Ars longa! In vino veritas! Each spring, beginning in 2009, the distinguished Tuscan winery Ornellaia has commissioned an internationally renowned artist to create custom labels for a limited number of special large-size bottles of its finest newly released vintage.
Each vintage is ascribed a character, quality or theme that the artist interprets. The bottles then are sold at a gala black-tie dinner and live auction conducted by Sotheby's, the money raised going to a prominent cultural institution, usually one in the artist's home country.
This year, for the first time, a Canadian creator got the nod – none other than the eternally febrile polymath Rodney Graham, 65, of Vancouver – and it will be the Art Gallery of Ontario reaping the benefits of the auction occurring on Thursday in Toronto.
Graham's theme was a daunting one, "Infinity" – realized by creating a variety of geometric-shaped labels on which he wrote light verse. "Some of the poems … are about wine, some are written under the influence of it," notes Graham. "A few rhyme and all are written in a humorous vein." Or should that be on a humorous vine?