Twelve artists including Tracey Emin, Martin Creed and Chris Ofili will design a set of posters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer, as Britain seeks to use the events to showcase its cultural heritage. The nominated artists were chosen from a list of some 100, but organizers would not disclose how they came to their final decision. Asked why Damien Hirst had not made the list, for example, Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad, replied: “I think the answer is, we’re not going to go there.”
Emin told reporters at an event at Tate Britain gallery, held exactly a year before the London 2012 Festival event gets underway, that she wanted her poster to be a celebration of life in the city.
“(I want to) show the world that London can really throw a party and that was what it was like with the royal wedding,” she said, referring to the recent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton that attracted a huge global television audience.
“In times of depression, what came across as really, really cool was the arts. Arts and culture is the soul of the country,” she added. “I’m interested in the party scene, the celebration.”
For Michael Craig-Martin, also selected, artists had the advantage over graphic designers when it came to making posters for an event like the Olympics.
“Artists always bring something different, because you are bringing a personal language to it.”
He said that while art was not competitive like sport, even when a major award like the Turner Prize was announced, he did suffer from envy of other artists’ works, including Martin Creed.
The full list of commissioned artists is:
Fiona Banner • Michael Craig-Martin • Martin Creed • Tracey Emin • Anthea Hamilton • Howard Hodgkin • Gary Hume • Sarah Morris • Chris Ofili • Bridget Riley • Bob and Roberta Smith • Rachel Whiteread
The London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, will run for 12 weeks from June 21-September 9 and include events around the country. Dozens of projects have already been announced, ranging from the countrywide Big Dance and The Reading Challenge to a production of Hector Berlioz’s “The Trojans” and pop star Damon Albarn’s contemporary opera “Dr. Dee.”
Some of the events have been specifically commissioned for the Olympiad climax while others have been held to coincide with the festival.
For one New Yorker who attended the 1965 event, the key revealed a Roy Lichtenstein drawing that Christie’s auction house estimates will fetch around $1 million at its May 11 auction.
“Kiss V” is a study for one of Lichtenstein’s major paintings of the same name, which is in a private collection and belongs to his dream-girl series created between 1961 and 1965. Measuring 6 inches by 6 inches, the study is a comic book-inspired close-up of a man and woman, executed in graphite and wax crayon.
The artist, who died in 1997, was famous for his cartoon-inspired style that helped launch — along with Andy Warhol, Jasper John and others — the pop art movement.
“Happenings,” spontaneous and fun arts and performance events, sprung up all around the city during the heady days of the 1960s.
The March 1965 one was organized by a group of emerging pop artists. It invited participants to come to the Hotel Chelsea — home to numerous legendary writers and artists — to enter into the $10 lottery for a key to about 20 lockers at the old Penn Station, which was then being torn down.
Thirteen artists participated in the Artists’ Key Club event. Besides Lichtenstein, they included Warhol, Christo and Arman.
“It was a large party for artists and people who were part of a hip downtown group having fun,” said Christie’s postwar and contemporary art expert Brett Gorvy. Later, he said, the group partied at a restaurant on the proceeds from the event.
Participants did not know which key opened which locker. And not everyone was as lucky as the woman who claimed the Lichtenstein drawing.
“One artist put up a group of very pungent cheeses” for his conceptual piece and another “had spices and herbs as his art work,” said Gorvy.
In 1965, the Lichtenstein drawing would probably have been valued at about $50. The current owner, who declined to be identified, decided to sell it because she had it recently appraised and was shocked to find out how much it was worth, Gorvy said.
Gorvy said Lichtenstein’s “Crying Girl,” a drawing of similar size and from the same series, sold at Christie’s in 2007 for $1.7 million. He said he expected “Kiss V” to surpass its pre-sale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million because of its unique provenance.
Lichtenstein was a “marvelous draftsman, who took the comic image and made it very much his own,” said Gorvy.
The auction record for Lichtenstein is $42.6 million for his “Oh … Alright,” a comic book image of a forlorn woman clutching a telephone. It sold at Christie’s in November.
Source: The Associated Press.
Gagosian Gallery presents “Richard Prince: de Kooning” an exhibition of paintings and works on paper. This coincides with “Richard Prince: American Prayer” at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, an exhibition of American literature, ephemera and artworks from Prince’s personal collection.
Prince’s “de Kooning” series is a process of interaction with the canonic imagery of the Abstract Expressionist idol Willem de Kooning. The idea for these edgy Oedipal works came to him when he was leafing through a catalogue of de Kooning’s Women series. He started sketching over the paintings, sometimes drawing a man to de Kooning’s woman. As time went on, he began applying fragments of male and female torsos, genitalia, thighs, and facial features, cut and pasted from catalogues and vintage porn magazines, as well as drawing with graphite and oil crayon, adding outlines, silhouettes and textures to the original figures that further blur the distinction between de Kooning’s imagery and Prince’s own.
From these intensely worked drawings evolved a series of paintings that are, similarly, montages of elements from de Kooning’s original paintings with figures cut from printed matter. The results are blown up onto large canvases via ink-jet printer, then the original material all but painted over. From the resulting abstract grounds, Prince then conjures up crude figures that recall de Kooning’s savage female subjects. The resulting hermaphroditic creatures are hybrids on several levels, merging male with female, painting with photography and print, and the refinement of modernist art with the vulgarities of mass cultural representation. Both homage and desecration, the de Kooning paintings exemplify Prince’s vision of a “Spiritual America,” a historical consciousness fueled by a pervasive desire for rebellion and reinvention.
Mining images from mass media, advertising and entertainment since the late seventies, Prince has redefined the concepts of authorship, ownership, and aura. Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he evolved a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures yet that is unquestionably his own. An avid collector and perceptive chronicler of American subcultures and vernaculars and their role in the construction of American identity, he has probed the depths of racism, sexism, and psychosis in mainstream humor; and the mythical status of cowboys, bikers, customized cars, and celebrities. His most recent work is an explosive mix of pulp fiction, soft porn, and high art.
Richard Prince was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone. His work has been the subject of major survey exhibitions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1992); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1993); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam(1993); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2001, traveled to Kunsthalle Zurich and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg); Serpentine Gallery, London (2008). The retrospective “Richard Prince: Spiritual America” opened at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2007 and traveled to The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 2008. “Richard Prince: American Prayer”, an exhibition of American literature and ephemera from the artist’s collection, will be on view at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris from March 29 – June 26, 2011.
London Underground commuters got their first taste of subterranean Internet access in October 2010, when a six-month test funded by U.K. broadband service BT brought Wi-Fi hotspots to the Northern and Bakerloo line platforms, as well as the ticket hall at the central London station.
Users of the service will only be able to connect to Wi-Fi on the platforms, and not on the trains themselves.
Check out this entertaining video titled “Dogboarding”. The video takes the theme of skateboarding into a new realm…
The Upsetter tells the fascinating story of Lee “Scratch” Perry, a visionary musician and artist from poor rural Jamaica who journeyed to the big city in the late 1950s with dreams of making it in the burgeoning record industry. Lee Perry burst on the scene with a brand new sound, inventing a genre of music that would come to be called reggae, while mentoring a young Bob Marley and gaining international recognition as a record producer and solo artist. The Upsetter charts 70 years in the life of Lee “Scratch” Perry in his own words through an exclusive interview given to American filmmakers Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough in Switzerland in 2006. It is equally a documentation of 30 years of Jamaican music and culture as it is a study of one of the most creative and inspiring human beings of all time. Go watch it! Screening dates are available here.
Art collector Charles Saatchi has a gift for Britain. It includes Tracy Emin’s messy bed, Grayson Perry’s explicit pottery and a room full of engine oil. The advertising tycoon, whose patronage made household names of artists like Emin and Damien Hirst, announced Thursday he is donating his London gallery and 200 works in its collection to the nation as a new public art museum. The gallery said the works, valued at more than 25 million pounds ($37 million), will be given to the government. The 70,000-square foot (6,500-square meter) Saatchi Gallery will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London.
The artworks being donated include Emin’s “My Bed” — the artist’s famous recreation of her boudoir, complete with empty liquor bottles, condoms and cigarette butts — and Richard Wilson’s “20:50,” an eye-dazzling room filled with oil. There are also works by Perry — best known for vases adorned with disturbing twists on classical scenes — and artists from around the world, including China’s Zhang Dali and India’s Jitish Kallat.
Emin said she was thrilled by Saatchi’s gift. “I wish more people had that kind of vision,” she said.
Saatchi, co-founder of the Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency, was the main patron of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s, which made Hirst and Emin millionaires.
He captured the public imagination with his 1997 exhibition “Sensation,” which included Hirst’s shark pickled in formaldehyde and Emin’s tent appliqued with the names of “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995.”
The show’s impact lived up to its name. When it opened in New York in 1999, then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani was so offended by Chris Ofili’s portrait of the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung that he temporarily cut off funding to the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition’s success helped make Saatchi one of the art world’s most powerful figures.
“He was part of the perfect storm of British art’s success,” Perry said. Since then Saatchi — who is married to celebrity chef Nigella Lawson — has continued to collect, amassing a vast collection. The gallery said even after the donation, Saatchi would still own “many hundreds” of works.
“I think he has a scatter-gun approach but in his trawling he’s picked up some extraordinary stuff,” Perry said. “This is by no means an insignificant gift. It’s the cream of the crop.”
Saatchi’s current gallery opened in 2008 in London’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood and has mounted shows by emerging artists from India, China and the Middle East. Saatchi’s announcement is a boost to an arts community worried about looming cuts to government funding. Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has said ministries will have to slash budgets by up to 25 percent to eliminate the country’s record deficit.
The aim is to keep the space free to the public, with operating funds coming from individual and corporate sponsorship along with revenue from its restaurant, bookshop and rentals for outside events held there. The gift would also include artworks that could be sold to acquire other art so that the museum could remain a showcase for the latest works.
Rebecca Wilson, associate director of the Saatchi Gallery, said as well as the 200-strong core collection, the gift includes other works that can be sold to buy new acquisitions to keep the collection changing and current. The British government has not yet accepted the gift, although discussions are in progress, said Ruth Cairns, a spokeswoman for the Saatchi Gallery, who added that she had no timetable for a final decision. Also unclear is when Mr. Saatchi plans to retire, which Ms. Cairns said had not yet been determined. A statement from the two-year-old gallery also said that Mr. Saatchi would receive no tax benefits from the gift.
She said Saatchi “wants to give London and the country something it wouldn’t have otherwise, which is a very agile collection that can respond quickly to developments in contemporary art from all over the world.”
The owner of the building that houses the gallery on London’s King’s Road, Cadogan Estate, said it hoped the new museum would remain in the same location “for the foreseeable future.” Wilson said the gallery’s staff and management team would stay in place, and Saatchi, who turned 67 last month, was not planning to retire anytime soon.
“He just wants to prepare things for the future and make sure the Saatchi Gallery retains its unique character,” she said.
Check out also an Interseting article about art donations, by Sarah Murray from the Financial Times, who wrote “Art smart: how to donate artworks”.
Photographers A-Z functions as a complete compendium of important photographers of the 20th-century. Included are masters with works hanging in museum collections, as well as the finest in “applied” – fashion, etc. – areas. As you might imagine, the names come in alphabetical order, a brief biographical sketch complementing a series of photographs from each artist.
Available from Taschen.