The Diary: Marcus Harvey; Uberto Pasolini; The Institute of Contemporary Arts; Nicholas Serota

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Winnie - the last of the Mohicans

Bad-boy artist Marcus Harvey who brought a storm of protest to the doors of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1997 with his portrait of Moors murderer Myra Hindley made from children's handprints, is working on a new series of "irreverent" portraits of famous Britons, including Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, to be exhibited at London's White Cube gallery in February.

For the past three years, Harvey has been constructing the monumental portraits, including a 10ft bronze bust of Churchill sporting a Mohican, based on the Parliament Square statue vandalised in 2000. Another piece is a 15ft mosaic portrait of Thatcher. It will feature her at "her most robust, sexually potent and in control", according to Harvey, and will "exist somewhere between a painting and a sculpture". The use of pornographic imagery cannot be ruled out, the artist warned.

A big hand for the great pretenders

Uberto Pasolini, the brains behind 'The Full Monty', has bemoaned the "personal failure" he felt as the producer of a blockbuster that never got off the ground in Australia a few years ago. 'Eucalyptus', starring Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, was aborted days before filming was to start. But amid his failure to calm the clash of egos that led to the film's demise, he found the seeds of his latest film, 'Machan', watching Aussie television. "It was a story about Sri Lankan immigrant slum-dwellers who set themselves up as the Sri Lankan National Handball Team to obtain visas to work in Germany. They didn't even know how to play the game. I thought it would make a great film," he said. 'Machan' was feted at Venice and took the Festival of German Films by storm this week.

Ooh, you are naughty...

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is offering visitors a chance to view porn by requesting it from "under the counter", at its latest show, Dispersion, which opened this week. Art lovers with a penchant for erotica can ask a projectionist to show any one of Maria Eichhorn's 11 explicit 16mm films depicting a range of sexual practices, from kissing to the more hardcore. She used porn actors to star in her "art". The ICA has posted a warning notice outside, having decided against banning the under-18s.

Canny Serota

Art-sellers may be panicked by plunging auction-house prices, but the cool-headed director of Tate Galleries, Sir Nicholas Serota, has found a silver lining to the credit crunch. While many galleries will have to sit tight for a while, he has discovered a plus side to the bottom falling out of the art market. The Tate, he said, had bought a painting at Sotheby's New York that it couldn't have dreamt of buying before the recession. "Six months ago, we couldn't have afforded it," he said, adding that it will be unveiled in due course.