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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Man With The Gold Shit

AN art collector described as the “Charles Saatchi of the north” has outbid the Britart impresario to buy the latest piece of kitsch modern art to go on sale — a number of gold-plated casts of excrement. Frank Cohen, a former wallpaper and DIY magnate from Manchester, also saw off the challenge of Bernard Arnault, who runs the luxury goods group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The “installation” by Terence Koh, a Chinese artist living in California, consists of glass boxes containing bronze casts of excrement covered in 24-carat gold. According to The Art Newspaper, Cohen paid £68,000 for the work at the Basel art fair in Switzerland. Koh is part of the kitsch art movement and is seen as a disciple of Jeff Koons, the American artist known for his often-pornographic work. Koh’s excrement installation is said to express irony. “It’s an anti-consumer statement,” said Javier Peres, the American dealer who sold it. Cohen began collecting in the 1970s with work by artists such as LS Lowry, Elisabeth Frink and Lynn Chadwick. He now owns work by Tracey Emin, the Chapman brothers and Gary Hume. He plans to open a museum in Manchester by 2008. This Thursday some of his works will be on display at the Hospital gallery in Covent Garden, London. Cohen is keenly aware of the rivalry with Saatchi, with whom he is good friends. When asked what he thought of being called “the Charles Saatchi of the north”, he replied that he preferred to think of Saatchi as “the Frank Cohen of the south”. For the full story - click the title Irish Art