Brad Pitt, a longtime Hollywood superstar who in the past few years has undergone a late-career renaissance of sorts, has just logged a fresh accomplishment for his resumé: on September 18th, the Sara Hildén museum in Tampere, Finland debuted an exhibition centering the work of British artist Thomas Houseago that also features work by Pitt and the musician Nick Cave. This marks the first time that the actor has shown his artwork in public.
According to the museum’s website, Pitt’s contributions to the exhibition are mostly sculptural and include “a molded plaster panel depicting a gunfight narrative scene, cast using multiple impressions of the human body, as well as a series of plinth-mounted, house shaped sculptures molded in clear silicone that each have been shot with a different gauge of ammunition.”
While a representative for the museum declined to make a curator available for comment, and Pitt’s representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment, it’s clear that the actor’s mind was on intimate conflict and the annihilation of normative family structures when you take in his work.
Aiming At You I Saw Me But It Was Too Late This Time (2020), a large plaster wall sculpture by Pitt, shows two clusters of howling men locked in conflict as handguns go flying and splayed hands burst outward from the frame. While the images suggest media commentary, the title betrays a more personal motivation.
Pitt’s art, he said at the exhibition’s debut according to the Daily Mail, is “about self-reflection. It’s about where I have gotten it wrong in my relationships, where have I misstepped, where am I complicit. For me, it was born out of ownership of what I call a radical inventory of self, getting really brutally honest with me and taking account of those I may have hurt, moments I have just gotten wrong.”
Since Angelina Jolie filed for a high-profile divorce from Pitt in 2016, reports of instances of alleged abuse by the latter have continued to circulate: Jolie accused Pitt of assaulting her and one of their children on a private plane in 2016, allegations which the actor has denied. In the aftermath of the split, a protracted custody battle and a bitter fight over a winery in the south of France have further tarnished the legacy of what used to be the world’s most illustrious celebrity couple.
In contrast to the heavy themes of his work, Pitt nevertheless seemed to be in typically-chill spirits when speaking with a Finnish TV news source recently: “I first wanna say, it’s been so nice for us to be here,” Pitt said, stationed next to one of his sculptures at the Sara Hildén museum. “We have a great spot on the lake, and we have a fire going at night. This is really, really special for us. It's been like a refuge, in some way.”
In the aftermath of his split from Jolie and in the midst of the pandemic, Pitt has also said he got really into making pottery; some of this pottery, entitled Candle Holders for Loved Ones, is included in the Finland exhibition. It appears that the megawatt actor doesn’t yet have gallery representation, but somebody will likely get on that soon.