The finalists for this year’s Archibald Prize for portraiture, held annually at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, are now listed online. Amongst the mixed bag of contenders are a couple of standouts – Martin Bell and Vernon Ah Kee deserve a mention here – but the most striking work is a portrait of collector Michael Buxton by Melbourne painter Tim McMonagle (above).
Buxton is a property developer, passionate art collector and friend of the artist. He’s the type of guy art dealers treat with kid gloves; so depicting him covered in raised, textured sores is a bold move indeed. It’s also an approach that folds into McMonagle’s interest in the painterly elements of his craft. The surfaces of his paintings are often scraped back then built up into densely layered patches – Buxton’s glaring liver spots being a case in point. Formalism aside, there’s no escaping the confronting, somewhat unflattering nature of the work. And what did Buxton think of it? He allegedly loved the painting so much he bought it on the spot.
Australian curator and art historian Nicholas Chambers has been appointed the new Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He takes over from Eric Shiner who vacated the position when he became Warhol Museum Director last July.
Chambers is currently Curator of Contemporary International Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, where he was one of the chief curators of Warhol’s first Australian retrospective in 2007. His appointment comes at a time of change for QAG. Not only is Chambers departing for the States next month, current QAG Director Tony Ellwood leaves for his new position as Director of the NGV on August 1st. Both are yet to be replaced.
Beastie Boys member Mike D is trying his hand at curating thanks to LA MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch, who has invited the rapper to curate an exhibition called Transmission L.A.: AV Club as part of a larger cultural festival at MOCA this April. And who is Mike D keen on showing? Word has it that he’ll be working with Swedish artist Klara Liden and the Brooklyn-based collective Still House, with further inclusions to be announced. One thing’s certain for the hip hopper: “I want a place where people can come and hang out” he says. “Not some button-up white walls gallery with people to match”.