Big Brother Baldessari’s watching you
Jason Schwartzman and John Baldessari’s disembodied head star in the latest short film in a series advertising PST, following the previous pairing of Anthony Kiedis and Ed Ruscha on a road trip. The “Bored to Death” star is haunted by Baldessari’s image, projected Wizard of Oz-like onto building façades, after refusing to join a friend on a trip to a museum. “I don’t like art,” Schwartzman complains, but, ever the patient teacher, Baldessari eventually convinces him to give it a try with such nuggets of wisdom as: “Metaphorically, if you give some kids some gorgonzola cheese, you know, they are going to spit it out. But if you give them some Velveeta, they say ‘um yummy’, and then maybe when they are young adults they are really gonna savour gorgonzola cheese. And art’s like that.” Or the pithier: “Art should be fun.” Although our favourite line in the great art debate was spoken by Schwartzman, who made the excellent argument that “I hate to be a contrarian, but it is a pipe.” Look for more videos to come on PST’s YouTube page.
Elton’s photo fun
PST gives LA a lot to celebrate this weekend—its artists, its museums, its growing gallery scene—and now you can add another item to the list, with the release of the Elton John Aids Foundation’s (EJAF) Photography Portfolio II. Published in honour of next year's 20th anniversary of the music star’s foundation, the portfolio is being released at Art Platform Los Angeles (1-3 October) in a special booth. It contains the work of ten well-known photographers, including Tina Barney, Rineke Dijkstra, Candida Höfer and David LaChapelle. Sir Elton says he had “tremendous fun” working with the artists. “For our first Photography Portfolio, I was absolutely thrilled that the artist Juergen Teller asked to take a portrait of me for the collection. Imagine my surprise and delight when Rineke Dijkstra made the same request for the second Photography Portfolio!” John says. “I am incredibly grateful to both of them for generously supporting EJAF’s work in such a unique and personal manner.” Each portfolio of prints, in an edition of 40 with 12 artists' proofs, is priced $25,000. Sales will support care services, grants for HIV prevention programmes and efforts to eliminate Aids-related discrimination.
Titanic art in the Tuileries Gardens
Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas’s humongous cement sculptures were a talking point at the opening of this year’s Venice Biennale (until 27 November). Devotees of his work should now pop along to the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, where the wunderkind has unveiled a whopping sculpture crafted from clay. Don’t hang around though because the eye-popping piece, co-funded by the Sam Art Projects foundation and the Louvre, will be destroyed as soon as the exhibition ends on 24 October.
Boris's bike helmet proves a big hit
London Mayor Boris Johnson was his usual jolly self at an auction held Monday night to launch a new charity, The Legacy List (established to support the regeneration of London’s future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park). Charity auctions are becoming increasingly common so each sale needs a USP: in this case, a series of Bell bicycle helmets customised by high-profile artists such as Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Dexter Dalwood and Matthew Day Jackson. The latter achieved the highest price of the evening at £11,000 while Emin's helmet came in at £10,000, which surprisingly matched the price paid for a helmet designed by Boris himself (who knew that the bumbling politician's art would one day be on a par with Tracey's?). At the Four Seasons hotel in Mayfair, the Mayor encouraged people to dig deeper and keep bidding, cheekily working the room when his own creation went under the hammer. And who bagged Boris's objet d'art/bicyclette? None other than collector Anita Zabludowicz, joint chair of trustees of the Legacy List and auction host.
Art is bugged
A recent show by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo at the Moderna Museet in Malmo attracted plenty of visitors - but not all of the two-legged type. Salcedo’s Plegaria Muda installation, a series of tables upside down sandwiched with soil, became infested with bugs. “We were prepared for something like this,” said museum spokewoman Sofia Alsterhag. Internal staff eventually managed to blitz the art-loving insects but only after consulting experts at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. The museum stayed open throughout the creepy-crawlie saga.
Marina's LA MoCA bash
More details have come to light about Marina Abramovic’s plans for the prestigious annual gala at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art on 12 November, which the performance grande dame will oversee. “As artistic director, Marina plans to re-enact some of her most famous performance art pieces as well as serve as a master of ceremonies, directing gala guests in a series of participatory activities as they experience the installations, décor and dinner… the evening will consist of musical guests as well as a surprise finale,” according to the museum. The fundraising event has become something of an art world performance extravaganza, with artist Doug Aitken and songstress Lady Gaga participating in previous years.
Art for Amy
An exhibition of paintings and drawings depicting the late singer Amy Winehouse by Gerald Laing go on show at Thomas Gibson Fine Art gallery in London from 11 Oct. Twenty per cent of all sales will be donated to the Amy Winehouse rehabilitation project launched by her father Mitch. Laing said: “These paintings date from 2008 - a time when each episode in Amy’s increasingly complex life was being portrayed by the media...Now that the drama has ended, and all is quiet, I hope it will be seen as a tribute from one artist to another." A selection of these works was also shown at the Morton Metropolis gallery in London early last year.
Art world out in force on the Bosphorus
International art world bigwigs descended on Istanbul last Thursday for the launch of the 12th Biennial co-curated by Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa. A swanky bash at Istanbul Modern drew the crowds with high-profile curators such as Beatrix Ruf of Kunsthalle Zurich in attendance. Ruf waxed lyrical about the number of Turkish artists on show in the biennial, cannily pointing out that her own Kunsthalle will host a show of works by septuagenarian Yuksel Arslan in January. Over the road, a select crowd filed into a party held by Koc Holding, the biennial’s main sponsor. Guests seen soaking up the (rather humid) atmosphere included Italian collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and Chinese curator Hou Hanru. But some guests positively spluttered over their Turkish sweetbreads when the evening’s entertainment started: a poledance by a lithe young man whose skimpy attire certainly turned heads.
Dumbo in Union Sq
First Andy Warhol moved in, and now Unions Sq boasts another striking artistic sculpture, more whimsical than even Rob Pruitt’s super-shiny portrait statue of the Pop guru. Miquel Barceló's Elefandret, a 26-foot-tall bronze elephant standing on its trunk, was installed in the southern Union Square Triangle yesterday. The gravity-defying work of art has been stopping pedestrians in their tracks, and some even voiced their concerns that the precarious pacyderm would remain steady. “If a heavy wind comes, I feel it might fall down,” a park visitor told local news station WNYC. Barceló worked with engineers to make ensure that the elephant is structurally secure though, and is confident it will remain standing on end through May 2012, the run of the public art installation.
While we remember the victims and first responders on 9/11, the American Humane Association urges us not forget those four-legged heroes who were also involved in the rescue efforts. “More than 300 hero dogs searched tirelessly for survivors and victims, and persevered in smoke-filled debris for weeks after the tragedy,” the organisation reminded us in an email. This Thursday, the group held a 10th Anniversary Tribute to the Hero Dogs of 9/11 at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, with animal-loving celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Victoria Stilwell and Tinsley Mortimer in attendance. Among the moving stories shared during the night was one about Roselle (above), a yellow lab seeing-eye dog, who guided her blind master, Michael Hingson, and a co-worker down 78 dark flights of a World Trade Center building 15 minutes before it collapsed. “She didn’t bark, whine or flinch, even as firefighters running up the stairs rushed past,” Hingson said in a press statement. A special tv show honouring these “Hero Dogs” is set to air on the Hallmark Channel on Veteran’s Day, 11 November.
Feast for the eyes: quail carcasses and sheep balls
Food at the swanky London restaurant Pied à Terre is not just on the plates - it's on the walls. Following an eight-month residency at the two Michelin-starred eaterie, Macedonia-born artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva has crafted nine sculptural and installation works from found materials sourced from the restaurant kitchens. Foodies will no doubt be fascinated by the intricate pieces, fashioned from scallop skirts and corals, quail carcasses, sheep testicles and fish bones, that grace the restaurant ("The Wish of the Witness", until 31 October). Pied à Terre owner David Moore says: "This residency takes our commitment to contemporary art to a new level, enabling chef and artist to work alongside, and for an exchange of creative processes." Meanwhile, the selection process for Pied à Terre’s 2012 "Artist in Restaurant" is already underway.
Haunch of Venison bash draws Stella and Jefferson
A fairly glitzy crowd graced the newly renovated and expanded Haunch of Venison gallery in London's Mayfair earlier this week with luminaries such as Dazed & Confused founder Jefferson Hack, dealer Kenny Schachter and husband-and-wife collectors Alasdhair Willis and Stella McCartney poring over new paintings by Adrian Ghenie (the Romanian artist was apparently inspired by David Lynch's cult 1980s TV series). Willis pointed out the Bacon-esque quality of Ghenie's art while rumours swirled about the fate of Burlington Gardens, the Royal Academy-owned venue recently vacated by Haunch of Venison: is another commercial gallery shortly set to move into this salubrious space?
Art that is Pants
In the Frame today is all about underpants. Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist will hang 300 pairs of white knickers along the Southbank on the Thames as part of her solo exhibition at London's Hayward Gallery (28 September-8 January 2012). "From a distance," Rist told The Guardian, "they will look like whipped cream. Or sheep's heads, with the legs of the pants forming the eyes. I hope they will make people smile, but also think about the relationship we have with this important, sexually charged area in the middle of our bodies." Meanwhile, KSDK.com reports that the largest pair of underpants in the world - seven feet wide and six feet tall - was apparently stolen from the St. Louis City Museum in July. The blockbusting briefs were, however, recently returned to the museum.
Tiny TAN in Matton miniature
The Art Newspaper features in a work by Parisian miniaturist sculptor Charles Matton, which goes on show at London's All Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery on 9 September. Matton, who died three years ago, constructed models of imagined room interiors built in glass-fronted boxes. In The Bedroom of a Romantic Art Collector (2002), just 56 cm high, he painstakingly hung its walls with tiny versions of 30 specially-created paintings. On the carpet of the very lived-in bedroom scene lies a copy of our paper, the size of a postage stamp, appropriately opened at the "Market" page.
The Art Newspaper received a new book this week that quickly brought out the child in us. Thames & Hudson's “M. C. Escher Pop-Ups” is an interactive publication that turns the works of the famed Dutch artist into 3-D paper sculptures. Drawing and lithographs leap from every page and pull-tabs allow readers to shift tessellations. The book literally adds a whole new dimension to Escher’s art.