Vienna’s Secessionist sex club
Swiss artist Christoph Büchel is getting Viennese conservatives hot under the collar with his most recent art intervention, in which he’s turned the Secession art gallery into an after hours sex club. By inviting an underground swingers’ group to hold their nightly dalliances in the gallery, Büchel hopes to recall the same controversy that erupted over Gustav Klimt’s now famous Beethoven Frieze, which was considered obscene and pornographic when it was first exhibited in 1903 because of its symbolic depictions of nude women. But (art) lovers shouldn’t go rushing to the gallery with handcuffs expecting to copulate under a Klimt; while gallery visitors can walk around the club’s plush sofas and beds, no sex acts are allowed during normal gallery hours, and the mural is off limits at night.
Tilda's darned twinset at the Serpentine
The Serpentine Gallery was awash with hip Scots this week as posh fashion label Pringle launched its 195 limited edition knits designed by the likes of Turner Prize winners Richard Wright and Douglas Gordon. However all eyes were on Tilda Swinton, the new face of Pringle, who returned to her roots for inspiration: “My Pringle,” she announced “is inspired by grand Scottish ladies—I inherited a stash of my grandmother’s old twinsets, darned and covered in fag burns.” Her version is a bottle green number encrusted with silver brooch and buttons by American Sikh jeweller Waris Ahluwalia and adorned with darns, stitched by Tilda herself, proving that the fabled thrift of the British upper classes is in fact an expression of haute couture. Tilda’s “Twinset of my Dreams” in an edition of 195, will retail this autumn at around £1,500.
Chelsea takes a self-help class
This weekend saw the launch of artists William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton’s exhibition/think tank #class at Winkelman Gallery, set to dissect and analyse the current art market. If you missed the opening, don’t worry, for a full month, the gallery is hosting workshops and programmes that promise to inspire—or at least make you scratch your head. The full roster can be found on the project’s website, but one event we’re looking forward to is the appearance of author and motivational speaker Rod Verplanck CSP, CPAE. Hosted by neighbouring gallery Schroeder Romero & Shredder (but held at Winkelman) Verplanck’s talk will show you “how to make it to the top of the Contemporary Art World…Avoid the fear of overfulfillment, unshackle your ambition and face the maelstrom of horrible possibilities. Learn that the very smallness of your ideas is key to your wild success.” We feel empowered already.
Oscar takes on Apollo (and stays at Tim Taylor)
The prize for the busiest person in the art world must go to Oscar Humphries, son of Oz star Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage). Oscar replaces Michael Hall as editor of UK art magazine Apollo and, in an unusual move, will also continue working for London's Timothy Taylor Gallery where the 28-year-old is set to co-curate an exhibition of 1950s European art and design this summer.
Zurbaran's monks made into hoodies
Artist Lorna May Wadsworth's racy interpretation of the Last Supper will go on show at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London (4-5 March). The pr blurb for the display explains how Wadsworth accepted the commission, an altarpiece for a Gloucestershire church, "as expenses only, on the grounds that she had complete artistic control, that all the disciples were good looking young men, and that Jesus was a black supermodel called Tafari". "I saw the 13 [Last Supper figures] as a rock and roll band or a group of deeply political idealistic young guys," explains the artist. Another series, "Sacred or Profane", takes "Zurbaran's shadowy robed monks, recasting them as contemporary hooded youths".
Meléndez brings on the munchies
Two Boston Globe reporters have made art good enough to eat-literally. Devra First and Sebastian Smee, an ex-Art Newspaper staff member, have created dishes inspired by the delicious canvases of Luis Meléndez, the 18th-century still-life Spanish painter. The duo tackle delectable concoctions such as a 1772 depiction of two bream with Seville oranges, garlic, spices, and olive oil. Head to the Meléndez show at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (until 9 May) to see the scrumptious paintings that inspired the pair.
Remembering Keith Haring, 1958-1990
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Keith Haring’s death from HIV-related complications, and there are several special events taking place this week in memory of the pop artist. Tony Shafrazi is holding a tribute show (until 3 April), while London art and design bookshop Amuti 23 is donating 20% of all its sales today of any work on its website to Aids-related charities. Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger has even released a line of sneakers and wellies featuring Haring’s signature cartoonish doodles. But not everyone is so charitable it seems, as Fashion Week partygoers at the Hudson Hotel in New York last week made off with some two dozen Haring-inspired photos, which were meant to be auctioned off to benefit the artist’s foundation.
Art sealed with a Kiss
"Everyone knows Paul Stanley as the frontman of KISS, one of the most iconic bands in the history of rock, but do you know that he’s also a highly successful artist?" thunders a recent email received by The Art Newspaper. No, we didn't but to see Paul's highly colourful creations, please go to www.paulstanley.com. The helpful pr missive jauntily continues: "He never intended for anyone to see his work (he didn’t even sign his first painting)."
Vancouver's activist attraction
As the Olympics starting in Canada today, many art loving visitors in town for the games will likely turn to the Vancouver Art Gallery, which has organised a special programme of special exhibitions and displays. Among these is a travelling display of anatomical drawings by Leonardo from the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II and a massive floral mural installed across the museum’s norther façade by Taiwanese artist Michael Lin. But the museum is set to draw more than art fans, as its main square has historically been used as a meeting place for protests and rallies for decades. A massive protest led by the Olympic Resistance Network is set to meet in front of the gallery at 3pm before marching towards the stadium where the opening ceremonies will be held.
Skydiving artist snaps free-fall photos
The Art Newspaper may have found the art world’s first daredevil photographer. Meet Seattle-based artist Aaron Gustafson, who takes landscape pictures while skydiving from a plane. Using a custom-designed 4x5 large-format camera strapped to his helmet, the photographer snaps one shot per jump, while free falling through the air at speeds of more than 130 miles per hour. Gustafson has done around 25 such dizzying stunts, creating dramatic aerial views of the Shawangunk Ridge in New York, and the Cascade Range and Puget Sound in Washington State. “This is what you’d get if you threw Ansel Adams out of a plane,” Gustafson says. Images of the modest artist’s work can be seen on his website: www.aarongustafson.net
Saltz sob story
Tino Sehgal's performance art journey at the Guggenheim has been provoking a range of responses from visitors, who are led through the museum's empty spiral by actors that engage them in philosophical discussions. But in perhaps the first example of a viewer having an effect on the art, rather than vice versa, New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz unhappily related this weekend in his review of the show that he actually made the work of art cry. “I had been so slow taking notes and asking questions to the perfect little girl who greeted me and started the conversation that, after passing me to the next person, she had broken down in tears… It is also the only time in my life I ever wrote a letter of abject apology to a work of art.”
Silvio set in sand
Kosovo-born artist Sislej Xhafa unveils this mammoth sand sculpture of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at Roda Sten gallery in Gothenburg this weekend (until 18 April). "Disturbance prevails over laughing as the viewer realizes that they have been made to walk up to and pay tribute to the grotesque but all the same glorified representation of Berlusconi," says the press blurb which cheekily points out that the politician looks like a "thinking Buddha".
Life lived through a jumpsuit
Brit artist Jeremy Deller's Boilersuit, co-created with Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons, gets an outing in the US with a stint at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. The "modern utility outfit that accumulates patches as mementos of the wearer's life" (or so say the organisers) goes on show from 8 February in "'Workwear', an exhibition and symposium that explore the legacy of work wear as a uniform for success in New York". The hardwearing outfit was first seen in a menswear show at London's Somerset House last year.
Crazy golf cart did not crash into Tampa Museum
It looked like the opening of the new Tampa Museum of Art in the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Florida, this weekend was set to be scuppered-by an unruly golf buggy. Local press reports stated that a wayward golf cart had crashed into the corner of the new 66,000-square-foot Cornelia Corbett Center building last weekend. But the shattered corner of the new museum was, instead, reportedly damaged by a runaway equipment crate following a concert in an adjacent park. A lighting-and-sound crew apparently lost control of the crate, which smashed into the side of the museum's glass exterior. Thankfully, the gleaming new build is still set to launch on 6 February (phew).
She said no to rehab but yes to a work of art by Gerald Laing. Bee-hived UK singer Amy Winehouse is pleased as punch with a picture made by the veteran British pop artist which shows the headline-hitting chanteuse as a housewife, vacuuming the carpet. Depicting the songstress as a domestic goddess appealed to Raye Cosbert, Winehouse’s manager, who duly bought the screenprint as a birthday present for Amy. “She absolutely loves it. It takes pride of place in her Camden home,” says Cosbert who is backing Morton Metropolis, a new art gallery in London's West End which opens this month with a selection of works by Laing depicting Winehouse in a range of guises.
Picasso sticks up for his sisters
At Tate Britain's Chris Ofili launch party last week, Christoph Grunenberg, director of Tate Liverpool, was keen to reveal important art historical details about his forthcoming blockbusting Picasso show (21 May-30 August) at the Merseyside museum. Cheekily goaded by Stephen Snoddy, director of the New Art Gallery Walsall, Grunenberg announced (drum roll) that “Picasso was secretly a feminist.” And has he had any problems obtaining loans for the show? “We were desperate but now we’ve got over 200 works,” he said. Phew.