Wes Anderson Exhibition Review: Steve Zissou Sneakers, Margot Tenenbaum Portraits and Bill Murray Mania
A new pop-up art show in New York features some 100 works inspired by the films of director Wes Anderson.
Until his next film arrives, fans of director Wes Anderson will have to console themselves with Bad Dads VI, the latest in an annual series of exhibitions featuring new artwork inspired by such films as Rushmore, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel, among others. Created by San Francisco's Spoke Art gallery, the exhibit comes to New York City for the first time in the form of a pop-up show running for three days at Chelsea's Joseph Gross Gallery (548 W. 28th St.). Tickets for the event — whose title reflects the father issues suffered by many of the films' characters — run from $5 to $15 and are entirely sold out.
Housed in two large rooms, the exhibit features some 100 works from more than 70 artists in a wide variety of mediums, from limited-edition prints to oil paintings to sculptures to such whimsical creations as a pair of custom-made "Team Zissou Adidas Sneakers."
The works on display reflect the whimsicality and satirical humor of their inspiration's cinematic output, even if something inevitably has been lost in translation. Since Anderson has only made eight feature films — he's also done several shorts and commercials — there's more than a little repetition in the subject matter.
Anderson devotees — and they're surely legion, since the New York event received 10,000 RSVPs the day after its announcement on Facebook — will have a field day. Nearly all of the pieces are made available for sale online a week after the show concludes, at prices roughly ranging from $50 to $2,500. But less well-heeled attendees can purchase numerous souvenirs, including magnets, T-shirts, a deck of playing cards featuring characters from the films and a "View-Max-Ter" set showcasing the "Wes Anderson Reel."
Among the more striking pieces on display are a painting called "Wes Anderson Theme Park" depicting rides inspired by the films; another painting, "Margot, Margot, Margot," depicting eight versions of Gwyneth Paltrow's character from Tenenbaums; a miniature replica of the concierge stand from Grand Budapest Hotel; sculptures made of discarded books depicting the animal characters from Fantastic Mr. Fox and others made from VHS boxes of such films as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore; "Campmurray," an engraving on a glass bottle of Campari; screen prints entitled "Friend of Dafoe" depicting characters played by Anderson-film mainstay Willem Dafoe; and hand-painted purses inspired by The Darjeeling Limited.
Not surprisingly, Bill Murray, who has appeared in every Anderson feature save for Bottle Rocket, is the most popular source of inspiration, with images of the actor featured on numerous artworks including, most amusingly, his character Steve Zissou emblazoned on $10 bills.
As with the movies themselves, there's more than a little preciousness on display, and the pieces vary wildly in quality. But the exhibition, running through Sunday, August 9, represents an affectionate tribute to the filmmaker whose wild imagination has clearly proved infectious.