Hirst spins heads in Davos
As world leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum to discuss the worrying financial future, Ukrainian collector Victor Pinchuk displayed his market confidence by inviting mega-art star Damien Hirst to teach, of all things, a spin art class. Before a panel hosted by Pinchuk’s foundation on the subject “ModernARTization: Art and Philanthropy Changing Societies” the artist was on hand to show guests how to recreate his signature spin paintings—and you could even choose your own paper cut out to swirl the paint across, like a butterfly or skull, to make the piece extra “Hirsty”. But soon after Damien started his lessons, he was sidetracked by fellow brand-name artist Jeff Koons, and the teaching was left to an assistant. The video below of Professor Hirst in action was sent to The Art Newspaper by an audience member.
In the French Style
The French know how to do sexy. Take the Crazy Horse saloon, Paris’s temple of edgy erotic dancing, add a collection of 450 naughty nudes, and the mixture can be explosive. At the Cornette de Saint-Cyr "pin-up" sale, held at the Crazy Horse on Sunday prices duly blew up. A 1987 Guy Le Baube photo print, St Jean Cap Ferrat, one of a limited edition of three showing a relatively modest rear view of a young woman slipping out of her little black dress, went for €25,635, against an estimate of €9,500-€10,000. A classic 1949 Peter Driben oil on panel, Pin Up in Red Bikini, painted as a cover for Whisper magazine, fetched €11,250. A gaggle of exquisitely raunchy drawings, gouaches and prints by the Lui magazine artist Alain Aslan, estimated in the low hundreds, went like very hot cakes at up to 13 times their estimate. The total for the sale was €360,000 with 60% of lots sold: "a great success" said Crazy Horse director Olivier Haber.
The virtual art world
Since Friday, The Art Newspaper has been covering the first virtual art fair, VIP, which is taking place entirely online. We've got interviews with dealers, collectors and artists discussing how the internet can be used to exhibit and sell work. Check out all the videos—and more are being added this week—on our TAN TV site.
Lions in bears' clothing
The Art Institute of Chicago has gone all out to support their local football team the Bears as they face the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's NFL championship game. Posting the photos on Facebook, the museum staff has dressed the bronze lions that guard the museum's entrance in the team's colours, blue and orange, one bumbled in a oversized scarf and earmuffs, while the other sports a dashing Bears helmet. With such huge fans on their side, how could they lose?
Jersey Shore's hidden art star
Most people know Jenni Farley as the brash young cast member JWoww of reality show and pop culture phenomenon “Jersey Shore”, but it turns out the lady is as comfortable in an artist's studio as she is in a nightclub. Media blog Gawker has uncovered her old website from her days as an art student at the New York Institute of Technology. And we have to say, some of the work, like the still-life featuring a beach towel and stuffed pink elephant, is somewhat reminiscent of early Jeff Koons. Or perhaps it just shows the artist’s latent affinity for tanning and boardwalk games. Could Jwoww be the next James Franco?
Boy George, his striking icon and the Cypriot bishop
It's not every day an illustrious UK pop star agrees to hand over an ancient artefact to the Church of Cyprus....but Boy George felt that his icon of Christ, which he bought in good faith from a London dealer in 1985, should be returned to its rightful owner, the tiny church in the village of New Chorio-Kythrea. "I look forward to seeing the icon on display in Cyprus for the moment and finally to the Church of St Charalambos from where it was illegally stolen," the Karma Chameleon singer told the BBC. Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis gushed forth his "joy and gratitude" as the singer handed over the object.
Off the wagon
For a very contemporary take on celebrity culture, head to the Cornerhouse in Manchester from 29 January for the "People You're Not" show which is described in the jaunty press blurb as a "satirical trip through the private and public faces of fame". Comedian (and TV Burp presenter) Harry Hill's proposal "To recreate George Cruikshank’s The Worship of Bacchus using known alcoholics" (yes, that's the title) has been realised by Bren O’Callaghan who's invited six illustrators, such as Gemma Parker and Hannah Gibson, to put a 21st-century spin on Cruikshank's booze-sozzled 1860 painting. The result? "'Performers' such as Kerry Katona and Liza Minnelli, Courtney Love and George Best, Oliver Reed and Lindsay Lohan are given centre stage in six large-scale Victorian-style toy theatres, setting the scene for cautionary tales of drunken celebrity clichés," notes the press spiel. Cheers.
Don't hold back David
Tasmanian collector David Walsh, whose much anticipated Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) opens outside Hobart this month, is known for his no-nonsense approach. So it's good to see that the professional gambler is as blunt as ever in an interview with today's Sydney Morning Herald. Journalist Gabriella Coslovich makes the point that some commentators have labelled Mona the "Bilbao of the South", a label Walsh evidently dislikes. "Yeah, I've got to say that gives me the shits. I don't like the Bilbao of the north at all..It's just a bloody architectural masturbation: 'How good am I? How good am I?' It's like a dog barking. All [Frank] Gehry's buildings are the same," he quips.
Fur caution at the V&A
In this politically correct day and age, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has kindly notified visitors to its exhibition "Imperial Chinese Robes from the Forbidden City" (until 27 February) that several exhibits incorporate...fur. "As many people feel very passionately about the use of fur, we let visitors know before they enter the display. To present an accurate account of historical fashion, the V&A has to display items containing fur," pointed out a museum spokeswoman. Several striking winter robes and hats on display once worn by the emperors and empresses of the Qing dynasty are trimmed with fur.
Baby New Year
Starting off the New Year with a real bundle of joy, auctioneer Simon de Pury and Dr Michaela Neumeister welcomed their newborn baby girl home. In an email, the dapper dad says: “On 1.1.11, Michaela brought our daughter Diane Dlephine into the world. Mother and child are doing great! Happy New Year!” This is the first child for Neumeister, who is Phillips' head of art for German-speaking countries and married de Pury over a year ago, with a lavish wedding party held at the Saatchi gallery last June. Congrats!
New Year, same problems
The jaunty website www.artfagcity.com has, with its tongue lodged firmly in its cheek, made some amusing art world predictions for 2011, the most notable of which include the following: "The Versailles series continues with an installation by Andres Serrano, who urinates in the stairwells of the palace in a site-specific gesture evocative of its history. A dozen protesters picket outside the exhibition, and a letter is written to the local newspaper complaining that a French artist should have been chosen instead."
Italian art world's peaks (and troughs) of 2010
At this time of year, our sister paper Il Giornale dell'Arte asks a throng of Italian art luminaries for their art highs - and notably, lows - of the past 12 months. Certain personalities and places keep popping up in the 2010 perusal such as the Italian maverick Maurizio Cattelan who is named the "worst" artist by, for instance, Maria Teresa Filieri (director of the National Museums of Lucca; Zaha Hadid gets her "best" practitioner gong). "The neglect of Pompei" is dealer Carlo Orsi's political low point, along with at least four other participants, while a handful of interviewees, such as collectors Natalina and Pierluigi Remotti, plump for polemicist Vittorio Sgarbi as worst art critic/curator. And what does Sgarbi himself choose as the best show of 2010? Giorgione at Venice's Palazzo Grimani, an exhibition exquisitely curated by.....Vittorio Sgarbi.
Smithsonian censorship saga: the next chapter
The Smithsonian censorship saga just won't go away...Jim Hedges, a hedge-fund specialist and art aficionado, recently wrote to Martin Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, DC, requesting that his loaned work Untitled, Self-Portrait by Jack Pierson be removed from the Hide/Seek NPG exhibition "until such time as the David Wojnarowicz video is reinstated in its full unedited version" (Wojnarowicz's piece, A Fire in My Belly, shows a crucifix covered with ants; it was withdrawn following protests by a group of Republican congressmen and the Catholic League). Hedges has now received a reply from Sullivan which he has kindly posted on his Facebook wall. In the letter, Sullivan states that: "At the NPG, we sympathize with your objection. Co-curators David Ward and Jonathan Katz have publicly stated their opposition to the removal of the video, and the show continues to attract record crowds while bringing attention to a crucial theme that other museums have not yet highlighted. Secretary Wayne Clough and the Smithsonian Regents committed to keeping the exhibition up for its full run without further censorship, and we appreciate their firm stand on that question." Sullivan intriguingly adds: "Katz argues that those who would be most punished if additional works are withdrawn from the exhibit are neither the fringe political/religious activists nor even the Smithsonian, but the audiences who lose access to art. In his words, 'Why fight censorship with more censorship? Shouldn't we press for real debate and dialogue instead?'
For this reason, I hope you'll reconsider the withdrawal of Pierson's Untitled, Self-Portrait." Watch this space.
More from Marina about playing her mother in Manchester
Performance art grande dame Marina Abramovic reveals more details about her major 2011 project in Manchester, telling The Art Newspaper: “I am really excited about the project ‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic’, which will premiere at the Manchester International Festival this year (July) and is directed by Robert Wilson. The work is essentially about life and death and includes scenes from my childhood and adult career. It is quite insane and refreshing. In the piece I am playing my mother, for instance, which has always been my greatest fear. All of us, Robert Wilson, [singer] Antony, [actor] Willem Dafoe and I, met up at the Teatro Real in Madrid last September for rehearsals. It is wonderful to be working with Antony again and Willem is great as the narrator of my life. He can be so sarcastic!”. For further information: www.mif.co.uk