Want an autograph from the fourth Beatle? You’ll have to buy some of his art first. Ringo Starr — whose latest art project, a rainbow-colored interpretation of Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s bronze “Knotted Gun” sculpture, was unveiled yesterday in London — won’t sign anything but his artwork.
Starr isn’t the first Beatle to break into the world of fine art. John Lennon studied at the Liverpool Art Institute and a portfolio of his lithographs is in the permanent collection of New York’s MoMA. (His drawings were also featured in a SoHo exhibition earlier this fall organized by his widow, artist Yoko Ono.) Paul McCartney had a retrospective of his paintings, natural wood sculpture, and photographs at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery in 2002.
Starr may be the first Beatle, however, to try his hand at public sculpture. His “Knotted Gun” was commissioned by the Non-Violence Foundation to commemorate the 31st anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. (The original “Knotted Gun” is stationed outside the UN Headquarters in New York, and is also a memorial to Lennon.) Starr’s interpretation will tour UK schools as part of a non-violence initiative during Olymics year.
Starr, 71, may have taken a cue from another artistic British legend — David Hockney — in his artistic process. “I just did my artwork on my iPad, put it on my computer and transferred it on to paper with the outline of the gun,” he told the Independent.
— Julia Halperin