Thursday, 31 August 2006

Thayer's Angels

Artcyclopedia graphic using one of Thayer's angelsI've decided to add a link to Artcyclopedia as a service to my visitors. It's often the fastest way of not only tracking down a work of art, but also of locating which gallery or museum holds it. The graphics are excellent. And there's a news page. Of course the news page isn't a patch on Coxsoft Art Blog! The graphic I've chosen (if it fits) shows one of Abbott Handerson Thayer's angels. You must admit he paints a nifty angel. If you want to find out more about this artist, click the title link to visit the Thayer page at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The page itself is elegantly designed.

Epping Forest Festival

Epping ForestOn Sunday 3 September, 11.00am to 4.00pm, the annual Epping Forest Festival takes place on Chingford Plain, where Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge stands (well worth a visit any time of the year). There will be jousting knights, a pipe band, dog agility displays, a show of choreographed mechanical diggers, community and craft stalls, and wildlife and environmental groups. Weggis, there's a beer tent! Entrance is free, but the weather forecast isn't promising. Click the title link to visit the City of London website to learn more.

Munches recovered

Edvard Munch - Madonna (1893)Hi, Jacoblog. Thanks for the news and the link. I've been working today and hadn't seen the news. (I'm still unable to post comments, thanks to the ongoing bug in Blogger.) For everyone else, two paintings by Edvard Munch - The Scream and Madonna -, stolen by gunmen from the Munch Museum in Oslo two years ago, have been recovered. The last I heard of these paintings was a week or so ago in ArtDaily, which reported that David Toska was trying to plea bargain these paintings for a reduced jail sentence. Who? Toska was convicted of organizing Norway's biggest armed robbery: a commando-style assault on the NOKAS currency storage depot, during which a police officer was killed. It was suspected he also masterminded the Munch robbery, but he wasn't convicted of that crime. So, it looks like he struck a deal, despite the evasions and denials in the BBC story. (Read carefully.) Have you noticed that it is always The Scream which is used to illustrate these stories? Not here.

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

County Hall Gallery

Salvador Dalí - Profile of TimeTomorrow sees the opening of a one-week exhibition by Czech artist Teri Varhol at County Hall Gallery, London. At £5.00, don't bother. Worth1000 entrants produce digital art that is far superior to the gloomy rubbish shown on the Gallery website. If "Varhol is in the vanguard of young Czech artists" then Czech art is in big trouble. Try the Dalí Universe instead. This permanent exhibition has been going strong since the summer of 2000 and attracts over 250,000 visitors a year, despite its insane admission price of £12. And silver surfers £10! No way!

Pavement Artist Extraordinary

Julian Beever - Batman and Robin to the rescue (29/8/2006)Here's an irony. In London yesterday, the day of the fire near the Royal Academy of Arts, England's most celebrated pavement artist, Julian Beever, was chalking his latest masterpiece: Batman and Robin rescuing him from a burning building! Julian has taken the art of perspective into a brilliant realm: anamorphism. Using only a flat pavement for his canvas, he chalks three-dimensional works that fool the eye when viewed from the correct angle. He enters some of his pictures - as here - to complete the illusion. Pity he can't paint such images on a roll-up rubber mat so they could be shown in art galleries round the world. His website is well worth visiting; click the title link. The Daily Mail has a larger version of the above picture.

RA Fire Update

Firemen tackling the blaze - photo taken by Aaron Clark (2006)The blaze is under control. The building which caught fire is 6 Burlington Gardens, formerly the Museum of Mankind. It is adjacent to but separate from the main Royal Academy of Arts building, which was evacuated and closed for the rest of the day. The roof of No 6 collapsed. An initial report claimed the building was empty, but it turns out it was being used by the Saatchi Gallery to prepare an exhibition of American art, due to open on 6 October. This is the second major fire to hit the Saatchi collection, which is clearly inflammable stuff!

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Fire near Royal Academy!

Breaking news: I've just been informed by an eyewitness that smoke is rising above the Royal Academy of Arts. The BBC London website has first details of this story. More than 40 firefighters are tackling the blaze at a three-storey building in Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, near the Academy. Click the title link for more info.

National Trust Whoopsie

Warning Notice: Limbs may fall. Please keep clear of the canopyCan you read this notice by The National Trust, stuck to the trunk of a dead tree? Just about? You need to stand really close to read it. Then you discover it warns you to keep clear of the tree, because limbs may fall! How to entice people into danger! Let's hope nobody else bothers to approach to read this lunatic time-waster. Thanks for the piccie, Susie.

National Gallery Whoopsie

Coxsoft Art E-mail © Coxsoft 2006Today I received the following e-mail from London's National Gallery:

Your message

To: Competition
Subject: Competition
Sent: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 23:34:21 +0100

was deleted without being read on Tue, 29 Aug 2006 10:19:17 +0100

The competition was for free tickets to the Rebels & Martyrs exhibition, which finished yesterday. Hence the deletion of entries. Wouldn't it have been better to organize automated "Thank you" receipts for competition entries, rather than bin all the losers and send out deleted-without being-read notices? Cynics might ask "Was there a competition?".

Domen Lombergar

Domen Lombergar - The Transformation Of DaphneHere's another interesting artist spotlighted in the latest Art4heart newsletter: Domen Lombergar, a young Slovenian photographer/digital artist who's into Surrealism in a big way. Although fascinating in it's day, I can't help feeling that Surrealism is showing its age. A lot of Salvador Dalí's work looks dated. That's why I selected Domen's Transformation of Daphne, a timeless image from classical mythology. His website is very slick and professional with a safe yet fishy Flash Player 8 routine and loads of images to view: landscapes, nudes, fantasy art. It's slow to load if you're not on broadband, but worth the wait. Go.

Children's Day

Notting Hill Carnival, Children's Day 2006Is that last year's grumpy Turquoise Fairy scowling at the back or has his younger brother been pressganged into taking his place? Agnese Rorbaka snapped the thumb-sucking little cherub in her finery, on the right. She looks too young to be parading in Carnival and a bit overwhelmed by it. BBC London wants photos of Carnival to post on its website (title link). Not a brilliant collection so far. The amateur photos of the Sultan's Elephant were better. Despite all the hi-tech cameras available nowadays, getting the exposure right when photographing black people against bright colours is a challenge. Try tweaking the gamma settings in XnView before sending them to

Monday, 28 August 2006

Open House London

Open House London logoThe free 2006 Guide to Open House London - Architecture in the Flesh (16 to 17 September) was published on 16 August and has been available in public libraries since that date. If you don't move fast, these guides will all have gone. If you're too late, you can click the title link to order a copy, but it will cost you £4.00 including P&P! Of particular interest in my area (Redbridge) are: Bancroft's School in Woodford Green, Gurdwara Karamsar (a Sikh temple made of Rajistan sandstone) in Ilford, Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue near Snaresbrook Underground Station, and The Hospital Chapel of St Mary & St Thomas on Ilford Hill, originally a 12th century leper hospital; 19th century additions include stained-glass windows by Sir Edward Burne-Jones! As you can see, we're multi everything in Redbridge. If it weren't for British hooligans, Muslim Fundamentalists and Mafia from the former eastern bloc nations, we could probably all chug along with a fair degree of harmony.

Tracey Emin for Venice!

Charles Thomson - Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision (2006)Gross news! The Council - the governing body of what used to be called The Arts Council of Great Britain, until it became a national joke and was split into regional offices - has announced that the UK's Queen of Cloaca has been selected to represent Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale 2007! The Council, which currently wastes £189 million of taxpayers' money and has a total annual income of £517 million, clearly wants to maintain its reputation for buffoonery. Tracey Emin! We'll be a laughing stock throughout Europe. This ghastly news hasn't hit the Stuckists' website yet (title link). They're still gloating over embarrassing Sir Nicholas Serota over Tate Modern's paying £600,000 to one of its trustees for elephant dung. Stuckist Charles Thomson's portrait of Sir Nick pondering the value of Emin's knickers says it all. You can see this painting among others at the Stuckists' exhibition Go West at London's Spectrum Gallery from 6 October.

Amazing Space

Amazing Space cartoon © Quentin Blake (2006)On Sunday 24 September, 10.30am - 5pm, Somerset House presents Amazing Space hosted by Quentin Blake (the famous children's book illustrator, for the three of you who haven't heard of him), a free day of drawing, fun and creativity for all ages to celebrate the 7th Big Draw season in October across the UK. Big Draw Day is 14 October.

Tiffany gems extended

Jewel © TiffanyBejewelled by Tiffany 1837 - 1987 at Somerset House has proved so popular that the exhibition has been extended until 7 January 2007. Click the title link to visit Somerset House website for more information.

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Thomas Gainsborough - The Linley Sisters (c. 1770) detailBBC London's Visual Arts website is featuring Dulwich Picture Gallery, which won the top award for Small Visitor Attraction in 2005. It's an interesting article and a surprising one coming from the BBC, which usually does its best to promote Anti Art. None of that tripe in the Dulwich (see Coxsoft Art's London page). Its collection includes Murillo's Flower Girl and his Two Peasant Boys, Poussin's The Nurture of Jupiter and Gainsborough's magnificent portrait of The Linley Sisters. What the BBC's article fails to mention is that the Dulwich Picture Gallery's website won a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award.

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Ray Harryhausen

Jason And The Argonauts (1963)Any Londoner fancy a trip to Bradford? No? Let Coxsoft Art tempt you. For some strange reason The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television hangs out in Bradford. Its Lumière Lecture 2006 is all about Ray Harryhausen. Remember the monsters in Jason and the Argonauts? Clash of the Titans ring a bell? Getting interested? Tony Dalton, co-author of Ray Harryhausen, An Animated Life and The Art of Ray Harryhausen, will deliver the lecture on 3 September at 7.00pm in Pictureville Cinema. This will be followed by an on-stage interview with the man himself: special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Tickets at £5 (£3.30 for silver surfers) seem well worth the price. The NMPFT exhibition Myths and Visions: the Art of Ray Harryhausen continues in Gallery One until 24 September 2006, showing his concept drawings and other artwork. There is also a season of his movies.

Free Art Fun

Psychedelic T-shirtIf you don't fancy taking your kids to the Notting Hill Carnival, the Victoria and Albert Museum offers Free Art Fun on Monday 28 August until Friday 1 September, 11.00-13.00 & 14.00-16.00. Create and print your own psychedelic swinging 60's T-shirt. It's about the only Brit. event the V&A is holding for kids this year. Mostly it's middle-eastern stuff. I guess that's the trouble with having a fat-cat middle-eastern backer.

Notting Hill Carnival

Last year's grumpy fairyThe August Bank Holiday Weekend is here again, and that means vast traffic jams on UK roads, long queues at airports and railway stations and huge crowds at London's Notting Hill Carnival. Will the Turquoise Fairy be grumpy again or has he escaped to play football with his mates? Watch this space. For a map and all the details, click the title link.

Friday, 25 August 2006

Japs bow to Art

Tokyo subway officials have reversed an earlier decision to ban posters showing this beautiful photo of Britney Spears which adorns the August cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine. The photographer is a true artist. He or she makes Daniel Edwards' infamous statue of Britney giving birth look like rubbish. Could this be Britney's revenge on Edwards? If so, her decision to pose in the nude while pregnant with her second child is admirable. She couldn't have chosen a more elegant way of exposing the vulgarity of Edwards' statue. She's also made herself a clear winner in the sex goddess stakes. No woman could look more desirable.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

E-mail Scam Warning!

Fake bank logo received in e-mailDon't you just hate those stupid dinosaurs of companies which refuse to give you an e-mail address? The Aussie bank with a solid English name, Clydesdale Bank PLC, is one such dinosaur. I wanted to inform the bank that I received an e-mail which used its logo and demanded "Validate Your Account Information"! No chance. Okay, the bank doesn't want this information, so I'll make it public instead. This could be a Nigerian Mafia scam, except it's far more literate and convincing than usual. Don't be fooled. Report it to your ISP and send details so they can track it down. Oh Clydesdale, you haven't been sending your old PC's to "underdeveloped countries", have you? The primitive natives probably know more about computers than your management does!

Another Art Sting

Peruvian HeaddressYou may have seen this Peruvian headdress in the news last week, stolen 20 years ago and finally unearthed in the UK. It turns out the police recovered it thanks to another sting by Michel van Rijn, whom the BBC has dubbed "the Indiana Jones of Chelsea". I saw a TV programme about this character, well worth viewing if it gets a repeat. If you missed it, click the title link to fill in this major gap in your education. Note: in 2000 a parliamentary select committee estimated that the illicit trade in "cultural property" is worth approximately $5bn a year and is second only to the trade in drugs and weapons! This doesn't include the legal ripoffs, such as selling wildly overpriced elephant dung to Tate Modern or a rotting shark to a gullible Yank. And we all thought art was about ... er ... art. How ridiculous!

Shell Wildlife Comp.

Title with Owl photo (detail) by Jan PeltomakiThe Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2006 competition is now closed. The judges must sort through more than 18,000 entries from 57 countries! Some of the commended pictures will appear in the October issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine, on sale from 28 September. The winning and commended photos will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum, London, from 21 October to 29 April 2007. If you can't get to the exhibition, view the photos online at the NHM website from October onward.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Breathing Places

BBC Breathing Places booklet (2006)UK residents, look out for the BBC Breathing Places booklet at your local library. Note how beautifully the cover art gets its message across. Yes, it's Autumnwatch time again. And to prove it my Water Hawthorn flowered yesterday. I ate my first bowl of wild blackberries a fortnight ago. So, if you want to help phenologists keep track of autumnal events in the UK, click the title link. There are excellent free wallpapers to be had as well, two different ones for every month of the year. And they are safe! I've tried them. I've also awarded the Woodland Trust UK Phenology website a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award. They've changed it since then; it's slower than it was, but still excellent. Bill Oddie, Kate Humble and Simon King will soon be back on BBC TV with news of Breathing Places activities.

FeedBlitz Funnies

Coxsoft Art E-mail graphic © Coxsoft 2005If you find strange characters in your FeedBlitz emails from Coxsoft Art Blog - Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal looks like Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal or worse -, you need to switch from Western European (Windows) encoding to Unicode (UTF-8). In Outlook Express select VIEW, then ENCODING, then Unicode (UTF-8). You may need to select MORE to find it. Subscribers will receive this news, even if you can't access Coxsoft Art Blog at present. (It's a Blogger bug.) I've copied two of my recent blogs to my Xanga site (title link).

Monday, 21 August 2006

Watermelon Cubes

Watermelon CubesAnd now for something completely different: watermelon cubes. No, it's not a new art form. These are real watermelons. Don't panic! It's not diabolical genetic engineering. And it's not a joke. Tesco (the UK's largest supermarket chain, if you're a foreigner) has decided it wants cubed watermelons, because they're easier to stack, take up less shelf space and don't roll about the floor. How? Easy: grow them in square jars. It's a logical step. That's how they grow cucumbers straight. You wouldn't want a curly cucumber, would you?

Mary unveiled

Mary Queen of Scots before and after cleaningThe National Portrait Gallery in London is cock-a-hoop. It cleaned what it thought was a relatively insignificant 18th century portrait of Mary Queen of Scots by an unknown artist and subjected the panel it was painted on to tree ring analysis. The work can now be dated to between 1560 - 1592, which means it was probably painted during Mary's lifetime and may be a genuine portrait. Of course creationists must ignore all this scientific dendrochronology stuff and carry on believing it's an 18th century copy.

Book Cover Art

Book CoverI wade through so much highfalutin piffle in my quest for decent art exhibitions that it's a pleasant surprise to come across a title which communicates with such clarity that there is no need to read further. The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters tells us exactly what this book is about and where its author, Ardea Skybreak, stands. The cover art - no more than a montage of appropriate photos - vividly reinforces her message with a pretty girl and Grandpa Chimpanzee rising above Michelangelo's God creating Adam. What a pity that the publisher's blurb-writer is clueless about science and tried to embellish Ardea's message with a farcical claim: "In today's world, without the science of evolution there would be no science." Utter twaddle.
Evolution isn't Science. It's a scientific theory which provides us with hypotheses for experimentation and a framework for understanding a jumble of otherwise meaningless facts. And it's a survivor! Science is a method of trying to establish the truth. Theories come and go, because scientists like nothing better than tearing them apart. If they could have destroyed Darwin's theory of evolution, they would have done so. Therein lies its strength and its acceptance. It doesn't need a crass blurb.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Chair-stacking Art

Brian Jungen - Cetology (2002)Young Vancouver artist Brian Jungen has made a big hit with his exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. His chair-stacking ability is phenomenal. Yes, the whale skeleton above is made out of plastic chairs, those things you leave on the patio in hope of a sunny day. He also turns Nike running shoes into ethnic masks (click the title link to view one). It's all good, clean fun and very inventive too. It's when the blurb-writers get going that my hackles rise. "These works call into question the various economic, sociological and cultural values of the Western world...". Codswallop! I would enjoy watching Brian create one of his statues. That really would be performance art. Hey, Brian, how about a dinosaur skeleton in London's Natural History Museum? Canadians, you have until 4 September 2006 to view Brian's chair-stacking art.

Butterfly Help

English Nature and the Highways Agency have co-published a handbook on butterfly conservation aimed at road builders, in the hope that butterfly-friendly habitats can be preserved or created alongside new roads. Our butterflies need all the help they can get. Of the UK's 56 species of butterflies, 26 species must have their habitats protected to ensure their survival. If councils would stop cutting down stinging nettles, that would be a good start.

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Photogold Interactive

Jack Vettriano - Dancer For MoneyPhotogold, which flogs limited edition prints by UK artists Jack Vettriano, Beryl Cook and others, has linked up with Sky Interactive TV to reach Sky's 8 million subscribers glued to their goggle boxes. The aim is to get these couch potatoes to buy art by pressing a button, probably the only way you can persuade them to buy anything, apart from the weekly shop at Tesco, when they load up with the essentials of life: beer, TV snacks, smokes, bog rolls, TV guides and jumbo packets of crisps. As Jack Vettriano earns £500,000 a year from his prints, I don't suppose he's fussed whether the couch potatoes can reach the buy button without help from the district nurse, but I guess every little helps. Beryl Cook's witty paintings should do well, because most of her characters look like couch potatoes. It'll be love at first sight.

Jerwood Space

The Seeing Space (groan)Jerwood Space in Bankside is grey. Jerwood website is grey. Both look as though they were created by an office designer whose only inspiration was the colour of your average PC. The one illustration I found on this grey website was also grey. The effect is that of an empty office waiting for the typing pool to move in and decorate it with their family photos, potted plants and teddy bears. The Miniature Worlds Show continues until 9 September. If you want to attract the punters, you've got to do better than this.

Frieze Art Fair

Solar Shuttle in Hyde Park (2006)Today the postman brought me a copy of Summertime 2006, a free guide to what's on in London's Royal Parks. The good news for Londoners about to strangle their offspring is that there is much for kids to do, for instance a ride on the brand new Solar Shuttle in Hyde Park. The bad news is that the only art exhibition - the Frieze Art Fair in Regent's Park, from 12 to 15 October - is insanely overpriced: £18 on the gate! Booking in advance wins you a concession, but there's an advance booking fee to pay! Clearly the organizers want to exclude the riff-raff. I can take a hint. This is London's only international contemporary art fair, and 150 art galleries will be exhibiting. Imagine 150 stalls selling cloaca-machine produce? I'm not wasting my cash to find out. Money to burn? Go for it.

Cave Painting & Birds

Cave Painting, Lascaux, France (15,000 to 10,000 BC)Need something to occupy the kids next weekend? The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum - the Tring branch of London's Natural History Museum - will introduce the fives and overs to cave art in Mighty Mammoths and Dramatic Deer on Friday 25 August for £1.00 per child. You must book in advance. Click the title link for details. On Sunday 27 August Birds of Barnes opens, an exhibition of photos by Justin de Villeneuve. These are avians, not dolly birds, taken during a year of visits to the London Wetland Centre. This exhibition continues until 11 October 2006.

Friday, 18 August 2006

Now for Real Art

Peter Sorrell - When all hope is gone, I think of you with no clothes onI recently visited Spectrum London's website in search of two new exhibitions, one by The Stuckists, the other by Cheryl Brooks, who strips backgrounds from Renaissance paintings and overlays a figure cut from a photo. The amateurs in the Worth1000 art competitions are vastly more skilful at this sort of thing than she is. And I couldn't find enough works by The Stuckists to make a judgement. So I browsed and found two superb artists from past exhibitions: Andrei Zadorine and Peter Sorrell. Sorrell's nude is one of the best I've seen by a living artist, and I enjoyed his poetic title:
When all hope is gone
I think of you with no clothes on
His metre is a bit dodgy, but I know the feeling. Click the title link to view an online gallery of works by these two artists.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Is poo art?

Cloaca machine produce!No, it isn't one of those weird Jerry sausages. It is packaged poo! But not poo produced by a natural alimentary canal. It's a product of Belgian "conceptual artist" Wim Delvoye's latest Cloaca machine, an artificial alimentary canal that produces the same stuff we all do: poo. Incredible though it may seem, these packages are selling like hot cakes! It just goes to show how many people in the art market are anal retentive dickheads. Click the title link to visit Art News Blog and enter an earth-shattering discussion about what art actually is.

Hangman doodle banned

Examzone website headerIf you look above the arrow I've drawn, you'll see the bone of contention: a hangman doodle on an exam paper. English exam board Edexcel had designed this header for its A-level exam results website. Enter charity Papyrus, which complained that a hanging man was the wrong sort of message to give to students at a time of high stress. Exit hangman. Sounds like political correctness going OTT, but they may have a point. Failed students have been known to top themselves.

Anthrax kills artist

Christopher Norris deceasedWe've all got to die of something, so what's special about this story? Christopher "Pascal" Norris, the artist/craftsman who contracted anthrax and died, imported untreated animal hides into Scotland for ethnic-style drums he made. As anthrax is extremely rare in Scotland - the previous death from this disease was 30 years ago - it seems the anthrax spores were imported with the untreated animal hides! So, any artist or craftsperson thinking of importing untreated hides should think again.

Google cock-ups!

Coxsoft logoMy apologies to readers who can't access Coxsoft Art Blog. I'm in the same boat myself! (I can get in by the back door, so to speak, but I can't visit my blog.) This is due to a Blogger database cock-up, which they claim to have fixed on 1 August. But it seems to have hit the UK last Thursday, when we went to the highest state of terrorist alert, and has lasted an entire week! Also, my link to Google UK is being diverted to As I'm sure you know, Google owns Blogger. So, what's going on, Google? Why are you messing us about in the UK? Come clean. In the meantime, folks, visit my website instead (title link).

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Diana Miller-Pierce

Diana Miller-Pierce - Old Warrior
Diana Miller-Pierce is described as a "traditional watercolorist in the impressionistic style". She specializes in beautiful paintings of flowers, with the occasional cacti thrown in. I can't see much evidence of impressionism; her works are photographic in their detail. I know that some of you out there deride anything that is both colourful and aesthetically pleasing as chocolate-boxy. So I've selected an atypical work - Old Warrior - that demonstrates what a real artist can do with an unpromising subject. It also shows Diana's breathtaking use of natural light. To see her brilliant flowers click the title link.

Stefanie Rocknak

Stefanie Rocknak - The Swimmer
Art4Heart is getting better and better. Its latest newsletter (No. 5) showcases two excellent female artists working in the USA. The first, Stefanie Rocknak, sells figurative wood carvings. I know "carving" doesn't sound as posh as sculpture, but I'm often blogging about sculpture and this is my first opportunity to mention wood carving. The beauty of wood is in its grain, and it always seems a shame to cover that beauty with gold leaf, as happens with so much Rococo frippery. One glance at The Swimmer reveals that Stefanie knows exactly what she is doing with her chosen medium. This sculpture is truly dynamic. Click the title link to see more of Stefanie's art. See my next post for No. 2.

Monday, 14 August 2006

Mission Impossible?

Penny restoring the Quing vase
Remember back in January Coxsoft Art reported on some clot taking a tumble down a flight of stairs in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and demolishing three 17th century Chinese vases from the Quing Dynasty? Well, ceramic conservator Penny Bendall has spent three months gluing together 113 pieces of vase No 1. In the picture shown she's retouching the coloured enamels. This vase recently went on display in an exhibition suitably entitled Mission Impossible? Ethics and Choices in Conservation, which closes on 24 September 2006.

Sense & Sensitivity

Jenny Cordy - Chromosphere
Pioneering charity BlindArt holds its second annual Sense & Sensitivity exhibition at London's Bankside Gallery, from 14 September until 8 October 2006. Braille, large print, audio-description and tactile images help the visually impaired visitor to experience visual art. They may not be blind as we imagine it - blackness -, but suffer distorted vision, fragmented vision, tunnel vision or other visual defects. The exhibition presents a multisensory art experience for all comers. Every exhibit is for sale. Jenny Cordy's Chronosphere isn't the only striking image. Fireblue by Liz Munro & Nuala Watt is beautiful. Click the title link for details.

Alexandre Charpentier

French relief sculptures
The National Gallery of Art in Washington has just opened a fascinating exhibition of work by 19th century French medalist, relief sculptor and designer Alexandre Charpentier, which continues until 28 January 2007. For years private collectors have been snapping up works by Charpentier and other talented French medalists, and it is only recently that dozy museum curators have woken up to the fact that this field is bursting with talent. I've combined 3 graphics to give you a taster. Left is a detail from Charpentier's L'Imprimeur, cast in gilt bronze (bloggers take note: that's how printing used to be done!). Next is Coudray's Le Charmeur. Right is Rene Baudichon's Medaille. You can find larger versions of the last two on Coxsoft Art's tondi pages. For more examples of Charpentier's work, click the title link.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Nice one, Vladimir

Russian Flag over the Hermitage
It's good to know that somebody can read Coxsoft Art Blog, even though I can't read it myself! At the start of the State Hermitage Museum scandal, I criticized President Vladimir Putin for failing to protect his country's treasures - the first job of any head of state - and called upon him to resign (click the title link). He has now ordered the setting up of a commission by 1 September to check the whereabouts of 50 million artworks held in Russian museums. Wow! This is going to be bigger than the Domesday Book. I take it all back, Vladimir. And thank you for reading Coxsoft Art Blog.

Kate Moss Yoga

ArtDaily recently reported that the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma is giving UK sculptor Marc Quinn a major solo exhibition, with 30 of his works on display. This news is a bit late as the exhibition started in June, but there's still plenty of time for Brits holidaying in Italy to catch this exhibition before 30 September 2006. Marc is the UK equivalent of the USA's Daniel Edwards. Both have undoubted talent, but seem more interested in self-publicity than in producing a magnificent work of art. You can't blame artists for not wanting to starve in a garret: publicity is where the money is. Londoners who have visited Trafalgar Square will have seen Marc's award-winning statute of the severely disabled Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005). I viewed it earlier this year. It's not bad, not brilliant, but definitely in the wrong place; the Fourth Plinth demands a towering, monumental work. To watch Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma's Flash Player 8 routine that runs four views of Marc's interesting Sphinx 2005, showing a side to Kate Moss we've never seen before (a talent for contortionism, much more impressive than her catwalk flounce), click the title link.

Local News

Fullwell Cross Library
The next 10p book sale at Fullwell Cross Library, Barkingside, is on Saturday 16 September, 9.30 am to 3pm. The next sale of books, videos, CD's and talking books at Central Library in Ilford (NOT a 10p sale) is on Saturday 28 October, 10am to 3pm. Don't miss the bargains.

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Naked yuppies not Art

Albert Gea - P.E.T.A. anti fur fashion protest in Barcelona
Hi, Jacoblog and Roger. I like to reply to my readers quickly, but I've been unable to post replies for the last few days. Worse, I can't visit Coxsoft Art Blog! Blogger did some maintenace work and it seems to have taken UK bloggers offline. Aussie and US blogs seem unaffected, but the UK Blogger blogs I tried couldn't be reached. I can post blogs, but I can't see them! So I'm posting this photo, which nobody claims is art - it's a protest - to rubbish Tunick's claim that his work with nudes is art. I agree that posing his nudes under the Rubens is an interesting attempt at legitimization, but they're still just a pile of bodies. And yes, Roger, I did notice the cute cherub and I have seen other photos of Tunick's twaddle and I still think it's a pile of yuppies. The term may have been coined in the 1980's, but it's by no means dated. I heard it on BBC TV today. It has entered the language and has blossomed: yuppie or yuppy, yuppify, yuppification, yuppiedom, yuppie flu. Your phrase "Good God" is obsolete, by the way. Lastly, Roger, I assure you I intended no insult to your butt, which is now in a museum. I'm sure it's a very nice butt.

Monsoon Party

London Mela 2006 Banner
According to BBC London's weather forecast for Sunday, London Mela 2006 will be more like a monsoon party this year. So it's sou'westers and wellies for those of you intending to visit this festival of South Asian culture at Gunnersbury Park, beginning 12 noon. Expect Bollywood, bhangra and curry, but also the unexpected: ice sculpture, if it doesn't get washed away by the monsoon predicted to sweep the old metrop. The gardens need it. And it's free (rain and Mela). So you can't grumble.

Friday, 11 August 2006

The Beatles at NPG

Angus McBean - Audrey Hepburn (1951) Spike Milligan (1961)
On Friday 25 August 2006 the National Portrait Gallery, London, will be holding a Beatles Evening, beginning at 18.00 hours ... er ... 6pm: "An evening of music and memories ... Dress 60s!" Coxsoft Art will have to find its old winklepickers for this one. So what has this to do with the lovely Audrey Hepburn and Spike Milligan? Both photos are works of art by Angus McBean, who also photographed the fab four. The Beatles Evening highlights two interrelated exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, both continuing until 22 October 2006. In the Balcony Gallery there's The Beatles on the Balcony, admission free. In the Porter Gallery there's Angus McBean: Portraits, a major retrospective of one of the most artistic UK photographers of the 20th century, admission £5 (£3.50 for silver surfers). It's two for the price of one!

Wednesday, 9 August 2006


Japanese Netsuke
While dipping into Dusseldorf's museum kunst palast I found this netsuke. Apparently the museum has a good collection, but you don't have to go to Germany to see netsuke. Visit our own V&A to see them. Netsuke are Japanese ornamental weights that were attached to a cord tied to a purse, so the wearer could wear it on his belt or sash. (The traditional kimono doesn't have pockets.) Made of ivory or lacquered wood, these 18th/19th century little figurines are a delightful form of art.