Very Famous Artist - Hall of Fame
Glazed porcelain and readymades. 2009-2015
Very Famous Artist - Hall of Fame
An installation in three parts.
For many young people, the ultimate goal in life is to become famous. Exhibitionism has become a widespread disease, and youngsters are willing to go to extremes to get attention, often without regarding the consequences.
To comment on this trend, I have made a self-portrait in gold. The sculpture is called Very Famous Artist. This is to imitate other famous people who have a bust of themselves in various important places. My gold bust has been photographed outside a selection of iconic buildings in Oslo (The Astrup Fearnley Museum, The Vigeland Park, The Royal Palace, The Opera, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Nobel Center, Edvard Munch’s Grave Memorial, The Parliament Building, The National Museum and The Vigeland Museum).
The project contains sculpture and photo.
Hall of Fame is an extension of the above-mentioned project. This work holds 16 busts on plinths. I have used my self-portrait as a canvas, and painted onto this other influential artists and famous people. The sculptures have wigs and other accessories which identifies the portrayed. The whole is exhibited as a Hall of Fame, with my authentic self-portrait amongst them.
Some of the portrayed have consciously used a systematic strategy to achieve a celebrity status, others have earned their recognition by their diplomatic actions, social position or talent. Several have been victims of the media’s urge to sell stories. Some have achieved a kind of cult-status, where one no longer reflects on, or maybe doesn’t even know, what they represent, such as Mao.
I have deliberately chosen people both from the media world and from the art scene, because they are two references I keep returning to in my works. And they all connect to the story.
The portrayed are: Jeff Koons, Nan Goldin, Andy Warhol, Mao, Frida Kahlo, Damien Hirst, Lady Diana, Salvador Dali, Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Emin, Hitler, Mona Lisa, Brooke Shields, Orlan, and Edvard Munch, in addition to my own self portrait.
The third part of the project is The Blue Signs, which are actual Blue Signs mounted on buildings where something significant in history happened. On my signs I have written my name, Cecilie Lind, my title, Very Famous Artist, and the dates when I lived in the building. They are mounted and photographed on all the buildings I have lived throughout my life.
The project contains sculpture (Blue Signs) and photo.
The ultimate dream
The people I have chosen to portray in my Hall of Fame all represent what youth nowadays are striving to become; loved, cherished, admired and remembered for posterity.
Today’s trend is that teens chase a position of power solely by who they are. To be a Somebody, a centre of attention, hot, cool, trendy and attractive in every way, even if they haven’t done a single feat in their lives. The explosion of reality programs and blogs over the last few decades are clear examples of this urge to show off in public, without possessing one single talent.
The celebrities in Hall of Fame are:
Frida Kahlo – Out of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits. She portrays her suffering through life as a result of polio and a traffic accident she had as an 18 year old. She was the the first female Mexican artist to be collected by a well-known art institution in the 20th century, the Louvre in Paris, however her breakthrough didn’t come until 30 years after her death. Before that she was best known as Diego Rivera’s wife. She was also the first Latin American woman to be portrayed on an American stamp in 2001.
Andy Warhol – The king of Pop Art. He was the first person to make himself into a product, by using the tools of the marketing industry. He had his background from advertising and graphic design, and had already made a name for himself in that industry before taking on art. He knew all the tricks, and mass produced his art in The Factory. Warhol as a product remains one of the most successful and ground-breaking marketing campaigns in the art scene, and many artists have followed in his footsteps, like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
Brooke Shields – When she was 5 months old, her mom claimed that she was the most beautiful child, that she wanted her in showbiz, and that she would help in her career. Brooke had her first modelling job at 11 months old for Ivory Soap, and later did child-modelling for Eileen Ford. Early in the 80’s she was on the cover of Vogue magazine at the age of 14, the youngest person to ever have that honour. She has had parts in numerous movies, tv-shows and theatre, and her photo has been reproduced by Richard Prince in the work "Spiritual America". This piece has been the subject of a lot of controversy due to accusations of its appeal to paedophiles. It was removed from an exhibition in the Tate Modern in 2009 for that reason.
Orlan – Her body is her medium, and plastic surgery is her tool. In her piece "The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan" from 1990, she undertakes plastic surgery to transform her face into bits of famous paintings and sculptures of female images. Her goal was to achieve the female beauty ideal, as described by male artists throughout the history of art. In her finished piece, she had the chin of Botticelli's Venus, the nose of Jean-Léon Gérôme's "Psyche", the lips of François Boucher's "Europa", the eyes of "Diana" (as depicted in a 16th century painting from the French school), and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa's" forehead. She chose these characters, not for their stunning beauty, but because of the myths surrounding them. She was a pioneer in adopting plastic surgery as her tool. A trend which is now common place among ordinary people, as a result of how the media claim we should look, in addition to an ongoing search for eternal youth.
Diana – The Princess of Wales married Prince Charles as a 22 year old. The grand marriage ceremony was watched by 750 million people on TV throughout the world. She represented every young girl’s dream. She was a favourite among the media, who wrote eagerly about everything they could find about her private life. She was often described as the most photographed women in the world. Her fame later led to her death, as she was chased by paparazzi into a fatal car crash, in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. Memorials have been raised in her memory, like "Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain" in Hyde Park, London, and she is still cherished by many as a Saint. She has also been depicted in art after her death, as in Tracy Emin's "Temple of Diana" in The Blue Gallery, London in 1999. Diana admitted that she suffered from depression and bulimia, which plagued her throughout her adult lift, something Emin also is also commenting on in her work of Diana.
Salvador Dali – Known as the father of surrealism by many. He was kicked out of the Academy in Madrid in 1926, just prior to his final exam, because he claimed that none of the professors were competent enough to judge him. He was known for his vivid imagination, and his eccentric and weird appearance often drew attention. For instance, when he wore a deep diving suit and helmet during a lecture he was holding at the International Exhibition of Surrealism in London in 1936. His iconic moustache became his trademark and logo. One of his autobiographies is called "Diary of a Genius".
Nan Goldin – Invites us inside her intimate zone and unfolds both her own and her friend’s private life with narrative photographs from the late 70’s and early 80’s. She guides us through the trance scene of the Bowery district in New York, where she is photographing her everyday life characterized by sex, drugs and rock´n roll. She was the precursor for what was later called "Heroin Chic" in the advertising industry, due to ads like the one with a skinny Kate Moss modelling for Calvin Klein. Heroin addiction was glorified to sell products, in contrast to the established fashion industry with more healthy-looking models like Cindy Crawford. At the same time, Heroin was cheaper, cleaner and more accessible than ever. Goldin called this strategy evil, but in the commercial industry the goal sanctifies the funds. Most people depicted by Goldin from that era are dead, either due to an overdose or AIDS.
Edvard Munch – Norway's most cherished artist, and his painting "Scream" is one of the most famous paintings in the world. The author Martha Tedeschi has ascertained that Scream, accompanied by very few other paintings, conveys something most paintings don't. It hits a nerve that is immediately recognizable by most audiences. The painting has successfully managed the transformation from being an elitist art piece for the institution, to hit the enormous market in the popular culture.
Hitler – Never made it to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. After being rejected twice, he was told that his skills were better suited for architecture, and not painting. He was encouraged to apply for the School of Architecture, but he lacked the basic academic skills and would have to return to secondary school, from which he had dropped out. He was not willing to do so. After participating in World War 1, Hitler became a member of German Workers’ Party in 1919. Later called the Nazi Party. He is most famous for his role in the 2nd world war and the Holocaust. One of the world’s most famous, as well as hated, people.
Mona Lisa – Is said to be the most famous painting in the world. It is located in the Louvre, Paris, and draws about 6 million visitors a year. The painting was not particularly known before the 19th century, when artists from the symbolist movement (a movement exhaling the mystic, in contradiction to the narrative) started to value it. They associated it with their ideas of female mysticism. She has been described as eternal femininity, older than the mountains in the background of the painting. There are countless theses and myths about her person and origin, and multiple hours of research have gone into finding out who she really was.
Jeff Koons – Is by many said to be a super commercial artist and states himself that his works do not have any deeper meaning. He claims that he is interested in the importance of his works, rather than a celebrity status for the sake of the status. He sold the most expensive artwork in history by a living artist, Balloon Flower Magenta, in 2013. The record was displaced by David Hockney in 2018. Koons’ breakthrough came in the 80’s with the work of three basketballs in a water tank, but he is most known for his work "Made In Heaven" from 1989, where he and his wife at the time, Cicciolina (former porn star, politician, and singer), expose their sex life, and are photographed in various sexual acts.
Tracy Emin – Known for sharing her private life with the audience. For instance, with the work "Everyone I have ever slept with", where she names everyone she has ever had sex with or shared a bed with, such as her own twin brother and her two aborted children. Her art has been widely collected, amongst others by the late George Michael and his former boyfriend Kenny Gross, who owns 25 of her works. She has also been collected by Elton John, Jerry Hall, Naomi Campbell, Orlando Bloom, and Saatchi. Emin was given the honour to hand out the Music Hall of Fame Award to Madonna in 2004, and was later invited to her country estate.
Damien Hirst – Is said to be the richest living artist in the world. Early in his career he was collected by, and started a cooperation with, Charles Saatchi, who has financed several of his projects. Saatchi early on declared him as a genius. As a young artist Hirst expressed: "I can’t wait to get into a position to make really bad art and get away with it. At the moment if I did certain things people would look at it, consider it and then say 'f... off'. But after a while you can get away with things." One of his critics, Robert Hughes, claim that his works are tacky and absurd, and that it is a miracle that he has achieved the prices that he gets. He said Hirst is nothing but a brand, and his work proves that financial value is now the only meaning that remains for art.
Oprah Winfrey – Famous for her multi prize winning talk show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history. She was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America's first black multi-billionaire. Winfrey popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show format. Through this medium, Winfrey broke taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream through television appearances. She is by many defined as the most powerful woman in the world.
Mao – Has been depicted dozens of times in art, for instance by Andy Warhol. He was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Supporters credit him for modernizing the nation and building it into a world power, even though he was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths, with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims through starvation, prison labour and mass executions. Mao Zedong is one of the most influential figures in history and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
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