It hasn't escaped our attention that Julia Peyton-Jones, supremo of London's Serpentine Gallery, sits on the London "Olympic Legacy" board of advisors which, according to officials, aims "to secure the best possible future for the Olympic Park after the 2012 Games". Recent board meeting minutes state that Peyton-Jones "provided an update on Art in the Park", a series of art commissions at the Olympic site. Peyton-Jones's fellow board members include such luminaries as gold-medallist javelin hurler Tessa Sanderson. Who says you can't mix culture and competitive throwing events?
The roll-call of stellar names set to appear in Tate Modern's blockbuster autumn "art & commerce" show "Pop Life: Art in a Material World" (1 October-17 January 2010) reads like a who's who of big-bucks contemporary art with works by Richard Prince, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami.....and Peter Nagy. The secret past of the Delhi-based dealer, who founded the Nature Morte gallery, will be revealed when his two works - EST Graduate and Hypocrite Sublime (both 1985, black and white photocopies pasted on to painted canvases) - go on show at the London gallery. And how does Nagy feel about sharing company with today's art titans? "Doesn't the show feature some guys called Koons and Cattelan?" he quipped, eyebrows raised.
Harry Potter and the Unicorn Tapestries
As "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" sits comfortably at the top of the box office charts, art savvy fans of the young wizard's adventures may have been surprised to see a rather famous uncredited star appear in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For hanging in front of the mysterious Room of Requirement is none other than the final panel of the Metropolitan Museum's own Unicorn Tapestries, housed in The Cloisters, its Medieval branch far uptown. According to a spokesperson for the museum, the production company approached the Met several years ago to ask permission to use the series of allegorical tapestries, which depict the hunting and capture of a unicorn, in the Harry Potter films, but this is the first installment in which the work has appeared. When asked how it felt to have a Hollywood celebrity in their midst, Peter Barnet, curator in charge of the Medieval Department and The Cloisters, said, "We've always seen the tapestry series as a 'star'."
On the road with Lynch
Artist and director David Lynch has launched his newest avant-garde experiment, an online documentary series called Interview Project. The result of a 70-day road trip across the US by his son Austin and a camera crew, the project features ordinary Americans that the filmmakers found in bars, on the street and at other random locations. Every three days for the next year, Lynch is posting a new interview on the website http://interviewproject.davidlynch.com. And for some added surrealist flavour, we suggest you view the videos while sipping on another of Lynch's newest productions: organic coffee. Because as his website notes: "Long before David Lynch was a filmmaker, he as a serious coffee drinker."
Thar she shows
Antony Gormley's public performance project for Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth has drawn the good, the bad and the bizarre who all want their 15 minutes of fame, or in this case a full hour standing on a massive stone pedestal. And early next week, in the wee hours of Monday, 27 July, former Art Fund assistant director Mary Yule will take her place on the plinth to beat the drum for the UK charity, which helps museums and galleries buy art for the nation. While perched on high, Ms Yule, who now lives near Norwich, will "enact a silent performance on the theme of ‘the ones that didn’t get away‘ and will ‘fish’ for pictures of works of art saved for Norwich" pulling them out of a basket, according to the charity. A fine kettle indeed.
Ho, Ho, No!
In the middle of July, a museum near San Francisco is fighting to keep a 7-foot-10-inch snow man from melting—not from the heat but because of a lawsuit filed by a major candy company. The Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia houses a complete collection of all the Pez dispensers ever produced by the Austrian candy giant, but their star attraction is a human-sized recreation of a snowman dispenser, built by the museum's curator Gary Ross with local artists. Named by Guinness as the world's largest Pez dispenser, the abominable snowman spits out boxes of candies rather than individual sweets. But the Pez Candy Co of Linz is looking to have the frosty mascot destroyed due to what it alleges is copyright infringement, according to a suit filed last month in San Francisco, and wants the museum, which also sells vintage and contemporary examples of the popular candy dispensers to collectors, to turn over all profits since it opened in 1995. It's like taking candy from a baby.
With everyone joining twitter it can be difficult to know whom to follow on the micro blogging service. One of our personal favourites is Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) director Maxwell Anderson (@MaxAndersonUSA), who isn’t afraid to share the more comic aspects of a museums administrator’s day. Some recent gems include being one-uped by a Hollywood celebrity: "Jamie Foxx entertained at Indiana Black Expo luncheon today; I spoke at its cocktail hour. More subdued applause, no request for autographs." And after a bracing rafting trip down the White River, Anderson revealed plans to open a museum marina: “Back in one piece from rafting; intent on creating a boat landing on IMA property and connecting kayakers from the Art Center to downtown.” Midwestern art lovers look out for Old Man River.
The way to any Beuys heart
Uber-collector Anthony d’Offay revealed his softer side at the launch of “Beuys is Here: Sculpture Object Action Revolution” (until 27 September) at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill (one of 18 galleries across the UK showing over 30 “Artist Rooms” from the collection - now co-owned by Tate - created by the London gallerist). The show, supported by The Art Fund, includes major works, such as Scala Napoletana (1985), by Joseph Beuys who became a romantic conduit for the dealer and his wife Anne in the 1970s. D'Offay's touching revelation that the couple "courted" each other through a mutual love of Beuys's art (think fat and felt) even moved Nicholas Serota, Tate director, to quip that the late German artist “is the way to any boy’s heart”.
It had to happen. The late UK reality TV star Jade Goody, who died in March from cancer, has been immortalised on canvas by the British painter Sarah Maple. The work, astutely entitled Fame, is available for £10,000 at SaLon Gallery in London. A gallery spokesman told The Art Newspaper that “Maple uses her vantage point as a Western-raised Muslim woman to speak of pop culture and religion against the backdrop of a narcissistic and celebrity obsessed society. Her work unabashedly questions the viewer's own cultural boundaries and asks where those are ruptured/united with other social realities.” Maple has a solo show coming up at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York in December.
Pop Art Pat
Who says artists aren’t the new rock stars? US music manager Pat Magnarella, the supremo behind chart topping groups such as Green Day and The Wallflowers, has just “signed up” British painter Charming Baker (yes, that name is real). Or, as the press release so quaintly puts it: “Baker has recently been patronised by legendary American music manager, Pat Magnarella.” “I now want to use my experience with musicians to create a similar platform for talented artists,” enthuses the music maestro who was named “Personal Manager of the Year” by Pollstar magazine in 2006. But Magnarella has “no plans to be a dealer”, adding with a touch of candour that “up until a year ago, I couldn’t have told you much about art. Now it’s becoming an obsession." Rock n’roll.
Saatchi's got wheels
Uber-collector Charles Saatchi’s west London gallery was recently awash with glitzy celebrities, such as US TV stars Jay Leno and David Hasselhoff, for the unveiling of Jaguar’s new XJ car at the King’s Road space. But the motors have, for now, replaced the art as the gallery’s “Abstract America” show (open from 29 May until 17 January 2010 according to www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk) is temporarily closed until 16 July while the gleaming autos are on display. So the American art is not only abstract -but absent.
Don't hedge it
In one of our favourite email “malfunctions” of all time, Castlestone Management, described as a “privately owned [global] independent fund manager”, was forced to “recall [the email] message” relating to its recent press release entitled “Hedge funds bullish on art.” And what exactly was the incorrect message to be hastily withdrawn that jauntily pinged into our subject box in big, bold, black letters (you can almost see it coming)? “Press release: Hedge Funds Bullshit on Art.” Oops.
Tate's talent scouts of 2010
The 2010 judges have been announced for the art world’s most (in)famous contemporary art award, the Turner prize, which is announced with much fanfare (usually by a mega-star presenter) every December at the Tate in London. The prize is awarded each year to “a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding”, according to the Tate website. The lucky luminaries selected as next year’s judges are Gordon Burn, writer and journalist; Isabel Carlos, Director of the Centre for Modern Art CAMJAP in Lisbon; Andrew Nairne, Executive Director, Arts Strategy Arts Council England (National Office), and Polly Staple, Director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery. The chair is set to be the director of Tate Britain but with the current head Stephen Deuchar set to leave Millbank for The Art Fund next January, who will now calm nerves, pour tea and preside over the prize proceedings?
A dose of art reality for SJP
Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker candidly admits she lacks art world experience so what is the inspiration behind the TV star’s new artist reality show, provisionally entitled The Untitled Art Project? It’s painter Patricia Broderick, her late mother-in-law who, says Parker, began enjoying recognition and success only after her death in 2003. “Her experience was meaningful in my thinking about artists who work in obscurity,” she told The Art Newspaper. Ms Broderick, mother of actor Matthew Broderick, studied with painters Rufino Tamayo and Vaclav Vytlacil, and lived with US Pop artist John Wesley for almost a decade before her death. Since 2006 her work has been represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York. This month Ms Parker’s production company, Pretty Matches, will cast 13 undiscovered artists set to compete for a gallery exhibition, a cash prize and a nationwide US museum tour. Ms Parker revealed that she will not host the series, but adds that a panel of art experts including collectors, curators, artists and dealers is currently being finalised. The show is scheduled to air on Bravo in autumn 2010.
Straw in all his glory
Nice to see that the expenses scandal involving UK MPs has not stopped Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw having a portrait commissioned by the London barristers’ organisation, the Inner Temple, of which he is a member. Emma Wesley, whose work is in London’s National Portrait Gallery, has apparently landed the job. Mr Straw’s likeness will hang on the more modest walls of the Inner Temple.