Bad boy footballer to be “immortalised” in bronze
Fears that Mario Balotelli's departure from Manchester City would leave football fans leading an altogether duller existence have been allayed by the news that the madcap striker is preparing to expand his collection of contemporary art (reportedly kept in his attic) by commissioning a life-sized statue. Of himself. The AC Milan player—whose antics in England included a physical fight with his manager, giving £1,000 in casino winnings to a homeless person and setting fire to his bathroom during an impromptu indoor firework display—has dictated the statue's pose. The artist, Livio Scarpella, told Il Giornale di Brescia that Mario “wanted to be immortalised in a pose that shows him having scored a goal, highlighting his muscles and with an expression of defiance. I have imagined him as an athlete from ancient times and the statue will be a mix of Classical and Pop style, in platinum and coloured bronze with the eyes made of stones.” All of which goes to show that money can't buy you class.
Salman Rushdie portrait to slumber in London (after Paris no show)
It's not often you see the headline-hitting UK author Salman Rushdie rendered as a dozing 3-D digital animation. But visitors will get the chance to see this Warhol-esque, somnolent spectacle, Sleep Al-Naim, in an exhibition due to open at Paradise Row gallery in London on 19 April (until1 June) devoted to the Tangier-born, multimedia artist Mounir Fatmi. "Paris's Institut du Monde Arabe [IMA] removed Fatmi’s video piece Sleep Al-Naim from an exhibition on Arabic creativity fearing the work would incite controversy," says a press statement from Paradise Row. Not so, says the IMA. The institution says that Fatmi's piece was not pulled from its exhibition "25 Years of Arab Creativity", which closed earlier this month. "As is often the case with a group show, various works were put forward for the exhibition before the opening although the Institut did establish an agreement with Fatmi [regarding the selection]," says a spokesman for the IMA. Intriguingly, Fatmi's video installation Les Temps Modernes, une Histoire de la Machine-la Chute, 2012, was shown in Paris. The forthcoming exhibition in London, meanwhile, will also include new works from Fatmi's series "Circles", 2011, and a selection of sculptures comprising circular saw blades inscribed with Koranic phrases.
Hot stuff from Lagerfeld
Is there no end to the talents of Karl Lagerfeld? The headline-hitting German fashion designer has used fire and acid to create a series of ambitious, eye-popping portraits on glass. "Fire Etchings" is on view at Galerie Gmurzynska in St. Moritz (until 23 March). A bold press statement reads: "Large-scale and unique, the exhibition focuses on images Lagerfeld has abstracted of some of his current muses: the rapper, Theophilus London; and the models, Freja Beha Erichsen and Aymeline Valade. Together these pieces create Lagerfeld’s answer to contemporary portraiture."
How do you say "shoo kitty" in Latin?
Anyone with a cat and a laptop at home will feel sympathy for the medieval scribe who worked on this manuscript. The photo was posted on Twitter recently by Erik Kwakkel, a book historian at Leiden University, and picked up by the television veterinarian Marty Becker, and has since gone viral (thanks to our fair photographer Casey Fatchett for bringing it to our attention). As Becker points out on Facebook: “Has your cat ever walked across your keyboard? Well, it's not a new problem. Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel recently Tweeted this photo of a 15th-century book with... you guessed it... cat paw prints in ink on the pages! We're part of a long and glorious historical movement, friends.” And Kwakkel is thankful for, if a little surprised by, all the attention. “That cat is a saint to me,” the historian wrote on Twitter today. “200 new manuscript lovers in 24 hours, 16k likes on someone's fb. Powerful stuff.”
Ai Weiwei takes to the stage
A new play, "#aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei", which opens at the Hampstead Theatre in London on 11 April, should provide new insights into why the eponymous, high-profile Chinese artist was detained by the Chinese government in April 2011. Howard Brenton's new play is based on author Barnaby Martin's conversations with Ai Weiwei following his release in June 2011 after more than two months in detention (the government claimed that his imprisonment related to tax evasion). "I spent several days talking to Weiwei about his experiences in prison, his art and activism, his theories of art, reality and the individual, and his thoughts on the future of China. Weiwei is a natural raconteur and although he was still deeply traumatised by his experience inside, he went back through the experiences of his detention and recounted, in his inimitable English, the most incredible and bizarre story I have ever heard," says Martin.
Raqib's rousing Valentine's soirée
There was glitterati all round at the Manchester Art Gallery last night—from the glamorous guests to the rhinestone-studded, glitter-smattered works—at the opening of Raqib Shaw's lavish new show (until 26 May). More than 1,000 guests packed into the space for the Valentine's night event specially curated by Shaw himself under the romantic title of "La Nuit d'Amour". The independent curator Sir Norman Rosenthal waxed lyrical about Shaw's ornate, richly coloured pieces ("I think he's an extraordinary artist," he tells The Art Newspaper, "and has invented the the most amazing artistic language"). Shaw's dealers, Jay Jopling and Thaddaeus Ropac, dropped in to the exhibition which is proving a smorgasbord for the senses, from the sculpture Narcissus (White), 2010, housed in a grotto of organic materials at the top of the staircase, to the waves of willow and driftwood planted with spring bulbs outside the gallery.
No more horn section in Denmark
The Danish auction house Bruun Rasmussen has stopped selling rhinoceros horns following complaints from the public and the local chapter of the World Wildlife Fund. “At Bruun Rasmussen we have taken note of the numerous enquiries from the public, and… have decided to tighten up on our ethical guidelines,” it announced in a statement. In December, it withdrew from sale two polished rhinoceros horns, weighing 1.7kg and 4.2kg respectively and estimated at DKr150,000-DKr200,000 (€20,000-€27 000) and Dkr300,000-DKr400,000 (€40,000-€54,000). —Clemens Bomsdorf
Mike's take on Turner
It's been in the pipeline for a while but the renowned UK director Mike Leigh is reportedly due to start filming his biopic of the 19th-century British artist J.M.W. Turner with Timothy Spall in the lead role. "Turner as a character is compelling," said Leigh. "I want to explore the man, his working life, his relationships and how he lived." Leigh's take on Turner should be interesting. He once told the Washington Post: "My ongoing preoccupation is with families, relationships, parents, children, sex, work, surviving, being born and dying."
Kraftwerk conquer the Turbine Hall
For fans of Kraftwerk, electronica or indeed the pop canon of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, those who made their way into Tate Modern's Turbine Hall—including Boy George and OMD's Andy McCluskey —for the first in a series of eight concerts by the German techno-meisters were the “luckiest people in London”. It was not, perhaps, the most diverse crowd (men appeared to outnumber women by three to one, and the distinctive silver locks of Tate Modern's director, Chris Dercon, blended seamlessly into the 1,000-strong, black-clad, Modernist, middle-aged crowd). But as Ralf Hütter—the sole original member—and his three faceless compadres kicked off with “The Robots” (from the 1978 album “The Man-Machine”), accompanied by a spectacular 3D graphic display, the combination of the blacked-out factory space at night, the deadpan conceptualism, the imagery and the sheer catchiness of some of Kraftwerk's finest tunes induced a sense of youthful excitement. The core of the evening was 1974's breakthrough album “Autobahn”, plus some of the band's later hits. The updating of “Radioactivity” (1975) to namecheck the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and an airing of the Deutsche Bank-bashing “Computer World” (1981), were reminders that the hot political topics of the 1970s and 80s have not gone away—and were reminders of how original and influential Kraftwerk were and are. An unmissable night, and a rare one for a gig-going female: not a single queue for the ladies' loo.
Shades of Freud
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sunglasses can be so much more. New York’s Neue Galerie is selling Sigmund Freud-style sunshades for $385. The Viennese father of psychoanalysis would be shocked to discover that his early 20th-century “signature” reading spectacles have been turned into a fashion statement, with darkened lenses for the wearer to hide behind. A Neue Galerie statement explains that “his circular eyeglasses remain a distinct [distinctive?] part of Freud’s visual identity and memory, and the Sigmund Freud Sunshades are a contemporary tribute to this legacy”. For those wanting to protect their “hand-crafted celluloid frames styled faithfully after Freud’s everyday eyewear”, there is a leather case—for just an extra $95. The gallery director, Renée Price, tells us that for several years they have sold the limited-edition case, authorised by the Freud Museum in Vienna, and “we then decided to fill it!”—hence the launch of the Freudian shades.
So surreal at Sotheby's
If food is the way to art collectors’ hearts, Sotheby’s may be on to a winner with its latest menu. The auction house teamed up with The Hill Food Company to devise an afternoon tea inspired by works consigned to its Surrealist Art Sale in London yesterday (5 February). “We wanted to add a celebratory feel to the view and bring out the fun behind Surrealism. It’s all about turning the traditional English tea on its head, in a suitably surreal way,” says Giulia Costantini, Sotheby’s European marketing director. Visitors at the café this weekend certainly seemed to be enjoying decorating biscuits with paint tubes bursting with beetroot purée, the ‘I’m not a biscuit’ Magritte-style biscuits and Dali-esque melting clocks, which were sprawled across cupcakes. So, can we hope for future collaborations between the sale rooms and kitchen? “Watch this space,” says Costantini.
Calling 80s fashion fanatics
Back comb the big hair and slip on those acid washed jeans.... the Victoria and Albert Museum in London goes back to the 1980s with an exhibition devoted to the fashions and trends of the decade dominated by Maggie, Madonna and Super Mario (“Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s”, 10 July-16 February 2014). A jaunty set of jackets commissioned in 1986 by Blitz magazine is, however, missing from the parade. The jackets, 22 in all, were made by Levi Strauss & Co; the V&A has nine in its collection but its senior curator of fashion, Claire Wilcox, has issued an appeal to find the remaining 13 designed by John Galliano, Zandra Rhodes, and Paul Smith, among others. Let's hope the undiscovered garments are as outlandish as stylist Stephen Linard's jacket, housed at the V&A, which has a removable hip flask, handbag and patisserie set (a cake knife and spoon apparently hang elegantly on the sleeve).