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He’s had a whole day named after him at the Toronto International Film Festival and countless websites set up to bask in his awesomeness (including a recent one recounting his numerous random, and mostly awesome, public appearances). But now Bill Murray joins the relatively scarce ranks of those who have been the subject of and inspiration for an entire series of art gallery installations.
Bill Murray: A Story of Distance, Size and Sincerity, which opened last weekend at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead in northern England, is a “metaphysical adventure story and a fantasy caricature,” according to the venue. Gateshead is connected to Newcastle via several bridges.
Across a floor, the actor’s face beams from nine Murray-themed model buildings, including a lavish Los Angeles beach house and historic Scottish mansion and featuring details such as a miniature whisky bar and grand piano. Outside, an image of Murray from Cannes (the one of him taking a photo of the media scrum on the red carpet with a tiny camera) appears on a 20 meter-long banner hanging from the gallery’s north facade.
“Bill is always authentic. He is consistently ‘Bill Murray,’ ” says the artist Brian Griffiths, whose previous work has included life-sized cardboard cut-outs of computer workstations. “His singularity breaks into irreducible ambiguities and contradictions – Bill the global superstar, the guy-next-door, the anti-brand brand, the irrepressible Lothario, the loveable gruff, the wise cracker, the emotionally brittle, the lost man, the free-wheeling guy, the uncle you-never-had, the dignified clown, the droll philosopher and the hopeful.”
Such is Murray’s seemingly unquestionable appeal that Story of Distance isn’t even the first time that an art gallery has dedicated a show to the man. Last year, he was the subject of The Murray Affair, a one-day exhibit in San Francisco, which included a portrait of him as Napoleon.
Bill Murray: A Story of Distance, Size and Sincerity runs until Feb. 28.
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