Grayson Perry defrocked
Despite the enticing promise of performances on the invitation card, those hoping for a re-run of the Neo Naturists’ memorable 80s naked body-painted extravaganzas had to make do with a series of filmed versions on show in the basement of England & Co’s Notting Hill Gallery. Upstairs, the original NN crew consisting of Grayson Perry (above, Neo Naturist performance at the Fridge, Brixton, London, 1982), Christine Binnie and her artist sister Jennifer, Wilf Rogers and Wilma Johnson remained very much fully clad–with Perry, resplendent in full transvestite frockage, declaring: “I now spend all my creative leisure putting my clothes on, not taking them off.”
Damien, Jeff, and Sir Norman
Even though the art world was just back from the trans-Europe Venice/Basel/Kassel/Münster art marathon, they still turned out in force for the unveiling of Jeff Koons’s colossal lurid Hulk Elvis paintings at Gagosian in Britannia Street (until 27 July). Hot from hosting his own pavilion in Venice’s Palazzo Papadopoli, Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk was busy buying up a number of the exhibits, while Koons himself spent much of the evening deep in conversation with friend and artistic admirer Damien Hirst (right) and the designer Stella McCartney with whom he often collaborates. But the main star of the evening turned out to be Norman Rosenthal of the Royal Academy who was making his first public appearance since the announcement of his knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours. “I’m deeply honoured,” he told Jetsam. “Thank God I only have two children as I am only allowed to take three people, including my wife, to the Palace.” However anyone hoping that the RA’s exhibitions secretary might treat HRH to some exotic attire (who can forget the blue lycra ensemble that he wore to the Alternative Miss World a few years back?) will be in for a disappointment, with the firm assurance that “I am going to be very respectable and wear the proper dress which is a morning coat.”
Diamond skull in Disney tribute
Proof positive (if any were needed) of the near-instant iconic status of Damien Hirst’s bling skull (For the Love of God, White Cube, until 7 July) was provided when rock maestro Richard Strange whipped out a spangly facsimile of the £50m original (right) to whoops from the audience whilst singing “Headless Horseman” at London’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Jarvis Cocker’s mixed “Meltdown” programme of big names singing Disney classics. Applauding from the wings was Cocker along with fellow rock star performers Pete Doherty (“Chim Chim Cheree”), Nick Cave (“Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee”), Shane MacGowan (“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”) and Grace Jones (“Trust in Me”), and the glittering memento mori later proved to be a very popular prop at the riotous after party.
Assorted members of the art world gathered at venerable Soho patisserie Maison Bertaux to meet Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller and Sidney, a vociferous Serotine bat. Both artist and animal had joined forces to launch an open competition to design an urban bat house for the Wetlands Centre, a conservation organisation in west London. Apparently, our obsession with redevelopment is taking a heavy toll on the nation’s bat population—and, accompanied by Sidney’s squeaks, Deller assured the assembled company that “this competition is open to mammals of all ages and abilities” (submissions close on 3 September, www.bathouseproject.org). In the current era of vaunting artistic egos and flamboyant art projects, Jetsam salutes Deller’s quiet but far-reaching vision which also touches the masses with 5m specially commissioned pocket underground maps bearing the portrait of the longest-serving Transport for London employee, John Hough, who retires this summer after 45 years devoted to the capital’s public transport (right).
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Grayson Perry defrocked'