We already knew that Nick Rhodes, one of the founding members of Duran Duran, is a sensitive and creative individual. Few events are as aesthetically hyper-charged as his 1984 wedding to Iowa heiress Julie Anne Friedman.
So perhaps it was inevitable, given how many teenybopper magazines the members of Duran Duran appeared in between 1981 and 1987, that someone would have the bright idea to stick Rhodes in a museum and get some quick reactions to the various pieces of art. Which a magazine called Star Hits did in late 1985—between Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious; this would have been a prime Arcadia phase.
When I first saw the pics of Rhodes holding or positioned near various artifacts from the 1980s art scene, I was momentarily sure that they must represent Rhodes discussing artworks he had bought. Alas, no. They put him in a museum and got a few quotes, that’s all.
The feature was called “Making an Exhibition of Himself” and appeared (I am pretty sure this is what happened) in the November 1985 issue of Star Hits and then was repurposed in the January 1-14 1986 issue of Smash Hits, which was a look back at 1985. Rhodes explains that when he was growing up in Birmingham he would visit the Ikon Gallery and look at the art. There’s no mention of where these photographs were taken or what the show was called, except to say that it was “a recent exhibition of young American artists.”
Let’s examine the four artists who unexpectedly found themselves featured in a music magazine aimed at teenagers.
Mike Cockrill and Judge Hughes were pop art collaborators from 1982 to 1987; here is a a broader spectrum of their output. Nancy Dwyer is a scultpor who often does larger pieces with a typographical element, as in her 1990 poly-coated nylon work “Big Ego.” Lady Pink is often called “the first lady of graffiti” for her unusual position as a woman in the graffiti world with a large body of work; she had the lead role in the 1983 film Wild Style and collaborated with Jenny Holzer on a poster series.
The strangest artist of the bunch is Mike Bidlo, whose career has flirted with outright plagiarism more than once. Bidlo once executed a series of paintings using the same media that Jackson Pollock used and called it “Not Pollock.” He reproduced a large number of Picasso paintings and called the show Picasso’s Women, 1901-71. He saved his most ambitious idea for the master of appropriation, Andy Warhol himself. In 1984 he re-created Warhol’s Factory on the top floor of PS 1 and enlisted friends to imitate various of Warhol’s hangers-on, with Bidlo himself occupying the role of the white-haired master. If you click on his artnet profile you see, among other items, a painting of a Brillo box and a silk-screen-style painting of Jackie O alongside several treatments of a Duchamp-ian urinal.
More after the jump…