Venice – the end of August and the feathers are flying! As part of the Bienniale Art and Architecture expo, Swiss artist Julian Charriere decided to airbrush the old grey inhabitants of St. Marks Square – the world’s most filmed, photographed and conspiciously indulged pidgeons and they’re now preening in glorious technicolour to the delight of many but to the dismay of animal rights campaigners who are condeming the action as cruel. Au contraire says M. Charriere along with his collaborator in this ‘performance’ the German photographer Julius Von Bismark. He states his aim as to give a recognisable personality to these birds who are routinely harrassed and reviled in order that they would be better regarded!
To Spain – where an octogenarian amateur restorer decided that the mural in her local church, entitled Ecce Homo by 19th Century artist Elias Garcia Martinez, needed a ‘freshen up.’ Unfortunately her brush skills were not quite up to the task and the result – A Mr. Potatoe-head with a hedgehog wrapped round it. But thanks to this well intentioned lady, the previously obscure artist has become famous overnight. Whereas this could be seen as fortuitous, drawing attention to his so far ignored works, unfortunately his Ecce Homo is all that remains of his work and it is now completely ruined! Jonathan Jones of the Guardian is of the opinion that great art needs a few restoration disasters and that the kindly octogenarian should be turned loose on artists who are deserving of attention! And while the artist Martinez was painting in the manner of the academic tradition of the time, elsewhere in another village in Spain, another artist schooled in the same academic tradition was setting about the re-invention of art – Pablo Piccasso!
And now to New York – It would appear that the arts market place is re-emerging after the global financial crisis of 2008. This week 94% of lots at Sothebys found buyers with a very healthy performance at Christie’s the previous day. Art Market Guru, Michael Moses of Beautiful Asset Advisors affirms that there are no absolute guarantees attached to anyone’s art collection and suggests using personal preferences as the first measure of whether to purchase a piece – even if it does’nt go up in value, you’ll own a piece you enjoy. Also artist’s history can drive future sales especially if there’s something there that is diverse or quirky or controversial – So Monsieur Charriere in Venice might just be onto something – alas for Senior Martinez – too late!
And finally Glasgow – where Art Pistol are currently working on a mural project that has been described as ‘consistently random’ and loads of fun… photos and full story coming soon!