Thursday, September 30, 2010

Psycho art

If you’re making a movie and want to showcase art in it to set the scene (signal absurdly rich folk, pin-point an era, demo greed and avarice or just show some nifty décor to brighten things up) it’s usually a matter of rent, invent or represent. 

For her 2000 movie American Pyscho Mary Harron wanted to nail the eighties for the living quarters of her lead character Patrick Bateman’s, and art director Gideon Ponte delivered. He looked to Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Allan McCollum and the connections among them are close. Indeed one of Longo's signature Men in the Cities drawings is of his friend Cindy Sherman. She is represented herself by a self-portrait from her Untitled Movie Stills series and Richard Prince (who – Google alert - owns signed first editions of American Psycho as part of his extensive book collection) by a Marlboro Man photograph.

The story gets more complicated when it comes to Allan McCollum. He's the American artist who makes objects that hang on the wall and look like paintings but are, in fact, 3D sculptures made from wood with molded fiber board inlays. When the movie people called to ask if they could use some of the Surrogate Paintings he said they were way too delicate. The resourceful art department folk reassured McCollum that they were not so much interested in borrowing his works, as making some examples themselves. Intrigued by the idea of surrogate surrogates McCollum agreed with the proviso that he got to keep them at the end of production.
Images: Top, fake Allan McCollums, Middle left, Longo’s uses Cindy Sherman as a model for one of his large drawings, right Patrick Bateman skips in front of a second Longo. Bottom left Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still and right Bateman with Richard Prince's Marlborough Man.