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Pitt peeve – why are Brad’s sculptures getting rave reviews?

23 September 2022

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

There’s been a lot going on over the past few weeks, but Rakewell is sure that you won’t have missed some stunning news from a gallery in Finland: Brad Pitt has produced some sculptures that he is exhibiting not as a hobby but to be taken seriously as art.

While known for his work on the silver screen, Pitt has always been something of a hyphenate. He quietly creates ceramics in a home studio (this was said to be how he relaxed during the filming of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood); he produces wine from Chateau Miraval; his foray into architecture extended to an informal apprenticeship with Frank Gehry. This is to say nothing of his modelling jobs with which he augments his star power. There is clearly no need for him to prove himself in any other field – he’s done quite enough already. And yet, at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Pitt has put his work out there for all to see.

In Fight Club, Pitt famously played a character who produced soap out of human fat removed during liposuction. This was a wry comment on capitalism, profiting on human waste and excess. But it suggests that Pitt is au fait with the idea of creating something out of surprising materials. One might assume that a Pitt artwork could be created out of other human effluents, but he seems to have avoided accusations of producing total crap. Instead, he has worked, according to Jonathan Jones’s magisterial review of the exhibition, based – of course – solely on photographs, to be ‘pungent and memorable images of pain and violence’.

Photo: Alessandro Rampazzo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Photo: Alessandro Rampazzo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Your roving reporter, however, can’t help but see another source as we consider the frieze made up of parts of human bodies emerging from the background, broken up in gun fights. It doesn’t seem to be the human psyche so much as Pitt’s day job that is the inspiration for this. Hollywood exerts a strong pull on his oeuvre. Haven’t we seen something similar when poor Han Solo was imprisoned in carbonite by Boba Fett? As we are sure Jones will agree, it’s good to work with what you know.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.