The Diary: Turner Prize; WWF's panda boxes; Tracey Emin; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Chapman Brothers
Friday 09 October 2009
It's enough to Turner a lady's head
Ricki Lake, the American television star, who was taking a look at the offerings at the Turner Prize private view this week, admitted to being an avid fan of contemporary art and a collector of works by Andy Warhol, Idris Khan, Nigel Cooke and unsurprisingly, the film-maker and artist, John Waters, who directed her in the cult film, "Hairspray", the comedy in which she starred opposite Divine and Debbie Harry. And if Nicholas Serota is at a loss as to who to ask to present the Turner prize this year, Lake said she'd "love to" to step into the breach. She would certainly be following a trend set by a spate of celebrity Turner Prize presenters including Madonna and Dennis Hopper.
Pandering to WWF
The iconic panda donation boxes, which raised funds for the WWF between the 1960s and 2007, are making a comeback. The WWF has enlisted a group of artists to help relaunch the decommissioned boxes. Original works by Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Sir Paul Smith, Jason Bruges, Jim Lambie, Gary Hume, Mark Titchner, Jane Simpson, Rachel Whiteread and Gavin Turk, will recreate the panda collection boxes to raise awareness of climate change. The works will be auctioned on 12 October in London's Selfridges.
Emin's brush off
Last week, the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, told 'The Spectator' editor, Fraser Nelson, that of all the living British artists, the one he would most like to be painted by is Tracey Emin. Her response? She said rather tartly: "Do you really think David Cameron would like to spend 6 months holed up in my studio whilst I sew his portrait on to an old Army surplus blanket?" Well, even if he were prepared for the experience, she's off to France to be a tax exile anyway, as she revealed over the weekend.
Swapping musical notes for bank notes
The new music ensemble Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has begun a Sound Investment scheme which gives ordinary punters the opportunity to "invest in the masterworks of the future" (according to its founding patron, Sir Simon Rattle). A donation of £150 buys you a "Sound Unit" in a new commission chosen by you from group's share portfolio of upcoming works. "Dividends" include your name inscribed in the score, invitations to rehearsals, a chance to meet the composer and a signed copy of the score. The opening concert of the season at its home base in Birmingham on 16 October, conducted by Diego Masson, includes Vic Hoyland's "Hey Presto!..moon-flower-bat", Richard Causton's "Chamber Symphony", and Simon Holt's "Capriccio Spectralle". Not so much a concert – more a shareholders' meeting!
Installation not for the faint-hearted
The Chapman Brothers have created an "installation" consisting of real faeces, originally called "Shit Vitrine", which is apparently their first audience-participation work. The piece, which involves a glass box with a pair of holes filled with surgical gloves that allows participants to insert their arms into the box where a human skull has been placed surrounded by, um, excrement, was due to be shown at a temporary space on Upper Brook Street in Mayfair by Paradise Row Gallery but has now been replaced by a piece which involves taxidermied animals and a see-saw. This artwork will sit in the same space in which four children – including a daughter of the "Mission Impossible" actress, Thandie Newton – will act as "art dealer" for the day, showing visitors around. Let's hope they've got a sturdy stomach. The show, called Play: A Festival of Fun, opens today and runs until the end of November.
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