SmART cars: Colourful BMWs painted by Warhol and Hockney on display as inner-city car park is transformed into free gallery

 n inner-city car park might not be where you'd usually expect to come across priceless pieces of artwork - especially those created by the likes of Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein.

But BMW has chosen to take their collection of art cars, each with its own distinct livery and never before displayed in the UK, to the apt setting of an unremarkable grey NCP in Shoreditch, east London for a free show.

The centrepiece of the exhibition, a joint venture between the London 2012 Festival, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the German car manufacturer, is a striking BMW M1 model painted by the late Andy Warhol in 1977.

The legendary artist took a mere 23 minutes to cover the Group 4 racing car, which went on to race at the 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1979, finishing second in its class and sixth overall.

BMW is unlikely to part company with the Warhol, despite the pop artist's touch making it one of the world's most valuable cars.

Warhol, whose works fetch upwards of £40 million at auction, described his inspiration for the design by saying: 'I tried to portray speed pictorially. If a car is moving really quickly, all the lines and colors are blurred.'

BMW has commissioned 17 art cars since 1975, when French racing driver and auctioneer Herve Poulain persuaded his friend Alexander Calder to come up with a design for a BMW 3.0 CSL ahead of competing at Le Mans.

The result of the original art car is also on show in the unusual makeshift gallery alongside works by Robert Rauschenberg, Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, Ernst Fuchs, M.J. Nelson, Ken Done, Matazo Kayama, César Manrique, A.R. Penck, Esther Mahlangu, Sandro Chia and Jenny Holzer.

Pop art: Swiss photographer captures the fleeting moment when multi-coloured soap bubbles wobble into life - then burst


Photographer Fabian Oefner captures mysterious objects that look like visions captured by the Hubble space telescope - but they're in fact ordinary soap bubbles, wobbling into life for a precious few seconds before they pop.

 Oefner used a sugar funnel to blow up the mixture from an ordinary children's pot of bubbles.

Oefneer had to use a special lighting rig to give his images their peacock-like colours, 'With this series of images, I was trying to capture the beauty of these short-lived sculptures, which consist of 99% air and actually do not have any colour at all.'

Photographer Fabian Oefner captures mysterious objects that look like visions from the Hubble space telescope - but they're in fact ordinary soap bubbles. Oefner explaisn 'Most of us remember playing with soap bubbles in our childhood, when we were fascinated by the colours of them and therefore even more disappointed when the bubble all of a sudden disappeared again.'

Fabian, a 28-year old art photographer from Zurich, was inspired by memories of blowing bubbles as a child, but put scientific principles into place to get the required results.

He explains: ‘Most of us remember playing with soap bubbles in our childhood, when we were fascinated by the colours of them and therefore even more disappointed when the bubble all of a sudden disappeared again.

‘With this series of images, I was trying to capture the beauty of these short-lived sculptures, which consist of 99% air and actually do not have any colour at all.’

But in the series he calls 'Iridient' the challenge was in lighting the subjects to make them visible to the camera and then capturing the split second before they popped.

Fabian explains: ‘There are two major challenges, when taking images of bursting soap bubbles. One is how to light the bubble, so that its colours become visible and second is obviously to capture the right moment.

‘A soap bubble is made of a thin film of water, on which soap molecules gather on both sides. The vibrant colours, that bubbles are famous for, are created by the reflected light hitting the surface of the bubble. This effect is called iridescence, a phenomenon that is also visible on the wings of the morpho butterfly or on the tail feathers of a peacock.

Pop Culture: Selections from the

Pop Culture: Selections from the

Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation

August 25-December 2, 2012

The museum celebrates its 20th anniversary with a reception on September 15.

Malibu, CA--The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University presents Pop Culture: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation from August 25 through December 2, 2012.

A reception to celebrate the Weisman Museum's 20th anniversary will be held on Saturday, September 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. There is no admission charge and the public is invited to attend.

Pop Art first arose in the early 1960s when artists began to draw inspiration from the new mass media that was transforming the world. This exhibition, organized to mark the Weisman Museum's formal dedication on September 12, 1992, explores the roots of this movement as well as the way subsequent generations of artists have drawn inspiration from popular culture.

The 1960s are represented by vintage and iconic works by founding Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Tom Wesselmann. The complete set of Warhol's silkscreens titled Marilyn Monroe in 10 different color combinations captures the era's fascination with glamour and celebrity. In Rosenquist's Sketch for "Fire Pole" Expo 67 Mural Montreal Canada, the artist shows us only the shoes and lower legs of a man and a metal pole. He could be either a firefighter rushing to save a life or a dancer at a discotheque.

The pioneering Pop artists provided an example for younger artists to draw inspiration from the world around them. Art produced in the 1970s and after reflects a myriad of complex influences, ranging from comic books and graffiti to video games and cell phones.

Wit, irony, and humor are recurrent themes. Jose Luis Quinones' Crushed Orange is an immense photorealist canvas of a crushed can of Orange Crush soda. In his hands, a brand name becomes a physical object, rendered with painstaking, meticulous realism. Joel Morrison's bronze Alligator Shoes depicts a pair of shoes made of reptile leather, complete with menacing alligator teeth.

While some artists were content with borrowing imagery from television, the pioneering video artist Nam June Paik went so far as to create a sculpture made from assembled televisions. His Michelin Man Laser Robot combines television sets from different eras, blending obsolete and current technology. His work reminds us that television is an inescapable experience in the modern world.

Works are on view at the Weisman Museum in the Gregg G. Juarez Gallery, West Gallery, and Ron Wilson-Designer Gallery.

Located on Pepperdine's main campus at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on Mondays and major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day and November 23. There is no admission charge.

For more information, call (310) 506-4851, or visit:



Exhibition: August 25-December 2, 2012

20th Anniversary Reception: Saturday, September 15, 5-7 p.m.

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art

 Pepperdine University

 24255 Pacific Coast Highway

 Malibu, CA 90263

Museum hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 Closed Mondays and major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day and November 23.

No admission fee

 General information: (310) 506-4851

 Museum staff: (310) 506-7257

Media Contact: Brad White

 Marketing and Publicity Manager

 Center for the Arts, Pepperdine University

 (310) 506-4055

Images available upon request

Museum Contact:

 Michael Zakian, Director

 (310) 506-7257

Group Tours Contact:

 Monica Chapon

 Museum Assistant/Arts Education Coordinator

(310) 506-4766

Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama collaborate on pop-art collection and display

NEW YORK — French fashion house Louis Vuitton is again putting a bit of Japanese culture on the arms of its customers.
The brand, best known for leather goods, formally unveiled a new collection on Tuesday created in collaboration between Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs. The theme is bold, graphic polka dots — a signature of the artist — offered in a frenzied series of sizes and colors.
Jacobs and Kusama started with inspiration of “obsession and seriality,” according to a company statement.
The dots cover shoes, handbags, shirts, skirts and sunglasses, among other items.
Jacobs met Kusama in 2006. He is an avid art collector and was a fan of Kusama’s sculptures and paintings. “The obsessive character and the innocence of her artwork touch me,” Jacobs said.
In honor of the new products, Louis Vuitton created a splashy display for the brand’s flagship Manhattan store on Fifth Avenue that pays homage to three Kusama motifs: “Beginning of the Universe,” ‘’Eternal Blooming Flowers in My Mind” and “Self-Obliteration.” The building facade is wrapped in a pattern of dots.
The timing of the product launch and building installation coincides with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new exhibition of Kusama’s work.
A decade ago, Jacobs and Louis Vuitton had great success collaborating with Japanese designer Takashi Murakami on a series of pop-art products that became instant must-haves among the fashion crowd and spawned a seemingly infinite number of mass-market items covered in similar-style rainbow-colored monograms and logos.

Q&A: Yayoi Kusama, Pop Artist
At 83, the beyond-prolific artist wasn’t overstating her career. A beacon in the avant-garde, Pop Art, minimalist and feminist art movements, the Japanese artist’s portfolio includes painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations. Georgia O’Keeffe helped her find her way to the New York art scene where Kusama influenced artists such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, and hit the Hamptons with Mark Rothko and other creative pals. During her 15-year stay in the States, Kusama left quite an impression. Widely known for her polka dots and her naked performers, she staged the Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead at the Museum of Modern Art and presided over the Homosexual Wedding at the Church of Self-Obliteration at 33 Walker Street. She even wrote to former President Richard Nixon offering a sexual romp if he would stop the Vietnam War.
A few years after moving back to Japan in 1973, Kusama checked into the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill, where she continues to live by choice and work tirelessly. Kusama has returned to New York this week for the first time in decades, thanks to a collaboration with Louis Vuitton and her retrospective at the Whitney, which bows Thursday. Wearing her polka dot Louis Vuitton scarf, and a polka dot dress her team helped design, she graciously thanked Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Yves Carcelle for giving her reason to return to New York. The gratitude appeared to be mutual as Carcelle told her early on in their conversation that he owns one of her paintings from 1953.
Another one of her paintings from that period sold at Christie’s for $5.1 million a few years ago, a record for any living female artist. And the octogenarian shows no signs of easing up. “I painted everything myself and I am very proud of that. I have done 200 paintings recently — only some of them are in the gallery downstairs,” Kusama said. “My legs hurt because of the years and years [I have spent] standing while painting. Now I am in a wheelchair [albeit a polka dot-covered one]. The doctor is taking care of my knees. He said he can fix them.”

WWD: It has been many years since you were in New York. What strikes you about how the city has changed?
Yayoi Kusama: When I was living here in the Sixties, it was like the city was at the utmost point of the world. There was more energy. Today it lacks energy.

WWD: How was it that you happened to write to Georgia O’Keeffe and she encouraged you to come to the U.S.?
Y.K.: In my home country, there was a little shop with old books but it was really in the countryside. You couldn’t find English books. I found this very avant-garde American art book that had information about Georgia O’Keeffe. I was very much impressed by her. I went to Tokyo to the American Embassy and I spent six hours in the documentary room looking up her name on this Who’s Who list of Americans that they had. I wrote a letter to her and sent a picture I had done, too. It was a daring thing to do. Everyone told me she will never write back but she did.…Young women, what they called war brides, were the only ones who traveled at that time.

WWD: Is it true that you started your polka dot technique at the age of 10?
Y.K.: My mother was against me being an artist. She just wanted me to marry a rich man. She was so angry when I started painting that she never gave me any money to continue. Other people helped me financially and bought my paintings. Georgia O’Keeffe proposed that I live with her. She was in New Mexico then and I wanted to be in New York.
WWD: How have you managed to be so prolific?
Y.K.: When I decided to go to the States, I burned all of my paintings from the previous 10 years. I didn’t want my family to throw them away because they were against the idea of me becoming an artist. I don’t know why I am so prolific. You should ask my hands. When I paint, some things come out and I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have such talent as a painter. I am so happy about that. Here in New York, so many people are happy to see me. It moves me a lot. I don’t know where my energy comes from. It’s my hands that create faster than my head. It’s just the way it is.

WWD: Do you have a favorite memory of New York?
Y.K.: When I went to Central Park and took the rowboats out or went to the beach in Southampton and swam in the sea. I had a lot of fun with Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. It was one of the best times in my life.

WWD: You once said that had it not been for art you would have killed yourself. Do you still feel that way?
Y.K.: I feel that way exactly. There’s not one day that I don’t think about death. The fact that I paint helps me to keep these ideas away and continue.

WWD: Why do you choose to live in the psychiatric hospital?
Y.K.: Because I am sick. It is difficult for me to be alone and I feel relaxed being surrounded by people.

WWD: In the Sixties, you stayed in a hospital due to overworking. Now that you live in a hospital, you seem to be working more than ever. How is that so?
Y.K.: I think that if I didn’t live in the hospital, I couldn’t continue painting. I have hallucinations and these symptoms. The fact that I feel safe in my surrounding allows me to keep painting.

WWD: There was a Kusama collection sold at Bloomingdale’s in the Eighties. Do you see this as a new incarnation of the fashion segment of your career?
Y.K.: I was selling some fashion clothes at that time, but I have been making things since I was very little. Be it a sculpture or be it clothes, for me it is the same thing. It’s my creation. I don’t see any difference. It is part of my art. I have written poems…

WWD: Do you think art needs to be more commercial or to have corporate support from companies like Louis Vuitton in order to reach more people?
Y.K.: I will be an artist until the end of my life. If with the power of art, we can touch the hearts of people, it’s a wonderful thing so why not with the help of business. In that sense for me, business can also be a sort of art especially in the fashion world.

WWD: Why do you think you and Marc Jacobs get along so well?
Y.K.: Marc Jacobs came to see me in Tokyo in 2006 and he asked me if I wanted to come to the States and do fashion. That sort of encouraged me. At that time, I was writing poems and novels. Fashion has always attracted me, not only when I was living in New York but also when I was five. I created this T-shirt that was half red and half white. For me, it was a sculpture. I was so honored when Marc came to see me in Tokyo. I still have a photo of that visit hanging on the wall of my studio. We are standing with one of my creations, this huge pumpkin, between us.

WWD: How do you define beauty?
Y.K.: It’s myself. The definition of beauty is me.…In this world full of terrorism, war and things like that, I think art helps a lot. But I also think that fashion, like what Louis Vuitton does, helps a lot because it proposes a view of beauty to the world. The most important thing in the world is peace, happiness and love because the world around us has such hatred. If I can contribute as an artist, that is how I would like to use my life. I think as an artist I can deliver messages.

Woman arrested for writing with chalk on street spurs violence

Woman arrested for writing with chalk on street spurs violence

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — About 20 people were arrested and over 100 LAPD officers ended up lining the streets of Spring Street between 4th and 6th after rocks and bottles were reportedly thrown at police during an OccupyLA event called Chalk Walk during ArtWalk Thursday night.

Three officers were injured, LAPD Sgt. Ana Aguirre confirmed to Blogdowntown.
In a scene the LA Times called a melee, Occupy members began writing in chalk on Spring around 7:30pm. Not soon afterwards tensions rose resulting in one woman being arrested for what Occupy calls "chalking" and what the LAPD calls vandalism.
"One [of the arrested] was in fact a vandalism [charge] that involved some chalk," Aguirre said, adding that "power washing" will be required to remove the chalk.
Messages including "Kill Cops" were written on the sidewalk and streets, the paper reports.

Nancy Casanova, a journalist from L.A., was at ArtWalk with her 13-year-old brother when she saw a crowd growing around a line of police officers, she told Blogdowntown. Soon mayhem broke out.

"There was a girl who was drawing between the officers," Casanova explained. "This officer saw her and grabbed her arm. Her boyfriend stepped in. The crowd chanted to the police to pressure them not to arrest her but it didnt work. The officer shoved her boyfriend out of the way. The girl tried to resist arrest. They put her on the ground and I took that picture. Then they took her into custody and that's when I saw bottles flying."
Aguirre said those arrested were being held on charges from vandalism to battery on police officer to failure to disperse.

Officer Karen Rayner of the LAPD told KCAL during their live tv coverage that a group decided to take over the intersection of 5th and Spring around 8:30pm. After officers arrived to disperse the group "it became very rowdy and disruptive, so we did call for reinforcements."

Casanova said she witnessed several brawls, one was caused by young men who appeared to be gang members who were taunting the police. "These were not Occupiers," she pointed out.

"This is a night that's usually for the ArtWalk folks and it's usually a peaceful event. For some reason this group decided to cause a disturbance," Rayner said, who added that an ambulance was called for someone who was hit by a skateboard.


Ivan Karp, Pop Art Dealer, Dies at 86

Ivan Karp, a cigar-chomping, fast-talking New York gallery owner who helped find, popularize and market the Pop artists of the 1960s, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, died on Thursday at his home in Charlotteville, N.Y. He was 86.

His wife, Marilynn, said he died of natural causes.

Mr. Karp always found the time to look at the slides of dozens of aspiring artists who each week asked him for the chance of a lifetime. He responded with precious gallery space, encouragement, a referral to a more appropriate dealer or rejection.

As Pop blossomed, Mr. Karp took to the road and made hundreds of speeches promoting the new art form — not to mention appearances on television shows like “The Tonight Show.”

In 1969, Mr. Karp was one of the first gallery owners to follow artists to SoHo, an industrial area that would quickly become as much an art gallery district as the Upper East Side. His O K Harris Works of Art — first at 485 West Broadway, then at its present address, 383 West Broadway — would become the first gallery on one of SoHo’s principal boulevards. He, like several other pioneers to venture south of Houston Street, liked to think of himself as SoHo’s unofficial mayor.

As driven as he was to find the new, Mr. Karp also gained fame for foraging through demolished buildings for architectural artifacts and remnants, thousands of which were donated to museums by a society he founded. He and his wife collected all manner of odd things — from washboards to misspelled restaurant menus to hatbox papers. A recent passion was to restore old country burial grounds.

But his life’s mission was to help find and guide the careers of major 20th century artists, among them Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann and John Chamberlain in addition to Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg. He became an early champion of photorealism, the genre that arose in the late 1960s in which painters strive for a photographic effect.

He worked at the search. The New York Times Magazine in 1966 quoted an unnamed art expert as saying, “He knows as much as, if not more than, anybody else about what’s going on in the hidden corners of the art world.”

Once he found a potential genius, Mr. Karp’s would do everything he could to help the artist achieve rewards commensurate with his talents.

Citing van Gogh’s fame, which came only at the end of his life and after his death, Mr. Karp vowed, “No genius should go undiscovered.”

He never claimed this commitment was altruistic. In 1968, The Times called him “New York’s deftest and most enthusiastic salesman of the new art.”

Ivan Karp was born on June 4, 1926, in the Bronx. His father, a hat salesman, soon moved the family to Brooklyn. Mr. Karp dropped out of Erasmus Hall High School to join the Army Air Forces in 1944. He recalled taking the middle name Conrad when he was standing in line to enlist. He noticed that men without middle names were marked “no M.I.,” for middle initial and thought it looked dreadful. He was carrying “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad at the time.

Mr. Karp attended The New School for Social Research on the G. I. Bill and was one of the first arts critics for The Village Voice in the mid-1950s. He also published short stories. At some point he sold Good Humor ice cream and tried to organize a union for the company’s workers. At another, he was employed by movie companies in New York to edit romantic scenes out of Westerns in the belief that fans liked only galloping and guns.

In 1958, he became an art dealer at the Martha Jackson Gallery. The next year, he moved to the Leo Castelli Gallery to be associate director. There, the loud, affable Mr. Karp became an excellent counterpoint to Mr. Castelli, a soft-spoken sophisticate who helped win international acceptance of postwar modern art.

Marilynn Gelfman, a sculptor, came into the gallery in 1964 with a friend’s paintings that other dealers had found too unorthodox. “He said he liked my friend’s work, but he loved me,” she said. They married later that year.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Karp is survived by his sons, Ethan and Jesse; his daughter, Amie Karp; his sister, Rhoda Ben-Isaac; and two granddaughters.

In 1967, Mr. Karp published a comic novel, “Doobie Doo,” about love between Pop artists. The next year, he yearned to start his own gallery at the “outposts of civilization” and headed for SoHo. He named the enterprise — big enough to hold five one-man shows at once — O K Harris because it was “a tough, American name that sounded like that of a riverboat gambler.”

As president of the Anonymous Arts Recovery Society, Mr. Karp trundled about New York in a beat-up Jeep looking for gargoyles, capitals and cornices from buildings that had been torn down. A particular delight was finding carved portraits that Italian immigrant stone craftsmen had made of one another — warts, missing teeth and all.

Mr. Karp, a self-described “rubble-rouser,” accomplished his preservation mission the old-fashioned way: with bribes. “For anywhere between $5 to $25, they’ll take the trouble not to smash something,” he said.