Sears serves up animal art
Kim Sears hasn’t been available lately to talk about her artistic efforts—painting portraits of pets—possibly because of her other role, which is to sit in the visitors box at tournaments when her boyfriend, the Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, is engaged in a match (the Celtic sportsman recently reached the fourth round of the US Open). During those matches, he looks grim and so does she at times but on her website (www.kimsears.com), she is all smiles, hugging her border terriers Mayhem and Rascal. She also owns some goldfish, Gary and Gabriella, although it is dogs of all types that dominate the online portfolio pages: cocker spaniels, bulldogs, Labradors, Weimaraners and Jack Russell terriers, as well as the occasional cat and horse. “I view my painting first and foremost as a hobby,” she says online, “which has fortunately grown enough for me to take more seriously.” Between matches, one supposes.
Animal Farm meets Alice Walton’s museum
If you go down to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in a fortnight’s time, you’ll be able to try out as an understudy for a Napoleonic role. An interactive work inspired by George Orwell’s fable of totalitarianism called Understudy for Animal Farm will be one of the participatory works in the survey show “State of the Art” (13 September-19 January 2015) organised by the museum founded by Walmart heiress, Alice Walton. The Santa Fe-based, Brazilian-born artist Ligia Bouton’s installation invites visitors to choose among the bright and folksy pig’s head hoods, which are made of bed linen, and then pose in front of backdrop of rolling Cornish countryside and a five-bar gate to have their photo taken. There is a sinister twist, however. “As the pigs begin to walk upright and move into the deserted farmhouse, it is the wool plaid and floral chintz of rural England that indicate the pigs’ authority,” Bouton explains in an artist’s statement. “In this way, Orwell creates an unexpected friction between the menacing force of the pigs’ tyrannical rule and the mundane, domestic sphere.” Four legs good, two legs better, as the dystopian slogan goes.
Gallery takes to the streets, visitors in tow
The street-art gallery Choque Cultural has launched a new project space, Choque-Centro, in old downtown São Paulo. “The area was run down until a few years ago, but now lots of innovative art spaces are blooming,” says Baixo Ribeiro, the gallery’s co-founder. This month, Choque-Centro is offering curator- and artist-guided walking tours, including visits to an installation by Mariana Martins at the Lâmina art space and to Studio Cúpula. “Both places have new approaches to art and the public experience, proposing fusions over food and drink, pocket shows and performances beyond the conventional,” Ribeiro says. J.H.
Curators attack ‘vain’ work in Niemeyer space
An installation by the Brazilian artist Lais Myrrha in Pivô, an artist-run space in São Paulo, has been branded “vain and opportunistic” by curators. The site-specific work, Projeto Gameleira 1971, 2014 (below), is in the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Copan building in downtown São Paulo. It was inspired by another building designed by the architect that caused the death of more than 100 workers when it collapsed during construction in 1971. The curators Lauro Cavalcanti and Pedro Mendes da Rocha, who were in charge of a Niemeyer retrospective at the city’s Itaú Cultural this summer, also criticised Myrrha for “posing glamorously while exploiting these deaths”. The artist says that Niemeyer never made a public declaration about the episode and that her work is a critique of his silence. S.M.
Brazil and Italy go Camargo crazy to mark artist’s centenary
This year’s centenary of the birth of the Brazilian Expressionist Iberê Camargo (1914-94) has inspired a series of commemorative events. The Fundação Iberê Camargo, which is housed in a building designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira on Porto Alegre’s waterfront, will stage a survey of the artist’s extensive career. The show is due to open in November; its title and closing date were unconfirmed as we went to press. The foundation will also host the premiere of a new documentary about the painter, directed by the Brazilian film-maker Marta Biavaschi, and will launch a new biography of Camargo, published by Cosac Naify. The artist will have three solo shows in Italy next year, at the Museo Marino Marini and the Palazzo Pitti, both in Florence, and the Museo Morandi in Bologna (exhibition titles and dates were unconfirmed as we went to press). A major retrospective of the artist at São Paulo’s Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil closed in July. S.M.