Just in time for Christmas shopping, London’s PICTURES ON WALLS has announced a new BANKSY print commemorating his Tesco mural in Shoreditch (now covered in protective plastic) is set to go on sale on December 6th. The signed and numbered silkscreen will be available—alongside a number of other prints we could care less about—via a lottery system whereby would-be buyers can purchase a lottery ticket for £1 GBP (up to 20 per person), with all proceeds going to Sight Savers, an international anti-blindness charity, that will ensure them a CHANCE to snag the actual print when it’s released. Unfortunately for international Banksy fans, tickets can only be purchased in person at POW. Winning consumers will be chosen randomly, and the first four names drawn get the print for free. Not a bad deal considering this thing might end up putting your kid through college someday (when people start buying art again)…
ART BASEL might seem like the most unlikely place for a toy release, but in honor of legendary skatepunk artist RICHARD SANCHEZ and the new art book, “Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything,” the new SKATE BAT toy based on his vintage black & white artwork is being debuted at the “Kill Your Idols” punk installation space in Miami’s design district. Created by Kill Your Idols Toys, the 7” tall figure will be released in this original monochrome colorway in a ridiculously small run of FIVE pieces total starting Thursday, December 4th, while a second colorway will be released in a larger run in Spring 2009 at yet-to-be-announced retailers. The venue is located at 3852 N. Miami Ave in Miami’s Design District so diehard collectors best start lining up now. Like, RIGHT now. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
With the seventh annual installment of the reliably trashy and hedonistic art extravaganza known as ART BASEL set to officially kick off tomorrow, the economic crisis at large is bound to be the event’s show-stealer, inevitably drawing attention away from the naked late nite revelry and spending orgies of years past. Speaking to German news source SPIEGEL this week, MARC SPIEGLER, one of the fair’s two heads predicted, “most galleries will probably not break any records this year.” The report went on to detail the grim reality facing the fair’s thousands of international dealers this year as art movers try to make numbers in a time of global economic uncertainty. READ ON: Read More
Hong Kong Sneaker and vinyl fetishists were on cloud nine last week when hoometown art hero MICHAEL LAU opened his “Crazy Force 1” art show at MICHAEL GALLERY. A collaborative project between the seminal toymaker’s “Crazy Children” series and NIKE SPORTSWEAR‘s “1World” Air Force 1 program, the show featured a shoe box-like interior printed with Lau’s “padded cell” print with artwork by Lau visible only through Swoosh-shaped cutouts in the wall. In the far corner of the room stood the artist’s life-sized “Crazy Force” character solo in a corner. Of course no proper collab would be complete without to-die-for limited-edition product and Lau did not disappoint in offering fans a signature Nike Air Force 1 sneaker with an upper constructed of his quilted “padded cell” leather and a pocket-sized version of his “Crazy Force” character. Needless to say, supplies sold out in seconds and Lau’s reputation as the king of the game remained undefeated. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Japan’s Warhol, aka: TAKASHI MURAKAMI, is now poised to become the country’s modern version of Walt Disney after news this week that he’s poised to set up a new animation studio in LA in summer 2009. Operating under the umbrella of KAI KAI KIKI, his artist management & personal production company, the studio will be located on North Highland Ave in close proximity to the nexus of Hollywood studio activity. Having proved his studio’s formidable animation chops with the Kai Kai Kiki-produced video for Kanye West’s “Good Morning,” and the “Superflat Monogram” short for Louis Vuitton, the company’s first pursuit will be the expansion of Murakami’s playfully fecal-friendly “Planting the Seeds” shorts starring his signature characters Kai Kai and Kiki that debuted at his “© Murakami” show in LA and Brooklyn last year into a feature-length film. Said Murakami about his new move into cartoons, “Animation and film have always been among my greatest influences, ever since I first saw ‘Star Wars’ and Hayao Miyazaki’s films. This studio represents a great step in the evolution of Kai Kai Kiki and gives me a closer proximity to the community of artists with whom I hope to collaborate as I continue my explorations of animated and live-action film.”
KANYE WEST “GOOD MORNING”:
“SUPERFLAT MONOGRAM” FOR LOUIS VUITTON:
“PLANTING THE SEEDS” TEASER:
After a record-breaking solo auction at SOTHEBY’S in September that raised a record $200 million USD, DAMIEN HIRST has announced this week that he’s laying off half of his staff of London-based assistants that create the bulk of his art in a factory-style setting under his Science Ltd. studio umbrella. Having explained in July that he would cease production of some of his most (in)famous series of works including the spin, butterfly, and medicine cabinet lines, after the last offerings of each were sold at Sotheby’s, Hirst has scaled back his workforce accordingly, perhaps in anticipation of upcoming artwork that he promises will be more painterly and hands-on with less emphasis on the manufactured sculptural tableaux he’s become famous for. Around 20 of Hirst’s assistants who are earn a reported $30K USD each, have been let go, and although workers have been told not to speak to the press, the artist’s spokesperson Jude Tyrrell explained, “As previously stated by Damien, he is finishing a number of bodies of works which is why temporary contracts have not been renewed. We have to be mindful of the current economic climate and how this may affect us in the future.” After all, art, above all else, must reflect one’s times, no?
In other Hirst news, have a look at Damien’s commentary on his recent entry into the BRITISH MUSEUM’s current “Statuephilia” show and the skull as a metaphor in his art:
The intersection of the fashion and art worlds has become an increasingly trafficked corridor of late, and the show “Christian Dior and Chinese Artists,” that opened at Beijing’s ULLENS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART last week, seeks to satiate China’s seemingly endless appetite for both Western fashion and modern art. Featuring newly commissioned works that express the “essence of Dior” by leading Chinese artists Wang Du, Zhang Huan, Huang Rui, Li Songsong, Zhang Dali, Xu Zhongmin, Liu Jianhua, Zheng Guogu, Lu Hao, Wang Qingsong, Yan Lei, Zhang Xiaogang, Wen Fang, Shi Jingsong, Wang Gongxin, Quentin Shih, Liu Wei, Rong Rong & Inri, Tim Yip, Qiu Zhijie, and Ma Yan Song—displayed alongside epic couture pieces by the brand, the fashion house seeks to further glamorize its stunning aesthetic legacy with an art show of visual hits and misses. Highlights of the show include otherwise socially conscious artist ZHANG DALI’s portrait of Dior designer JOHN GALLIANO using repeating tonal “AK-47” text (although these homages are usually reserved for victims of gun violence); LI SONGSONG‘s two-story Dior purse constructed of fluorescent tubes; and WANG QINGSONG’s Last Supper photo featuring Dior-clad models and the artist himself in hospital pajamas as Christ. While the incredibly hot Chinese art scene has turned into a massive factory system with top artists churning out works created by an army of assistants (often sold directly through art auctions) at breakneck pace, the marriage of the two commodities seems to mostly work in this collaboration and surely hits the spot for the domestic audience for which it’s intended. God knows in this economy all major brands will have their sights focused firmly on China in the coming years with marketing blitzes that will surely make the branding extravaganzas over the last five years in Western markets seem like a warmup run. HAVE A LOOK:
Crowds queued up in record numbers to see Murakami at MoCA last year, but not to donate funds…
As we reported last week, Los Angeles institution MoCA (The Museum of Contemporary Art) is poised to become one of the city’s first cultural casualties as a result of the crippling economic crisis now upon us. That is, until this weekend when THE NY TIMES reported that ELI BROAD, the billionaire philanthropist who is one of this city’s biggest arts patrons, has offered $30 million to help rescue the financially beleaguered Museum of Contemporary Art if the museum’s trustees and other patrons also step up their donations. The offer, made in an op-ed article published Saturday in The Los Angeles Times, is the first concrete proposal to be made public since the museum disclosed this week that it was facing a financial crisis. The museum’s endowment has fallen as much as 75 percent from its high several years ago, to less than $10 million, as the museum has repeatedly dipped into its permanent funds to pay for operations, said people who had been briefed on the museum’s finances but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the situation. In the article, Mr. Broad said that his Broad Art Foundation would invest $30 million “with the expectation that the museum’s board and others join in this effort to solve the institution’s financial problems.” Read more HERE.
Speaking of “Street Art,” the ever-elusive phantom that is the underground art world’s “Damien Hirst,” namely BANKSY, has just released a silk-screened print of an image from his recent swing through New Orleans. Produced by UK print house PICTURES ON WALLS, the signed and numbered edition cashes out at a very hefty £450 GBP (approx. $670 USD), making us hope that in these economically dire times, the proceeds from this very politically-motivated image are being donated to a local New Orleans charity, although no information to confirm this has been released.
Painter KEHINDE WILEY‘s use of highly detailed floral motifs as backgrounds for his intricate portraits is legendary, and now the artist has translated this inspiration literally into a new line of clothing that will be making its commercial debut at the end of the year. Speaking to GQ magazine, Wiley explained: “In Nigeria I bought these amazing fabrics from open-air markets. I brought them back, photographed and sourced them for painting, then wondered what to do with them. I ended up working with the designer DAPO JAMIU-SOYOYE. You know that Michelin Man-style puffy coats? We made a series of those out of the fabrics and are going to sell them in a pop up store in New York in December ’08 or January ’09.” HAVE A LOOK: Read More