Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Boogie down

Art in the movies is one thing, movies about art another. Boogie Woogie is a satire on the UK YBA world and is full of in-jokes, sly references and broad, almost slapstick acting i.e. terrible but, selfless as always, the critical team at OTN sat through the whole thing on your behalf.

The director (Duncan Ward) claims that his film is not based on anyone in particular, something that is belied by the evil dealer wearing Jay Jopling’s (the owner/founder of London’s White Cube, the command centre of the YBA movement) signature black-rimmed glasses. Damien Hirst is credited as “Art Curator” (a first?) and has certainly packed the movie with convincing versions of high-priced art. John Curran is there, so too the Chapman brothers, Tracey Emmin, Gary Hume, Gavin Turk, Michael Landy (a full-size flower stall in the Collector’s hallway) and, of course, Hirst himself. Hirst is a friend of Boogie Woogie’s author and scriptwriter Danny Moynihan (they once shared an apartment and studio and Hirst designed the book cover for Boogie Woogie the novel). Moynihan, who used to be an art dealer is, in turn, a friend of Jay Jopling and also of Larry Gagosian who co-opted curator Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, the wife of Boogie Woogie’s director, to help him establish his London gallery. Small world, or should that be club? 

For all the foregrounding of British art the movie’s title refers to a Mondrian painting (permission was given by the Trust to create a Mondrian for the movie subject to it being destroyed at the end of the shoot) that is subjected to market shenanigans and destroyed for its trouble. In addition a Brancusi-like object is lugged around the Collector’s hallway and a replica of Jake and Dinos’s Fuckface given its head. In fact most of the art is treated with remarkable casualness (maybe because they’re replicas or have been created for the movie by DH) with not a white glove in sight.

Funniest line in the movie goes to the final credits: “Any similarity to the name, character or history of any actual person, living or dead or to any actual event, firms, institutions or other entities, is entirely coincidental and unintentional.”

So that's Boogie Woogie – high on art spotting, low on everything else.

Images: Left to right, top to bottom. “Jay” and the Collectors study a Hirst spin painting, the “Mondrian”, gloves off with the Chapman Brothers, “Think the Brancusi will look better over here with the Warhol?” a tasteless Hirst work made for the movie and the Hirst credit.