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The Diary: Patti Smith vs Jeff Koons; David Hare's 'Wall'; Slumdog Millionaire's success; graffiti "draw-off"

Patti dread

Jeff Koons may have recently earned himself the most expensive commission by a museum (he's creating a life-size locomotive replica at the LA County Museum of Art) but the singer and photographer Patti Smith has expressed her vehement dislike of his work. Speaking in next month's edition of 'The Art Newspaper', she branded him "litter upon the earth", adding: "I find Koons' work especially vile... I look at his stuff and I'm appalled." She also revealed that her artistic sensibility as a young girl from a home of modest means was initially inspired by glossy magazines dug out of people's waste-bins. "I can really trace my affinity with visual arts from finding discarded fashion magazines as a young girl, not my mother's, because those magazines were too expensive for her. I was looking through other people's trash for things to cut out, and coming across issues of 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'Vogue' from the 1950s. I started digging them out of the trash every month."

Wall meet again

David Hare has, apparently, penned a sequel to his play 'Berlin', his meditation about Germany's restored capital which is currently at the National Theatre's Lyttelton stage. It is called 'Wall', and will trace the history of the Berlin Wall and Israel's "defence wall". Just like Hare's one-man show at the National, the sequel will be directed by Stephen Daldry. The play is due to open later this year.

It's an ill wind...

Reflecting on the success of 'Slumdog Millionaire', Peter Carlton, the senior commissioning executive at Film4, which partly funded the film, said its Oscar triumph could be put down to a host of factors. These included a brilliant script by Simon Beaufoy, director Danny Boyle, actors... and the serendipitous recession. "We didn't realise that not only did it have a huge amount of talent, the film had the added ingredient – the first feel-good movie of the recession."

Speedy graffiti

A "draw-off" which pits underground artists and designers against each other to draw a large-scale image with a black market pen on a wall in a short space of time is coming. Terry Guy, a London-based designer, said he began the practice a few years ago in London and has since set up battles in Sweden, Germany and America. Originally done on a whitewashed wall in Shoreditch, the London finals now take place on 21 March at Village Underground, near Old Street. Applications through secretwars.co.uk.


Eduardo Niebla, the flamenco jazz guitarist who's playing at the South Bank's Purcell Rooms tonight, says he is all for classical/pop crossovers. He has worked with the likes of Craig David and George Michael, and most recently with Ben Watkins, the electronic music composer who penned the soundtrack to 'The Matrix'. He is quite happy to create his own blend of DIY crossover at home, too: "Flamenco sounds good with a lot of other sounds. At home, I play my guitar and improvise over adverts on TV or pop music that my children are listening to. The blend sounds good."