TerraNostra_rev02_edited.jpgI’m told that not even Robert Rodriguez’s ICM agent Robert Newman knew the film director was “working like a madman until the wee hours” on a series of giant paintings of actress Salma Hayek (see left) with muralist George Yepes. Because the multitalented Rodriguez is so quiet about all the projects he’s involved in, Newman was amazed to read about the joint exhibition “Solamente Salma” unveiling tomorrow at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio, Texas. According to the article by Hector Saldana in the San Antonio Express-News, Rodriguez recently started production in Austin on his latest movie, the horror flick he’s making with Quentin Tarantino called Grind House (supposedly a double feature), and found slapping paint on canvas was “relaxing.” Yepes taught Rodriguez how to paint.

In an email interview, Rodriguez told the newspaper that painting is a lot like moviemaking in that “you’re telling a story visually. I had always loved [George Yepes painting] so much that Sony Pictures gave me a cerograph after I did Desperado. I hung that on my wall at home. That was the only art that I owned that I displayed and really liked.” So six years ago, Rodriguez sought him out. “It was actually George’s idea to use Salma because he had done a couple of paintings of her for my movies and he thought that would be a good connection since I’ve worked with her five or six times already … Because she is sort of an iconic image of a Mexican woman and a strong independent successful professional and an artist in her own right … She heard about it and was very thrilled that we’d do this and that proceeds could go to her favorite charity.”

Also, Part 2 of the Ovitz Family Foundation’s exhibition opens April 11 at the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. This sequel features photography by Gregory Crewdson and Candida Hofer. The gallery notes say that while Crewdson stages elaborate, Hollywood-scale environments that are captured in individual images, Hofer by contrast isolates aspects of existing environments, exposing their enigmatic qualities. Before you go, read my November 17, 2005, column about how Ovitz helped change the art world for the worse with the same ruthless tactics he’d used to rule Hollywood.

Remember, the ACE Gallery/Los Angeles still has on view that first comprehensive installation of actor-director Dennis Hopper’s L.A.-inspired paintings and photographs through July 1 before it moves to Paris.