Bravo is set to launch new reality TV show called The Bachelor’s Apprentice: Artist Edition, where the winner gets to date a high-profile art dealer and get gallery representation.
‘I’m looking for the next hot artist—and love, of course,’ says the Blue Chip dealer who is set to star in the show.
The high-profile art dealer has been confirmed as the leading man for a special art mash-up of two of the most popular reality TV programmes: The Batchelor and The Apprentice.
In the new show, 12 young unknown artists will battle it out for the love of a high-profile art dealer, as well as a two-year contract with the blue chip gallery.
The identity of the dealer is being kept tightly under wraps by TV executives and will be revealed next month ahead of the programme’s first episode. However, the dealer spoke to The Art Newspaper on condition of anonymity. He says: “I’m looking forward to discovering the next hot thing, the next art star—and finding love, of course”.
The lucky winner will get to jet off with the bachelor to the world’s major art fairs—in cities such as London, Los Angeles and Basel—as well as joining the art dealer’s roster of high profile artists.
“In my opinion, being an artist is more than just a career choice, it’s a true calling, a way of life. So I can offer both love and a career boost with my galleries on three continents,” says the veteran dealer.
Insiders at Bravo have also exclusively told The Art Newspaper they are working on further art-themed reality TV shows. “The art world is hot hot hot right now, it has glamour and it has passion,” says an insider. The other shows that are in the works include: Real Housewives of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Below Deck: Collector’s Yacht Special and I’m An Curator… Get Me Away from the Needy Artists.
The (art) revolution may be randomised. The British mega-artist Damien Hirst has launched a new tech-heavy take on his splashy three-decades-old Spin Paintings.
It is called The Beautiful Paintings and allows collectors to use an app dashboard—developed with the art services and technology business Heni—to order a non-fungible token (NFT), minted on the Ethereum blockchain, make it round or square and have it printed out or not, in one of four sizes. All without a hint of the spinning turntable or splash of paint that characterised Hirst’s Spin collaborations with the musician David Bowie—in the shape of Beautiful, hallo, space-boy painting (1995)—and others. The “drop”, during which buyers will be able to generate and buy the NFTs, runs until 10 April.
A project statement describes The Beautiful Paintings as “a radical move to expand the limits of digital and physical art creation”.
I have called the series The Beautiful Paintings for obvious reasons
Buyers can use the “Spin Generator” on the Beautiful Paintings dashboard to choose from a menu of styles and colours. The sample colour names were conjured up using machine learning—the organisational, categorising tech that also underlies artificial intelligence—which generated the terms Himalayan Waters, Cracked Grass, Interdimensional Cloud, Dolphin’s Whiskers, Tangerine Pine and others. The spin painting styles on offer, 25 in all, include some names reminiscent of climactic phenomena—Vapors, Whirlwinds, Bursting Rivers and Cyclones—or outer space—Comets, Star Clusters and Nebulas. On both the “Colors” and “Spin Style” panels on the app, there is a “Randomise” button.
The randomising function was included to replicate the fugitive, unpredictable nature of Hirst’s Spin paintings and to make sure than no two dashboard-generated NFTs will be the same. The final bit of randomising is the “playfully long and descriptive” naming of the finished work, using more machine learning, this time sitting on a neural network (something wired to imitate the working of a human or animal brain). Each randomly generated name will start with the word “Beautiful” and end with the word “Painting”.
“The model allows for a never-ending variety of new and unseen titles,” according to the project press statement, “that follow the format of [Hirst’s] existing Spin Paintings.”
The NFTS are priced at $2,000 apiece and the print-outs (signed by Hirst)—made after using an algorithm to enlarge the digital file to an ultra-high resolution—range from $1,500 to $6,000. A selection of printed works are on show at the Heni Gallery in London’s Soho until 10 April.
“I have called the series ‘The Beautiful Paintings’ for obvious reasons,” Hirst announced on Twitter.
Sixty years after her first London show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), the Pop Art pioneer Jann Haworth embraces a “soft and warm” fabric-centred sensibility in new works showing in Out of the Rectangle (until 13 May), at Gazelli Art House, in Dover Street. In 1963, Haworth was one of Four Young Artists showing at the then home of the ICA in Dover Street Market, just 30 metres up the street from her latest show.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, and the dislocation it brought to her daily life in Sundance, Utah, Haworth felt the need for materials “soft” and “warm”, and an escape from the rigidity of stretched canvas. She steps “out of the rectangle” in her London show withsix new painted fabric hangings, deliberately scaled to seem large or slightly oversize to the approaching viewer, in which the American-born artist addresses her concern with the myth of the Wild West and the American cowboy, and revisits the female corset, examining that garment’s transformative power to constrain, to expand and to lie or hang flat.
“It has surprised me,” Haworth told The Art Newspaper of her new, soft, fabric pieces. “Something acted differently,” she says, during the pandemic. She had previously been used to working out her artistic ideas intellectually in a Sundance café, where she could sit, write and sketch for four hours at a time, with the “coffee-shop sound” around her.
“These works,” she says, “come from a different place”. An emotional one. “I am used to doing things intellectually,” she says, and laughs at the imaginary picture of Harold Cohen—her famously exacting tutor at the Slade School of Art in London who went on to be a pioneer of computer art in California—wagging his finger at her for not having a clear reason for every mark that she makes in her latest work.
Untitled (Corset) (2022), strikingly placed at the back of the ground floor space, ismade up of stitched lengths of painted linen and cotton, suspended on interlocking crosses, daubed in the vividly natural colours of the desert country around Sundance. In the painted lengths of cloth, Haworth told The Art Newspaper, she sometimes caught a moment of pure abstraction. The cloth strips are cut and stitched from larger pieces, where she let “splashes happen in a loose, gestural way”, in the manner of Japanese calligraphy, before selecting a “highly precious” piece of the cloth and bringing it “into a straitjacket” by cutting and stitching. “I like the contrast,” she says, “between that very loose event, then the very strict sixteenth-of-an-inch precision [of cutting and stitching]”.
Another corset-themed piece, Pandemic Blue (2022), has lengths of painted cloth deeply layered and interwoven with a circular blond-wood frame. It features the same palette, one that is grounded in the warm colours of the Utah desert, contrasted with the vivid blue of a sky that was, Haworth recalls, a revelation when unpolluted by traffic and aeroplane fumes at the height of the pandemic.
“The mountains and the desert support this rainbow of colours,” Haworth says. “There’s a kind of biological substance, desert varnish … that stains the rock to Vandyke browns and blacks. All the [desert and mountain] colours are warm. It’s not lemony yellow it’s an ‘ochrey’ yellow. They are not cold reds. They are warm hot, cinnabar reds. Everything melds together.” She creates those warm colours with old master oils, some of them mined from the earth and part of nature’s palette.
Out of the Rectangle includes one of the soft stitched-cotton sculptures from Haworth’s 1963 ICA show—Old Lady (1962-63)—a work which also appears in the album cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). In the cover shot famously co-created by Haworth, her then husband and fellow Pop artist Peter Blake and the photographer Michael Cooper, the figure of Old Lady is posed front right with one of Haworth’s dolls of the child actress Shirley Temple, sporting a striped jersey, placed on its lap.
In the mid-1960s Haworth and Blake worked regularly with Madame Tussaud’s waxworks in London, designing posters and creating installations for its charismatic managing director Peter Gatacre. Gatacre employed a galaxy of young talent including the stage designer Timothy O’Brien, who created a montage of Admiral Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar. For a 1967 show at Tussaud’s, Heroes Live!, Blake created a rose bower and supplied a mini dress for a waxwork of the film star Brigitte Bardot, then at the height of her fame. For Bardot’s bower, Blake was inspired, Haworth recalls, by Keith Henderson and Norman Wilkinson’s ravishing illustrations for a 1911 edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s translation ofThe Romaunt of the Rose.
Haworth meanwhile was making a 48-foot giant, based on the film actor Charles Bronson, to stand in the well of the three-storey main staircase at Madame Tussaud’s, its arms resting on the top balustrade. For this huge inflated figure, she cast a head over six feet tall in latex, made rainbow corduroy trousers, used stair-carpet for the belt, and a picture-frame for the belt buckle.
When they created the Sgt Pepper scenario at Cooper’s studio in Chelsea, west London, Blake and Haworth used waxworks borrowed from Madame Tussaud’s for the foreground figures—the four Beatles (to stand next to the flesh-and-blood Fab Four), the boxer Sonny Liston, the actress Diana Dors— as well as Haworth’s soft-sculpture figures, including three Shirley Temple dolls in all.
Out of the Rectangle’s headline acts are two large, over-size cloth and canvas cloaks—Colour Film Cloak (2023), painted with oils, and Black and White Film Cloak (2023), painted with acrylics. They are kimono-like but in fact based on Haworth’s early conical dresses, designed both to hang and to lie flat.
Haworth was brought up at the heart of Hollywood, and her father Ted Haworth won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Sayonara (1957) and was nominated for his work on Marty (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959) and other films. Down the front of each of the cloth and canvas cloaks, and along its arms, are totem-like sequences of film stills, picked out with stencils, with recognisable scenes from the golden age of Hollywood. The stills focus on the classic cinematic westerns which helped establish the Eurocentric myth of the Wild West and the troubling “manifest destiny” of its white pioneers—as well as the high-risk lives of cowboys and the highwaymen and the Indigenous Americans who were pushed off their lands as the United States pushed West.
In the upper gallery at Gazelli Art House there is a series of Haworth’s 2017 March works in pastel on cardboard, along with a set of prints from Work in Progress, a monumental collaborative projective which Haworth and her daughter Liberty Blake have been working on since 2016. For the project, images of women who have contributed to science and the arts have been created by more than 250 other women, many of them amateur artists. A stencil technique is used to provide a commonality of style. Haworth sees Work in Progress as a reckoning for the lack of women in the Sgt Pepper cover, and the under-representation of women in general.
For Haworth, a champion of women and women artists over six decades, it was remarkable that the gallery should have accepted such a project blind, one created largely by amateur hands—and one that enormously increases the representation of women in the gallery’s collection. “I cannot get used to the reality of the idea,” she says.
The Tudor monarchs have exerted a fascination over publishers and film/television production companies in search of a guaranteed audience. With the successful run of The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and its recent opening at the Cleveland Museum of Art (until 14 May), it seems an appropriate moment to ask: is there anything more to say about the Tudors?
The accompanying catalogue consists of nine chapters, interspersed with entries for the objects included in the exhibition’s various iterations (at three venues). The scale of the Met curators’ Elizabeth Cleland and Adam Eaker endeavour is magnificently apparent in a publication that does the visual and material dimensions of its subject justice. Anyone interested in the Tudors will want to own this book, but whether it will prompt further research is less straightforward.
The essays and entries focus on the connections between decorative and visual arts, and their deployment by the Tudor monarchs as a means towards legitimising and consolidating their authority. This will not come as news to anyone even faintly aware of the success of Tudor royal propaganda and their habit of emblazoning buildings with their emblems, and the promise of unity and stability (after the 15th-century civil Wars of the Roses) conveyed by the dynastic motif of the union Tudor rose. More surprising is the extent of activity within Europe, with a range of less familiar objects here juxtaposed with immediately recognisable images, such as Quentin Metsys the Younger’s The Sieve Portrait of Elizabeth I and Holbein’s luminous images of Henry VIII’s court.
One highly unusual object discussed is an embroidered portrait of Elizabeth I (Cat. No. 65), combining painted vellum for the queen’s face and hands with intricate embroidery using silk, spangles, pearls, gold, silver threads and human hair for the queen, an apparently unique and “remarkable survival”. In such objects we catch a glimpse of a luxurious material environment that represents a tiny percentage of the riches that once adorned the Tudor court.
Logistics of grandeur
We also gain insights into the practical dimensions of supplying so much grandeur, thinking about the ways in which designs for stained glass windows in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge moved from Dirck Vellert’s Antwerp studio to production in a workshop in Southwark, London and then via water to Cambridge (Cat. No. 18). The London goldsmith Affabel Partridge is traced through his hallmark of a bird (Cat. Nos 40, 60, 61) and the possibility that he may have been host to Lady Jane Grey during her short stay in the Tower prior to her execution in 1554. Recent research is brought to bear in the discussion of the portrait of a young woman from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, once thought to portray Katherine of Aragon, but now reidentified as Mary Tudor, later Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk (Cat. No. 13).
Another fresh insight and eye-catching interpretation focuses on a late 15th- to early 16th-century velvet cloth of gold furnishing textile. In her chapter, England, Europe, and the World: Art as Policy, Cleland writes it is “tempting to hypothesise” that Henry VII adapted the design to create his device of the Tudor rose. The idea is intriguing, though some further investigation of the references given reflects the difficulty of achieving certainty. (It is regrettable that the Met’s online catalogue moves to present the hypothesis as fact.)
No bibliography can be comprehensive (this one stretches to 23 pages), but there are some surprising omissions: no mention of Claire Gapper’s work on plasterwork, Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson’s studies of material culture, Nigel Llewellyn on funeral monuments, or Matthew Dimmock’s spectacular study of Elizabethan Globalism (Yale 2019). Indeed, the global dimension of the Tudor world is not considered at any length, with only brief hints of a larger subject via entries relating to imported objects featuring Indian mother of pearl and Chinese porcelain. It is surprising to find Neville Williams’s books on the Tudors and their courts cited, but not more substantive works of court and political history.
It is also remarkable to find a publication on the Tudors and their courts which contains so few references to the politics of the period. This could be taken as a virtue, avoiding yet another review of the travails of Henry VIII in search of a fertile wife or the precise bodily status of Elizabeth I. Yet the distinctions that still exist between studies of people and politics, literature and art, architecture and the material world of the court, and connections with Europe and the wider world, remain to be fully overcome. Perhaps the task of bringing together these strands of analysis might prompt a new direction in Tudor studies, to be achieved through collaborative scholarship.
So although this book offers worthwhile insights into the Tudors, not just as an extraordinary elite dynasty but as monarchs who presided over a remarkable era in art, design and cross-cultural influences, there remains scope to say much more about their world and the people who lived within it.
Elizabeth Cleland and Adam Eaker, with contributions by Marjorie E. Wieseman and Sarah Bochicchio, The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England, Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale, 352pp, 300 colour illustrations, £50 (hb), published 25 October 2022
Janet Dickinson researches the history of the court and elites in early modern Europe. She teaches for the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford and for New York University in London
The Art Newspaper’s annual report on museum visitor figures around the world has been published. We talk to Lee Cheshire, who co-edited the report, and to Charles Saumarez Smith, a former director or chief executive of three London museums and galleries—the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts—about how important the figures are to museums and whether they are a valid gauge of institutions’ success.
The exhibition Manet/Degas opened at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris this week, before travelling later in the year to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Ben Luke visits the show in Paris and speaks to Laurence des Cars, the former director of the Musée d’Orsay and now president-director of the Musée du Louvre, and Stéphane Guégan, the co-curator of the exhibition.
And in London, a show of the paintings of Berthe Morisot, the pioneering Impressionist with artistic and familial connections to Manet and Degas, has opened at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. This episode’s Work of the Week is Morisot’s Woman at Her Toilette (1875-80). Lois Oliver, the curator of the exhibition in Dulwich, tells us about this pivotal picture.
• Manet/Degas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, until 23 July; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 24 September-7 January 2024
• Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 10 September, Musée Marmottan Monet later in 2023 (dates to be announced)
On Thursday night (30 March), a line of around 200 people including museum members, donors and trustees snaked around the perimeter of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for the VIP opening of new exhibitions by installation artist Sarah Sze and Gego, the late Venezuelan Modernist. While they waited, patrons were treated to a different exhibit: around 30 members of the Guggenheim workers’ union brandishing signs and handing out leaflets to raise awareness of their ongoing contract negotiations with museum leadership.
“We are here because we want to raise awareness among the public and the visitors, and especially the arts community about what’s going on,” said Maida Rosenstein, director of organising for United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110, of which the Guggenheim union is a part. “We’re going to continue to make ourselves heard until we get a fair contract.”
The Guggenheim’s union, which represents employees across sectors including curatorial, conservation and education, returned Friday (31 March) morning to leaflet outside the press previews for Sze and Gego’s exhibitions (which open to the public today). Rosemary Taylor, a member of the Guggenheim bargaining committee, described the mood Thursday night as “very supportive”. She added, “The public is asking questions and seems happy to support workers. They want to know more about what we’re doing out here.”
“We are fighting for our first contract. We have been in negotiations for a little over a year,” said Nicolette Zoran, a member of the bargaining committee and visitor experience manager at the Guggenheim. “Management keeps coming to us with low-ball offers on wages, most importantly. You can’t pay rent with prestige.”
Formed in 2021, the UAW Local 2110 union represents about 140 workers across the Guggenheim. The contract currently on offer from the museum’s administration would be good for four years and provides for a total of 9.75% in wage increases. The union is asking for a minimum increase of 16.5% over 4 years as well as an increase in wages for front-of-house staff and theatre technicians, as well as extending unionised workers’ protections to contract and project employees.
“The Guggenheim has been in negotiations now for over a year, and the Guggenheim really has a substandard wage proposal on the table,” Rosenstein said. “They’re offering very low increases—way, way, below the cost of living, below what we were able to negotiate at the Whitney and even much smaller institutions. And it does not cut it. People unionised for a reason. They wanted to address this and we need the museum to do it.”
This week’s actions at the Guggenheim follow the ratification earlier this month of unionised Whitney Museum employees’ first contract. That contract included a number of pay increases, including 15% across the board and a new minimum wage of $22 an hour for non-salaried workers retroactive to 1 January 2023. Unionised Guggenheim workers hope they can build on their crosstown colleagues’ victories and secure their own first contract.
“The Guggenheim is at the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith towards a contract with Local 2110,” a Guggenheim spokesperson said. “ We are committed to maintaining a respectful and positive work environment for all members of the Guggenheim’s exceptional staff.”
Engineering and facilities professionals and art services, preparation and fabrication specialists at the Guggenheim also organised a union in 2021, which is part of the IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers) Local 30, which includes 22 full-time employees and 145 part-time workers at the museum.