Sunday, 20 April 2014

Food Photos

If you're into the art of food photography, the next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London is the show for you. Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2014 opens on 23 April and licks its lips until 27 April. Admission is free. Minority interest? 6000 photos were submitted to the competition this year in 16 categories. The overall winner gains £5000. Shown is a detail from Thomas Schauer's ClubFood. For the first time the shortlisted images have been posted online for viewing: CLICK.

St Paul's Sculptures

Visitors to St Paul's Cathedral in London will find two giant additions to the head of the nave: Gerry Judah's White Cruciform Sculptures (2014). They're part of the Cathedral's commemoration of World War I and are supposed to represent the horrors of warfare, both past and present. To me they represent the horrors of modern art installation thingies. The interior of St Paul's Cathedral is fabulous and well worth a visit. It doesn't need this type of addition. CLICK for a larger graphic.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Sand Sculptures

Weston-super-Mare's annual Sand Sculpture Festival has opened and runs until 5 October. This year's theme is Once Upon a Time, which gave the 20 international artists plenty of scope for their imaginations. The Hunger Games and The Hobbit feature in the exhibition (CLICK).

BP Portrait 2014

The National Portrait Gallery in London has released the names of the three artists shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2014, now worth £30,000 to the winner plus a £5,000 commission. The three artists are Thomas Ganter from Frankfurt, Germany, Brooklyn-based David Jon Kassan from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and Richard Twose based in Bath, England. Shown is David Jon Kassan's Letter to my Mom (the Hebrew inscription). She didn't want her portrait painted and epitomises the grumpy old lady, so different from smiling models. The winner will be announced on 24 June. The free exhibition opens on 26 June (CLICK).

Friday, 18 April 2014

Artists Brains

A recent study has found that artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists. Researchers scanned the brains of 21 art students and 23 non-artists, using a scanning method called voxel-based morphometry. Although the samples of the populations are small, the findings are statistically significant (i.e. not produced by chance alone). The subjects were tested on their ability to draw. Increased grey and white matter were found in the art group in both left and right hemispheres in areas involved with fine motor control and performance of routine actions, enabling enhanced processing (CLICK). What does all this mean? Put simply, my guess is that it demonstrates the old adage "Practise makes perfect". The more you draw, the more connections you build up in your brain. Interesting, but it reveals nothing about creativity.

Mobile Lovers Taken

On Wednesday I reported on the Broad Plains Boys Club appropriation of Banksy's latest street art: Mobile Lovers (CLICK). Police visited the club to confiscate the work, which has now gone on display in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery over Easter (CLICK).

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from London Art News.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Ray Harryhausen

The BBC schedules often amaze me. Today at 11am BBC Two premiered a fascinating tribute to the master of stop-motion creature features: Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan. Top film directors Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Nick Park and Steven Spielbery paid tribute to Ray. Why on earth was this excellent programme scheduled for kiddie time? This evening the Beeb is showing nothing worth viewing! The good news is that until 24 April Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan is available to view on iPlayer: CLICK.

Kelpies Lit Up

Andy Scott's massive twin sculptures The Kelpies have been fully illuminated for the first time as a dry run for the night-time launch which will also feature sound and pyrotechnics. The launch is on 17 and 18 April. The public will be able to tour the structures from the following Monday. The Kelpies are part of the £43m Helix project between Falkirk and Grangemouth (CLICK).

Cupid and Sappho

One of Jean-Honoré Fragonard's most popular subjects Sappho inspired by Cupid (1780) is up for grabs in Bonhams Old Master Paintings Sale in London on 9 July, estimated at £800,000 - £1,200,000. This version is known as the Portanova Sappho to acknowledge its previous ownership by the socialite couple Sandra and Ricky di Portanova but also to distinguish it from Fragonard’s other works on the same theme: love sonnets (CLICK). Tits and poetry; what more could you want in the 18th Century?

Malala's Portrait

Jonathan Yeo's portrait of Malala Yousafzai, entitled Girl Reading (2013), comes up for sale in Christie's New York auction of Post -War and Contemporary Art. It first appeared last year in the exhibition Jonathan Yeo Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London (CLICK). It was announced then that Jonathan would be donating the portrait to benefit the Malala Fund, a charity set up by Malala to support the fight for girls’ right to education. The portrait is estimated at $60,000 - $80,000. Malala says "I hope that whoever buys the painting knows that their generosity will directly help children in some of the most challenging environments in the world.” CLICK to view a larger graphic of this excellent work.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

New Ealing Comedy

When I heard the news that men in North Korea had been ordered to emulate their dictator Kim Jong-un's daft haircut, I manfully resisted the temptation to lampoon the story; but the latest development takes the biscuit. The M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing put this offer in their window with a picture of Kim Jong-un and the question Bad Hair Day? The owner of the salon was unaware that the North Korean Embassy is only 10 minutes walk away. The next day officials from the embassy demanded to speak to the manager about his use of their revered megalomaniacal leader's image. He replied that England is a democracy and told them to leave (CLICK).

Banksy in Bristol

The latest Banksy appeared in the guerrilla artist's home city of Bristol on Sunday and was removed by crowbar almost as soon as it was spotted. Phone Lovers (2014) depicts an embracing couple checking their mobile phones. It is now in the Broad Plains Boys Club, which left a message in place of the artwork informing fans where it is and asking for a small donation to the club to view it. CLICK for Jon Kay's video report.

Vikings Live

If you think you saw Viking warriors sailing past the Houses of Parliament in a replica Viking boat yesterday, don't panic! It was merely a publicity stunt to mark the release of Vikings Live from the British Museum to 400 cinemas across Britain on 24 April (CLICK).

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

FeedBlitz News

The Heartbleed Bug is a very nasty hacking tool for accessing data from computer servers. This makes it a lot worse than viruses that attack home computers. The bug literally bleeds data from the servers. Hence the name Heartbleed (CLICK). There is good news for FeedBlitz users. According to Phil Hollows, the founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, this automated email service "doesn’t use the platforms affected, and we don’t use OpenSSL for SSL encryption on our servers" (CLICK). However, Phil also warns that if you use the same password for various applications, you should change it.

Mo Meets Mo

Will the real Mo Farah CBE please step forward. In case you can't tell, he's the one in the middle. Yesterday Britain's double Olympic gold medallist visited Madame Tussauds in London to meet his two brand new wax lookalikes portrayed in his trademark “mobot” pose. The figures are wearing authentic Team GB athletics kit. The one in the tracksuit stays in London. The other will go to Madame Tussauds in Blackpool. It took 20 artists four months to complete the figures with each one costing £150,000. Realistic sculpture doesn't come cheap. CLICK for more information.

Lynn Chadwick RA

The Royal Academy of Arts in London is celebrating the centenary of the birth of one of its old boys by installing four of his "steel beasts" series in its Annenberg Courtyard (CLICK). This is the first time the group has been displayed in public together. The photo shows Lynn Chadwick's Lion I (1990). Don't ask me why his parents gave him a girl's name. The display limps along until 16 May.