Art Snapshot: Marilyn Manson, Sarah Palin, and Absolut Vodka Make Art Headlines

Marilyn Manson takes on the role of fine artist, a Velazquez parades as basement junk, and Louis Vuitton purses and

Marilyn Manson takes on the role of fine artist, a Velazquez parades as basement junk, and Louis Vuitton purses and porn are reconfigured into fine art with varying results. This week in art news: Come as you’re not!  

1. Ukranian Billionaire Selects Art-Prize Nominees
Victor Punchuk’s PinchukArtCentre announced the nominees for his $100,000 Generation Art Prize. He funds the award, which goes to an emerging artist up to age 35. Whitney Biennial exhibitor (2008) Ruben Ochoa is the only American on the short list.

Our take:
We’re so glad the oligarchs are back. And points for a diverse group—the 21 finalists hail from 18 different countries and include 13 men and 8 women.

2. BP Corporate Art Sponsorship Backlash
In the UK, debate rages over BP’s sponsorship of British cultural institutions. Vigilante groups have staged protests at partner museums-one group filled the Tate’s grand hall with dead fish hanging from black balloons. Bloggers take their corners: Culturegrrl argues that museums shouldn’t reject the money, while Edward Winkelman feels the BP backlash is too little, too late.

Our take: Why get angry at cultural institutions supported by BP when you could get angry at BP itself?
[The Guardian, Artnet, Culturegrrl, Edward Winkelman]

3. Louis Vuitton Demands Removal of Copycat Sculptures
Louis Vuitton demanded the removal of nine sculptures of locusts made out of fake designer purses that were on view at the Kobe Fashion Museum in Japan. The fashion house argued that the sculptures endorsed the illegal trade of counterfeit goods.

Our take: Murakami can install an entire LV boutique in the Brooklyn Museum, but artist Mitsuhiro Okamoto can’t even use the designer’s logo. Who’s really getting ripped off here?

4. Yale Finds Velazquez Painting in Basement
In what may be Yale’s most exciting basement cleaning session ever, University art gallery employees happened upon a painting of the Virgin Mary that they have officially attributed to Velazquez after years of research.

Our take: We were cynical, but it looks like the real deal. All we find when we clean out our basements are yellowed family photos and old boxes of Pringles.

5. Charles Saatchi to Donate Collection and Gallery to Britain
Gallery impresario Charles Saatchi announced over the weekend that he would donate his collection, valued (very conservatively) at more than $37.5 million, and his London gallery to the nation of Britain upon his retirement. The Guardian isn’t too impressed.

Our take: Looks like the Tate didn’t schmooze over its contentious relationship with Saatchi in time to cash in.
[The Guardian]

6. Marilyn Manson and David Lynch Exhibition Opens

What do you get when you combine Marilyn Manson, David Lynch, watercolors, and a short film titled “The Amputee”? The Manson/Lynch exhibition “Geneaologies of Pain,” which opened in Vienna on June 30. According to a press release, “Marilyn Manson’s career as an artist started in 1999 when he produced conceptual five-minute watercolors which he sold to drug dealers.”

Our take: “Pain” gives a new and unwelcome meaning to “cutting-edge art.”

7. Guggenheim Expansion Provokes Protest
The Guggenheim Foundation announced interest in building a museum in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, 25 miles from Frank Gehry’s iconic Guggenheim Bilbao. The regional Basque government and many local people fiercely oppose the expansion, arguing it will irreparably damage the nature reserve.  

Our take:
If authorities in the Basque regional government were given more of a voice in the proceedings, the two parties might be able to make this happen.
[The Guardian]

8. Artist Gao Yu to Design Bottle for Absolut Vodka  

This week in corporate artist partnerships: Absolut Vodka has commissioned Chinese Pop artist Gao Yu to design a limited-edition bottle in honor of this year’s Shanghai Expo.

Our take: Andy Warhol designed a bottle for Absolut 25 years ago. Is there any corporate collaboration that man didn’t do first?

9. Sarah Palin is Rendered in Porn
British artist Jonathan Yeo’s latest exhibition includes a portrait of Sarah Palin made entirely from clippings from pornography magazines. (All the better, the image has been placed in a furry moose head frame.) Other celebrities given Yeo’s pornographic treatment include Tiger Woods, Sigmund Freud, and Paris Hilton, whose portrait-in-porn was bought by Damien Hirst.

Our take:
When a politician headlines a controversy dubbed “Boobgate,” isn’t it only a matter of time until Playboy gets involved?
10. Art Market Heats Up for Summer

Artnet rounds up results from the summer’s hottest sales, which include the highly anticipated Impressionist and modern auctions as well as contemporary art sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. In June, about 230 artists achieved record sale prices above $100,000 (up from 120 for the same price bracket in May).

Our take:
We’ll take any signs of recovery we can get, but we know deep down it’s not all coming up records and roses.
[Artnet, Transom, ArtObserved]

Art Snapshot: Marilyn Manson, Sarah Palin, and Absolut Vodka Make Art Headlines