Sunday, July 6, 2008

John McEnroe: Modern Art Aficcionado

John McEnroe recently donated a 1986 Andy Warhol portrait of himself with former wife Tatum O'Neal to Sotheby's, which sold for £241250 (all proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity).

researching further, I learned a bit more about McEnroe's enormous passion for art.

It was really my friend Vitas Gerulaitis who got me looking. He was four years older than me, someone I looked up to," McEnroe explained in an interview. Gerulaitis introduced him to photorealism (Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Tom Blackwell).

Gerulaitis, like McEnroe, loved the NYC club scene and living large in the late seventies and early eighties. Gerulaitis was an overtly generous and flamboyant regular of Studio 54, where he'd roll up in his mustard-colored Rolls Royce.

Gerulaitis took McEnroe to SoHo galleries and clubs like Studio 54 where he met & developed friendships with prominent (and to-be-prominent) artists as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring, Eric Fischle (who exchanged his art with McEnroe for tennis lessions in 1992), and Francisco Clemente.

"In the late '70s, no matter what party I went to, the same guy would always follow me around with a camera," he recalls. "It was annoying, especially since I was trying to pick up chicks. Finally I asked, 'Who is this weird-looking guy?' And somebody said, Andy Warhol," McEnroe explained.

McEnroe likes "art with energy" where manual skills are evident. McEnroe's art investments quickly flourished into a well respected collection. In 1993 McEnroe opened his own gallery on Greene Street. Most recently, McEenroe commissioned 60s pop artist Ed Ruscha to make a piece with the words "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS" on it.

"I always liked it when people called me an artist on the court," McEnroe says. "It was as if they were saying my style was something they couldn't really relate to and they had to look at the game through me."

to read more about McEnroe & his Art refer to "When McEnroe Met Warhol", and An Invasion of Privacy

No comments:

Recent Posts