Friday, February 11, 2011

Up against the Wall Street

When director Oliver Stone wanted to represent the culture of greed in his 1987 movie Wall Street, he asked around his collector friends and assembled a collection for Gordon (greed is good) Gekko that looked appropriately deep-pocket eighties. Now in the $US70 million sequel WS2: money never sleeps, Stone reached out again for art as the metaphor that keeps on giving.

This time most of the artwork in play is owned by the new big dog on the street, Bretton James (played by the great Josh Brolin). His gentleman’s club-like apartment has at least one Warhol (a tondo Jackie that may or may not be an original) and Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son that Bretton claims is a ‘study’ for the famous painting. Some way into the movie the billionaire grabs the painting in a fit of pique and - in a $US100 million plus gesture -slams it against a table ripping it to pieces (OK, that one’s a prop).

The Gekko has moved offices to London so he’s togged out in Brit art, most notably sculpture by Antony Gormley. These include a wire sculpture that Fanny Pereire (the art wrangler for the movies) claims, “hints that the character has been chastened but not beaten by his eight-year prison stint.” If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Art as metaphor, metaphor as art.

Image: Top, Gordon Gekko, Gormley and Jake Moore. Bottom, Bretton James trashes Goya