Piece of cake
Consumption was the name of the game at last night’s ABMB welcome party at the W Hotel, where interventions of an artistic kind, including Paola Pivi’s pile of “Free Tibet” gummy candy and Angel Otero’s pair of putti peeing rum, chocolate and butterscotch, were eagerly ingested by a rapacious mob of artists, dealers and collectors. With the stack of oysters, barbecued racks of lamb and handfuls of free Davidoff cigars also on offer, however, it was sometimes hard to spot the difference between culture and catering. Nonetheless, the greatest gesture of artistic faith undoubtedly came from Ryan McNamara, whose Let Them Eat Cake (above) consisted of a giant baked and iced replica of his personal Visa credit card. “It’s got my real number on it,” he confided. “Anyone who tries to use it won’t get far, though, as I’m sure I’m the poorest person here.”
Move over Mera Rubell and Rosa de la Cruz: another Miami matriarch is also collecting up a storm. Her face may grace taxicabs rather than the pages of Artforum, but with over 3,000 works, Naomi Wilzig, the owner of the World Erotic Art Museum, on 1205 Washington Avenue, is a force to be reckoned with. What started some 30 years ago in response to a request from her son to find something saucy for his bachelor pad has now blossomed into a 20-room erotic extravaganza, featuring works signed by Miró, Picasso, Rodin and Dalí, alongside innumerable anonymous creators from all corners of the globe. And tonight while the ABMB opening is in full swing, a few blocks away Mrs Wilzig is also hosting a vernissage of her own, devoted to 20 rarely seen erotic etchings by Rembrandt, borrowed from the collection of her Miami- and Brazil-based friend, The Baron of Fulwood & Dirleton. The show runs until 31 March 2012.
Koons the museum patron
It’s no secret that Jeff Koons is a fan of the Old Masters, with the artist often citing his artistic forefathers as a source of inspiration. Koons is now keen to share his passion with the public, loaning long-term works from his collection to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Six months ago, before it went to the Met, I had a painting of Christ by Quentin Massys in my bedroom. My son, who was three, was fascinated [by it],” he told the French web publication Le Quotidien de l’Art. “The museum is close to where I live and I can often see the works.” The Met, however, is tight-lipped about its plans for the paintings.
Eat up with Emin and Biggins
The Institute of Contemporary Arts has come up with a wealth of novel ideas for raising money with a plethora of events set to take place at the London gallery on 26 November, from an artist-led wine and British cheese evening to a sponsored horse racing event hosted by artist Mark Wallinger. But the most intriguing aspect of the day must be the £175-a head lunch with Tracey Emin and her TV "celebrity" friend Christopher Biggins. "Christopher will interview Tracey, who will, over the course of lunch, create 3 new works to be auctioned there and then," according to a press statement.
Touch Damien's crowning glory, says Dercon
Tate Modern director Chris Dercon waxes lyrical in today's Guardian about the Damien Hirst retrospective that opens next year at the London gallery (4 April-9 September). "If you are actually with [Hirst's] work, and can experience it, smell it, and I shouldn't say this, but touch it, it will be very different," notes the Tate chief. But it might be hard to get your hands on Hirst's diamond-encrusted platinum skull, For the Love of God, which will go on show in the Turbine Hall (4 April-24June). The glitzy cranium is valued at a hefty £50m; a Tate spokeswoman declined to comment on security arrangements.
What's in a name?
Paul McCarthy comes up with the best titles for his works. A behind-the-scenes video posted today on Art21’s online archive shows the artist working on one of his delightfully named sculpture. As the site explains: “Filmed in his Los Angeles studio, artist Paul McCarthy and production manager Amy Baumann describe the nearly decade-long, organic process behind the sculpture Captain Ballsack (2001–2009) and various editions cast from the original work.”
Paul McCarthy is currently showing "The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship" at Hauser & Wirth London, until 14 January 2012, and his "Ship Adrift, Ship of Fools" is on view in St James's Square, London until 15 February 2012.
What to watch this winter
In the summer, the High Line is awash with art loving crowds, but it must be hard to keep the punters coming in the chilly winter. One solution the public art park has found is to host a programme of outdoor video art this year, under the title “High Line Channel”. Every day from Tuesday 29 November, art films, videos, recordings of historic works, new productions and curated series will be screened from dusk to 10pm on a building to the east of the High Line at West 22nd Street. The first film to be presented, in collaboration with Electronic Arts Intermix, is Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1976 ode to NYC, City Slivers, which was originally projected on the exterior façade of the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan. According to the press release, “the film features scenes such as aerial views of taxi-filled avenues, the Empire State Building presiding over the Manhattan skyline, and people moving through revolving doors, with many of the viewpoints contrasting the static presence of the buildings and architectural structures against the ceaseless flow of traffic and pedestrians.” Where’s the popcorn?
Pictured: Gordon Matta-Clark, City Slivers, 1976 (Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York. © 2011 Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark/Artists Rights Society, New York)
Toeing the party line
While Italy and Greece saw their fair share of political drama last week, Galleria Massimo Minini managed to find a comedic silver lining during the governmental meltdown. “We are sorry to say that our country is once again imploding in a very peculiar way,” the Brescia-based dealer apologised in an email sent to its mailing list. “The tragedy has turned to comedy. Our story seems straight out of ‘la commedia dell'Arte.’” But, with the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi (who received some choice epithets in the email), and a new economically savvy PM, Mario Monti, set to take over, the gallery finds reason to rejoice in the upheaval. “Today, Galleria Minini and all our artists celebrate the second liberation of our beloved country. If any of our artists disagree with this sentiment, we kindly ask them to let us know, and we will be happy to remove them from our list. Positively no exceptions.”
Crunch time for art in Hay
Frieze, Fiac, Art Basel... the world is awash with art fairs but a plucky UK underdog now graces the fair scene in the form of Crunch, an art and music festival held in the bewitching town of Hay-on-Wye near the Black Hills (18-20 November). London gallery Poppy Sebire will show works by Boo Ritson, Paul Housley and Tom Dale while the headline-hitting Chapman Brothers have created a new sculpture, on show with Paradise Row gallery. Other dealers pitching up in Hay include Amsterdam's Gabriel Rolt and London's Eb&Flow gallery. But wherever you go in the (art) world, you can be sure of one thing: Hans Ulrich Obrist will make an appearance (at Crunch, the Serpentine Gallery co-director of exhibitions will give a talk on the Daily Practice of Curating).
MoMA's headlining act
Taking on the flashy role of music producer, MoMA has commissioned a new work by Antony and the Johnsons, Swanlights, to be performed at Radio City Music Hall for one night only on 26 January. For the piece, which the museum has described as "a meditation on light, nature, and femininity", the British singer is collaborating with the light artist Chris Levine, lighting designer Paul Normandale and set designer Carl Robertshaw. PS1 maestro and MoMA chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach originally wanted to commission the work for MoMA's atrium, but the scope of the project soon became too large for the museum. Next stop: Madison Square Garden?
Artist Tara Donovan has turned her hand to clothing in support of the New York City marathon. She has created t-shirts, on sale for $20 a pop, to raise money for the Free Arts NYC charity, which helps under-served children and families express themselves through art. The t-shirts will be proudly sported by friends of family of the Pace Gallery’s team, for whom Donavan created the limited edition tops. The Pace staff, Elly Hawley, Elizabeth Sullivan, Emily Lambert will all run the 26.2-mile race around the five boroughs of Manhattan this Sunday to raise money for Free Arts, and have already totalled more than $9,000.
Mayor Mike and Smart Alec
Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed off his funny side at the 2011 Mayor’s Awards for Arts & Culture, held in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center Tuesday night. Hizzoner shared MC duties with 30 Rock actor Alec Baldwin to celebrate individuals and organisations who have made great contributions to the arts, and the pair turned out to be a regular Abbott and Costello. The shtick-heavy event featured musicians dressed as animals and surprise appearances by Broadway veteran Patti Lupone and Grandma from the Big Apple Circus. Artist Maya Lin was honoured for her redesign of the Museum of the Chinese in America and her involvement with the design selection jury for the National September 11 Memorial. Other award winners included ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was given the 2011 Handel Medallion, the city’s highest award for achievement in the arts.
Waiting for Spector
Performa, New York’s biennial performance art festival, kicked off last night with the US premiere of Elmgreen & Dragset’s existentialist play Happy Days in the Art World. The Beckett-inspired performance, starring Joseph Fiennes and Charles Edwards as wry self-portraits of the artists stuck in some kind of cultural limbo, played to the arty audience with a slew of art world references and genuinely funny in-jokes—including a “breaking the fourth wall” shout-out to PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, an anxiously awaited studio visit by Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector, and a flight of fancy wondering what the ubiquitous Hans Ulrich Obrist would make of their situation. The show is on for a second performance tomorrow night at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.