Champagne and vodka
The Art Newspaper Russia launched in Moscow this week, with events in the Italian Garden at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the Italian Embassy. Nicolas Iljine, who is VP of international development at Tom Krens’s Global Culture Asset Management, was on hand at the festivities and shared a nice description of the event with us on Facebook: “Queues stood in front of the Russian publisher Inna Bazhenova & editor-in-chief Milena Orlova waiting to congratulate them and give flowers to the makers and shakers of the Russian edition, of which the 64 page pilot edition was distributed at the exit in a modest brown paper bag… An eclectic mix of artists, museum directors, journalists, gallerists and collectors—all future subscribers—were pleasantly surprised by the informal and friendly atmosphere of this very special event and even the dozens of cameras clicking did not spoil the fun.” We’re glad everyone enjoyed the party, and to our Russian colleagues: Pozdravlyayu! For a gallery of party pics, click here to see the slideshow.
Giverny in a new light
What would Monet think? The impressionist’s peaceful home recently hosted some very vibrant visitors—the artists E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler. The pair collaborated on a series of photographic works in the gardens of Giverny and they are now showing them at The Hole gallery from 30 March. Pfahler, dressed in her signature day-glo body paint and fright wig, somehow seems to fit well in the lush greenery. And even better, the exhibition is funded by Playboy.com, which has allowed the gallery to “be transformed into a living, breathing garden—with a lily-padded pond traversed by Monet’s signature green Japanese arched bridge, and scattered with the indigenous plants he is famous for painting. The walls of the exhibition will be printed with the almost claustrophobically green willow trees that surround this historic French site, and your first step into the gallery will be onto grass.” Actually, sounds like Monet might have liked the contemporary interpretation.
Saved: London arts hub lives on
One of London's most pleasant art enclaves looks set to be saved from the bulldozer with Borough & Bankside community council rejecting plans to redevelop the Glasshill Street artists' studios in Southwark south of the River Thames. According to the londonse1 website, councillors were not convinced by the developer's justification for partially demolishing the striking 20th-century workshop buildings located in a prime conservation area.The Art Newspaper feels, however, duty bound at this point to issue a neon-lit disclaimer: Ben Tomlinson, a TAN employee, runs Alma Enterprises Gallery, which occupies a Glasshill Street building previously under threat (while we're on the subject, an exhibition of works by Alex Baggaley opens at the top-notch venue on 11 May).
Which auction house and which Dutch blue-chip artist?
A Christie auction with a Van Gogh for just a few pounds. It may sound too good to be true, but the sale takes place on 25 March in the Christie Room, at the Kensington Hilton in London. The clearance auction is being organised by Mayfair Art Purveyors Ltd, who explain that this follows the decision of Philadelphia-based I. Brewster & Co to abandon the opening of a 20,000 sq. ft gallery in the UK. A Mayfair spokesman says that the Van Gogh flower still-life which features in their advertisements is a "limited-edition reproduction print". As to the venue, the fact that its name is similar to one of the major auction houses is coincidence. A Christie's spokesman confirmed this, saying it is "nothing to do with us". A little bit of detective work, and we worked out how the room was named. Agatha Christie was one of the Hilton's illustrious neighbours; she lived a few streets away in the 1930s.
In the saddle at Tefaf
Sales continue to be made at Tefaf (until 25 March) but a purchase of an equine nature is making waves in Maastricht. A Dutch private collector has snapped up Trojan Horse, 2011, the massive lead construction of a horse’s head by British artist Nic Fiddian Green, which dominates the stand of London's Sladmore Gallery. The artist attended the opening day of the fair, incognito despite his jaunty embroidered black velvet trousers. His work is known to hoards of Londoners and visitors to the capital through his monumental bronze Horse at Water, 2010, which, at nine metres high, looms above the traffic at Marble Arch. The Sladmore’s space at Tefaf was designed around the sculpture, which was transported in five pieces by lorry the weekend before the fair opened on 15 March. It was re-assembled by the artist and his assistant over two days. “I feel honoured to be at Tefaf; we’re surrounded by some of the world’s greatest treasures. The creators of most of the art here are dead but their art is alive. People want to own it," quipped Fiddian Green.
Time to make the donuts
Cue our Homer Simpson drooling sound. The smell of donuts will fill the air near Lacma this weekend where, in conjunction with a 24-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock at the museum, the online arts calendar site ForYourArt is hosting a simultaneous all-day event to celebrate the opening of its new activity space at 6020 Wilshire Boulevard. From noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday, hungry art lovers can visit an “edible exhibition of LA’s signature donuts for free”, according to the press release, offering a “curated selection of the American treat over the 24-hour time frame, presenting a new selection every two hours”. The idea came from the city’s many ‘round the clock donut shops, which the release tells us makes “Los Angeles… arguably the donut capital of the United States”. Who knew? Just look out for Kenny Scharf’s Donut Truck (above), which will be parked outside ForYourArt to welcome guests.
In the Frame is always on the look out for art historical gems which is why we’re taken with a set of seven striking drawings by the French-German artist Jean Hans Arp on show at Luxembourg & Dayan in London’s Savile Row (until 13 April). The works, made in India ink and pencil on paper, illustrated Tristan Tzara’s poetry book De Nos Oiseaux, published in 1923. Look carefully for the pencil lines underpinning the deft depictions of a bird and lion, among other subjects. Incredibly, Arp is Art is the first London exhibition to focus on the artist exclusively since his death in 1966, say the organisers. The show includes around 20 objects, such as paper and painted wood collages and embroidery, made between 1914 and 1959 by Arp, a founding member of the Dada movement. His playful, adroit creations make him one of the most underrated forerunners of contemporary art; his Tête piece, a 1927 painted and cut-out board that once belonged to André Breton, is proof enough that Arp is indeed Art as the exhibition title so eloquently states.
Michelangelo heads to Maastricht
Where else in the world on a Thursday afternoon would you find the head of Michelangelo? At Tefaf Maastricht of course. This striking depiction of the Italian genius takes pride of place at Altomani & Sons of Milan. A gallery representative cheekily exclaimed that he recently bought the eye-catching bust at a new York auction for "2,000 bucks". "It was just lying on its side at the auctioneers," he said. The sculpture, attributed to the Italian mannerist Daniele Ricciarelli's workshop, is now available for €250,000, giving Michelangelo a very healthy mark-up.
The title of a new exhibition opening 21 March at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London says it all. Sweethearts: Artist Couples brings together high-profile artists, designers and architects and their other halves. "The resulting work will examine the condition of working together, the quiet influence that one partner may have exerted upon the other, and the cross fertilisation of ideas and techniques that may have crept into each other's practice," reads the rather eloquent press statement. Gary Hume and Georgie Hopton, Antony Gormley and Vicken Parsons, Rem Koolhaas and Madelon Vriesendorp, and Richard Wentworth and Jane Wentworth are among the creative couples included in the show. But be warned: "Artist duos who collaborate in their day to day practice are not included," say the organisers.
Artoon: Life is short…
Artoon by Pablo Helguera: "Life is short, art is long—art fairs fall somewhere in between." See more of his cartoons about the art world in our monthly print editions, as well as on his website and Facebook page.
Mural men at work
Going up on Houston Street Thursday afternoon, just down the road from The Art Newspaper’s New York offices, is a giant mural promoting the Brooklyn-based painter Kehinde Wiley’s exhibition at the Jewish Museum, “The World Stage: Israel” (9 March-29 July). The 20ft by 35ft wallscape recreates Wiley’s portrait of a young Jewish Ethiopian-Israeli man Alios Itzhak, and is being painted by three artists from Overall Murals. The work has been enlarged through a combination of cutting-edge technology and old school techniques, such as stencils “pounced” with holes that the artists will use to transfer the image onto the wall in charcoal dust. The mural will be up until 23 May.
The ever ebullient London dealer Kenny Schachter wryly points out that the only confirmed sale made at the opening of his new exhibition “Friends & Family” (Rove, Hoxton Square, until 15 April) —a show he co-curated with his sons Adrian, 14, and Kai, 15 —was an abstract piece (above) bought by a “known contemporary dealer” for £500. The work, however, was not by Damien Hirst, Sigmar Polke or some of the other stellar artists on offer, but Gabriel, 12, another arty Schachter sibling, prompting Kenny to quip that the move “gives new meaning to work by young, emerging artists”. And what of the debacle when a rather energetic young dancer damaged Tracey Emin’s piece How I Wish I Slept at the private view? “In the end, Tracey took her pieces, the slightly broken and the not broken at all, out of the show, which is a shame as it’s still up until the middle of April,” says the ever so slightly dejected dealer.
From Hirst assistant to solo show
Many people tend to forget about the scores of assistants that help Damien Hirst produce his work, but even fewer are aware that a lot of them are artists in their own right. Colin Glen is exhibiting a varied body of work centred around two, found, wire objects, a tangled ball and a circle. He studies the thin shadows produced by the wires and meticulously reinterprets them as pencil-on-paper drawings and larger canvases made using graphite powder and oil. His work is being shown at London’s quirky and historically significant gallery, T.J. Boulting, which is housed in a listed 19th-century building that still sports a sign saying “T.J Boulting & Sons. Gas & Electrical Engineers est 1808”. The gallery’s owner, Gigi Giannuzzi, who also founded the publishing house Trolley Books, decided to name his gallery after the building’s old occupants. The selling show “Colin Glen: from Confusion to Clarity” runs until 14 April.
Don't hold back G&G
Those mischievous scamps Gilbert & George have been letting off steam again in an interview with London's Evening Standard. "We’d rather side with the bankers than some vegan protester twit on benefits," say the veteran art world duo on the eve of a smorgasbord of shows opening at the three London White Cube galleries and a new White Cube space in Hong Kong this month. The Migrations show at Tate Britain (until 12 August), which looks at the impact of migrant artists on British art, is “racist in the extreme” according to the pair who believe mayor Boris Johnson is "a wonderful modern person". And what of Lucian Freud? “We think that Freud is a kind of conservative art. What we are doing is very different. We fought for a different form, and we invented it for ourselves. Our motto is to stick to that." Belated congrats are in order however as four years G&G had a civil partnership ceremony at Bow register office.
Cakes, a cuppa and the Ka'bah
The British Museum flies the flag for Blighty throughout its Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam exhibition (until 15 April). Its Hajj afternoon tea package takes in traditional English afternoon tea in the museum's Great Court restaurant with scones, sandwiches and a lovely brew to boot. Entrance to the show, along with the tea, costs a princely £28.
Probing the mind of Mr Perry
A trio of artists went on the couch last weekend at the Cruciform Lecture Theatre in London when Patricia Townsend, a PhD student at the Slade School of Fine Art, organised a conference on the intriguing theme of "Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process" (25 February). Grayson Perry, always game, was in conversation with Valerie Sinason, Sharon Kivland with Kenneth Wright, and Martin Creed with Lesley Caldwell. Eyebrow-raising topics that came up included "the idea that both art and psychoanalysis are truth seeking; an insight into the artistic processes of three very different artists and the different ways in which each goes about making a new work of art; and the effect of being in therapy on the artist's process and the idea that psychotherapy helps rather than hinders that process," comments Townsend.