How the Filmmakers Behind ‘The Goldfinch’ Built Near-Perfect Replicas of the Met and the Dutch Masterpiece at the Story’s Heart The long-awaited film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 novel The Goldfinch hit theaters this weekend, bringing in an underwhelming $2.6 million to finish eighth at the box office. Translating the nearly 800-page novel to the big screen seems to have proved something of a challenge for director John Crowley, who has faced a number of highly critical reviews since the film’s release. When artnet News ran into one of the movie’s actors, Luke Wilson, at the opening party for New York’s Pace Gallery last week and we mentioned this article, he pleaded with us to “be nice.”
(The main complaints have been about the picture’s 149-minute runtime and what’s been characterized as excessive fidelity to the book.) Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and Finn Wolfhard also star. The movie, which centers on the diminutive Dutch Golden Age masterpiece The Goldfinch (1654) by Carel Fabritius, has been highly anticipated in the art world. The novel’s protagonist, 13-year-old Theo Decker (played by Oakes Fegley as a child and Elgort as an adult), encounters the painting with his mother—who considers it her favorite work of art—on a visit
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day it is targeted by a deadly terrorist attack. Theo survives, but his mother does not. In the chaos that follows the bombing, an explosion-addled Theo, urged by the last words of a dying old man, ends up taking The Goldfinch with him. It turns out that the painting also survived an explosion in real life, when a Dutch gunpowder store blew up and killed 32-year-old Fabritius and destroyed almost all of his art. “One of the only things that survived, like a miracle, was that little bird,” Theo marvels in the film. So how does the movie stack up in terms of its art-world accuracy? Here’s how the filmmakers recreated the works of art that appear on set, and how they shot the scenes at the Met.
Replicating the Met As for the Met itself, you might be surprised to discover that most of the scenes set at the museum were actually filmed in a warehouse in Yonkers, where the crew built a perfect replica of the galleries. The museum “took us under their wing and gave us access to their curators who showed us how to put together an authentic-looking art exhibit of our own,” said executive producer Mari Jo Winkler-Ioffreda in a statement. The museum also dug into its stash of old metal buttons, phased out in 2013, for the occasion. Because the Met galleries had to be destroyed on camera, the filmmakers never considered shooting there. Instead, there is just one scene of the facade shot on location, as Theo exits the building post-bombing, into the pouring rain. At the preview screening, artnet News ran into a few background actors exchanging notes on their experience: “we had fake rain being dumped on us from 3 a.m.,” said one extra. “We started at crack of dawn on a Sunday morning,” Ken Weine, the museum’s vice president for external affairs, told artnet News. But by opening time, “it was as if it never happened.” In the end, the film shows how Theo develops a fascination with art and antiques as a reaction to his traumatic experience. “[Theo] becomes attached to antiques because he finds a kind of peace in knowing that they have been around a lot longer than us and will be around long after we’ve gone,” said Elgort in a statement. “An object can endure, and I think that idea comforts him. And the object he prizes the most—and the one that also haunts him the most—is The Goldfinch.”
Ariana Grande Has Settled Her Legal Battle With the Artist Who Claimed Her Music Video Ripped Off His Empowering Candle Paintings
Pop star Ariana Grande and artist Vladimir Kush have settled their legal dispute. The singer stood accused of ripping off a pair of Kush’s paintings in the music video for her hit single “God Is a Woman.” Kush’s lawyer, Mark G. Tratos, filed a notice of voluntary dismissal with Nevada district court on Friday, stating that “the parties have reached a resolution.” The terms of the settle-
ment, which was first reported by the Blast, have not been disclosed, other than to note that both Grande
and Kush will pay their own legal bills. At three points in the music video, which also contains references to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco The Creation of Adam, Grande appears in silhouette form, her body taking the place of the wick in a lit candle framed against a cloudy sky. The imagery was remarkably similar to Kush’s paintings The Candle and
The artist sells his work through his own company, Kush Fine Arts Las Vegas, which has galleries in Maui, Laguna Beach, and inside Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas (a similar business structure to that employed by artists like photographer Peter Lik and the late Thomas Kinkade). Although Kush told Artsy his paintings can sell for as much as $100,000, the artnet Price Database has record of only one record of his work reselling at auction, for $8,000
The Candle 2, painted in 1999 and 2000, respectively. The Russian-American artist had sought unspecified damages and for the video to be removed from YouTube. Post settlement, it is still live, with the contested imagery unedited. Kush isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s attracted a steady stream of clients for his unique brand of kitschy Surrealism, which he has dubbed Metaphorical Realism.
Dean-Charles Chapman backs Richard Madden for James Bond
Dean-Charles Chapman has backed Richard Madden to play James Bond. The ‘1917’ actor – who plays Lance Corporal Tom Blake in the war epic – believes his on-screen brother would be a “good” 007 after speculation linking the ‘Bodyguard’ star to the role. Speaking to The Hook, he said: “Yeah! Richard’s a pretty cool guy, isn’t he? He looks slick. I think he’d make a good James Bond.” The 22-year-old star also threw his hat into the ring to succeed Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s espionage creation, with his co-star George MacKay suggesting that he would like to be his Bond villain.
Essex-born Chapman said: “But I’d take it in a flash! I love James Bond. George and I have already talked about this. I’ll just have to change my accent.” MacKay added: “You should be James Bond and I’ll be your villain.” Meanwhile, the pair admit that there are “quite a few” mistakes in ‘1917’, but they believe the errors add to the authenticity of the movie. Dean said: “There are quite a few mistakes in the film. There’s a lot of slips in No Man’s Land, but it makes it real and authentic and raw.” MacKay, 27, explained: “There’s a big run at one point where I got knocked over and that’s just how it was. We didn’t plan any of that stuff. It felt real. Everything that you see is practical. All the explosions. “There were so many elements working together but in harmony all the time – it was like this constant dance.” Meanwhile, Chapman – who starred alongside Robert Pattinson in ‘The King’ – is looking forward to seeing his co-star play the title role in ‘The Batman’. He said: “I’m very excited. I love the whole universe of Batman – it’s very dark and weird, but I’m interested to see what route they go down and how they take it. “I think he’ll be a great Batman. The choices that he’s made in his career so far have been really interesting.”
Chris Hemsworth, Pink, Nicole Kidman, More Donate Over $3 Million to Australian Bushfire Relief Chris Hemsworth joined the growing list of celebrities donating to Australian bush fire relief in the wake of the catastrophic bushfires devastating the country. The Avengers star announced on Monday, January 6, that he is giving $1 million to help support firefighters as they battle the blazes across his home country. “Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated,” he wrote on Instagram. Pink announced on Friday, January 3, that she is donating $500,000 to Australian fire services in the “I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires,” the “Just Give Me a Reason” singer, 40, wrote. “I am
pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz.” The Grammy winner is one of the country’s best-loved stars, breaking records with her concert ticket sales Down Under. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, whose Australian farm is under threat in the fires, posted on Saturday that they are also donating $500,000 to firefighters. At least 200 bushfires raging across the country have burned more than 15 million acres, killing at least 20 people with dozens missing. By comparison, the California wildfires in 2018 burned an area of less than 2 million acres.
“We’re in the middle of a war situation … mass evacuations, the involvement of the military, hugely exhausted firefighting campaigns, it’s difficult to explain,” David Bowman, a professor of pyrogeography and fire science and the director of the Fire Centre Research Hub at the University of Tasmania, told Time magazine.. It’s estimated that almost half a billion animals, including kangaroos and koalas, have been killed by the bushfires. Animal hospitals are struggling to care for the numbers of wildlife brought in for treatment for burns, while volunteers are going into fire-ravaged areas to look for injured animals and provide food and water for those that have survived. Terri Irwin has shared information on how her Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital — which has treated 90,000 patients since it opened in 2004 — has been caring for injured animals. But sadly, not all of her updates have been positive. Posting a photo of a possum named Blossom, who was badly burned in a bushfire in Queensland, Irwin tweeted on Friday, “It is with a heavy heart that I must share, dear Blossom and her two babies did not survive. Their injuries were too extensive from the bushfire. They were comforted, given pain relief, and received the best medical treatment possible.
Martin Lawrence explains long wait for Bad Boys for Life Martin Lawrence has addressed the long wait for ‘Bad Boys for Life’. The 54-year-old actor reprises his role as Inspector Marcus Burnett in the third film in the ‘Bad Boys’ series – which also stars Will Smith as Detective Lieutenant Mike Lowrey and comes almost two decades after the release of the 2003 sequel – and he revealed the delay was because the performers felt that the script lacked quality. He told GQ: “The script wasn’t right. And Will, to his credit, refused to do the movie until the script was right. It wouldn’t have been a good movie. We didn’t want that.
“We wanted to do a sequel where people would go, ‘Oh, man, that’s what I’m talking about. It just gets better.’ “ The ‘Big Momma’s House’ star felt frustrated being unable to give fans an answer as to when the film would be released until now. Martin explained: “I don’t really dwell on that now. But I mean, probably at that time, I was like, ‘Oh, man’. People were asking me, and I had no answer for them.
“I was asking myself that question. I was asking other people, ‘When are we going to do it?’ I was asking (producer) Jerry Bruckheimer, ‘When are we going to do this movie?’ “ Martin also revealed that a back injury prevented him from getting into shape for the film, although he insisted he has “no excuses”. He said: “If you see the movie, I’m a little heavier in the movie, so you know, it’s true. I wanted to be in shape enough to get through it and be able to deliver. “I have no excuses, but I had hurt my back in a New Year’s Eve show right before we did Bad Boys, so I couldn’t work out or anything for the whole movie. All I could do is eat. That was it. So I’m glad we had the stuntmen, because they do a great job.”
Madonna Loses a Lawsuit Against Her Ex Art Advisor, Greenlighting the Sale of Her Lingerie and Breakup Letter From Tupac Shakur An auction of Madonna’s personal belongings—including lingerie worn as stage costumes and a breakup letter from ex-boyfriend Tupac Shakur—can proceed as planned, a New York state appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday. The singer had hoped to prevent her former art advisor, Darlene Lutz, from selling the items, which Madonna claims went missing during a 2004 move. The new ruling upholds a Manhattan Supreme Court judge’s finding that Madonna’s lawsuit fell outside of the three-year statute of limitations to recover her possessions. Plus, in a 2004 settlement over a dispute about works of art, the singer signed a release clause barring future claims against Lutz. “The court came to the absolute right decision,” lawyer Hartley Bernstein told Reuters. “The property is Ms. Lutz’s to do with as she wishes.”
Madonna took legal action over 22 items that once belonged to the singer that had been consigned to online auctioneers Gotta Have Rock and Roll in 2017. Most of the lots came from Lutz, and Madonna claimed that she had stolen them. The items offered included Madonna’s original résumé, handwritten song lyrics, a checkbook, and her headpiece from the film Evita. The letter from the late Shakur, informing Madonna that he feared having a white girlfriend could harm his career, was expected to sell for as much as $400,000. The sale was initially halted over concerns that one lot, Madonna’s hairbrush, could contain her DNA.
Gotta Have It now has permission to proceed with the sale of the contested lots. The company is promoting an upcoming “The Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction” from July 17–26 in a post on Instagram. Madonna’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “It’s good to know,” Lutz’s lawyer told Page Six, “that justice is blind to things like celebrity and that facts will prevail.”
Billie Eilishâ€™s New Music Video Looks a Lot Like a Shoot From Maurizio
A popular music video director has been accused of serial plagiarism after fans noticed striking similarities between scenes from Billie Eilish’s new video and photographs published in Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s satirical art magazine Toiletpaper. Dave Meyers has previously directed videos for Ariana Grande and Kendrick Lamar—both of which resulted in lawsuits brought by artists who say their imagery was used without permission. The music video for Eilish’s song “bad guy” has been viewed on YouTube more than 265 million times since it was released at the end of March. But some viewers are questioning its originality after spotting the similarities between several of the video’s tableaux and photographs originally published in Toiletpaper. The shared visual elements include Eilish pouring milk and cereal into a the mouth of a besuited man and disembodied heads submerged in plastic goldfish baggies.
The similarities were first pointed out on Reddit and picked up by outlets ranging from Perez Hilton to the Art Newspaper. An eagle-eyed Reddit user who goes by the handle whoatemyteeth made a handy photo-collage pointing out the offending shots. So far, it does not appear as though Cattelan, Ferrari, or creatives from Toiletpaper were consulted prior to the video’s release. Another Reddit user claims to have reached representatives of the magazine via Instagram, and shared a purported screenshot of their response: “Actually we didn’t know about that video… and nobody from that project tried to contact us. Surely we will check how and why it happened.” We reached out to representatives for Toiletpaper, Meyers, and Eilish for comment, but did not hear back by press time.
When KISS Wiped Away Their Iconic Face Paint in 1983, Fans “Hated” the New Look When the band KISS first emerged on the scene in the 1970s, they weren’t like the other popular acts of the time. “At the same time that we were forming in New York, there was a very big glitter scene, where boys were basically acting like girls and putting on makeup,”
with black-and-white paint, the band masked their own facades and taking on stage identities: vocalist and bassist Simmons was the Demon, guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley became Star Child, guitarist Ace Frehley turned into Spaceman and drummer Peter Criss took on Catman.
KISS frontman Gene Simmons told the fanzine Porkchops & Applesauce according to Yahoo! Entertainment. “Well, we were more like football players — all of us were over 6 feet tall — and it just wasn’t convincing!”
And it worked. Even with multiple changes in their lineup, KISS has released 44 albums in the last four decades, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide and earning a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.While the makeup has become synonymous with KISS, one of the band’s biggest moments came when they revealed their natural faces in an MTV interview in 1983. But that momentous decision didn’t come easy.
However, the group eventually found their own take on the trend. They ended up using makeup too —but in a different way. Covering their faces
During their early days in New York, the band experimented with their style. “The very first pictures we took when the band first got together, we looked like drag queens,” Simmons told the fanzine. “But we knew we wanted to get outlandish.” To figure out what that meant for them, they had to really dig into their own personalities. “Getting up onstage was almost a holy place for us, like church, so being onstage looking like a bum wasn’t my idea of respect,” he continued. “That’s where the makeup and dressing up came in. It would have obviously been a lot easier to get up onstage in jeans and t-shirts and go, ‘Okay, here we are — we’re the Ramones!’ And that would have been just as valid, but it would not have been honest.” And that’s how the makeup looks came about — completely organically. “I just remember being in a loft in downtown New York and looking in the mirror and just starting to draw,” Simmons remembered. “It was very stream-of-consciousness. What you see is really what just happened. ... Nobody else was involved.” They played their first official show on January 30, 1973, at the Queens nightclub Popcorn — and by the following year, they were signed to Casablanca Records and on a North American tour, gaining a reputation for their on-stage theatrics. They released their self-titled debut on February 18, 1974. By the 1980s, things changed. In 1980, Criss left and was replaced by Eric Carr who took on a new character called The Fox, and two years later, Frehley went solo and Vinnie Vincent stepped in as an Egyptian ankh. While they still wore makeup throughout the release of the Unmasked album and their Brazil show in June 1983, things were about to change. On September 18, 1983, the quartet appeared on MTV and shocked the world by revealing their makeup-free faces, along with a video for the first track off the new album, “Lick It Up.” “It feels good,” Simmons said moments after the unveiling. “We’ve always been close to our fans. In fact, in a lot of the shows, we’d walk out into the crowd to get a feel of what everybody was feeling like and most often they really wouldn’t know it was us, so we’ve always felt closer. I think it’s time for them to notice a little bit more. It feels very, very comfortable. I hope it seems that way — I feel fine about it!” “To me, it doesn’t feel all that different because I’ve seen these guys more often without makeup than I have with makeup,” Stanley admitted. Up until that point, they had never performed without makeup except “back in the hotel.” “We thought about it for a while — we could give you all kinds of great answers, like that we went and saw a Swami, and we did do that too — but it just felt like the right time to do it,” Simmons said ahead of the release of their 18th record. “The band feels so strong, and it just felt like, do it.”
Inside Whitney Houston’s Relationship With Best Friend Robyn Crawford The time: Summer of 1980. The place: A community center in East Orange, New Jersey. The characters: Two regular teenagers working a summer job. But the moment they met, Robyn Crawford knew there was something unique about Whitney Houston. “She introduced herself as ‘Whitney Elizabeth Houston,’ and I knew right away she was special,” Crawford wrote in a piece for Esquire after the singer’s sudden death in 2012. “Not a lot of people introduced themselves with their middle names back then. She had peachy colored skin and she didn’t look like anyone I’d ever met in East Orange, New Jersey.” Houston was already a signed Wilhelmina model who was singing at shows in Manhattan at the time, but she immediately connected with Crawford. “Not long after I met her, she said, ‘Stick with me, and I’ll take you around the world,’” Crawford wrote. “She always knew where she was headed.” Crawford did stick with her — working as her assistant, executive assistant and then creative director — their friendship was one of, well, their greatest loves of all. In her 2019 book, A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston, Crawford reveals more about the friendship that had never been uncovered before. “I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship,” she writes in the book. “And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent...I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship.”
Crawford said their friendship was ‘deep’ That first summer, the two teens — Houston was 16 at the time and Crawford was 19 — just wanted to make some money. “She was working just like the rest of us,” Crawford wrote in Esquire. “She was there to work.” Along the way, the two girls formed a tight bond. “Our friendship was a deep friendship,” Crawford said. “In the early part of that friendship, it was physical.” Breaking her silence about her longtime secret, Crawford explained what was happening behind the scenes. “It was during that first summer that we met, was the first time our lips touched,” she continued. “I didn’t know how long it was going to last, but I was just enjoying the moment. That’s what we did — we enjoyed it.”
They kept their relationship a secret As their relationship continued to grow, Crawford says they saw it going the distance. “We wanted to be together — and that meant just us,” she wrote in the book. “We were intimate on many levels and all I can say is we were very deep and we were very connected,” she told TODAY. The stressful part of it all was the secret-keeping. When Crawford’s mom met Houston, she told her, “You look like an angel, but I know you’re not.” But even family didn’t know the nature of their relationship. When asked who knew about the romance, Crawford said, “I would say no one.”
How Garth Brooks’ Humble Oklahoma Roots Drove Him to Succeed The youngest of six children, Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 7, 1962. Oklahoma would be not only the location of his birth but a touchstone in the country music superstar’s life he continues to revisit both physically and emotionally. “Just to be in Oklahoma puts you on the board in the game of life,” Brooks, the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history with more than 148 million album sales, said of his childhood home and the place he chose to raise his three daughters. “If you were raised in Oklahoma, you were raised with all you need. There’s a rightness and a good-heartedness there that’s not anywhere else.”
Brooks says his parents were ‘pretty real people’ Brooks’ father, Troyal Raymond Brooks Jr., worked for an oil company and his mother, Colleen Carroll, was a singer who recorded on the Capitol Records label and appeared on the 1950s variety show Ozark Jubilee. It was the second marriage for both parents, and Brooks and his older brother Kelly joined siblings Jim, Jerry, Mike and Betsy with the family, eventually settling in Yukon, Oklahoma. “They were pretty real people,” Brooks said to Nash Country Daily of his parents. “Mom believed you could fly. Dad would pull you over and go, ‘Ok, if you’re going to fly, it’s going to take a helluva lot of work.’ So he was the realist … she was the dreamer … and they worked really, really good together. Dad would tell you things, man. My dad, he was sweet, full of love … but he’s going to be a realist.”
His family bonded over music The dreamy, creative side of Brooks was also encouraged through a childhood filled with music. Not only via his mother’s singing, but also thanks to a father who played guitar and taught Brooks his first chords. As the youngest of the family, Brooks was exposed to a wide variety of musical influences from the time he was an infant. His parents were fans of country artists such as Merle Haggard and George Jones, while his siblings’ tastes encompassed artists diverse as Janis Joplin, Three Dog Night, Journey and Steppenwolf. The family entertained each other with regular talent nights at home, where all the children participated or performed. Brooks would sing and had learned to play guitar and banjo. He once said of his sister Betsy that she could “play anything with strings or keys.”
Brooks wanted to be a professional athlete but never forgot about music Though homelife provided a fertile ground upon which to learn and develop musically, by the time Brooks was in high school his major interest was sports. He played football, baseball and earned a track and field scholarship to Oklahoma State Uni-
versity in Stillwater. It was there he competed in javelin. “I wanted to be a professional athlete. That was my dream when I was a kid,” Brooks told Stephen Colbert in 2018. “The only thing that stopped me was my professional athlete ability.” Of his decision to throw javelin, he joked to Colbert that “people call it ‘track and field.’ Not me. I’m [just] field.” While sports may have been his passion, he was also a serious student, studying advertising. Music remained a constant though, with Brooks taking time to jam with fellow students in their dorm. In 1985, Brooks took his guitar to a local saloon called Willie’s and asked if he could play to make some money. “One night turned into two nights, three nights, and pretty soon I was playing Monday through Friday all over town,” he recalled to Colbert, admitting it was then he realized music could be a career. “The great thing was, it wasn’t working … I could feed myself and somebody I loved doing something that isn’t a job!”