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In the Air – Art News & Gossip

Archive for the ‘Off Beat’ Category

Museum Gifted $1 Million in Taxidermy by Manhattan Socialite

This past July, a real-estate listing caught our eye — not so much because it promised a “classic six” in the Upper East Side’s star-studded Beresford building, but more importantly, because this particular apartment was covered floor to ceiling with taxidermy. And we mean covered — check out Emily Andrews’s eerie accompanying photospread, in which one end table alone boasts two birds and three rodents beneath a gapless array of moose, ram, and deer heads. Indeed, it’s difficult not to imagine Gregory Speck, the writer-cum-socialite responsible for this Jumanjian decorating job, kicking back like Disney’s Gaston and yodeling proudly, “I use antlers in all of my decorating!” When asked if he would auction off the 200-some pieces in his home once the apartment sold, Speck told the New York Times, “I would rather find somebody that would be so amazed that I’ve done this collection who would want them kept together as a big family.” Now, it appears he’s found that somebody — specifically, the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), to which Speck handed over 230 pieces with an estimated total worth of $1 million.

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Vincent D’Onofrio Is a Hamster

In the strangest actor-musician news since Macaulay Culkin’s Pizza Underground, A.V. Club is reporting that Vincent D’Onofrio (of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” fame) is now part of an experimental spoken-word duo whose first single is called “I’m A Hamster.” (Dana Lyn provides jittery string accompaniment. There are also some horns.) “I’m a hamster with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t like metal, it’s the wrong color,” D’Onofrio snarls. “I like browns and off-whites. Let’s not talk about the wheel!” The most shocking thing about this 1:34 slice of weirdness? It’s not half bad. The single is from a full-length album due March 3; Detective Robert Goren and Lyn play Joe’s Pub in New York on December 20.

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Get Your Art Handler Beefcake Stocking Stuffer

This very niche 2015 calendar is “like the FDNY Firemen calendar, but with levels and nitrile gloves instead of axes and fire pants,” and it can be yours for a mere $15. The cheeky 12-month celebration of New York’s art handling community pays homage to the mostly unsung heroes who hang, adjust, cart, and finesse so many expensive objects from the clutter of the studio to the rarified confines of the white cube. “Collectively we work for several major New York City institutions (a couple in funny shaped buildings), galleries, art-trucking companies, universities, and a private artist studio,” said Zaq Landsberg, one of the project organizers and models. “I believe this is the first art handler calendar ever — definitely the first made by art handlers.” The calendar skews toward muscular men holding drills, with a few female handlers in the mix.

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The Onion or the Art World?: Artist Seeks Needle in Haystack

As part of In the Air’s intrepid art world coverage, we’re continuing with our exciting new feature that answers the age-old question, “Is it an Onion article, or just the art world?” Because sometimes these headlines just seem too good to be true, but then they are, and that’s even better. (Check out our last installment, regarding Maurizio Cattelan’s recent show at Artissima, titled “Shit and Die.”) Today, however, we’re here to talk about the fact that Italian performance artist Sven Sachsalber will spend two days trying to find a needle in a haystack at the Palais de Tokyo — literally. Repeating a performance held at London’s Limoncello Gallery in 2012, the artist will spend from noon through midnight sifting through a large pile of straw, looking for a needle that has been placed therein; though the performance is only billed to last for 48 hours, the museum acknowledges that it may well take longer.

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Original Batmobile for Sale (DC Geeks, Start Your Engines)

Luxury car auctions may not quite be everyone’s bag, but a lot going up at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on December 6 should snag some serious attention, if only because, you guys — you guys it’s the Batmobile. As in, the Batmobile — the first-known DC Comics–licensed model from 1963, even predating the version that appeared on the Batman TV show in 1965. (Apparently, it was built by an independent mechanic just for kicks in his New Hampshire garage, before a DC-affiliated dairy company leased it and toured from town to town to promote Batman-themed fruit drinks.) Okay, sure, it may not be that high-tech, Hum-Vee-esque, explodes-into-a-motorcycle deal Christian Bale drives in The Dark Knight, but given its recently restored swooping black exterior, complete with red accenting, the swank factor is high. So, for those DC enthusiasts holding onto some priceless first editions, this may be the time to hit eBay and drum up the estimated $500,000 needed for this pinnacle of vintage comics cred. If nothing else, you’d be ensured some sweet Caped Crusader–themed LARPing.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Crying at Art Exhibitions

We’ve all been there: Much like Stendhal in Florence, intrepid art viewers have probably come across an artwork or two that moved us, perhaps even to tears, perhaps even in public. So, in an effort to address this phenomenon of museum waterworks, the Independent published an article titled “From Millet’s ‘The Angelus’ to Rothko, why do some works of art make us cry?” For starters, author Philip Hook asserts that “People weep at concerts when listening to transcendent music; people weep watching films or reading sad books; but fewer tears are shed in front of works of visual art” — a thesis tested, we can only assume, by a series of field experts running control groups at each venue type, collecting specimens of the emitted eye-saline, and analyzing them for relative quotients of Sad. (The verdict? Rothkos. Everyone is just losing it over Rothkos.) Still, despite the case Hook ultimately makes for an upswing in art-related crying, and the increasing acceptance of such outward emotional expression overall, he also adds that “there remain some standards as far as art is concerned.” To sum up, he drops the all-important question: “Which artists’ work is it OK to be seen crying in front of, and which not?”

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Hairy Job Opportunities With Melgaard’s Studio

Hey kids! Are you underemployed and adventurous? Well then Bjarne Melgaard’s studio has a job just for you! The dapper, disturbing Norwegian — a professional rocker of crazy tracksuits and Instagrammer of torture-porn imagery who also moonlights as an artist — is seeking an unpaid intern to “create large hair based sculpture and paintings” in collaboration with hairstylist Bob Racine. And while this gig doesn’t offer any cash, Melgaard is dangling a rather attractive carrot before your uncompensated face: “Interns may receive a drawing by Bjarne Melgaard at the end of the project, provided the work was satisfactory” [emphasis added]. Who said the life of a recent art-school grad wasn’t glamorous?

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Portrait of the “It Girl” as a Young 19th-Century Woman

On November 19, Bonhams will auction off a miniature portrait of Harriet Rushout, daughter of the Baron Northwick of Northwick Park — AKA, one of “The Three Graces” when flanked by her famously fair sisters. A “celebrated society beauty,” according to the lot write-up, Rushot was apparently considered something of an “It Girl” in her time — and looking at her picture, it’s hard not to imagine she’d fit right in at any Manhattan VIP room this week. The artfully washed-out hair ornamented with a bandeau, the dark, Cara-Delvigne-ian brows — proof, just in case we ever needed more, that fashion is nothing if not cyclical. Really, though — even “Rushout” sounds like a club pseudonym. The painting is estimated to sell for £8,000 to £12,000 — but, as Ms. Rushot probably knew well, even a little buzz is priceless.

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The First Digital Picture Was of A Baby — Because, Of Course

Today in “well, we expected as much” news, the Atlantic reported that the original digital image was, in fact, of a baby. While working with one of the first programmable computers at the National Bureau of Standards in 1957, scientist Russell Kirsch used a drum scanner to separate a picture of his son Walden into black and white squares, then translated those values into binary. And thus, the pixelated picture was born. We have yet to confirm, however, that the following images were of a cat, a sunset, and a cool-looking food arrangement.

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See Snoop Dogg’s Painting Process in This Ad for Happy Socks

“For many years in my life, I always felt like painting was something I wanted to do, but I never got a chance to do it,” begins Snoop Dogg at the opening of a promotional video for his collaboration with Swedish company Happy Socks, due out on November 1. As part of their “Art of Inspiration” series, the company asked the hip hop legend to, in his words, “do my thing with canvas, paint, see what we come up with.” (Note: Yes, this absolutely means high-end socks with pot leaves on them.) Though the collaboration was teased shortly thereafter, today the full video has been released via Dazed in all its just-under-4-minute glory, providing invaluable insights into Snoop’s creative process.

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