Aiming even higher
It's been a bad week for the Royal West Academy (RWA), Bristol, after a 6.7m-high statue by Damien Hirst was left with a graffiti tag last Tuesday night. The sculpture, worth £1.5m and inspired by a collection box girl used by a former charity, is the second sculpture this year to have been vandalised at the institution. In May, a bronze sculpture by David Backhouse, which had stood at the front of the building, was smashed up. Keen to learn from the experience, the RWA perched the 3.5-tonne Hirst sculpture on its balcony in a bid to remove temptation from criminals. A spokesperson for the RWA said “maybe we'll have to put work even higher next time. We're concerned it may put people off loaning to us, but the graffiti has already been removed and there is no lasting damage to the work.”
Damien now does deckchairs
"Save £30 when you buy a Damien Hirst beach towel and deckchair together," trumpets the latest email from Hirst’s London-based edition shop Other Criteria. Sun worshippers can indeed bag a Soul Love double beach towel and a deckchair bedecked in butterflies by the Brit artist for £345 (rather than the usual £375): ideal for Blackpool, Biarritz and other beach resorts worldwide.
Hats off to Dulwich
The Good Times: Art For Older People programme at Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London, now in its sixth year, has always pushed the boundaries with original and innovative projects for older adults who are often isolated and vulnerable. For the latest initiative, the gallery has teamed up with Hat Designer of the Year 2010, Kate Langrish-Smith, whose millinery workshops are tailored to the needs of the elderly participants. Dutch hats seen within the gallery's collection are the inspiration for this chapeau smorgasbord. "The sessions are already fully booked and the gallery is brimming with excitement at such a wonderful collaboration," said a jaunty press statement.
Elton's specs appeal in Basel
The Doll's House Museum in Basel gets all goggle-eyed this autumn with an exhibition devoted to Eyewear (note the jaunty sub-title: Past, present and future –vision aid and fashion accessory). The show, which opens on 15 October, explores the history of glasses from antiquity to the present, with plenty of celebrity specs on view, "among them the ostentatious glasses of Sir Elton John, those of the unforgettable Marilyn Monroe, the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer or the Swiss ski-jumping legend Simon Ammann. Also featured are spectacles of the eccentric Basel couturier Fred Spillmann," said a press statement. In fact, 20 gorgeous sets of glasses from Elton will wow visitors to Basel.
ICA gets balletic with Bronstein
Buenos Aires-born artist Pablo Bronstein brings pirouettes and pointe shoes to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London next month with his new ballet Plaza Minuet/The Birth of Venus. So how Black Swan-esque will Bronstein be? The two-part piece will be performed by classically trained dancers, including Matthias Sperlinger and Rosalind Masson, in costumes designed by Mary Katrantzou. In Plaza/Minuet, the performers will "follow lines marked out on the floor that might represent an architectural void or an imagined piazza", says a press statement. The birth and triumph of Venus is explored in part two. The spectacle hits the ICA on 16 and 17 September after a performance at Glasgow's Tramway on 3 September.
Marina comes to MOCA
Hot on the tails of her hugely successful performance in Manchester, Marina Abramovic has been named to direct LA MOCA's annual gala on 12 November. The fundraising event has become something of an art world performance extravaganza, with Doug Aitken creating an immersive, multi-media project last year including a set by folk favourite Devendra Banhart. Lady Gaga and Francesco Vezzoli paired up the year before, with a performance featuring dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet. Details are still unconfirmed for Marina's plans, but since her Manchester magnum opus, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, included talented actor Willem Dafoe, ethereal singer-songwriter Antony Hegarty and legendary director Robert Wilson, the MOCA event is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Collishaw event a no-go in Camden
The London riots which have engulfed the capital - from Hackney to Ealing - have had an impact on the art world. "Due to police intelligence, The Roundhouse in Camden is closed to the public this evening [9 August]. As a result, the screening of Mat Collishaw's Sordid Earth has been postponed," says Collishaw's dealer Blain Southern. Collishaw's piece was set to be projected on to Ron Arad's Curtain Call installation made of 5,600 silicon rods. The event will thankfully be rescheduled...
Holler's Roman ride for art thrill-seekers
This November, Belgian artist Carsten Holler will send visitors into a spin (again) with the launch of his new piece at Rome's Macro Museum of Contemporary Art (30 November to March 2012). The work, entitled Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, has bagged Holler the Enel Contemporanea prize - now in its fifth year - which is awarded by Italy's largest power company to an original work on the theme of energy. Holler takes interaction to new heights with a press statement noting: "Turning slowly and in opposite directions, the merry-go-rounds allow the public to get on and off easily, as if they were enormous mills or grindstones, where the people, sitting on top, come closer together and move further apart in constant rotation." Criss-cross lines around the carousels may fuel the queasy feeling experienced by some participants (white knuckle or what?).
Paul Smith on trend with Mr Moore
Art and fashion, always cosy bedfellows, snuggle up once more with the news that UK designer Paul Smith has teamed up with the Hertfordshire-based Henry Moore Foundation. "I have always been a fan of Henry Moore and this is the first time a contemporary designer has been granted permission to make use of his prints and drawings on clothing. I was most privileged to visit the Henry Moore archive to select the drawings I wanted to use," quips Smith. Moore's imagery graces Smith's trendy togs and accessories such as a weekend bag, ladies' handbag and clutch bag, ties, scarves, and a man's leather billfold wallet. The Paul Smith & Henry Moore collection goes "in store" (as they say) this month and is also available at: http://www.henry-moore.org/hmf/shop
Feel the heat
This interesting take on Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, currently the target of Nato air strikes, features in the Summer in the City exhibition at Ben Uri, Jewish Museum of Art in north London which opens today (until 4 September). The arresting image taken on London's Tower Bridge - cheekily entitled I've got a 99, problems and a great tshirt (2011) - is by Saatchi New Sensations award-winner Sarah Maple, one of seven young artists (Miriam Elia and Seren Jones also participate) invited to respond to works in the Ben Uri Collection by art titans such as Frank Auerbach, Lucien Pissarro and Leon Kossoff. "From 3D painting to fictionalised audio histories, each [artist] has taken the opportunity to get out of the studio, out of their own heads and onto the streets," says curator Nathalie Levi, jauntily adding: "Enjoy the show, avoid the rush hour."
Cindy puts on her face
Cindy Sherman and MAC are teaming up for a cosmetic line that comes straight from the big top. Taking a cue from her 2004 clowns series, the garish makeup seems better suited for Bozo than a young beauty. In the ad campaign, the famed photographer/master of disguise creates three different personas using distinct colour stories. She is a clown, a bewigged madam and a Joker-lipped ingénue. The line is scheduled to debut in September.