Sunday, 30 April 2006

New Art Competition

Artperiscope logo
Coxsoft Art has just received an e-mail invitation to submit entries for the Artperiscope First Internet Artwork Competition, theme The Light. At first I thought this was another scam, so I searched for Artperiscope on other websites. I found two Continental art blogs that had posted the same invitation I'd received, dated 23 and 24 April 2006, then an art website displaying the attractive logo shown above. Call me naive, but I can't imagine the Nigerian Mafia coming up with anything this artistic. Convinced, I took the plunge and visited Artperiscope. It looks good. So, if you fancy entering this competition, click the title link. Each entry costs $30. The winner will receive a cheque for $1000 and will have up to 20 artworks displayed at Artperiscope for one year.

Friday, 28 April 2006

George Bernard Shaw's Window

Here's a turnup for the book: playwright George Bernard Shaw designed a stained glass window in commemoration of the Fabian Society, back in 1910. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Shaw's birth, the Fabian window has been put on display at the London School of Economics (LSE). Why the LSE? Don't ask me. Click the title link to read the BBC News article by Andrew Walker.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Beck's Futures 2006

Daniel Sinsel - ...Er...
Yes, it's time for all the latest pretentious tripe to crawl out of the woodwork to compete for the brewer's £20,000 prize. The finalists' work is on exhibition at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), The Mall, London, UK, until 14 May 2006. You can vote for your favourite, if you can find one. Sarah Kent reviewed the show for Time Out London and generally gave it the thumbs down; but she picked out Daniel Sinsel’s paintings as "finely crafted" and "exquisite", and she looked "closely" at his "portrait of a boy with an open mouth wearing a turquoise necklace..."! Sarah, luv, I hate to tell you this, but you should have put your spectacles on and taken note of the obviously plastic hairline. That "boy" isn't a portrait at all; it's one of (blush) ...doll thingies!

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

"Art" halts London

Shortly after 8am today Police were called to five suspicious packages in Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush. Nails protruded from one of these packages, so the Police closed nearby roads, causing traffic chaos throughout West London. A self-proclaimed "artist" later took credit for these cardboard displays and was arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance. She's 36 years old! Old enough to know better, you'd think. What a plonker! But wait! Wait for the trial, when defence lawyers call the Art Establishment to the stand to testify that littering the pavement with cardboard tubes and boxes is a new art form; nails were a must to counterpoint the cuddly toys and plastic flowers. She'll be exhibiting at Tate Britain next.

Cyborg Art

I.C. - Cyborg (2006)
A tip from Jacoblog took me to for the results of its RoboRen 5 contest of "Borgged art". Entries seem to have been limited to those of you rich enough to own Adobe Photoshop. Some famous paintings have been given impressive cyborg makeovers. Neither of my favourites won an award: Hog Heaven's sinister Bouguereau girl Sexy Leg and The GWT's masterly Davinator, whose pose is unmistakably that of Michelangelo's David. Great computer art. Click the title link to see the 17 best entries.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Two Flints

Sir William Russell Flint - Cecilia in June
Sir William Russell Flint - Ray as Madame du Barry
Here are two new graphics - both from paintings by Sir William Russell Flint - that have had glaring white backgrounds darkened for better viewing. The circles are slightly more wobbly than usual, because the lighter parts of the paintings blended into the background. Cecilia was Flint's favourite model, the one he'd been seeking for most of his life. Click the title link to go to Coxsoft Art's What's New page, then click-a-pic for a bigger pic to see the 768x768 versions.

Monday, 24 April 2006

Chainsaw Sculptures!

Kew Palace
Kew Gardens is well organized for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Year-long restoration work on Kew Palace has just finished and this smallest of the royal palaces will be open to the public from 27 April. Then we have Woodland Wonders 2006 - 29 April to 1 May - a festival of country crafts that covers everything from longbows to chainsaw sculptures! The gardens are already in their Spring rainment, which is very impressive. Lastly, if you're determined to be arty and chainsaw sculptures don't appeal to you, don't forget that Cambridge Cottage, otherwise known as Kew Gardens Gallery, houses one of the world's finest collections of botanical paintings. Click the title link for more info.

Canaletto in Venice

Canaletto - A Regatta on the Grand Canal (c1740)
The exhibition of Canaletto paintings and drawings at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, has been extended until 1 May.

St George's Day

Uccello - St George and the Dragon (1460)
I heard a nasty rumour today (Sunday) that St George was a Roman. Absolutely no way: an Anglo-Saxon through and through. And here's Uccello's famous painting to prove the point. Look at the chinless wonder our hero is trying to save from the dragon. Does she look anything like Sophia Loren?
While you're at it, note the fake perspective. The wild grass has been laid out like turves, to give an impression of depth. Uccello tried the same trick with fallen lances in The Battle of San Romano. He was fascinated by perspective, but never mastered it.

Friday, 21 April 2006

Google Art Gallery

In case you don't bother to read comments on blogs, I must tell you that Art News Blog swiftly pointed out that there has been a Michelangelo Google doodle celebrating the artist's birthday - 6 March - and posted a link to it. This led me to an online art gallery of Google doodles I didn't know existed. The artists fondly lampooned include Leonardo da Vinci, MC Escher, Vincent van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian. There's even an Alfred Hitchcock. If you think you know your artists, click on the title link and spot their styles. No cheating!
Okay, Google, what about a Bouguereau, a Caravaggio and a John Ford?

Google drops Miro

As Joan Miro died in 1983, it was a bit late to wish the old boy a happy birthday yesterday. (Just testing.) But that's no reason for the Artists Rights Society to get stroppy over Google's celebrating the anniversary of Miro's birth, in 1893. Google has rightly rejected any allegation that it infringed Miro's copyright with its fond parody of his style, but has politely removed the offending doodle. Coxsoft Art is all aquiver. Will it get a rocket from the loopy Artists Rights Society for showing Google's doodle?

Miro Google doodle

Miroesque Google Doodle
Did you notice something strange about the Google logo yesterday, 20 April? It was Google's way of wishing Spanish artist Joan Miro a happy birthday. I assume it was designed by Google's resident doodler: Dennis Hwang. He did a nice job of capturing Miro's style, but I prefer the original logo. What about a Michelangelo Google doodle, Dennis?

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Coxsoft Art Museum

Coxsoft - Learn Chess
Fancy a nostalgia trip? I've updated the Coxsoft Art Museum with four of my old ZX Spectrum cassette covers. I cut the king for Learn Chess in scraperboard. As far as I know, this is the only cassette cover ever designed in scraperboard. Thanks for the digitizations, Tony.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Ali Abbas

Ali Abbas - foot painting
This week, BBC TV London News has been running updates on Ali Abbas, the Iraqi boy who lost both arms in a bombing raid. He's attending school in Wimbledon, UK, and is doing well. He's a very plucky lad. Seeing him reminded me that his exhibition of foot paintings continues at the Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond Upon Thames, until 21 May 2006. Why not try it?

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Entry to the 2006 competition is now closed, The winners and the best of the rest will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum, London, UK, from 21 October 2006. The current Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005 exhibition ends at the Natural History Museum on 23 April 2006. It will then go on tour in the UK and abroad. To find out if this exhibition is heading toward you, click the title link. While you're there, visit the Gallery to find Carlo Delli's dazzling Moth Surprise, merely a Highly Commended runner-up!

Why I hate Tate Britain

The following bull is taken from Tate Britain's advert for a Jamie Shovlin exhibition, which ends on 23 April 2006. The exhibition looks good, but now read the bull:
"For Art Now, Shovlin has created new work exploring a juxtaposition of his mother’s subjective view of wildlife in her suburban garden with the scientific rigour of Darwin’s theory of natural selection."
#### Tate, shove it!

Gothic Nightmares

Henri Fuseli - The Nightmare (1781) detail
I didn't report on this exhibition earlier, because I thought it was overpriced at £7.50 and because I'm prejudiced against Tate Britain, which houses a lot of tripe. Having recently picked up a leaflet on Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination, I discovered it features one of my favourite weird paintings: Fuseli's Titania and Bottom (c1790). Maybe you should lash out on this one. It ends on 1 May 2006.

Tate Net Art

Andy Deck - Screening Circle snippet
Talking of Pacman... Were we? Er...yes...see penultimate blog. This little fellow looks like one of the ghosts that haunt Pacman. Tate Net Art is offering us a computerized version of a centuries-old tradition. Get the blurb: "Screening Circle, 2006, by Andy Deck adapts the cultural tradition of the quilting circle and the participative round table into an online format for producing motion graphics." For God's sake! What a load of guff to describe what we call a "sewing circle", where a gang of gossiping women work on some common project: quilt, tapestry or whatever. I guess the Tate is aiming to be politically correct. Or maybe it doesn't want to discourage boys from trying Andy's digital quilt. Looks like it could keep the younger boys amused for hours, providing they can send their bits of quilt to eat other boys' bits, Pacman-style. Not recommended for Internet Explorer! Oh phooey!

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Pixar review

Pixar - Finding Bruce the Shark
Still dithering over whether to take the kids to see Pixar - 20 Years of Animation at the Science Museum? The BBC London website has published a review by Shalinee Singh. It might help you make your mind up. Click the title link to find out. I wonder if Shalinee got paid for it....
Could it be that someone at the BBC is reading Coxsoft Art's moans and groans about its arts coverage? The Pixar story began in BBC News Magazine: no mention under arts! The Pixar review is tracked following this new trail: BBC London > Entertainment > Visual Arts > Current Shows > Review: Pixar - 20 Years of Animation. Wow! One small step for art, a giant leap for Mankind!

Minimalist Art, kiddies?

Minimalist Art
There's a lot of bull talked about minimalist art. The twits who witter on about it never think of its practical uses: signs, symbols, icons, computer games. Who can forget Pacman, even though you might want to?
Thirty-five years ago, Roger Hargreaves came up with the idea of expressing human personality types and emotions in simple pictures for young children, and Mr Tickle was born.
Hargreaves' idea may not seem groundbreaking, but consider two lines of research. 1. Psychologists have found that some emotionally or mentally disturbed adults have difficulty identifying their emotional states, presumably because they weren't helped to identify emotions in childhood. 2. A more recent finding is that the younger an infant is introduced to books the better he or she does at school. And of course babies and very young children can't perceive complex images, let alone read; they need minimalist art.
So, bull aside, there are social advantages, possible mental health benefits and certainly pots of money in them there minimalist doodles. Two years ago, the entertainment group Chorion snapped up the Mr Men and Little Miss book titles in a £28m deal! An exhibition to mark the anniversary of Mr Tickle is on at the Animation Art Gallery in London. UK. The Art Of Mr Men continues until 30 April. Click the title link for more info. or telephone 020 7255 1456.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Latest e-mail scam

"Chase Bank Online® Department Notice." This arrived in my in-box this morning, allegedly from Chase Online® Banking Department with copyright message © 2006 JPMorgan Chase & Co. It warns me that someone has used my account "from different locations" and that the bank must "open an investigation into this matter". Sounds very official; but. as I don't have an account with the Chase Bank, it is clearly a random mailshot from some criminal gang. The object is to make you visit the gang's website. Don't!
Some of these criminal e-mails also plonk spyware on your PC when you open the message. This one doesn't look too threatening: 3K, text only, clean-looking source code. It claims to have come from, but the following line looks more truthful: Received: by (Postfix, from userid 0).
Mafia, maybe?

Ozymandius, King of Kings

In case you're wondering about my reference to Ozymandius in the previous blog, here is Shelley's masterpiece. I promise not to go all poetic again. I regard most poetry as pretentious tripe and avoid it at all costs, but occasionally I stumble across something that makes my spine tingle. Very rare, I assure you.

Ozymandius by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Bellini and the East

Comparison of paintings by the Bellini brothers - left Giovanni's Doge, right Gentile's Seated Scribe
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum exhibition Gentile Bellini and the East, previously seen in Boston, USA, has arrived at the National Gallery, London, and has been renamed Bellini and the East, presumably to rake in fans of older brother Giovanni, who was one of the great masters of the Renaissance.
Before you get carried away by the hype being showered on Gentile to promote this exhibition - "perfect" and "exquisite" have been used to describe Gentile's Seated Scribe (1479-80) - view it in conjunction with Giovanni's magnificent portrait of The Doge Leonardo Loredan (c1501), which is one of the finest portraits of all time. Its use of three-quarter face was groundbreaking, and its psychological depth has never been surpassed. Clearly this is a man of power. His arrogant bearing, cold gaze and pursed lips remind me of Shelley's Ozymandius "...whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command..."
Then look at Gentile's traditional portrait, which is clearly inferior. It tells us nothing of the man. Its florid Eastern ornamentation confuses the image, and there is no emphatic light source, merely bland overall illumination. You might say it isn't a portrait at all, but profiles have been used as rather unsatisfactory portraits for centuries; look at the heads on coins.
The bowed head, which you might assume is merely a suitable pose for a scribe, is an Islamic tradition. Even portraits of sultans needed to evince humility with a slightly bowed head. Muslims don't just throw wobblers about images of the Prophet; their taboo on idolatry covers portraits and any human form that might be taken as inviting worship. So architecture and intricate patterns are the safest forms of art in Islam. Any artist who creates a David or a Venus risks a beheading.
So, ignore the hype. Gentile never became his brother's equal. He had a pleasant holiday in Constantinople - a city ensnared in an artistic timewarp, due to the idolatry taboo - where he painted some pretty piccies but learned nothing to further his talent, while brother Giovanni stayed in Venice and pushed art into brilliant new realms.
Judge for yourself. Bellini and the East runs from 12 April to 25 June 2006 in the National Gallery's Sunley Room, admission free. While you're there, go worship Giovanni's Doge.

War of the Bunnies

Belligerent Bunnies
Another story bounces into the news to give us the true spirit of Easter: Commercialism. Lindt chocolateers in the Swiss corner are miffed with Hauswirth chocolateers in the Austrian corner, because they also produce golden Easter bunnies with red ribbons. Seconds out. Lawyers in. Ding-dong. Lindt wins first round. Judge raises bunny's paw. Hauswirth can't sell its bunnies, so it gives away thousands of golden Easter bunnies to Austrian kids. It's better than Maundy money. Next round June. Yes, but is it art?; I guess it's mass production using lots of bunny-shaped moulds, but someone designed them, and that took more artistic talent than stuffing a dead shark.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Win of 350,000 Euros update

Microsoft confirms it has nothing to do with the MICROSOFT LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL I wrote a blog about (10 April) and describes it as a "hoax". I would put it stronger than that: it is attempted crime.

Richard Cuerden's Gothic

Richard Cuerden - The Blind Home (2006)
Speaking of religion, here's an artist who was abused as a boy by members of his church. His dramatic view of The Blind House (a title which may be taken as symbolic) shows a strange blending of bright, apparently cheerful colours with a Gothic horror dread. A psychiatrist might interpret the block of red as expressing the artist's anger, rather than his cheerful spirit. Whatever, this oil painting is a fascinating mix of the artistic and the psychological. Richard Cuerden's current exhibition continues at the Seventeen gallery, 17 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AA, until 22 April 2006.

Bishop admits prayer is nonsense!

Sir Joshua Reynolds - Infant Samuel at Prayer
Here's a good one for Easter, and it's given me the perfect excuse to show Sir Joshua Reynolds' charming painting Infant Samuel at Prayer. The Church in Wales Bishop of St David's, the Right Reverend Carl Cooper, in his Easter address, attacked Noel Edmonds' belief in cosmic shopping, describing it as "nonsense". But what else is prayer but cosmic shopping? One of the most famous prayers of all time has as its second line "...Give us this day our daily bread..." Cosmic shopping! Okay, to a fat-cat bishop living in the affluent West it may not seem overly ambitious to request that one's shopping trolley has a loaf in it, but if he went to Africa, where many people face starvation just as people did in Biblical times, he might discover that prayer and cosmic shopping are the same thing. Logically, he can't deride one without deriding the other. Nice one, Bish!

Thursday, 13 April 2006

BBC Essex on Split Infinities

Les Edwards - Dragonsblood
BBC Essex has published a shortened version of Coxsoft Art's review of Les Edwards' exhibition Split Infinities. Just in time! Last day of this exhibition at Redbridge Museum, Ilford, is 29 April. Don't miss it. There's also a big sale of ex-library stock - books, CD's, videos, talking books - on this same date in the foyer of Central Library, which houses the museum. The sale is from 10am to 3pm.

Doodle 4 Google

Any Brit. teachers out there? Google has launched its first nationwide Doodle 4 Google My Britain competition, which is open to all pupils attending schools in the UK between the ages of 4 and 18. Entries will be judged in three age groups. The schools registration deadline is 31 May 2006, so download the school pack soon (click the title link).

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Lara Croft No. 1

Lara Croft (2006)
Tomb Raider Legend - the seventh Lara Croft adventure - zooms to No.1 in the official UK games charts, the fastest selling game of 2006 so far. But this isn't all. Lara has been socking it to 'em for a whole decade. Tomb Raider is one of the best-selling video game franchises ever: more than 28 million copies sold worldwide. Last Friday the Guinness Book of World Records pronounced Lara Croft the "most successful human video game heroine" in history. In short, she's a work of art and an extremely popular one.
So why is it we find stories like this in the BBC's technology section, instead of in its arts section? Because the Art Establishment is totally out of touch with 21st century art. It wants to maintain its elitist posturing and browbeat us peasants into admiring that tripe which it defines as Art. So third-rate craftspersons who couldn't make a living as cabinet makers create trash for the art galleries and museums, while real artists create today's icons, such as our two-gun Venus: Lara Croft.

Monday, 10 April 2006

Fitzwilliam Museum crash update

Last Thursday, the man who allegedly tripped over his own shoelaces and smashed three Qing dynasty Chinese vases at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK, was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. It only took three months for Plod to decide! Personally I think the man who should be in the dock is the Director of the Museum, who left the vases exposed to any clumsy clot who came along.

Nelson's Column spring-clean

Nelson's Column
One of London's most famous works of art is under wraps for its first clean in twenty years: the statue of Vice Admiral Viscount Horatio Nelson in Trafalgar Square.
Nelson's Column, designed by architect William Railton in 1838, now looks like an emaciated skyscraper. The cleaning with minor repairs to the face is expected to take two months.

Coxsoft wins 350,000 Euros!

Coxsoft Art's a winner! That's what Sandra Garcia, Vice President, MICROSOFT LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL, told me by e-mail today: I've won 350,000 Euros! Thanks a bundle, Sandra. Just send me the cheque.
Seriously, folks, this looks like another of those Spanish Lottery scams. You have to pay money up front to an agent - in this case Mr David Lopez (Legal Department Officer) - who rips you off for all you're worth before vanishing into the ether. What is particularly nasty about this scam is that it's using Microsoft's name. The e-mail is actually headed "Microsoft Lottery". I've notified Microsoft about this.
Hint to criminal gangs running Spanish Lottery scams: if you were to use Coxsoft Art's Syntax Checking Service, you would probably reel in a lot more punters. It's your dastardly English that gives the game away. The other giveaway is that I was supposed to keep my win a secret. Whoops!

Alien Autopsy

The Boswell Alien (1995)
Alien Autopsy has just hit the cinemas in the UK, and BBC Manchester has published an interview with Brit. sculptor John Humphreys, who designed the alien for both the 1995 Roswell film and the new version, which tells the story of the Boswell "hoax". It's a fascinating read. Click the title link.

Bleak House fire

Frith - Portrait of Charles Dickens
Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to a fire at Bleak House - the historic home of Charles Dickens - in Broadstairs, Kent, UK, on Sunday evening. The fire began in a private part of the house and has been extinguished with no injuries and no damage done to the museum wing.

Silver Surfer Week

Silver Surfer Avatar
Hey Yahoo! How about an avatar for silver surfers? The Chelsea Pensioners are already online. Next month, from 22 to 26 May, the UK holds its first Silver Surfer Week to give the over-fifties a taste of the internet. Age Concern and Digital Unite have collaborated on this project, with sponsorship from BT, Intel, Microsoft, AOL and Ofcom.
Unfortunately, the Web has many lousy websites that won't offer a good experience to anybody who visits them. Trojans, spyware, viruses, pesky pop-ups, Flash Player crashes (I've had three lately) and - the most frequently encountered of all - unreadable text, either because the ink and paper colours have poor contrast or because the font is ridiculously small. Then there are those links which require meticulous use of the mouse to home in on one of the half dozen pixels that will take you where you want to go.
There are a fair number of awards for various aspects of website design - Coxsoft Art has won a few of them -, but nobody is giving an award to silver surfer friendly websites. It's another aspect of age discrimination. So, I've decided to get the ball rolling by awarding the Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award to any website that meets my criteria for clarity, safety and user-friendliness, whatever its target age group.
I've designed a graphic in three sizes to represent this award - the avatar top left is one of them - and over the next few days I'll add a webpage to Coxsoft Art that gives more details. Interested? Let me know.
Click the title link for more info. on Silver Surfer Week.

Sunday, 9 April 2006

Hainault Forest Sculpture Trail

Woodhenge in Hainault Forest (photo Brian Ecott)
Now that Spring, how about mixing art with nature? Hainault Forest Country Park, situated in what BBC News insists on calling "East London" even though the locals call it "Essex", boasts a Sculpture Trail of wood carvings. It also has a collection of farm animals which will soon start lambing, calving, littering or whatever. Wander off the beaten track and you might spot a hare or a fox. I suppose you might also get lost, but not for long unless you're really determined. Hainault Forest celebrates its centenary as a public park on 15 July 2006. Click the title link for lambing news and further information.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

Christie's flogs Turner

Turner - La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio
Turner's view of Venice La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio, auctioned today by Christie's, New York, for $35.8m (£20.5m) including 12% commission, set a new record price for a British artist. Now I know why I prefer Canaletto: the Turner makes me feel as though my spectacles need cleaning.

Pixar at the Science Museum

Pixar - Finding Bruce the Shark
More fun than the Tiepolo exhibition: take the kids to see modern art at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London, UK. Eh? The Science Museum? Yes. Its current exhibition Pixar: 20 Years of Animation celebrates the 20th anniversary of that animation company which brought us Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. This is true modern art, and the kids will love it. The exhibition continues until 10 June 2006. Pre booking advisable. Click the title link to book online. Prices: £9 adults, £7 children. Ouch! But there is a family discount. Haggle.

Somerset House prices

As I found it difficult to track down the admission prices charged by Somerset House, I sent an e-mail requesting information. Swift reply: "...all three of the art collections at Somerset house, the Gilbert Collection, the Hermitage Rooms and the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery...charge an individual entry fee of £5." So, the Easter pass at £12 represents a saving of £3 if you visit all of the exhibitions. At these prices, I'd pick and choose. The Tiepolo looks favourite.

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Certain Half-deserted Streets

Alexander Pemberton - Lane to the Sea, Normandy (2003)
Fancy a trip into the wilds of Essex over Easter? Certain Half-deserted Streets is an exhibition of impressionistic landscapes by Alexander Pemberton, on display at the Chappel Galleries in Chappel, Essex, until 23 April 2006. This is a commercial gallery and all the works are for sale. Click the title link to view thumbnails of the paintings. The artist clearly has a feel for sunlight, which is what impressionism is supposed to be about. There might even be a local view for you. Lane to the Sea will set you back £1,500.

Somerset House (contd)

Yury Yeremin - Summer (1926)
You might find the Russian photographic exhibition worth viewing too. This photo by Yury Yeremin allegedly shows haymaking Russian peasant style. I don't believe it!
By the way, the Easter pass costs £12. So it isn't worth buying unless you're determined to spend all of Easter in Somerset House and you're prepared to sleep on the Thames Embankment with the tramps. Or you're at least 60 with a free travel pass....

Easter Weekend Pass

All Spirit and Fire - Tiepolo Oil Sketches
Somerset House in London, UK, is offering an Easter weekend pass which allows "unlimited entry" to the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Hermitage Rooms and Gilbert Collection from 14 to 17 April 2006. This includes admission to the current temporary exhibitions. The Tiepolo Oil Sketches and Road to Byzantium exhibitions look well worth a visit. For details click the title link.

Monday, 3 April 2006

BBC News website wins award

At the 14th international infographics/visual journalism awards, organized by Capítulo Español de la Society for News Design (SND-E), the BBC News website won top prize in the online category for its visual presentation of political statistics including the 2005 general election. Don't pat yourself on the back too soon, Aunty; the competition must have been utter trash. One needs a magnifying glass to view the BBC's tiny graphics, tiny text and boring charts. And the Peter Snow swingometer - a silver award - uses Macromedia Flash Player 8, which promptly locked up my copy of Internet Explorer 6; I needed to press CONTROL/ALT/DELETE to escape the pesky thing. What a load of rubbish!

Dr Who Renaissance

Billie Piper (Coxsoft Art version 2006)
Dr Who fans will be pleased that Billie Piper, who plays Rose Tyler, has signed up for a third series of the revamped Dr Who. The bad news is that David Tennant has also signed up for the third series. Christopher Eccleston's brief stint as the Time Lord established the renaissance of Dr Who. Tennant's arrival on the Tardis in the Christmas special was far from impressive. Billie Piper held the show together. A toffee-nosed BBC spokeswoman said "All parties want more of Rose Tyler...".

Eija-Liisa Ahtila wins Artes Mundi

Welsh Dragon
Who? What? To answer the who first: she's a Finn from Helsinki who dabbles in amateur video. The what: Artes Mundi means "arts of the world", a new visual arts prize worth £40,000 awarded every two years, its aim to establish Wales as a "pioneer" in the support of the arts. Oh dear! Not content with its National Eisteddfod, which is Europe's largest cultural festival, the Welsh dragon has committed itself to outdoing the £25,000 Turner Prize. Oh dear, oh dear! Its first winner, in 2004, was Xu Bing, who did something vaguely artistic with dust from Ground Zero. You can view the works shortlisted for the 2006 Artes Mundi award at the National Museum of Wales until 7 May.

Sunday, 2 April 2006

Cartoons dog Aussie relations

Bill Leake - No Offence Intended
The latest cartoons row is between Australia and Indonesia. In response to the Aussies giving visas to a group of 42 Papuan asylum seekers, which narked the Indonesians, the newspaper Rakyat Merdeka published a cartoon depicting Aussie PM and Foreign Minister as mating dingoes. Yesterday The Weekend Australian retaliated with a cartoon by Bill Leake depicting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as a dog mounting another dog, apparently a Papuan. Where will it all end? Puppies, anyone?

Saturday, 1 April 2006

April Fool

Mr & Mrs Blair outside No 10
For those of you from foreign parts, April 1 is known in the UK as April Fool's Day, because it is the one day of the year when we are allowed to play practical jokes on one another. This morning the Daily Mail tried to convince us all that Tony Blair had painted the door of No 10 red. Of course none of us fell for this joke. Then the truth dawned. It's Tony's April Fool gag on the Daily Mail!