TV art turn for Lily Cole
Model Lily Cole is putting her Cambridge art history degree to good use by hosting a series on contemporary art set to screen this autumn on Sky Arts in the UK. Big names queuing up to talk to the British beauty include Gabriel Orozco, Dame Paula Rego, Tacita Dean and Christo. And the title of the six-part series? The rather intriguing Lily Cole's Art Matters.
Media bigwig turns art scribe
A media mogul is slowly, but surely, making his presence felt on the London art scene. Evgeny Lebedev, the chairman of Independent Print Ltd which owns the London Evening Standard and the Independent newspapers, has penned the introduction to a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of works by Russian artist Ilya Gaponov, opening at Erarta Galleries in London on 3 May. Gaponov's still-life pieces are "an attempt to capture the pre-apocalyptic condition of our own world" says a press statement which also points out that Lebedev is one of Gaponov's foremost collectors. According to the Telegraph, the Russian media man owns works by the Canadian artist Marcel Dzama, the former musician Paul Fryer, US photographer Gregory Crewdson and Damien Hirst.
This Sunday’s torrential rain caused at least one art casualty, James Grashow’s Corrugated Fountain, a monumental cardboard sculpture inspired by Bernini’s Trevi Fountain in Rome and installed at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The sculpture is looking sadly soggy in a photo sent to us from the museum this morning, but the work’s deterioration is all part of the concept. Grashow believes that “creation and destruction are married to each other”, according to the press release from the museum, so the cardboard work was purposely installed outdoors to be exposed to the weather and disintegrate over time. “Water and cardboard cannot exist together,” Grashow rightly points out. “The idea of a paper fountain is impossible, an oxymoron that speaks to the human dilemma. I wanted to make something heroic in its concept and execution with full awareness of its poetic absurdity.”
Keeping the Guggenheim in mind
Do you remember every work you ever saw in a museum? Ben Pridmore does. The 34-year-old Englishman and three-time winner of the World Memory Championship recently visited the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and showed of his mnemonic skills to celebrate the forthcoming 15th anniversary of the institution. In just 30 minutes, Pridmore memorised 50 bits of information about the museum’s collection, architecture and restaurant menu, including works by Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Christian Boltanski, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois. The brainy Brit’s visit can be seen on the Guggenheim’s website.
An art fair with a difference
An email with the tag line "The art fair for people who hate art fairs" was bound to get our attention (and it did). The press release for the Bloomsbury Art Fair which takes place this summer in London (6-8 July, Goodenough College in Mecklenburgh Square) subsequently points out that works will be on show by
artists Sophie Morgan, Lisa Gunn and David Constantine, some of the Bloomsbury Art Fair’s "Heroes", who are all affected by spinal injuries. The fair supports charities such as Motivation, the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust and Walking With The Wounded. In the spirit of the 21st-century art fair, works by Hirst and Banksy will nonetheless also be available.
Hirst's Hymn is Occupied
The YBA who has turned money into art, Damien Hirst, has unsurprisingly caught the attention of Occupy Wall Street protestors in London. At the end of March, an article in The Occupied Times of London, the movement’s official newspaper, called Hirst “the man who has defined the capitalist approach to art more than any other”. “If Hirst is anything, he is the brash Goldman Sachs of the art world,” says the story’s writer Kester Brewin. “He has a vast personal fortune of over £200m, accumulated through an alchemy that would leave even the most brash bankers in awe: stock medicine cabinets, spots of paint, flies, butterflies and severed cows heads transformed into pieces that sell for millions.” And this weekend, Damien’s Hymn, a massive recreation of an anatomical dummy installed in front of Tate Modern where his retrospective is currently up, was graffitied with the single word “Occupy”. The museum confirms that the work “will be treated by conservators”.
Gavin Turk to tie the knot in bewitching Bexley
Congrats to Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis, the artists behind the child-friendly House of Fairy Tales (HFT) project, who are getting hitched the end of this month at Hall Place in Bexley...which just happens to be the venue for the latest HFT interactive extravaganza called the Mystery of the Hidden League and the Misplaced Museum (until 16 September). Children, and those young at heart, are invited to take on 53 tasks and challenges in the luscious Kent countryside. Expect, meanwhile, the forthcoming "wedding" to be in the fantastical Fairy Tales mould with Curtis telling Radio 4 that it is "going to be quite a theatrical experience... you are all invited."
Rick Allen tries his hand at art
Glam rock’s most famous one-armed drummer, Rick Allen of the hard-charging English band Def Leppard, is making his debut in the visual art world on 18 April with a collection of abstract images based on the pounding rhythms of his 1980s hair metal. Using graphic design and photography in a collaboration with the Los Angeles creative production company SceneFour, Allen has created 300 images of himself drumming live and entwined in an array of neon lights following the movements of his drumbeats. The waves of colourful light trailing his drumstick are reminiscent of the light shows from Def Leppard’s heyday, or the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. “I think that it’s going to give people hope,” Allen said about the collection “Electric Hand: Rhythm + Change”, in the lead-up to its release on his website rickallenart.com, “and it’s going to give people a way into new parts of themselves”. The site's intro alone gives us hope that there are amazing things in store. —Eric Magnuson
Hirst's butterfly takes a shine to Serota
Nicholas Serota was spotted in Tate Modern with a flamboyant butterfly precariously perched on his finger. The exotic specimen had escaped from Damien Hirst’s installation In and Out of Love (White Paintings and Live Butterflies) during a preview and the Tate director was delicately carrying it back from the adjacent Pharmacy room. The poetical butterfly work has been reinstalled in the Hirst retrospective (4 April-9 September). In an interview with Serota published in the catalogue, Hirst says he had forgotten how the 1991 installation worked, and he was worried: “Oh God, maybe all those years ago we just fooled everybody; maybe it was just dead butterflies being trampled on when you walked in and nothing really moved... I wanted a three-dimensional de Kooning painting that flew round the room.”
Before there was Photoshop
Nowadays, you can use almost any computer software to “Warhol-ise” your very own pop portraits. But in this Youtube video, you can watch the master himself use a Commodore Amiga computer to create his “first computer portrait” of Debbie Harry, deftly colouring in a digital snapshot of the 80s singer. The sitting took place at the product launch press conference for the Amiga in 1985, and as Andy fiddles around with the controls, filling in Debbie’s hair with an electric yellow, he says: “Well this is pretty, I think I’ll keep it. It’s beautiful.” We wonder where that print out might be today…
Backroom boys spill the beans
The Guardian gives an intriguing insight today into the world of art fabricators, those pivotal "behind the scenes" people that help make key works according to the instructions of high-profile artists. Rachel Swainston, who made spot paintings for Damien Hirst in the mid 1990s, throws light on the methods behind the Brit artist's dotty canvases. "Painting spots was very dull... Damien didn't need to have much input. Most of the time, there were two of us, although it would depend on how quickly he wanted them churned out... lots of the Old Masters had people doing things for them. Damien created the idea; we just did the manufacturing." Paul Vanstone, a former stonecarver for Anish Kapoor, doesn't hold back, saying that "Kapoor's work is very boring to make because it's so methodical, so precise. " But Kerry Ryan, who creates neon signs for artists such as Tracey Emin and Anselm Kiefer, flies the flag for fabricators, pointing out that "art is all about the idea now: I think using fabricators makes art more valid and not less, from a conceptual point of view."