Friday, 30 June 2006

Dino Jaws

Dinos and logo
It's here! It's huge! Art that moves! Damien Hirst, eat your heart out. This is the one we've all been waiting for: Dino Jaws - the exhibition. It opened today at the Natural History Museum, London. If you want to visit it during the school summer holidays, book now. Telephone 0870 013 0731 or click the title link.

BP Portrait Award 2006

The three winners: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, © the artists
At last we get the winners of the BP Portrait Award 2006. 1st is Andrew Tift for his triple portrait of Lucian Freud's first wife Kitty Garman. He receives £25,000 plus a commission worth £4,000. 2nd goes to Rafael Rodriguez Cruz for Model 1 from Models of a Self Portrait, prize £6,000. 3rd goes to Angela Reilly for her Self Portrait (my favourite). She receives £4,000. The winners and the best of the rest can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery until 17 September 2006.

London Master Drawings Week

Master Drawings logo plus Frederic Leighton's Drawing of a Boy
Today sees the beginning of London Master Drawings Week 2006, 30 June to 7 July. Click the title link for further details. For me, the high spot of this event is the exhibition Drawings by Frederic Lord Leighton PRA from the Royal Academy Collection in the Library Print Room, Royal Academy of Arts, London, which began on 27 June and continues until early October 2006. Another exhibition, linked to Drawings Week for the first time, is at the Connaught Brown Gallery in London: Modern and Contemporary Master Drawings, 15 June to 31 July.

Vandal sprays Helst

Bartholomeus van der Helst - Anna du Pire as Granida (1660)
Here's one I missed last Sunday: a vandal in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum sprayed a chemical over Bartholomeus van der Helst's Celebration of the Peace of Munster (1648). Congratulations to Rijksmuseum for putting this painting on the internet (click the title link). It's one of those massive commemorative wallpapers that's hopeless as a thumbnail image. So I've posted a van der Helst piccy that works as a small graphic, just to give the Guerrilla Girls something to moan about.

Guerrilla Girls at Tate

Guerrilla Girl
Tate Modern must be getting desperate. It's importing some Guerrilla Girls to give a lecture on the history of art as seen from a feminist perspective! Groan. If you fancy this tosh, you need free tickets. The "performance" takes place on Saturday 1 July at 3pm. Click the title link if you must.

Ludwig Mond's Bequest

Raphael - Alterpiece: The Crucified Christ with the Virgin Mary, Saints and Angels (The Mond Crucifixion) c. 1502-3
Coming soon to the National Gallery, London: Ludwig Mond's Bequest: A Gift to the Nation, from 14 July to 29 October 2006. The exhibition includes early works by Raphael, Titian and Mantegna. Find it in Room 1, admission free. If you fancy a £25 dinner at the National Gallery Café with free entrance to the current Rebels and Martyrs exhibition (see previous blog) the next date is Wednesday 12 July. To book, e-mail

Louise Lawton BA (Hons)

Louise Lawton - Whiteboard Portrait II
A new exhibition of artwork by Louise Lawton BA (Hons) continues at Clapham Art Gallery, London, UK, until 29 July. I mention this because it's Wimbledon fortnight and young Louise is a graduate of the Wimbledon School of Art. I reckon her tutor must have been Rod Laver, because most of her stuff looks like sepia photos taken from a helicopter of groups of city-dwellers lost in the bleakest parts of the Aussie Outback. They're actually charcoal drawings on gesso. Maybe computer images don't do them justice; I find them dull and boring, but it seems the punters are flocking to buy them. Click the title link to make up your own mind.

Thursday, 29 June 2006


Due to a whoopsie while upgrading Coxsoft Art's hardware, I've been offline for two days. My apologies to those of you who are bursting for the latest arts news. Some goodies coming up tomorrow....

Monday, 26 June 2006

Don't suicide bomb!

Action! Poof!
We Brits are used to thinking our politicians live on another planet, but Yankies must feel that theirs live in a completely different galaxy. Take this still from a crass TV commercial designed to dissuade Muslim Fundamentalist loonies in Iraq from blowing themselves up. Yes, they're giving this campaign the full Hollywood treatment with exploding cars and flying stuntmen. It's part of a 1 minute "public service announcement" shot in LA with the farcical message "Don't suicide bomb"! This sort of nonsense will be counterproductive in two ways: 1) it will glamorize suicide bombing and 2) it will increase public fear in Iraq. The last thing it will do is stop a Muslim fanatic from joining that merry band of idiots who intend to blow themselves up. The only way to dissuade fanatical young men from joining the ranks of suicide bombers is to make them realize that they will be the butt of jokes if they succeed. I'm certain that earnest young men of any faith are far more afraid of being held up to public ridicule than they are of death.

Plastic bag art

Plastic carrier bag with magnum force
How's this for irresponsible advertising? No, that isn't a real gun; it's a plastic bag designed to look as though the person carrying it is also armed with a pistol. One point of view is that these are "cool, creative bags...attractive and intriguing". Coxsoft Art's point of view is that if one innocent person is mistakenly shot dead by the police for carrying this design of bag, it is one person too many. The artwork is great, but should it be allowed on our streets? It puts a whole new meaning into the legal phrase "let the buyer beware".

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Wayne Rooney crucified

Nike ad. featuring Wayne Rooney
The Daily Mail has been trying to stir up a furore over Nike's advert featuring Wayne Rooney wearing nothing more than a bloody cross of St George and a demented expression. "Outrageous! Blasphemy!" The rest of the press seem more interested in taking swipes at the Mail. The Daily Telegraph waxes philosophical over the Crucifixion, while Nike's blogsite rubs its hands with glea over all the free publicity it's receiving. To put this into context, it's worth noting that the advertising agency involved - Wieden & Kennedy - designed this ad. as a poster only. To catch the eye of a speeding motorist, an image needs to be powerful. It certainly caught the eye of the Mail's editor. Rooney is laughing all the way to the bank, of course: £14000 a week to take off his shirt, get painted and look like a jerk. Easy-peasy. The Philips ad. showing a girl's painted face against the English flag is far superior. It conveys its message: an excited footie fan.

Party at the Palace

Today's the day for 2000 lucky British kids. A Palace spokesperson puts it impeccably: "The Queen will be holding a special children's party at Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty's 80th birthday to celebrate children's literature and the magic of books." BBC TV will broadcast the post-tea frolics after the football match! Now for one of Coxsoft Art's regular quibbles. Where would children's literature be without all those artists - illustrators and animators - who breathe life into characters like Postman Pat or Noddy? "Up the creek without a paddle" is the honest answer. Anyone can write a story for kids - I've done it myself -, but it takes real talent to visualize a character that kids want to see.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Rebels & Martyrs

Alexandre Abel de Pujol - Self Portrait (1806) photo Claude Thériez © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes
Rebels & Martyrs: the Image of the Artist in the 19th Century is the new exhibition at the National Gallery, London, from 28 June to 28 August 2006. Do we really believe all that nonsense about artists suffering for their art? And where did it come from? This exhibition claims to explain everything, but will it explain why I suffer every time I view "modern art"? That'll be the day. Find it in the Sainsbury Wing. The full admission charge is £8. Tip: check out the concessions for different days; click the title link.

Barbie® as Art!

Barbie® & Ken by Bob Kessel
I don't b e l i e v e it! Barbie® - the most revolting doll in history - is now a work of art! Generations of American women have been raised to look as mindless, dyed-blonde and plastic as this horrible doll, and many Brit. women have followed their appalling example. Barbie® is the subject of a travelling exhibition Plastic Princess: Barbie® as Art at the Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, USA, 23 June to 29 July. This museum is only two years old and you can tell it wants to join the Anti Art Establishment, because it boasts it has works by Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Chagall. Okay, it's also got a Rodin, but that's probably a happy accident. Now it's got Barbie®! Groan. Click the title link to see Barbie® in the shower with her boyfriend. Er... Gwendolyn, you sure about this?

Hirst and Bacon

Damien Hirst - Like Flies Brushed Off a Wall We Fall (2006) middle of 3
And now for the serious stuff. This week the Gagosian Gallery in London opened a pair of exhibitions featuring two of the UK's leading exponents of Anti Art: "Moneybags" Damien Hirst and deceased Francis Bacon. The theme common to both exhibitions is triptychs. The word "triptych" describes an altarpiece with three pictures or carved panels joined by hinges. In this case it's merely a pretentious term for three bad pictures in a row. This boring nonsense continues until 4 August 2006. Don't bother.

Balloon-knotting captions

Little girl: Oo-er...I hope she knows what she's doing with that thing....
Now's the time to cast your vote in BBC Magazine Monitor's Catherine Zeta Jones balloon-knotting caption competition. So far, the leader with 28% of the votes is Gordon Taylor with "...and then they stretched and pinched the skin on his face a bit like this before stitching it behind his ears..." But it's neck and neck. Every vote counts.

Friday, 23 June 2006

Learning Disability Week Art

The Changing Room Gallery logo
As part of Learning Disability Week (19-25 June) the Redbridge and Waltham Forest Learning Disability Partnership has organised a number of art exhibitions by people with learning disabilities. Let's face it, their artwork can't be worse than Picasso's. The best venue is probably The Changing Room Gallery in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow, E17, because Lloyd Park is home to the William Morris Gallery - essential viewing for anyone interested in the Brit. Arts & Crafts Movement - and its lake boasts a good collection of waterfowl, including Mandarin ducks and Aussie black swans. Click the title link for more info. Click HERE for the list of art exhibitions in The Changing Room Gallery in 2006.

Body art fans

Anja Purkel paints model Selina (2006)
Face- and body-painting is booming in Europe, due to the World Cup. It must be in the team colours, of course. Selina is wearing Brazil's rainment, and it looks pretty good on her. For the artist, Anja Purkel, all this is a dry run for the World Body-painting Championships in Seeboden, Austria, next month. Remind me to cover that one, if I forget. Click the title link to read more.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Balloon knotting!

The lovely Catherine knotting her balloon (2006)
BBC's The Magazine Monitor has a caption competition today. The image shows Catherine Zeta Jones trying her hand at a new art form: balloon knotting! And very artistic she looks too. Catherine's introduction to this art form came during her visit to the Children's Hospital at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, for which she has helped to raise big money. Click the title link to enter the comp. And don't say Coxsoft Art Blog doesn't bring you the best arts news stories. Which would you rather have, Tate Modern or Catherine Zeta Jones?

Summer Exhibition cock-up

Modern Art!
Here's a lovely story for non-Londoners. It was published in Metro - a free newspaper for London commuters - on 15 June. A friend brought it round on Wednesday evening. Brit. sculptor David Hensel submitted a sculpture of a laughing head to the R.A. Summer Exhibition. He included a wooden support, similar to my picture, to hold the head in the correct position. The judges rejected David's sculpture, but accepted its support, mistaking it for a potential exhibit! It just shows you what a bunch of clueless twits run the UK Arts Establishment. I've been telling you this for months, but you didn't believe me, did you?

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Poor David Hockney

My heart bleeds for poor ol' David Hockney, famous Brit. smoker, whose painting The Splash (1966) fetched a measly £2.6m at Sotheby's in London today. It must be embarrassing to be so low down in the league. I mean, what has that twerp Picasso got that Hockney hasn't? Yet Picasso has three paintings in the top ten most overpriced daubs of all time: Boy with a Pipe £58m, Portrait of Dora Maar with a Cat £52m, The Marriage of Pierrette £40m. I guess the answer is death. Sorry, David; you won't hit the big time until you've snuffed it. Shame.

Mid Architecture Week

Natwest Media Centre, Lords Cricket Ground, Architect: Future Systems
As it's the middle of Architecture Week and I've shown you the worst building in London, I thought it was time to show you one of London's more artistic buildings: the Natwest Media Centre at Lords Cricket Ground, designed by Future Systems. For some kiddie fun, including a building quiz, click the title link and say "Hello" to Archie.

Everlandia® Virtual Travel Agency

Buy Blitish Art © Coxsoft Art 2006
I'm not sure why Art Daily suddenly decided to announce Martin Bricelj's multimedia project Everlandia® Virtual Travel Agency yesterday. The exhibition at the Digital Studio, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, UK, ended on 2 April. I usually avoid the ICA, because it promotes Anti Art and asserts its lack of artistic taste by having one of the most lurid and disgusting websites on the internet! (The essence of Anti Art is to avoid anything that might be considered chocolate-boxy, which includes all the world's great art and leaves nothing to promote but tasteless dross. It's the toff's equivalent of spraying four-letter words on a nice piece of brickwork. Don't believe me? Visit and see for yourself. Yuk!)
Anyway, intrigued by the thought of creating a virtual reality postcard, I visted the Everlandia® website (version 2.0 beta) and clicked ENTER. IE6 crashed! Flash Player 8! Click the title link at your peril!
Background brick wallpaper thanks to Feebleminds GIFs.

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Tear of Grief

Zurab Tsereteli - Tear of Grief (2006)
This is Zurab Tsereteli's monument Tear of Grief, which seems a more fitting name than the official title: To The Struggle Against World Terrorism. It stands in the new memorial park in Bayonne, New Jersey, in sight of the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center - outlined - were struck on that day of infamy 11 September 2001. This monument is a gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin, from the artist, who paid some of the costs himself, and from the people of Russia. It will be dedicated this year on the 5th anniversary of 7/11.

Modigliani hits £16m

Modigliani - Jeanne Hebuterne (1919)
Yesterday, Sotheby's in London sold Amedeo Modigliani's portrait of his lover Jeanne Hebuterne for £16.3m, double its estimated value. This painting was part of an auction of modern and impressionist art which raised almost £89m. There's big money in them there old-fashioned "modern art" daubs.

Not The Da Vinci Code!

La Gioconda (left) and Leonardo's Mona Lisa
Dan Brown's hokum The Da Vinci Code has done more than cause a stir in the Law Courts of London and in the Christian Church. It's spawned a new arts search engine Trumalia that's posting "enigmas" for arts fans to solve (rewards on offer) and the US Portland Museum of Art has brought its faded La Gioconda out of mothballs, presumably to cash in. The Portland version (left) is supposedly a preparatory study for the Mona Lisa. Experts have dated the work to the same period, but don't tell me Leonardo had a hand in this obviously inferior copy of his Mona Lisa. Leonardo's drawings are superb, so I would expect the master's hand to show in any preparatory work. The daub on the left is a real bummer. She looks like Miss Piggy having a bad hair day. Clean it and X-ray it, Portland, and let's see what you've really got. Click the title link to visit Trumalia.

Adele again

Gustav Klimt - Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) detail
Coxsoft Art scooped Art Daily on this story, but Art Daily's newsletter brought a better graphic today. Here's the essential detail of Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), the most expensive work of art ever sold. The more you remove of that mixed-media nonsense, the better the picture becomes. Allowing the subject to sink into a morass of superfluous background detail is the worst faux pas a portrait painter can commit. Admittedly Klimt's stuff is pretty-pretty, but for a gobsmacking portrait of a similarly elegant and beautiful lady, view John Singer Sargent's Lady Agnew of Locknaw (1893). Wow!

Coxsoft Art wins Lotto!

Euro Monopoly money
Coxsoft Art wins again! This time it's Netherlands lotto: another 800,000 euros. I never win small amounts. Thanks for letting me know, Mrs Henrie. Please tell Mr Aaron Smith of your International Remittance Department to send my cheque to Coxsoft Art c/o Barkingside Police Station, Barkingside High Street, ILFORD, Essex, UK. I'll pick it up next time I'm passing.

Monday, 19 June 2006

Somerset House Free Time

Dragonfly © Tiffany & Co
I've just received a monthly newsletter from Somerset House, and a noteworthy event next month is Free Time, a four-day celebration of art, dance, music, poetry, film and storytelling, 22 to 25 July (perfect timing for the start of the school summer holidays in the UK). Not only are the aforementioned goodies free, but also entrance to the Courtauld Institute of Art and Hermitage Rooms will be free for these four days (usually £7 each!). This must be worth a note in your diary, whatever your tastes. Pity about the Tiffany jewels. Go on...make them free too.

London's Ugliest Building

The Tower, Colliers Wood
The Tower at Colliers Wood is an outstandingly ugly winner with more than 50% of the votes. My choice, the Southbank Centre, came third with only 11% of the votes. Having seen film on BBC London TV of the Colliers Wood monstrosity, which, to make matters worse, stands next to a flaky black multi-storey carpark, I've changed my mind. It's the worst! Why are architects allowed to build such eyesores in a supposed democracy? Only 512 of us bothered to vote. I guess this answers my question. Inclusion of the Gherkin (8%) proved controversial. Some viewers wrote in to defend this phallic Gnomes-of-Zurich erection.
Footnote: a survey revealed that 86% of Colliers Wood residents said The Tower was the worst thing about living in the area! Why not empower residents associations to sue architects for blighting their landscapes? All it would take is Legal Aid and the floodgates could open!

Klimt portrait sold

Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) detail
After a protracted legal battle, Gustav Klimt's opulent Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) the wife of a Jewish sugar industrialist - one of many artworks looted by the Nazis - was returned to Mrs Bloch-Bauer's niece Maria Altmann earlier this year. It took a court order to persuade the Austrian government to do the right thing. The New York Times reports the city's Neue Galerie paid $135m (£73m) for the painting in a private sale.

Child Safety Week

Child Safety Week logo
Today is the start of Child Safety Week in the UK - 19 to 25 June - organized by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). To learn how to prevent serious childhood accidents click the title link or telephone 0207 608 3828 (UK). Need fire safety advice? Too Late? Young burns survivor? Click Salamanders, a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award winner.

More Red Arrows

Red Arrows making the Cross of St George
I received this photograph in today's e-mails: the Royal Air Force display team the Red Arrows "painting" the English flag, the cross of St George. If this isn't performance art, what is? Thanks, Colin.
If anyone out there has any similar art photos - maybe the US Navy Seals "painting" the Stars and Stripes! - send them to me for blogging: e-mail

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Bejewelled by Tiffany

Orchid © Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co opened in New York in 1837 as a "fancy goods" store, but quickly established its reputation as one of the world's finest creators of jewellery. Bejewelled by Tiffany, 1837-1987, at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, London, UK, celebrates Tiffany's first 150 years with the most comprehensive collection of its jewellery ever assembled: 200 pieces for would-be social climbers to drool over. Some of the pieces are merely boringly rich, but others reveal a sparkling flare for design. Click the title link to see more of the exquisite craftsmanship that will be on display from 24 June to 26 November 2006.

Art & Antiques Fair

Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair logo
Coxsoft Art's apologies: bit late for this one; only 3 days left. The annual Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair (15-21 June) introduced a new idea this year: "Grosvenor Modern", post-World War II paintings, drawings or sculptures. If you have money to burn, visit this fair in the Great Room at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, UK. The Fair's website (title link) uses Flash Player 8 without crashing IE6.

Red Arrows' performance art

Royal Air Force Display Team: Red Arrows - Photographs E.J. van Koningsveld
Coxsoft Art hasn't bothered with performance art before, because the so-called "art" usually entails some idiot doing something totally unartistic, such as pushing a peanut with his nose or filming buttocks wobbling. Gilbert and George are the UK's doyens of this sort of nonsense. Their deadpan humour tickles some people's fancy, but not mine. However, Saturday's flypast of the Red Arrows over Buckingham Palace, in tribute to the Queen's 80th birthday, made me think maybe there could be a valid use for the term "performance art". Painting the sky with trails of coloured smoke is a bit more technically advanced than brushing tempora on a wall, but art follows technology. The sky is a huge canvas and a BAE SYSTEMS Hawk T. Mk.1 is a hell of an expensive and noisy paintbrush; but, if the results are aesthetically pleasing, it's art. And the Red Arrows certainly give a performance that makes the crowds gasp. So, hats off to the RAF's Red Arrows performance art. Click the title link to visit their official website and admire a collection of excellent photos by E.J. van Koningsveld. To see aircraft displays from around the world, click Richard Seaman.

Friday, 16 June 2006

NHM Wildlife Garden

NHM Wildlife Garden
Following from the previous blog, I'd rather visit the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden than its Art of Climate Change. Why bother to view minke whales encrusted with crystals when you can see a butterfly? More fun for the kids too. Making room for wildlife in our own backyard is every bit as worthy as worrying about polar ice and probably much more useful. Yellow Book Day, Sunday 2 July, 14.00-17.00, could be a good afternoon to visit the garden and learn some useful facts.

The Art of Climate Change

Michèle Noach - The Contextascope: ice-cap gradient (2005-6)
The Natural History Museum's free exhibition in its Jerwood Gallery - The Ship: The Art of Climate Change - must be one of the worthiest art exhibitions of all time. I tried to watch the BBC programme on the inspirational voyage, but gave up after 10 minutes. I'd rather listen to a brick-layer explaining his craft than hear artists waffling pretentiously about their work. The photographs (on TV) looked dreadful and the "musician" getting the Artic breeze to play his instrument was the last straw! I gave up. However the exhibition looks better than the BBC film. The centrepiece is a six-metre-long minke whale skeleton encrusted with clear alum crystals by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey. If only we could get President Bush to see the show....

Howard Hodgkins at Tate Britain

One of Hodgkins' better daubs
A new exhibition of daubs by Howard Hodgkins began two days ago at Tate Britain and continues until 10 September. One must congratulate the Tate on having produced a lucid blurb relatively free of pretentious gobbledygook. Maybe Coxsoft Art is having an effect! Quote: "This is the first exhibition to span the entire career of Howard Hodgkin...widely regarded as one of the most important artists working in Britain today. Bringing together 60 of his evocative and vibrant paintings from the 1950s to the present day, the exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view new work in the context of earlier decades." Wow! It makes sense! However, if Hodgkins' pathetic daubs, which show scant artistic talent, make him "one of the most important artists working in Britain today", Coxsoft Art's riposte is: Bring back Attila the Hun; all is forgiven!

Art at Oxo Tower

The Gallery at Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, UK, begins two new exhibitions on 22 June, both free. The contrast between the two couldn't be more interesting. The alleged "landmark" biggie is African Odyssey - 50 years of Zimbabwean Sculpture, from ancient spirits to "modern Misses". This ends on 16 July. The second is London College of Communications Graphic & Media Design Illuminate, part of the Bargehouse Burst! series of graduate shows. This appears to be a four-days-only exhibition, which ends 25 June. Neither exhibition looks worth a trip in itself, but together, interesting. Click the title link.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

London's ugliest building

The Gherkin
As its nod toward Architecture Week, BBC London News has called upon Londoners to vote for our ugliest building. I was surprised when the Gherkin popped up in the short list! For the benefit of foreigners - about 50% of the London population - I should point out that the proper name of this elegant, phallic, iconic, space-age erection towering above London is the Swiss Re Headquarters. My guess is that this monument to the God of Fertility is being denigrated because of a combination of Brit. prudishness and our loathing for the Gnomes of Zurich. I mean, how dare these bloody gnomes stick their rude phallus into our skyline! Coxsoft Art is determined to be objective. Not only is the Southbank Centre the ugliest building in London, but also it looks the most likely venue in which to get mugged, either by the Arts Establishment or by yer average drug-crazed yobbo. To cast your vote, click the title link.

Wild Life Art by Moriarty

Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Award
Another excellent arts website has been added to the list of Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award winners: Wild Life Art by Moriarty. If you're interested in paintings of birds, animals or landscapes, this website is a must. Some of the artwork is for sale, and the prices (in US dollars) look very reasonable.

Tudor Weekend

Eastbury Manor House
Eastbury Manor House - a genuine Tudor building - in Barking, East London, UK, is holding a Tudor Weekend with medieval jousting, a falconry display, wandering minstrels and other traditional activities, on 1 and 2 July. It's good to be able to report sensible entry prices: adults £2.50, children 65p, silver surfers £1.25. Better still, if you're a member of the National Trust, entrance is free.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Visit the V&A

Photo by Ronald Traeger (1966) detail, Vogue © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd
What used to be called the Victoria and Albert Museum changed its name to the V&A in order to sound hip. A rose (hip) by any other's still one of my favourites. It opened two new exhibitions recently, but first think Architecture Week and try Modernism: Designing a New World, which ends 23 July.
The first of the new exhibitions is Che Guevara: Revolutionary and Icon, which continues until 28 August 2006. The second is Sixties Fashion, which lasts until 25 February 2007.
Have you noticed that many of the iconic Brit. photos of the Swinging Sixties still look fresh and vibrant? The careers of some brilliant young photographers, such as David Bailey, took off at this time. They created a new style of glamour, which sold 60's fashions more than the fashions themselves. Photographers are still trying to sell glamour today, but they've lost that innovative 60's style.
Click the title link to visit the V&A website and see if you get the same bug I found. Trust me. It's harmless or I wouldn't send you there.

Madame Tussauds

Waxwork of Kylie Minogue (1999)
As a complete contrast to the previous blog, here's an icon of modern female sensuality captured by an artform I haven't mentioned before: waxworks. And no, this isn't a photo of the real Kylie Minogue; it's a waxwork in Madame Tussauds, London, UK. The anonymous artists who create these works will never earn the fame and fortune enjoyed by the leaders of the Anti Art Movement, but then they won't have Coxsoft Art blowing raspberries at them. Small consolation, I must admit. Click the title link to visit Madame Tussauds website and watch Kylie fly past (Flash Player 8). Warning: don't visit the Shayne Ward page; it crashed IE6.
Hope you're still doing well, Kylie.

Islam at the British Museum

Laila Shawa - Hands of Fatima © (UK) British Museum
If you fancy a mixture of calligraphy in arabic script, blinkered contempory art and Islamic propaganda, the British Museum's Word into Art - Artists of the Modern Middle East is for you. It continues until 2 September, admission free. The price is right, but I'll skip the rest, thanks. Look at those masked women in a detail from Laila Shawa's Hands of Fatima, unable to comprehend how their male-dominated religion is repressing them. The banner for this exhibition is an illustration by Hassan Massoudy of Ibn Arabi's claim "I follow the religion of Love". If Mr Arabi were alive today, he would despair. Every TV news broadcast brings fresh Muslim atrocities. Religion of love? Religion of hate, from what I see of it.
If you want to see work by a fine contemporary Islamic artist, visit the Art Renewal Centre and look for two paintings by Iman Maleki: Omens Of Hafez and A Girl By A Window. Beautiful, and with a touch of love.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Lubetkin Prize

Petr Weigl - Lubetkin Prize
Just kidding! Here's the real thing: the Lubetkin Prize designed by Petr Weigl. I can't find a better graphic.

RIBA Lubetkin Prize

Petr Weigl - Er...Penguin Pool?
The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced the three finalists for the new Lubetkin Prize, awarded for "the most outstanding work of architecture outside the UK and the European Union by an RIBA member". (Hey, RIBA! I hate to tell you this, but Great Britain is a member of the European Union, so "outside the EU" is all you need to write.) Prize-giving takes place at the annual RIBA bash in the London Hilton Hotel on 23 June, the lowlight of Architecture Week. Sasha Lubetkin will present the winner with a "cast concrete plaque, based loosely on her father’s design for the Penguin Pool at London Zoo." (Concrete? No thanks, luv!) Possible Coxsoft Art scoop! The unnamed object by Petr Weigl shown above might be a penguin paddling pool. Could this fanciful lightswitch be the new Lubetkin Prize?

Sunday, 11 June 2006

RA Summer Exhibition

Michelangelo - Tondo Taddei
Tomorrow sees the opening of the 238th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the world's largest open contemporary art exhibition, which features paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and architectural models. Prize money up for grabs totals £70,000, but the prestige of exhibiting at the RA Summer Exhibition is enough for most artists. This year's theme is "From Life". Ignore the monstrosity in the courtyard, if you can. Don't forget to visit the Michelangelo Tondo Taddei (there's a larger version of this graphic on Coxsoft Art). The exhibition ends on 20 August.
P.S. Coxsoft corrected. Damien Hurst isn't a Royal Academician (see May blog on his monstrosity at the RA). I'd confused him with David Hockney, another exponent of the Brit. Anti Art Movement.

Ennio Morricone concert

A Fistful of Dollars
Who can forget that jaunty whistling which chirruped through the mayhem of Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars? Ennio Morricone brought innovation not only to western theme tunes, but also to movie music in general. He's been nominated for an Oscar five times. On 19 July he'll be conducting the Gyor Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Choir in a concert of his music at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK. Click the title link to read Time Out London's interview with the master.