Monday, August 20, 2012

Life of Brian

We saw Brian Butler (the last but one director of Artspace) twice while we were away. Once in the flesh in his gallery in Los Angeles and once on a screen in a museum in Paris. 
Without wanting to belittle the personal experience of being with Brian, the screen version was definitely more intriguing. It turns out that Brian, a friend of the artist Paul McCarthy (that’s something in itself when you think about it), was roped in to play a part in one of McCarthy’s movies. Originally, Brian told us, he was supposed to play the part of the critic (not a great part as it involved smelling McCarthy’s backside at a critical point in the film) but arrived late and ended up as the talk show host. 
We saw the resulting 1995 McCarthy film 'Painter' at the Quai Branly in Paris in the Masters of Chaos exhibition. As we watched up popped a familiar face, albeit mostly concealed by a bulbous rubber nose (Butler recalls McCarthy pulling off his own false nose and gluing it onto his -Butler's - face before he had a chance to give an opinion as to whether or not this seemed like a good idea). If you want to see Brian Butler in ‘Painter’ it is still viewable on YouTube. He turns up toward the end. The set and all the props for ‘Painter’ are now part of the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. 

Later: Then in Auckland at St Paul St and we stumble in to Sean Grattan's movie HADHAD which we had seen in LA. And who's up there on the screen as we enter? Kate Butler (Brian's wife) who is one of its stars. Snap.
Images: Brian Butler (left of screen) in Paul McCarthy’s film 'Painter'