Anthony Hopkins, Yayoi Kusama, Pamela Anderson, Marina Abramović and Lady Gaga. The stars of this week’s How To Spend It are some of the most single-minded artists in the world. In a year in which singular expression has been muted, it’s exhilarating to find people who inhabit such an uncompromising point of view.
I first fell in love with Anthony Hopkins in the 1980s watching him play speed junkie Donald Campbell in the television film Across the Lake. In the intervening years, he has inhabited all sorts of roles – from the deranged through to the darling – but it is for his recent forays on social media that he has stolen my affections once again. Now in his 80s and living in quarantine in Malibu until they find a vaccine, Hopkins is currently channelling his prodigious energy and personality onto canvas, painting self-likenesses, animals and abstracts in a palette as vivid as his favourite Hawaiian shirts. He also spends time composing music on the piano and indulging his cat Niblo, who seems to have a permanent residency on Hopkins’ lap. Every so often he posts films of his activities on Instagram (@anthonyhopkins), often accompanied by gnomic homilies and manic grins. I find them brilliantly uplifting and absolutely bonkers. Each one is its own treat. As I write, Hopkins has spent some 180 days in lockdown. He often wonders if he’s sane. In “Act as if it is Impossible to Fail”, he talks about the realities of his situation, and the process of becoming mellower and more sanguine. It’s quite the transformation from when he was younger, when he was compulsive and prone to fits of rage. He tells us how he learned to spend it better. And why perspective comes with age.
Marina Abramović is another artist whose entire world is coloured by her emotional connections. Rare is the person who so inhabits a total mood. As The Aesthete, she talks us through the treasures that surround her: it amazes me how she can make the most quotidian of objects so profound. Huge thanks also to Weston Wells, who photographed her at her home in Malden Bridge, New York. His cover portrait of the artist, dressed in Rick Owens, next to a crate stamped with the word “fragile” says more than 50 volumes ever could.
Not every artist works in such careful isolation. I first met Natacha Ramsay-Levi on her arrival at the house of Chloé in 2017, and was blown away by her Parisian élan. In the years since, she has cultivated the environment of a salon, bringing in new voices and championing the work of women in film, art, literature and design. Her latest collaboration, with painter Rita Ackermann, has seen the artist transpose her drawings onto this season’s Chloé, worn by friends and co-creatives with whom Ramsay-Levi often works. As the leader of a house that has always deified the féminin, she heads up a gang that offers a fresh take on feminism and inspired a super-cool collective in the arts.
And then there is Pamela Anderson, a walking, living, breathing work of art. No wonder Marc Quinn, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons and David LaChapelle have all tried to catch her likeness, with many working with her great iconic curves. Of course, no one can capture Pammy quite like she can, and her analysis of her collectibility (How I Spend It) is a killer. Who could fail to love her story of journeying from Baywatch to becoming a much coveted and priceless piece of art?
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