“What a great combination: killing Nazis and saving art,” said the artist Tom Sachs. “It’s kind of like my day job—my dream day job.”
Mr. Sachs was talking to The Observer about The Monuments Men, the new Hollywood film celebrating the unlikely band of art historians, conservators, curators and others that rescued Nazi-looted artwork toward the end of World War II. It’s not every day a mainstream movie revolves around, or even mentions, art, and the city’s cultural mavens are more or less on board.
During our chat with artist Tom Sachs about the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity (and cheeseburgers), he told us that his proposal to have NASA fund his project “Space Program: Mars” (which included the plea “I bring sex to the Space Program”) was rejected. We wondered what kind of art does NASA fund? Well, now we know. Bizarre photographs of women in sexy skin-tight space-suits, wandering across a fictional sci-fi terrain with Martian ruins, and even giving birth.
When the rover Curiosity touched down on the gravelly surface of Mars early Monday morning, after the hubbub settled down, it occurred to us: what was the artist Tom Sachs doing when it landed?
“I was having a cheeseburger, from room service, and a Coke, and French fries,” Mr. Sachs told Gallerist over the phone from Aspen. He and his fiancée, gallerist Sarah Hoover, were in bed together that night, watching the landing on a laptop, over wifi in a hotel room. “1 min to entry!” he tweeted, with a picture of his laptop screen.
Jeffrey Deitch defends the seriousness of his exhibition program at MOCA Los Angeles. An excerpt: “‘I’m embattled,’ Deitch says in a tone more sorrowful than angry.” The museum director also says that two new “significant” trustees will join the board in the next few days. [LAT]
Arts philanthropist Martin E. Segal has died at the age of 96. “He went into the office almost every day and out on the town almost every night.” He was also married for 74 years. [NYT]
Tom Sachs’s “Space Program” lifts off at the Park Avenue Armory on Tuesday. Technically, it is an art exhibition. But know this: Tom Sachs is going to Mars.
The Observer was introduced to the project on a visit to the artist’s Chinatown studio last November; our entry required that we be photographed at the door and issued with a facsimile NASA pass. Members of Mr. Sachs’s core team of 17 who were on hand included Mary Eannarino, a 23-year-old from South Carolina who most recently worked at an art gallery in Moscow, and who is to be one of Armory show’s two astronauts. “Mary’s in on this meeting because she represents the face of our space program,” Mr. Sachs said.
Quality restaurant art is nothing new, especially in New York. When it opened in the late ’50s, the Four Seasons Restaurant, in the iconic Seagrams Building, had art by Picasso, Miró and Jackson Pollock on the walls. (The dining room was meant to get a series by Mark Rothko, but he pulled out of the project, and the paintings now hang in three museums.) The food/art nexus may have culminated with the freewheeling 1970s, when Gordon Matta-Clark had his restaurant, Food, in Soho—compared with that, most restaurant offerings seem pretty staid. These days, you can go to Casa Lever, in the architecturally groovy Lever House, and gaze at myriad Warhol prints of celebrities—Hitchcock, Sly Stallone—while you’re eating your $52 “Costata” T-bone steak. And if you’re looking for something a bit more classical, there’s always Maxfield Parrish’s monumental mural, Old King Cole, which hangs elegantly above the bar in the St. Regis Hotel. But a new joint set to open by the end of the year is bringing New York restaurant art to a whole new level of downtown hipness.