Museum galas for Tarantino and Kubrick
Two giants of modern movie-making are honoured this autumn in benefit galas organised by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma). Quentin Tarantino, the director of cult hits such as "Reservoir Dogs", 1992, and "Pulp Fiction", 1994, is guest of honour at MoMA's fifth annual film benefit on 3 December, while Lacma's Art+Film Gala on 27 October pays tribute to the late film-maker Stanley Kubrick. The Los Angeles bash will be co-chaired by the screen idol and collector Leonardo DiCaprio.
New font for Rijksmuseum rebrand
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been radically rebranded in time for the long awaited reopening of the museum in April next year, with a jaunty new house style for its catalogues, signage, paper and posters. "My starting point was the fact that the Rijksmuseum is a national museum with international appeal. The design is clear and powerful and anchors the museum in the present," says Irma Boom, the Dutch designer behind the overhaul. The revamp even incorporates a typeface named de Rijksmuseum, which was specially developed by the typographic designer Paul van der Laan of the Bold Monday font foundry.
Other Weather Projects
Add another biennial to the calendar, but one with a twist—or do we mean twister? The National Weather Center Biennale, the “first national juried exhibition featuring art about weather”, due to take place in April 2013, is looking for meteorologically minded submissions by 1 October. Not only will the biennial award $25,000 in total prizes to the best in atmospheric paintings, photography and works on paper, but the organisers (the National Weather Center and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, as well as the Norman Arts Council) have pulled together an impressive panel of judges: the installation artist Spencer Finch; Christoph Heinrich, the director of the Denver Art Museum; and Jacqui Jeras, a meteorologist who has appeared on channels including CNN. Never has knowing the difference between a cumulonimbus and a cirrostratus cloud been so important.
Makers and shakers break the (jelly) mould
Any exhibition that includes "jelly mongers" must be worth a mention, which is why a new touring show organised by the Crafts Council, opening in London next month, caught our eye. "Added Value?", featuring six practitioners, will launch at the trade event Designjunction (19-23 September) in the striking surroundings of the Sorting Office in New Oxford Street. Thematic strands include "Brands" and "Materials" while jelly mongers, Bompas & Parr, whose edible, wobbly works of art are made using experimental technologies, feature in the "Experience" section. "The show will question notions of the value of contemporary craft within the present-day landscape of branding and luxury," says a Crafts Council statement.
Loving home wanted for Saatchi collection
What will happen to Charles Saatchi's collection? Two years ago, the high-profile British collector offered the cream of his holdings to the nation, under a grand plan to bring works such as Tragic Anatomies, 1996, by the Chapman brothers and Tracey Emin's 1998 piece My Bed to the people. But culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's suggestion that the Arts Council accepts Saatchi's bequest has stalled according to the Daily Telegraph. A spokesperson for Tate, meanwhile, reportedly said that it had not wished to intervene in ongoing discussions with the Arts Council, leaving Saatchi's collection homeless. The turn of events has prompted critic Jonathan Jones to stand up for Saatchi in today's Guardian. "Emin's bed has its detractors. But 20:50 [Richard Wilson's sump oil installation], first created at Matt's Gallery in 1987, is not a piece of 'young British art', a part of YBA culture; it does not represent an art trend or a celebrity artist. For me, it is simply a modern masterpiece, a contemporary classic," hollers Jones.
Ground Control to V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London has announced plans for an exhibition next year devoted to possibly the coolest chameleon in British music and fashion: David Bowie. Fans of the Starman nevertheless got a taste of Bowie when the V&A exhibited his natty, knitted, one-legged early 1970s stage costume, designed by Kansai Yamamoto, in the recent exhibition "British Design 1948-2012". Previous pop stars given the V&A treatment include Kylie Minogue and the Supremes.
Really crazy golf
What better way to spend a rain-drenched British summer than playing crazy golf. At the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, visitors can putt their way around nine "holes" made by high-profile artists such as David Shrigley and Gary Webb ("Doug Fishbone and Friends: Adventureland Golf", until 6 October). And what have those japester Chapman brothers come up with? A statue of Hitler which raises its arm in a Nazi salute and screams "Nein!" every time the golf ball goes through a hole cut out of the dictator's waistline. Michael Samuels from the Board of Deputies of British Jews' told The Guardian that the piece had "absolutely no artistic value whatsoever". The gallery website says, however: "The Chapmans saluting Adolf Hitler places the powerful image of the Nazi regime within the context of holiday fun and in doing so makes reference to the British wartime spirit of making humour at the fuehrer’s expense." But Hitler is not the only tyrant on show. Doug Fishbone has recreated the toppling of the gargantuan Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad in 2003.
Lego master takes on Kapoor
With the Olympics over, it's worth sharing this replica of the Olympic Park in Stratford made of 250,000 Lego bricks. The man behind the meticulous piece is the "freelance Lego artist" Warren Elsmore. "For this display, I planned very little in advance and most of the model was free built, simply by looking at pictures of the site and building what I see," Elsmore told Metro newspaper. Anish Kapoor's Orbit sculpture has never looked so striking.
Fischli/Weiss and the Qatari connection
The Qatar Museums Authority is (once again) making its presence felt, this time as the sponsor of a new public sculpture by Fischli/Weiss due to be unveiled in London's Kensington Gardens in October. The Serpentine Gallery will present the imposing piece, made up of two gargantuan granite boulders perched one on top of the other. The work, meanwhile, sports the pithiest of titles: Rock on Top of Another Rock.
Collage captures Pollock's demise
A show devoted to a pivotal Abstract Expressionist at the Ronchini Gallery in London (10 October-24 November) throws new light on the tragic death of Jackson Pollock. Conrad Marca-Relli (1913-2000) was a trailblazing collagist, using materials such as vinyl plastics, fabrics and aluminium. But one collage in particular reflects a turning point in Marca-Relli's life: the night Pollock died after losing control of his car at Springs in the Hamptons in August 1956. The artist, who refused to display the piece to the public until 2000 shortly before his death, wrote: “We walked a short distance and then I could see the form of a body stretched out on the side of the road. It was Jackson. He was flat on his back, his eyes open. There was no blood, no scars, in fact he looked so beautiful. I just stared. I must have stayed that way for quite a while and then I heard the officer’s voice. 'Do you know this man?' 'Yes,' I said listlessly, 'yes, it’s Jackson Pollock'." The forthcoming retrospective "Conrad Marca-Relli: The Architecture of Action" is curated by David Anfam and Kenneth Baker.
Waterborne woodland tells tales of transient lives
Walk along the Birmingham and Black Country canals in the Midlands, England, at the end of August and you may well encounter a mobile art installation made up of trees, soil and sound recordings exploring themes of homecoming and relocation. This mini floating woodland, a collaboration between the artist Beth Derbyshire and voice director Tara McAllister-Viel, will be planted on a boat travelling at walking pace on the scenic waterways. But what lies beneath the foliage of the Rootless Forest? Ramblers and cyclists will hear recorded stories from the military and UK Afghan communities in Birmingham about the effects of conflict, relaying what it feels like to be uprooted. The New Art Gallery Walsall is behind the waterborne project, which is due to launch at Brindley Place in Birmingham on 31 August.
Hirschhorn and the Italian disaster
Thomas Hirschhorn may well make waves this autumn when the Swiss artist launches a large-scale installation inspired by the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia at the Gladstone Gallery in New York (21st Street; 14 September-20 October). The luxury liner ran aground off the coast of Tuscany in January, tragically claiming the lives of 32 people. Hirschhorn will fill the gallery with a reconstruction of the sunken ship but why focus on the calamity? "The exhibition, 'Concordia, Concordia' explores the conceit of the modern disaster, and turns the aphorism 'too big to fail' on its head, exploring the notion that something that is too big is in fact destined to inevitable failure," says a press statement.
Playtime with Friends With You
We’ve been following the artist collective Friends With You, aka Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval, since we caught their fantastic fantasy parade in Miami Beach in 2006. So it’s great to see the group has brought their poppy, cartoonish creations to Asia where they have already delighted the local kids. "Happy Rainbow", the artists’ first show in Hong Kong at the TMT Plaza shopping mall “is an interactive rainbow shrine, created for people of all ages to experience” as their website describes the playground installation. The exhibition includes a 40-foot bouncy house as well as colourful fibreglass, plush and resin sculptures that the artists say, in their usual euphoric language, are “designed to envelope the visitors and transcend them into a higher state of self-awareness… Each piece in the exhibition is charged with so much colour and power that it brings great harmony to all who look upon it. This exhibition is created as a modern day shrine that doubles as a playful adventure into the soul. Happy Rainbow is a place where all the colours of the rainbow come together to give you super magical play powers. Simply by playing in at Happy Rainbow you will be transported to a world filled with happy characters, colour, magic, and new friends. Explore all the hidden gems of Happy Rainbow and you will find happiness.” More photos of the ecstatic installation can be found on the artists’ website and at Designboom.