Wallace curator gets more than he bargained for, a tribute to “Avalanche” magazine and Jagger as a fairy queen

The Wallace collection will show the bronze secrets of a leather-clad collector


Behind closed doors

The architect Peter Marino is an extremist. He dresses in the black leather outfits familiarised by the late gay artist Tom of Finland, and he is an extreme collector, whose mid-town Manhattan office is packed wall-to-wall with pieces from his collection, including no fewer than four of Warhol’s Electric Chairs. So when Jeremy Warren, head curator and director of sculpture at London’s Wallace Collection, heard that it was Marino who had bought a pair of 16th-century French bronze sculptures of river gods, he telephoned asking if Marino would consider lending them for an exhibition.

Marino said yes.

“I’m very close philosophically to what the Wallace does,” he says. “I love the incorporation of paintings with furniture.”

The curator visited Marino’s apartment on East 57th, one of the fairly rare Manhattan buildings with high ceilings. “So he came expecting to see just the river gods,” Marino says. “And he opens the door to the big room. And it was funny because his jaw dropped. He thought it was just by accident that I bought those works.”

Few knew that Marino had been collecting major French and Italian bronzes of the 16th, 17th and 18th century for years. It was one of his most private extremes. “Anyway he spent five hours in my living room. And before he left we had a show at the Wallace Collection.” It opens on 28 April.

Remembering Willoughby Sharp

Willoughby Sharp, who died on 17 December, was a rare, real boho and co-founder with Liza Bear (pictured together), a Brit, of the artmag, Avalanche. “We met in 1968,” says Bear. “It took two years to get the first issue out. The locus of communications was Max’s Kansas City [a New York nightclub and restaurant]. We would sit at that big table in the back. People knew. The buzz was out.”

The art world was minuscule, there was no downtown gallery scene and the field wasn’t crowded. Britain’s Studio International was respected, as was Artforum, but Avalanche saw itself as harder core. “The focus of the magazine was on the artists. We weren’t planning to do a writers’ magazine. We were to use documents of the artists. Or do interviews,” Bear says.

Between 1970 and 1976 there were 13 issues. Why stop?

“We were both doing our own work. But it wasn’t just that. The art world had changed. It was going back to painting. We stopped because we didn’t see any reason to go on.”

Avalanche is being published in book form, by Primary Dimension, in an initial edition of 1,000.

“And there will be a signed and numbered limited edition. I got Willoughby to sign it at the hospital a few weeks before he died. It was very hard for him. He couldn’t talk but he nodded he wanted to do it all at once.”

When Titania met rats and slugs“Let’s do one with my arms up high,” Lizzie Jagger suggested.

She executed a pirouette.

David White, the photographer, nabbed her mid-air.

Actress Jagger, the eldest daughter of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, was playing the part of Titania (pictured) in White’s East 18th Street studio in a sequence of ensembles put together by stylist Cynthia Altoriso, who served as the shoot’s creative director and who looked the part in black sweater, black trousers, black turban.

Sarabeth Stroller, who plays First Fairy, who I suppose would be the Rahm Emanuel [US chief of staff] figure in the Fairy Court, was waiting in the wings, as were some of Altoriso’s props.

“That’s a real hummingbird!” she said. “That’s a cryo-preserved rat. She’s called Pepita. I had another rat, Granville, but Granville got rotty. He broke down in a way that was NOT attractive.”

She peered around,

“Where are the slugs? Oh, that’s okay! I’ve found the slugs.”

Altoriso was creating a photographic art project. But Jagger and Stroller? Well, they have a project too, in which the photographs may play a promotional part. The principal element will be a colossal doll.

“My inspiration is Yayoi Kusama,” Jagger said.

And Stroller?

“My inspiration is the general state of the world,” she said. “This isn’t going to be like Barbie. It’s not a woman with her boobs hanging down to her knees. I think the world is ready for a mother.”

They were talking about debuting their doll at Alexander Dellal’s space, 20 Hoxton Square Projects.

Deck the walls: the DJ as curatorPeter Makebish (pictured below, centre, with artists Donald Baechler and John Newsom), a successful DJ who has worked with musicians like Patti Smith, Billy Corgan, Michael Stipe and Marilyn Manson, has long been curious about the art world, an interest stoked by his friendships with the painter John Newsom and the photographer Sante D’Orazio. This took him to the last Art Basel Miami Beach.

“I would normally be going down to look for DJ work,” he says. “But my manager didn’t book anything. There were hardly any parties to be had. But I knew when I went down to Art Basel that it was going to change my life. It was gravitational and it felt really good.”

“In Dialogue”, Makebish’s first curated show, which opens at the Anonymous Gallery, 169 Bowery, on 15 April, pairs artists from four different generations with some perceived similarity in their practices: Ross Bleckner with Matt Jones; Kenny Scharf with Kadar Brock; Donald Baechler with Bill Saylor; Ouattara Watts with Dustin Yellin; John Newsom with Brendan Cass; and Sante D’Orazio with Vienna actionist veteran, Hermann Nitsch.

By the way, of the above musicians Smith and Manson both make art. “Everything is more intertwined than before,” Makebish says.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Bronze secrets of a leather-clad collector'