Tuesday, 2 September 2014

BP Spotlights

Tate has released details of its BP Spotlights autumn/winter displays at Tate Britain, celebrating 25 Years of the BP and Tate partnership. For me, the two most interesting of these free displays are firstly "Poor man’s picture gallery": Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography, whick shows Dr Brian May's collection of 19th century 3D photos together with some of Tate's famous Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite paintings they depict, such as Henry Wallis's Chatterton (1856). The second display is William Hogarth, which marks the 250th anniversary of his death with a collection of his paintings, chalk drawings and prints. Most of these new displays open in October and run until next spring. CLICK to read the full list of new BP Spotlights displays.

Wedgwood Appeal

In 2009 The Wedgwood Museum won the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year. In the same year the historic firm Waterford Wedgwood plc, which owned the brand names Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Waterford Crystal, called in the receivers (CLICK). Even worse news is that the firm's £134m pension debt was transferred to the museum trust. So this great museum's invaluable collection is to be sold off to pay the firm's pension bill! Yesterday the Art Fund launched a public appeal to save the collection. It already has £13m, but needs to raise a further £2.7m by 30 November. Shown is a detail from The First Day's Vase. CLICK for a BBC video of the museum.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Chainsaw Carving

Believe it or not, this sculpture of a cowboy entitled I Told You To Draw (2014) was carved using a chainsaw! It won for Pete Bowsher the annual Scottish Open Chainsaw Carving Championships at Carrbridge in the Cairngorms National Park. This is the second year running he has won the Claymore Trophy (he's holding it). Competitors came from England, Wales, Ireland, Germany, the USA and Canada. CLICK for more photos.

Alice Gross

Police are becoming increasingly concerned about the disappearance of 14-year-old schoolgirl Alice Gross from west London. She hasn't been seen since Thursday. The photo of Alice released by the police was taken at a strange angle which makes identifying her tricky unless you walk with your head on one side. So I've turned the image through about -40 degrees to make her face easier to recall. She is slim, pretty, 5ft 2in tall and was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a dark green lacy cardigan and denim blue shoes. She is described as "very vulnerable" (CLICK). If you see Alice, contact your local police through 101.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

BMC Ecology Prize

The overall winner of the BMC Ecology Image Competition 2014 is Petra Wester of the Institute of Sensory Ecology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany. Her winning photo of a Namaqua Rock Mouse (Aethomys namaquensis, Muridae) is the first time "nocturnal rodent pollination" has been captured on film in the wild. The mouse is lapping nectar from the flowers of a Pagoda Lily (Whiteheadia bifolia, Hyacinthaceae). His nose is dusted with pollen, which it will transfer to another flower. CLICK for a BBC show of excellent category-winning photos. CLICK for BMC Ecology journal for lots of technical details.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ashya Found

Ashya King, the 5-year-old boy with a brain tumour, has been found alive is Spain. His parents, who removed him from Southampton General Hospital against medical advice, have been arrested and questioned by Spanish police. Ashya has been taken to a major children's hospital in Spain (CLICK).

Folkestone Digs

Alleged German "artist" Michael Sailstorfer buried £10,000 worth of gold bars on Folkestone's Outer Harbour beach as part of the town's Triennial arts festival. Hordes have descended on the beach in search of gold and are digging furiously. The project is appropriately called Folkestone Digs. Fake gold bars (one shown) and washers to attract metal detectors were buried with the real treasure. Art? I reckon that Sailstorfer has found a way of getting revenge on Brits for winning World War II (CLICK).
Update: a £500 ingot has been found (CLICK).

Open House London

Yesterday I picked up a free copy of Open House London 2014 at my local library. There were only a few left. Eighty pages this year. It's becoming quite a weighty tome. This annual Open-City event takes place on the weekend of 20 and 21 September (CLICK).

Zoo Weigh-in

My favourite photo of the past week is of this Mossy Frog (Theloderma corticale) being weighed in London Zoo, taken by Carl Court (2014). The Zoological society of London holds an annual stocktaking of the animals it keeps. This is more than just a count of its animals. It checks their vital statistics to monitor their wellbeing. This little fellow weighed in at 37.1 grammes (CLICK).

Friday, 29 August 2014

Horse Dancing



Dressage is the ultimate art of horsemanship. This YouTube video shows Britain's Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi dancing to the music of Shakira in 2013. Today Eilberg came eighth in the World Equestrian Games in France with his freestyle dressage routine (CLICK). The winner of the freestyle dressage world title was fellow Brit. Charlotte Dujardin on her horse Valegro (CLICK).

Terror Alert

A day after Tory MP Douglas Carswell defected to UKIP, PM David Cameron has raised the UK's terror threat level from "substantial" to "severe", allegedly due to the prospect of Muslim nutters returning from conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Anything to upstage Nigel Farage (CLICK).

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cumberbatch in Wax

Quick as a flash after Benedict Cumberbatch won an Emmy for best actor in a mini-series, awarded by the US Primetime Emmys in Los Angeles, Madame Tussauds in London has released photos of the Sherlock star inspecting his likeness in clay. Looks impressive. His completed waxwork will be unveiled at the Baker Street tourist trap later this year. The artist is Louis Wiltshire (CLICK).

Bullets & Burgers

From Gothic horror to modern American horror. In an Arizona shooting range called Bullets and Burgers, a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot her instructor in the head when she lost control of the Uzi submachine gun she was firing. Her parents filmed the accident, a shortened version of which has been released by the Mojave County Sheriff's office. The girl successfully fired a single shot at the target, then her instructor sets the Uzi to automatic and the film cuts. He died after being airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas (CLICK). Thomas Jefferson, who enshrined the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 1791, would turn in his grave if he saw the murderous military firepower being put in the hands of American children. In Jefferson's day the guns were muzzle-loaders: muskets, duelling pistols, blunderbusses and cannon.

Google Goes Gothic

Only yesterday I posted news that the British Library and the BBC were going Gothic this autumn. Today's Google Doodle has gone Gothic too with this graphic celebrating the 200th birthday of Gothic horror writer Sheridan Le Fanu, who was Irish despite his French-sounding name. He was a pioneer of Gothic horror literature, with stories such as Uncle Silas and Carmilla (CLICK).