"...and that's me"
Jeff Koons gave British journalists a rare glimpse into his curious world a few days ago, after inviting them to his New York studio for a personal, guided tour. Referring to his 'Made In Heaven' series, the explicit set of works featuring himself with his former porn-star wife, Ilona, who went by the stage name of Cicciolina, he asked one of his many assistants sitting on computers to pull up a picture he wanted to show the group. "Could we see 'Ilona's asshole?' he said, matter-of-factly, as it emerged on a screen. "And that's me", he said, pointing to a healthy member behind her. He then went on to speak about the train that he is controversially erecting outside Los Angeles County Museum of Art, relating the movement of a train to the sexual act. He said the "woo-woo" noise represented a "plateau of orgasms", before sending the press on their way. I look forward to more of the same when he appears before the starchy British press at the Serpentine Gallery next week, to launch his latest show, Popeye.
Young at arts
The BBC has just signed off a promising three-year deal with Arts Council England for initiatives that aim to turn young, aspiring artists, musicians and actors into household names by providing co-commissions on television, radio and online services. They also aim to give young people a target of five hours of arts and culture a week, as part of the deal. Meanwhile, in another recess of the BBC, a crack panel of arts supremos are believed to have shortlisted applicants for their prized position of 'arts editor'.
Stockwell: the play
The London fringe theatre, The Landor, is to stage a new play about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes called 'Stockwell: The Inquest into the Death of Jean Charles de Menezes'. The theatre is just a few hundred yards from where the killing took place. It opens on 22 July, four years after the 27-year-old Brazilian was shot dead by police officers, and it will feature testimonies from the inquest from "surveillance and firearms officers, senior police coordinators, civilian witnesses to the relatives of de Menezes".
Culture and the secrets of youth
The secret of the new Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw's ever youthful (and lithe) appearance is out: he is a yoga enthusiast, and practises every lunchtime (as well as cycling to work). His "regime" has already drawn the admiration of DCMS insiders, never mind his policies. The MP also plans to choose his own artwork to hang in his new room, from the Government Art Collection, to replace the former Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham's love of Grayson Perry's work. Meanwhile, Culture minister, Barbara Follett has spoken out about women's toilets in old theatres: "Women take longer to go to the loo, and I am tired of spending most of the interval in the loo queue," she explained.
Will Woody woo Carla?
Woody Allen has expressed his interest in using France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, in one of his films. Speaking on a French radio show, Allen said: "I'm sure she would be wonderful. She's got charisma, she's already acted so she's not unknown to an audience. There are a lot of ways I could use her though I don't have a story for her at the moment. But I'll certainly ask her if she is interested." Well, it wouldn't be the first time Allen has cast a tall and supremely beautiful woman as the romantic lead against a short, neurotic man. Who knows if President Sarkozy will be called upon?