Monday, 22 September 2014

Endless River

This is the cover art for the new Pink Floyd album The Endless River, due out in November, the group's first new album in 20 years. The death of Storm Thorgerson, who created Pink Floyd's brilliant album covers, left the group with a huge gap to fill. They found an 18-year-old unknown Egyptian digital artist Ahmed Emad Eldin, who came up with a lone figure poling a Thames skiff over clouds to a bright sunset (CLICK).

Cleavage Kerfuffle

Under the headline "Bollywood cleavage row shows India's 'crass' side", the BBC Delhi correspondent goes into depth about the ongoing saga over Bollywood star Deepika Padukone's cleavage as carped about in The Times of India. The cleavage was found in a video posted over a year ago. So this is hardly outstanding news. Of course Auntie daren't show us the bone of contention in case it causes offence, which leaves us wondering what the fuss is all about. I googled Deepika Padukone's cleavage, as you do. It isn't the same dress, but it is the same cleavage. Rather nice too; demure by Hollywood standards. I reckon the headline is right (CLICK).

Toy Brick Show

There must be big money in making sculptures out of toy bricks, because Nathan Sawaya gave up being a US corporate lawyer to indulge his hobby of LEGO® sculpting. His exhibition The Art of the Brick is on a world tour with over 80 sculptures. On 26 September it opens at the Old Truman Brewery Gallery at, of all places, Brick Lane. Admission costs a bomb: £14.50 adults and £11 silver surfers, Mondays to Thurdays. It's more expensive Fridays to Sundays (CLICK). BBC Breakfast interviewed him this morning about his art (CLICK).

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Wedgwood Update

On 1 September The Art Fund launched its £2.74 million public appeal to save the Wedgwood Collection (CLICK). Since then. £1 million has been donated by the public, unlocking a further £1 million from a series of major donors, trusts and foundations. Just under £750,000 is left to find to reach the total purchase price of £15.75 million. The Art Fund has until 30 November to raise the readies to buy the Wedgwood Collection (CLICK).

Ray Bradbury

The estate of the late, great Ray Bradbury is up for grabs in an online auction by Nate D. Sanders on 25 September (CLICK). Ray had assembled one of the finest collections of sci-fi art, original comic book art and Disney animations ever to hit the market. Shown is James Bingham's illustration The Fog Horn (c.1951) which was used in the Bradbury anthology The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953).

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Black Eye CoverGirl

The National Football League (NFL) in America is getting it in the neck from activists protesting at its cavalier attitude to footballers battering women. It began with a video of American football star Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of a lift. Boys will be boys: two-match suspension. Next came a video of Rice throwing the punch that knocked the woman - now his wife - unconscious. Then journalist and activist Adele Stan took up the cudgels and altered an advertisement for cosmetics company CoverGirl to make it seem the model had a black eye. With a PhotoShop enhancement the protest went viral. NFL sponsors are now sweating (CLICK).


From 24-28 September the LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair 2014 will be in Berkeley Square, London (CLICK). Philip Mould & Co will be displaying an historic collection of portrait miniatures. Shown is a portrait of Charles Howard, 10th Duke of Norfolk (1767). Snappy dresser.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Ig® Nobel Winners

The winner of this year's Ig® Nobel Prize for Physics is a Japanese team that measured the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin and between a banana skin and the floor when it's stepped on. BBC News got so excited about this study that it posted a cartoon of said slippage (CLICK). The graphic I've posted derives from the winning Neuroscience team of Kang Lee et al from the University of Toronto, Canada, for trying to understand what happens in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast. My biggest grin came from Raquel Rubio et al of IRTA, Spain, who won the Nutrition category with this study: "Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Faeces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages". Remind me not to nibble fermented sausages! See what tickles your fancy in Improbable Research (CLICK).

Great Gallery Video

Ten days ago I posted news that the refurbished Great Gallery in The Wallace Collection would reopen today (CLICK). Wendy Hurrell of BBC London News took a video team along to ogle the new ceiling and interview Christoph Vogtherr, Director of The Wallace Collection (CLICK).

Constable at V&A

Tomorrow the V&A Museum in London opens Constable: The Making of a Master. For the first time Constable's major works will be presented alongside his preparatory sketches and the paintings of old masters of classical landscape whose values he assimilated and transformed into popular images of the English countryside. Shown is Constable's Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Sadly, admission costs an arm and a leg: £14.00 plus booking fee £1.40 = £15.40 for adults, £13.40 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Nat. Open Art

Today Somerset House in London opened the National Open Art Exhibition, which showcases the winners of its annual competition to nurture creative talent in the UK. It provides a platform for artists to display and sell their paintings, drawings, original prints, photography, wall hung installation thingies and computer generated art. Prize money totalling £60,000 is dished out. Shown is Len Green's Spring Fever (2013). Get it? Springs. Turnip Prize loser? "Too much effort"? Admission is free (CLICK).

Astronomy Photos

Another autumnal day, another photographic exhibition. But this one is special: the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014. The overall winner this year is James Woodend with his Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon (2014). Paul Kerley's video is disappointing with irritating music and two twits of judges, one with a plum in her mouth, wittering on about their choices (CLICK). The Guardian shortlist is better, but incomplete (CLICK). Best of all is the website of the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London, which gives you all the winning categories and oodles of information about the images and cameras. The free exhibition opened today and runs until 22 February 2015 (CLICK).

Alice Gross Case

In Tuesday's Crimewatch programme the police said they wanted to question Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns, who was caught on CCTV cycling in the same direction as missing 14-year-old schoolgirl Alice Gross 15 minutes later. Zalkalns disappeared a week after Alice vanished. The police have now released news that Zalkalns served a 7-year prison sentence in Latvia for murder before coming to England, where of course we welcomed him with open arms. All foreign murderers welcome, providing they have served their prison sentence. In 2009 he was arrested in the Ealing area of west London on suspicion of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl, but no further action was taken. Typical. Shades of Rotherham. Zalkalns was last seen riding his red Trek mountain bike. If you see him, dial 999. The police regard him as potentially dangerous (CLICK).

Scotland Decides

Today Scotland decides. ArtDaily found the perfect picture for the Scottish referendum on independence: the Scotland Border Sign in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England’s most northerly town. What amazes me about the Yes/No debate is that nobody from the Better Together campaign has pointed out that the United Kingdom is more than the sum of its parts. Separation will not only weaken what's left of the UK, but also it will weaken Scotland. I don't believe that Gruppenführer Alex Salmond gives a toss about the people of Scotland. His concern seems to be forging his own place in history and to hell with the fallout (CLICK).

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Jerwood Drawing

A spoken description of a Roman pot held by the Museum of London is the gimmicky nonsense that has won Alison Carlier this year's Jerwood Drawing Prize of £8,000. The second prize of £5,000 went to Welsh artist Sigrid Muller for her watercolour drawing Seed Pods, competent but boring (CLICK). Neither award says much for the exhibition at Jerwood Space in London until 26 October (CLICK).

Irma Stern

I find this difficult to believe; but, according to Bonhams' blurb, South African Expressionist painter Irma Stern (1894-1966) is one of the top-selling female artists of all time! Bonhams at New Bond Street in London presents The Irma Stern phenomenon. Up for grabs in The South African Sale on 1 October are 11 of Stern's daubs estimated at a total of £2-3 million. This is one of her better ones: Still life with African Woman (1945) in its original Zanzibar frame, estimated at £800,000 - 1.2 million (CLICK).