Brad Pitt Makes Museum Debut as a Sculptor

September 20, 2022

The Fight Club actor Brad Pitt made his debut as a sculptor in a Finland exhibit, in a group show with musician Nick Cave and artist Thomas Houseago.

Celebrity art-making seems to be all the rage. Whether it’s the rapper Skepta’s recent foray into painting or the actor Robert Pattison’s curatorial debut, the art world seems keen on welcoming star power into its ranks.  

Wait, Brad Pitt Is an Artist? Since When? 

Few would define the actor Brad Pitt as a sculptor until now. The A-list Hollywood star has publicly debuted his first works of art at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Finland, alongside works by the musician Nick Cave and the artist Thomas Houseago for the exhibition We, which is on view until January 15th, 2023.

The Oceans 11 star reportedly began making ceramic art following his turbulent divorce from the actress Angelina Jolie in 2017. According to the British publication, The Sun, the actor now has a sculpture studio at his Los Angeles home. 

He invited Leonardo DiCaprio over during the making of “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” to “bond over their shared love of pottery,” as Pitt said.

And while Cave and Pitt are world-renowned in their artistic disciplines of music and drama respectively, this is the first time they have exhibited their art in a museum.

What Kind of Art Does Brad Pitt Make?

Pitt produced a total of nine works for the show, ranging from a large-scale, bronze, coffin-shaped sculpture to smaller works such as a miniature house made out of tree bark and held together with tape. 

A significant work entitled “Aiming at You I saw Me, But It Was Too Late This Time” (2020) displays a violent shooting, while another piece has bullets trapped in silicone. 

At the exhibition’s opening, Pitt said of his artistic turn: “For me, it’s about self-reflection… It was born out of ownership over what I call a ‘radical inventory of the self, and getting brutally honest with me and taking account of those I may have hurt and the moments I’ve just gotten wrong.”

Who Else Is Part of the Exhibition?

The Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave is also making his artistic debut in We. Cave’s contribution shows “glazed ceramic figurines depicting the life of the Devil in 17 stations, from innocence through experience into a confrontation of our mortality,” according to the press release. “The Devil: A Life” is Cave’s first significant body of visual work.

Its 17 individual pieces are between 15cm and 50cm tall, each hand-crafted, painted, and glazed by Cave in England between 2020 and 2022. Aesthetically the series nods to the artist’s interest in Victorian Staffordshire Flatback figurines. 

Another artist in the exhibition is British artist Thomas Houseago, who has been practicing for nearly three decades and showed work at the Whitney Biennial in 2010. In this exhibition, Houseago, better known as a sculptor, showcases many paintings, a medium he began experimenting with recently. 

These paintings come from his large-scale “Visions” series that was made outdoors and was inspired by European artists, including Norway’s Edvard Munch. He also shows new sculptures made from redwood and plaster that he made in response to works in the collection of the Sara Hildén Foundation, such as Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Woman on a Chariot (1943/62)

Final Thoughts 

The convergence of Hollywood celebrities and the fine art world, outside of collectors’ status, is an interesting phenomenon to witness. 

It seems that every week we see the hands of familiar faces engaging in the art market in different ways. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The premise of Contemporary Art is that it is new and reflects the contemporary age.

Seeing artists crossing over disciplines to explore the depth of their creativity is exciting and provides artists with a sense of autonomy over their talents. Why would this be rejected? In my opinion, Brad Pitt’s career as a sculptor will be as fascinating to unpack and view as him on the screen. 

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