Monday, December 31, 2007

Lots of news for Christian Lacroix

Christian Lacroix, despite leaving LVMH a few years ago is still on the cutting-edge side of Fashion as he has curated a big exhibition at the "Musée de la Mode et du Textile", from 8 November 2007 - 20 April 2008, in Paris and as he opened a second American shop in NYC.

For over a year, Lacroix, the fashion designer from cultural city Arles, immersed himself in the parisian museum’s collections of costumes and accessories. The result is an exhibition in which Christian Lacroix gives us his own personal vision of the history of fashion. Among the many dresses, the one Madonna had chosen for the X-Static project held by Steven Klein (see picture). This exhibition was also meant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his couture house.

After the first American store which opened in Las Vegas in 2006, Chirstian Lacroix's new address is in New York. Located in the heart of Manhattan, between the 36th and 57th Avenues, a shop of 168 m2 hosts woman, man and accessories' collections . "I never forgot how the United States and New York helped and supported me at the beginning of my career. Hence it is legitimate to go back to my roots. The architecture inspired by the boutique in Las Vegas, has been designed by Kreo Gallery and the Pavlik Design team : graphic elements and contemporary mix with all the Christian Lacroix' symbols : the southern France's sun, and the Camargue's red heart.

Christian Lacroix this year highly celebrated 20 years of fashion.

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Last days to see Golden Age of Couture at the V+A of London

"The Golden Age of Couture, Paris and London 1947-1957" exhibition will last until 6th January at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Run if you haven't seen it yet as this was one of the best exhibition of 2007 !

Completely dedicated to the period of post-war workshops revival, the show focuses on the aesthetic turning point of this decade: in 1947, Christian Dior presents his famous line "Corolla" that the famous journalist, Carmel Snow, called the " New Look". The success was instant and global. This collection marks the beginning of one of the most famous moments in the history of fashion. The "New Look" forever changed the canons of fashion and femininity.

This show explores the way for this change, but does not forget to celebrate other virtuoso such as Balenciaga, Norman Hartnell, Givenchy and Balmain. John Galliano, the current artistic director of the house Dior was among the guests of the premiere of this exhibition... so glamourous.

As I had not written about this exhibition yet, I though it was important to underline its importance so run run run !

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Giacometti's exhibition in Atelier Giacometti in Paris

The Centre Pompidou is presenting until 13th January 2008, in collaboration with the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation in Paris, an original retrospective of Alberto Giacometti's works (1901–1966).

For the first time, all the faces of the artist will be explored, illustrated by rare works, that the general public do not often have the chance to see such as the fragments of the walls of his three main studios in Paris, Stampa and Maloja (Switzerland). Indeed all the moments of his life are examined in this rare exhibition.

Giacometti is known for the XXth century's silhouette he created: lanky, tragic and hungry for ideal. This is one of the best retrospective not to be missed if you are in Paris.

Fondation Cartier and Patti Smith

After Agnes Varda, and David Lynch, (see previous post ) the Cartier Foundation will dedicate a large exhibition to Patti Smith starting next 28th March. Looking back at her graphic and visual works the singer, who takes her inspiration from Rimbaud among many others, will give access to her drawings, texts and pictures...
More soon.

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New New Museum in New York City

The New Museum of New York City has re-opened in a brand new building, designed by Japanese architects Sejima and Nishizawa/Sanaa.
This incredible lifting was meant to coincide and celebrate its 30th anniversary. Now the Museum is a modern and dynamic building which perfectly fits its contemporary art and avant-garde's image.

Marcia Tucker ( a contemporary art curator, lecturer, visiting artist, public speaker, writer, arts administrator, and comedian and much more...) created this museum in 1977 fullfilling an alternative position compared with the existing museums of the time. It remains an innovative space for alternative artists. The museum displays 7 floors and among those, 3 are dedicated to exhibitions, but there is also an education centre, a theatre and on the roof : a terrace. This building is definitely the symbol of the area it is in : The Lower East Side, close enough to China Town, still relatively far from the major galleries and art market important places.
Definitely a place to discover anyway.

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Vivienne Westwood will be back on London's catwalk

Wonderfully creative Vivienne Westwood has just announced that she will be back on London's catwalks. After being away for 9 years, the most UK - Sex Pistols' fashion designer will showcase her new autumn-winter 2008-2009 Red Label collection in London.

Launched in 1994, Red Label is a mix of design inspired by Savile Row and French haute-couture. Different from Anglomania, another line by Westwood, Red Label is said to be more sexy and elegant. Vivienne Westwood explains that the success the brand encounters in the UK makes her want to explore it evenmore. Hence the need for a "specific show" taking place during the London Fashion Week : 10 - 15 of February 2008.

The main line entitled Gold Label will be presented in Paris as usual during the fashion week : 24-02 March 2008.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Designers to know: Barbara Nanning

Barbara Nanning was born in 1957 in Den Haag and studied at the Rietveld academy in Amsterdam from 1974 -1979.

She is both a ceramist and a glass artist and has had many solo and group exhibitions in The Netherlands and abroad. Her work is exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Museum of Fine Art (Boston), Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg) and Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, (Shigaraki, Japan). Her monumental work can be seen in many places in The Netherlands.

The oeuvre of Barbara Nanning is organic in form and gives expression to the natural course of life. It can be seen as a continuum of objects that are classified into groups, as if species and families. Her new objects follow from the preceding ones. The series are always based on a theme.

Barbara Nanning has developed a unique technique, where she does not use glazes and enrobes, but pure paint pigment- a cold finish on cold material. She assembles stoneware components with epoxy resin. It is a laborious, but precise technique. A skin of lacquer, pigment and sand connects the world of the painter with that of the ceramist. Her colour pallet is limited to pure, unmixed pigments. Vivid colours such as clear red, intense yellow, deep blue and brilliant purple give an unexpected, almost unreal dimension to her work. Mixed with fine sand, the colour cocoons the object and softens its contours.

Thimo te Duits, curator at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, describes Nanning's work as follows: "Barbara Nanning combines tradition with innovation, Eastern opulence with Dutch austereness, freedom with structure and reason with emotion. Nanning's work is an interesting mix of unequal quantities without becoming complex; a fusion of carefully chosen and at times seemingly contradictory elements, which in the end look so self-evident that no one wonders about the unusual combination of ingredients. She unites classical artisan methods with an innovative use of materials to achieve an entirely unique language of form, one which often develops in the making process, the turning of clay on the wheel and the blowing of glass. At a later stage she processes those forms by cutting and assembling them. Her language does not comply with the existing one, but breaks new ground and forms a universe all of its own."

20th year for London Art Fair

Paul Stolper
Gavin Turk - Camouflage Fright Wig

20th year for London Art Fair
16 – 20 January 2008 at the Business Design Centre, Islington

London Art Fair is preparing to launch its third decade as the largest Modern British and Contemporary art showcase in the UK. Unmatched in reputation both for quality and accessibility, the Fair celebrates its 20th year in 2008, bringing together one hundred leading British galleries, twenty unique projects and a curated photography exhibition at Islington’s Business Design Centre. Galleries have been chosen following a rigorous selection process, and represent a broad span of artists from early 20th century British Art to the most recent contemporary practice.

Exhibiting galleries at the Fair play host to early influential figures such as Elizabeth Frink, Mary Feddon, Terry Frost and LS Lowry juxtaposed with the work of living artists – emerging and established – including Marilène Oliver, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Gavin Turk and Banksy. The galleries represented demonstrate this variety, and include Alan Cristea, Flowers, Ben Brown/Louisa Guinness, Michael Hoppen and Richard Green.

Alan Cristea
Boo Ritson - Pink
London Art Fair is delighted to again be working with Terrence Higgins Trust as Charity Partner following their successful collaboration in 2006. The Fair will host a fundraising auction of work marking the 25th anniversary of the charity's foundation, taking place on the Preview Evening (15 January 2008) with contributions from leading contemporary artists including Tracey Emin, Stella Vine, Mona Hatoum and Wolfgang Tillmans who have all donated work on the theme of 'Promises'.
Art Projects returns for its fourth year with 20 galleries from the UK, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, presenting curated displays that encompass contemporary painting and drawing, large scale sculpture and installation, photography and video. Art Projects gives dealers a chance to experiment, show less commercial work and demonstrate the personality of their gallery with profiles of emerging artists in both solo shows and group presentations.

Photography has grown in profile at the Fair in recent years and Photo50, successfully launched in 2007, draws together recent developments in the medium within a permanent curated section of the Fair. This exhibition of 50 works – all of which are for sale – will again be organised and selected by the Curating Programme at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Forster Gallery
Andrew McAttee - Marvel

London Art Fair aims to uphold a unique and supportive approach to collecting, and takes pride in accommodating every level of collector and presenting opportunities to buy across the spectrum of the art market. Visitors can expect museum quality pieces in excess of £500,000, while novice collectors should find works for investment from as little as £50.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Art Basel event looks at branching out to Beijing

By Joshua Levitt in Miami Beach
Published: December 8 2007 02:00

Art Basel - the art fair that spawned Art Basel Miami Beach - is exploring branching out to Beijing with a new partner, Design Miami.

Both Art Basel fairs are owned by MCH Messe Schweiz, the Swiss convention centre and event management group. René Kamm, chief executive, said yesterday that a share swap sealed with Design Miami, an interior design fair co-founded by Craig Robins that runs concurrently, would open the door "to an approach to the east".

Mr Kamm said he expected the partnership to develop ideas for new international concepts within a year, including a possible Design Miami Beijing, "with an art component to complement the interior design".

"We cannot simply replicate Art Basel directly for Asia because the Asian market is still at a very developing phase and the art market is so demand-driven and there is already a shortage of quality artwork. But certainly features of our franchise, adapted to the state of the Asian market, is now possible with Design Miami," Mr Kamm said.
MCH Messe Schweiz has bought 50 per cent of Design Miami Basel, which runs the interior design fair in Basel, and a 10 per cent stake of Design Miami, the original fair, which owns the global rights for future projects.

Mr Robins is also founder and president of Dacra Group, an urban redevelopment and property company that created Miami's Design District. Dacra Global, the international arm of his company, has an alliance with Beijing-based construction company Modern Group to build 50 per cent of the retail component of a $100m, 230,000 sq metre development called Pop Moma and Grand Moma in Beijing.

Mr Robins said a possible Art Basel/Design Miami Beijing project could dovetail nicely with the development.

Razzle-dazzle, Collecting, Page 1, Separate section
CopyrightThe Financial Times Limited 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chanel and Lagerfeld in London

Guardian Home Pages
Beehives and big bags at Lagerfeld's first London show: Chanel's top designer pulls in British devotees with a beautiful collection
Hadley Freeman Deputy fashion editor
7 December 2007
The Guardian

© Copyright 2007. The Guardian. All rights reserved.

The quilted bags were big but the blow dries were bigger. In the foyer of a London auction house yesterday, Chanel's most devoted British customers showed that it would take more than rain to stop them from adhering to the most entrenched stereotypes about a typical fashion show audience.

While waiters served brightly coloured macaroons, everyone, including Naomi Campbell, a woman not known for her patience, seemed perfectly content to wait out the requisite 45-minute delay before the start of the first ever Chanel show in London.
Although the traditional fashion weeks take place in September and February, such restrictions have never hemmed in Chanel's indefatigable designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who sporadically stages extra shows to celebrate the seemingly endless lines he does for the venerable French label. Since 2002 this has included an extra show every year for what he calls his Metiers d'Art collection, created specifically to showcase the skills of the Parisian ateliers that work with the company, providing the label with intricate jewels and sculpted shoes.
Every year Lagerfeld has staged the show in a different city and this year it was London's turn, a fact which Lagerfeld rather endearingly worked into the collection itself amid all the jewels and sparkles.
While guests sat on gold chairs whose backs mimicked clothes hangers - perhaps in an attempt to put everyone in a shopping sort of mood - the first models came out dangling tiny evening bags splashed with the union flag. A little more subtly, and prettily, their hair was all swept up into oversized Amy Winehouse-style beehives. But unlike Winehouse's they were trimmed with jewels and, more importantly, looked recently washed.
The clothes, too, frequently had a British theme. The opening outfits - knee-length simple skirts or blouson culottes, piles of tweed jackets, thick black tights, simple pea coats and shiny loafers - made the models resemble English schoolgirls, albeit conspicuously well-dressed ones, with jewellery that looked a little finer than the sort available in Claire's Accessories. The leather coats and sharp jackets, often accessorised with fingerless gloves or jewelled feather dusters, seemed to be paying homage to the Clash and other 1970s British punk icons.
The live music was provided by Sean Lennon and the latest model girlfriend of Pete Doherty and face of Topshop - no, not that model, but her friend, Romanian-born Irina Lazareanu. Well, surely with those accolades she's an honorary Brit.
But leaving aside the nationalistic nods, the clothes were beautiful, better than much of what has been seen on the Chanel catwalks for a season or two. Perhaps because this was a show with such a heavy customer presence, Lagerfeld toned down his occasional impulse to make gimmicky clothes for sylph-like teenagers, such as the denim bikinis and tweed hotpants he showed in the mainline collection for next season, and concentrated on making things his monied and older customer base would want to buy. The simple knee-length black coats, lying strictly against the body and then kicking out, were flattering and, like much in the show, festooned with delicate jewels, while gold discs at the top of an evening gown lay as smoothly as the gills of a fish.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH : Basel's Running of the (Art World) Bulls

By Judd Tully on

Takashi Murakami works from 2005 in synthetic resin, fiberglass, and paint at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin. Each figure is 6.2 by 3.1 by 1.6 feet.
Photo by Judd Tully

MIAMI—The sixth edition of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair and the last orchestrated by founding director Samuel Keller opened to VIP types at noon today with a resounding bang.
As in years past, some super-caffeinated collectors literally ran down the center aisle to reach favorite galleries. You might have mistaken the scene for the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
“I was surprised how many good things there are,” said New York dealer Neal Meltzer, “but it’s a name-your-price market.”

Indeed, prices seemed sky-high or what’s referred to in the trade as “retail plus.”
Plenty of Europeans were on hand to take advantage of the weak American dollar and pretend they were getting bargains. An unidentified European buyer snatched Swiss painter Louis Soutter’s oil on paper Espagne fevrier (ca. 1939) for approximately €350,000 from Berlin’s Haas & Fuchs. The work was on view in a new category called Art Kabinett, which gives 15 galleries an opportunity to show small, curated exhibitions, and Soutter’s punchy and expressionist compositions fit the bill.

But there wasn’t much time to linger and appreciate as waves of art world aficionados streamed along the carpeted aisles, rubbernecking at every possible distraction.
“I’m not feeling good,” said New York supertrader Jose Mugrabi. “This is the first place I asked for prices and it scares me how low they are.”

He burst out laughing at his comment, posed at the edge of the Haas & Fuchs stand, and pointed to an Andy Warhol “Playboy Bunny” painting from 1978 measuring 23 by 18 inches that had a price tag of $680,000. “This is the best piece I’ve seen so far,” he said.

Mugrabi moved on, but a short time later he scored his first trophies of the day, buying three 40-by-40-inch Warhol “Gremlins” from 1986 at Dusseldorf’s Galerie Hans Mayer. The works went for under $500,000 each, according to David Mugrabi, one of Jose’s art-dealing sons. “The dealers are already selling like crazy,” raved the younger Mugrabi.
Not everyone sounded so enthralled. One noted retired dealer turned collector snapped, “They’re an awful lot of Calders here. They’re coming out of the woodwork and are very expensive.”

But sticker shock isn’t anything new, and besides, at Art Basel there’s really no time to hesitate or even haggle, especially so early in the privileged view.
Another European collector pounced at Paris/Miami's Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, buying a matching pair of large, upright Takashi Murakami sculptures, titled Kaikai Kiki, from 2005. The goofy guardians measure approximately 6 by 3 by 1.5 feet and are made of synthetic resin, fiberglass, and paint. Perrotin declined to reveal the price, but an informed passerby suggested the pair had sold in the $3 million range.

But even the standout Murakamis were overshadowed by a spectacular untitled Rudolf Stingel baroque abstraction from 2007 in nine plaster panels at Milan’s Galleria Massimo De Carlo. Another version in black fiberglass is at Francois Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Again the gallerist declined to cite a price, though another informed passerby pegged it in the $600,000 range.

There were sour notes, though: One only had to drift over to the newly organized Art Supernova, in which 20 galleries present work by emerging artists, and perk up his ears.
The section was tucked into a tributary of the sprawling convention center. Though plenty of signage led to it and a wall map plotted out the locations of the galleries, inside the series of unadorned rooms there wasn’t a single gallery sign in sight—nor were there chairs or tables for the dealers to fume on. This was apparently a deliberate move on the part of the organizers, intended to give this section a more curated quality. In fact, the section seemed, at least to this viewer, to fit in with the slapdash or post–arte povera style of “Unmonumental,” the inaugural exhibition at the new New Museum of Contemporary Art.

“The only other thing they [the organizers] could have done,” hissed one Supernova exhibitor, “was to blindfold us and tie one arm behind our backs.”Judd Tully is editor at large for Art+Auction.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wallinger takes Turner prize with re-creation of parliament protest

Judges praise 'visceral intensity' of artist who once dressed as a bear

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
Tuesday December 4, 2007
In The Guardian

It was the man in the bearsuit who won it: Mark Wallinger, 48, was awarded the Turner prize last night, 12 years after he was first nominated but lost to Damien Hirst. His film Sleeper, 154 minutes of him wandering around a deserted German gallery disguised as a bear, but recognisable by his very particular gait, has baffled and entranced visitors to the Turner prize exhibition by turns.
The prize was officially given not for Sleeper, but for State Britain, his meticulous re-creation of Brian Haw's anti-war protest in Parliament Square. That was praised by the judges for its "immediacy, visceral intensity and historic importance", combining "a bold political statement with art's ability to articulate fundamental human truths".

The prize was awarded at a ceremony last night at Tate Liverpool - the first time outside London in its 23-year history - by actor, director and Easy Rider star Dennis Hopper. Accepting, Wallinger praised Haw's "tireless campaign against the folly and hubris of our government's foreign policy". He added: "Bring home the troops. Give us back our rights. Trust the people."
State Britain was the worthy winner, he believed: "It was the best thing that was shown this year, and I don't think I should be humble about it."
He added: "I think it's regrettable that people have been so quiescent about what the Serious Organised Crime Act has done to people who want to demonstrate. It is against Magna Carta, and that was produced in 1215, before democracy. It's important these freedoms are fought for and preserved."
Haw professed himself delighted with Wallinger's win, saying he and the artist "shared the same heart" - despite Haw having told him "politely to piss off' when first approached. Asked whether he would share the prize money with Haw, Wallinger said "what I do with the prize money is my business".
Wallinger was favourite to win in an uneven contest which saw Wallinger and Mike Nelson, also nominated before, in 2001, pitched against photographer and film-maker Zarina Bhimji and Glasgow sculptor Nathan Coley.
State Britain, on show between January and September this year at the Duveen galleries at Tate Britain, London, was by far the most overtly political work in contention. Wallinger remade Haw's peace camp in every detail: from the tea-making area to banners, flags, photos and posters amassed by Haw and his supporters.
It took 14 people six months to source the materials and age them to authenticity in Wallinger's studio in the Old Kent Road, south-east London. It cost him £90,000 to make, and the commission paid £3,000, so in a curious irony the £25,000 Turner prize will recoup at least a fraction of the cost of making the work, now in storage, but to be shown in Paris and Switzerland next year.
The work had piquancy, as Haw's protest, begun in 2001, was largely dismantled on May 23 2006, following the passing of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act forbidding unauthorised demonstrations within a kilometre of Parliament Square. That exclusion zone, taken literally, bisected Tate Britain, and part of State Britain fell within its border.
Wallinger's best-known work is perhaps Ecce Homo, a statue of Christ that occupied Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth during 1999.
For the Turner prize exhibition at Tate Liverpool he chose Sleeper, first seen at the 2005 Venice Biennale. There was controversy about his decision to show a single, two-year-old work, rather than a new piece, but Sleeper has never been seen before in the UK. The film shows Wallinger, in a bear suit, wandering around in a darkened space in the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Wallinger made multiple references: the bear is a symbol of Berlin, but also alluded to the cold war and history of "sleeper" spies.
Wallinger was born in 1959 in Chigwell, Essex, the son of a fishmonger who later worked in life insurance. He studied at Chelsea School of Art and at Goldsmiths, and lives in London. He has said: "I think art needs to engage the viewer and has to have a hook that isn't entirely cerebral ... I like Velázquez, Manet, Warhol - realists that held up a mirror to their society that was radical, but not pedantic."
The Turner prize is awarded for the best exhibition by a British or Britain-based artist in the 12 months preceding the May nominations. Each of the shortlisted artists receives £5,000.
· The Turner prize exhibition continues at Tate Liverpool until January 13. A retrospective of the previous prizes is at Tate Britain, London until January 6.

Mark Wallinger beside his installation, State Britain, at Tate Britain earlier this year. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Posh, Kate and Amy get the Pop Art treatment

The Kiss (2007)
By Ciar Byrne, Arts and Media Correspondent
Published: 03 December 2007 in The Independent.

In the early 1960s, Gerald Laing became famous for his Pop Art pictures of Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina. Four decades on, he has once again taken celebrity as his subject in a series of paintings of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham.
As with his early works, Laing's new paintings are based on "perfect" images of the stars from newspapers and magazines. It marks a shift from his recent work in which he used the medium of Pop Art to express horror at the conflict in Iraq and the images of torture from Abu Ghraib prison.

The portrait of Winehouse shows the troubled singer standing on a red carpet kissing her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. It is entitled The Kiss, because Laing felt the pose resembled that in Auguste Rodin's sculpture of the same name.
While The Kiss is unmistakeably Winehouse, the painting of Kate Moss is far more abstract, showing a woman in a bikini with a flesh coloured sphere as a head, which recalls Laing's image of Bardot, in which a pink circle surrounds her face, as well as Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

The painting of Victoria Beckham is also recognisably the Spice Girl, wearing a short blonde crop, sunglasses and a strappy sun dress.
Laing said: "The first paintings I did were of similar people at a different time in history. This is old territory but new subject matter."
He added: "There's so much about [Winehouse] that's fascinating. She's got massive talent and a very interesting personality. She's got quite a self-destructive streak and I find that interesting. We've all been self destructive at some point in our lives. It's like a kick in the face for mortality. It's a position that many very talented people have taken.
"Then there's her extraordinary body and clothes and her hair. It was something that I really wanted to capture."

With Moss, Laing got into a "visual riff, thinking about what I'd read and heard about her". He added: "It's for me amazingly sensual." The painting of Beckham is more figurative and formal.
The half-tone areas of black dots on a white background in Laing's paintings convey moral, humanistic issues, whereas the areas of flat colour represent more abstract qualities, he said.
He is now working on another painting of Winehouse, taken from a media image of her sitting with acolytes drinking champagne at an awards ceremony, which he is re-imagining as Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast.

He is also keen to turn his gaze on to some of the men in contemporary celebrity culture, so a painting of Pete Doherty may not be far off.
"I think an artist should be relevant," said Laing. "It's extraordinary the difference between the art press and real life. I always try to operate in real life."
Olivia Connolly, the director of the Ocontemporary gallery in Brighton which represents Laing, said: "The paintings are getting an absolutely phenomenal response. People are talking about Amy as Gerald's new Bardot. It's such a pop culture image. There are so many people trying to emulate Pop Art, but Gerald still has that lightness of touch. He's just as contemporary as he ever was."

Born in 1936 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Laing served as an officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, before attending St Martin's School of Art. In the 1960s, he lived and worked in New York, but by 1969, disillusioned with America after the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War, he returned to the UK, where he settled in Scotland and devoted the next 30 years to sculpture.
In 2003, the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq inspired Laing to return to Pop Art, using bold colours to create chilling images of the "war on terror".
Early in his career, many of Laing's paintings were quickly sold and disappeared from view – he sold the Bardot painting to a fellow art student for £50. Now, he is keen to show his new work as widely as possible. Limited edition prints of each of the celebrity portraits are on sale at around £1,000 each.

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