Charles Saatchi Calls All Other Megacollectors Trashy "Hamptonites," Jerry Saltz Accuses Museums of Relational Aesthetics "Bullshit," and More

Charles Saatchi Calls All Other Megacollectors Trashy "Hamptonites," Jerry Saltz Accuses Museums of Relational Aesthetics "Bullshit," and More
Charles Saatchi

– Charles Saatchi's Rant: The 1990s tastemaker behind the rise of the Young British Artists has lashed out at the art world and particularly at his fellow, obscenely rich art collectors, calling them "Eurotrashy, Hedge-fundy, Hamptonites." "Do any of these people actually enjoy looking at art?" he wrote in the Guardian. "Or do they simply enjoy having easily recognised, big-brand name pictures, bought ostentatiously in auction rooms at eye-catching prices, to decorate their several homes, floating and otherwise, in an instant demonstration of drop-dead coolth and wealth…. Even a self-serving narcissistic showoff like me finds this new art world too toe-curling for comfort." [Guardian]

Breaking Up With Relational Aesthetics: After what seems like a veritable avalanche of final straws, Jerry Saltz is fed up with museums' belated embrace of that once cool, now callow fad of contemporary art known as relational aesthetics. "J'accuse museums of bullshit!" he writes, citing Marina Abramovic's MOCA gala performance (and the Yvonne Rainer-led reaction to it), Carsten Höller's "arty junk food" show at the New Museum, and Allora & Calzadilla's Venice Biennale pavilion — all of which he sees as the deformed offspring of the Guggenheim's 2008 "theanyspacewhatever" show (the occasion of one of his more ribald pieces, incidentally). The trend signals "a vacuous vicious circle, ostensible populism masquerading as collectivity," Saltz writes, whereby museums "no longer serve art." [NYM

– X-Ray Confirms Painting is a Rembrandt: University of Amsterdam professor Ernst van de Wetering had a team of scientists x-ray the long-contested painting “Old Man With a Beard” to determine once and for all if it was painted by Rembrandt or one of his students. The x-ray found a Rembrandt self-portrait buried under the layers, confirming the master’s authorship of the work. [Daily Mail]

– Picasso Art Thief Pleads Not Guilty: After being held for four months in jail without bail, Mark Lugo, the man who stole a $275,000 Picasso off a San Francisco gallery wall, has returned to New York to face charges of lifting artwork and fine wines. (Police found them displayed, gallery-like, in is Hoboken apartment.) Lugo has entered a not guilty plea. His attorney calls him a "pleasant, engaging" man "who's been struggling with particular difficulties." [NPR]

– Yoko Ono Impressed by the Queen's Sartorial Sense: Meeting Her Majesty at the newly opened Museum of Liverpool, the artist, widow of John Lennon, was amazed by the Queen's cherry-red suit and matching hat. "That particular color — it made her look so young, so elegant," she said. "She is always elegant. It's always nice to meet her." [ArtLyst]

– Francesca Woodman Gets a Retrospective: The cult photography figure, who became famous for her haunting self-portraits and portraits of women before committing suicide at 22, is the subject of a traveling retrospective, now on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and traveling to New York’s Guggenheim Museum in March. Her parents, who control her estate and archive and are artists themselves, are in an unusual position: their side job is protecting the legacy and furthering the reputation of their daughter. “She’s a very active presence in our lives,” said her mother Betty Woodman. [NYT]

– Art Miami Director Schmoozes Will Smith: When Miami’s Soho House gave a table reserved for Art Miami director Nick Korniloff to actor Will Smith, the art fair professional saw it as an opportunity. “I went up to him and said, ‘You just got my table. Here’s my business card. Do me a favor, come to my art fair tomorrow.’” As promised, Smith showed up the next day. “He’s a stand up guy,” said Korniloff. [TAN]

– Getty Gets a New Manet: In an effort to enliven its collection, the Getty has purchased "Portrait of Madame Brunet" — a painting made in the same year as masterpieces "Olympia" and "Dejeuner sur L'Herbe." New York gallery Luhring Augustine mediated the sale. [LAT]

– Folk Artist Takes on Chick-fil-A: Folk artist Bo Muller-Moore has set off a groundswell of local support and national media attention with his decision to fight a cease and desist letter sent to him by chicken purveyor Chick-fil-A. The artist has been making t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Eat More Kale” since 2000, but the fast-food chain believes the product “dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property.” (Their slogan is “Eat mor chikin"; the words have been penned by cows.) [NYT]

Shortlist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012: Pieter Hugo, Rinko Kawauchi, John Stezaker, and Christopher Williams have been nominated for the £30,000 ($46,895) prize rewarding a living photographer of any nationality having "significantly contributed to the medium of photography in Europe between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011." [Photographers' Gallery

– West Collection Has an App for ThatPaige West, the owner of both Mixed Greens Gallery and the West Collection, has launched an iPhone app that allows users to scroll through the collection and vote for their favorite artist. Whoever garners the most votes will win $25,000 and a spot in the West Collects 2012 exhibition. [SacBee]

– Happy Birthday GoMA: New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai has been selected for a $1 million sculpture commission to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced last week: "The finished sculpture, a life-sized bronze elephant tipped on its head and eye-to-eye with a kuril, the local native water rat, will be unveiled on the banks of the Brisbane River... at the opening of 'The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' in December 2012". [Queensland Government]

– Knoedler Sued for Allegedley Selling Fake Pollock: One day after the Upper East Side’s 165-year-old Knoedler & Co. abruptly announced it would close its doors, London hedge-fund executive Pierre Lagrange filed a complaint in Manhattan federal court alleging that the gallery sold him a forged Jackson Pollock painting for $17 million. [ITA]