Entertainment behind the scenes
Colombian artist Fernando Botero says his iconic overstuffed figures are helping to re-inflate art that has gone limp.
“Volume was an element neglected in the 20th century. The paintings became flat,” Botero told reporters in Istanbul at the opening of a new exhibition. “Whatever I paint — man, woman, still life, landscape — there is always this presence of volume.”
Sixty-four of Botero’s larger-than-life works are on display in three viewing galleries at Istanbul’s Pera Museum . The show begins this week and runs through July 18.
The corpulent characters may be hyperbolic, the Medillin-born artist said, but their size is what adds vitality to his work. To Botero, volume is as essential in painting as colour and form.
Critics have united in their condemnation of British artist Damien Hirst’s latest works – a series of paintings that are on show at the Wallace Collection in London.
At times it seems the 44-year-old, famous for his pickled animals, pill cabinets and spot paintings, can do no wrong. Just over a year ago he made 111 million pounds at a sale of new works, confirming his status as the most sought-after living artist.
Britain’s Turner Prize prides itself on whipping up the art world’s equivalent of a storm each year with exhibits that are often designed to shock and upset. The only shock this time around, it seems, is that there is no shock.
Sure, Cathy Wilkes has a mannequin sitting cross-legged on a toilet as part of her installation, but critics are saying that that’s about as close as the four shortlisted artists come to anything like controversy. Let’s not forget, the annual award has been won recently by a man in a bear suit, a shed-cum-boat-cum-shed and an empty room in which the lights go on and off.
Think what you like about the art – and several leading critics question whether it is art at all – there are enough people desperate to get their hands on an original Damien Hirst to ensure that his recent, audacious sale of 223 new works at Sotheby’s was a resounding success.
Commentators have huffed and puffed about the insanity of it all — Damien Hirst, reproducing the kind of works he has been creating for years, yet still able to earn a staggering 111 million pounds (minus commission to the auctioneer) to add to his already sizeable fortune.
The ”Is It Art” debate is up and running again in the UK. Unsurprisingly, it involves Martin Creed, a conceptual artist who most famously won the Turner Prize in 2001 for his installation of an empty room with a light switching on and off.
Well, Creed is back, this time with a work involving runners sprinting the length of Tate Britain’s neo-classical galleries (86 metres in all) at 30 second intervals. 50 people earning $20 an hour will keep “Work No 850″ going for the next four months or so, and the gallery has warned visitors not to interfere with the sprinters. It will be interesting to see how they cope on a crowded Sunday afternoon.
OK, there are some artists out there who are considered to be pretty special. Michelangelo could carve a mean nude and Picasso was quite good at painting in blue. But visiting a new exhibition this week made me wonder whether the most important factor in an artist’s success or otherwise is none other than Lady Luck?
Mat Collishaw was part of the “Young British Artists” brat pack in the 1990s, and had a relationship with one of its leading lights Tracey Emin. Like his contemporaries, his art had the power to shock and disturb. His ideas, it seems to me, were no less interesting than his peers’, and his technical ability on a par. And yet, while Hirst, and to a lesser extent, Emin rose to superstardom and considerable wealth, others like Collishaw did not.