TALKING HEADS: Matthew Rolston is the latest celebrity photographer to cross over into fine art, much to the delight of Hollywood’s art insiders. On Friday, Diane Keaton, Kay Saatchi and Joel Chen hosted a hometown book party for the L.A. native and his first fine art tome, “Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits.” The book of portraits of ventriloquist dummies and memorabilia from the Vent Haven museum debuted during Art Basel Miami, but Friday’s event marked the opening of a three-week pop-up exhibition at JF Chen gallery in Hollywood. “I’ve known Matthew about 25 years and had no idea he was doing this project, but when I saw the book and the work at his studio, I jumped to host a signing and preview,” said Chen. “So far, only Diane Keaton and I own it.” (Rolston gifted Chen and Keaton with the five-foot-by-five-foot prints, but a couple of collectors also snapped them up during Art Basel and two were donated for charity auctions.)
None of the hosts knew that Rolston had been working on the project for the last four years. Keaton was given the book for her birthday by makeup artist Collier Strong, a mutual friend of hers and Rolston’s. The usually press-shy actress and art writer was effusive about the work, saying, “I mean, I was shocked. They are astonishing. I knew Matthew, but not well, and I called him up and said, ‘I have to see more.’” Added Rolston: “She just called my cell. I picked up the phone, and she was like, ‘Hi, it’s Diane Keaton.’ Oh, Diane Keaton. No big deal.”
This story first appeared in the May 14, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Art collector and former curator Saatchi, who also met Rolston through friends shortly after moving to Los Angeles from London two years ago, said, “I see a lot of art and go a long time without seeing anything that does something for me, but with these I had no hesitation. And it’s not about liking Matthew as a friend, because I like a lot of artists as friends but I don’t always love their work.”