Saturday, 30 September 2006

Lori Hersberger

Lori Hersberger - Sunset 184 (2006) wall installation with neonAs you know, Coxsoft Art isn't struck on so-called "modern art", most of which looks as though it was slung together by a cowboy plumber who couldn't pass his Corgi test, but here's an exception to the rule: Lori Hersberger's Sunset, a wall installation with neon tubes. It's a real eye-catcher. Frozen lake? Posh strip joint? My first ever job was as a messenger boy for an art studio above the Casino de Paris (a strip joint) in Soho, London. Neon signs, glittery mirror tiling, USA sailor uniforms and furtive little men in gabardine macs always remind me of that place. This installation features in Art Forum Berlin, the international trade fair for contemporary art, which began today at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and continues until 4 October 2006.

Black History Month II

Three Portraits (click title link for details)October begins tomorrow. So here are three more historic portraits I've added to my Black History Month page, which will be displayed until the end of October. Click the title link to view it. The little boy with the white rabbit is Bernard Murray, who was only five years old when Margery Ryerson painted him circa 1960. This portrait is now owned by the New Jersey Historical Society. Click HERE to go there.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Daft Quote on Design

Designer Chairs in Trafalgar Square (2006)According to BBC London, Tom Dixon's giving away 500 expanded polystyrene chairs in Trafalgar Square was one of the highlights of this year's London Design Festival. So much for the rest of it! Generous Mr Dixon said "Making a polystyrene chair has given me the opportunity to fulfill an ambition to make design available to all". Who does this bighead think he is? If you visit a supermarket to buy a can of beans, you're on the receiving end of a production line of design: the can, the label, the logo, the supermarket trolley, the plastic bag.... Need I go on? In our society, design is everywhere. You can't escape it. But of course all these everyday items aren't as important as the arty-farty stuff Mr Dixen designs! Tell it to Tesco, Tom. Anyway, let's not be too negative about the London Design Festival. According to the latest Anholt-GMI City Brands Index Survey (February 2006) London is the world’s favourite brand city. Cor, luv a duck!

Hitler's Art Auction

Adolf Hitler - Red Roofed Cottage by a Lake in a Woodland SettingThe much publicized auction of 21 paintings and two pencil sketches found in a Belgium attic and attributed to Adolf Hitler finally took place on 26 September at Jefferys auctioneers in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, and made £118,000. Self-styled "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak and a man dressed as Hitler were ejected from the auction. Barschak's wife - Tamara - reckons hubby is "an intellectual Jew"! Isn't wifely devotion wonderful? I bet she fetches his slippers too.

Message to Electra

Electra - Two Sketches of a Sculpted HeadCoxsoft Art gets fed up with reviewing rubbish by people who claim to be artists but whose only talent is that of finding clots stupid enough to buy their tripe. So, these two pencil sketches by an 18-year-old girl from Cyprus came as a joyous flash of talent. I chanced upon "Electra" in an online art group I visit occasionally. She wanted members to view her artwork and leave comments. I did. Here's my additional message to her. These two sketches alone should get you into any art college run by a principal who knows what he's doing. Unless you intend to become something useful, like a doctor, enter the best art college you can find.

Thursday, 28 September 2006


Velázquez - The Toilet of Venus (1647-51) also called The Rokeby VenusThe Observer newspaper has described the forthcoming Velázquez exhibition at The National Gallery, London, as the "single most important show of the year, if not the decade". Coxsoft Art wouldn't go that far (Who would, apart from The Observer?), but this has got to be earmarked as a biggie. With loans from the Museo del Prado and other collections, it will bring together nearly half of the world's surviving Velázquez works to offer a complete survey of his career. Book in advance! Tickets cost £12 plus £1 booking fee for timed entry, but here's the good news: silver surfers get in for half price: £6. Somebody has noted Coxsoft Art's campaign for concessionary tickets at the good ol' 50%. Go for it! You can avoid the booking fee by sending an SAE with your cheque to the NG at least 14 days in advance. (Click the title link.) The exhibition opens on 18 October and continues until 21 January 2007.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Saatchi's Your Gallery

The Star of Saatchi's collection of rubbish: Tracey Emin's My Bed!BBC London has a feature article on Charlie Saatchi's latest bid to grab the art world by the short and curlies: Your Gallery, which exhibits artists' work online for free. More than 1,000 artists have already posted their work on Saatchi's website. The BBC wants to know if you're convinced of the value of this new project. Well, are you? Go tell Aunty. Don't forget to mention the plight of UK artist Michael Dickinson which BBC News has completely and unforgiveably ignored.

Tomas Munita wins Leica Award

A Home Fire amid the Junk (2005) detailToday's BBC News In Pictures page has a post entitled Images from Karbul below a sporting Melbourne piglet! The Kabul photos were taken by Chilean freelance photographer Tomas Munita while working in Afghanistan for the Associated Press news agency in 2005. His striking images and use of colour in difficult lighting conditions are superb. His photo report Kabul - Leaving the Shadows wins the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2006, awarded annually for photos that convey Man's relationship with his environment (maybe Woman's too?).

Happy Birthday, Beryl

Beryl Cook OBE - Self-portraitYesterday saw the opening of Beryl Cook at 80! at the Portal Gallery in Dover Street, London. The exhibition continues until 21 October. Beryl Cook OBE "is without doubt Britain's best known and most popular painter" claims the Portal. This is a blurb I can believe. And she is self-taught, having started messing about with her son's paints in the 1940's. Her art took the saucy postcard into a whole new realm. She paints women as they are, not as we would like them to be. Click the title link to visit her website and wish her a Happy Birthday or click HERE to visit the Portal or HERE for the BBC's Beryl In Pictures.

Monday, 25 September 2006

London A-Z is 70

First Edition London A-Z (1936)Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of artist Phyllis Pearsall, who died in 1990. She created the first London A-Z in 1936 with the help of one colleague: draughtsman James Duncan. Despite being rejected by publishers, it became a design classic. Not silly fashionable design, but practical user-friendly design. She self-published and sold 10,000 copies to W.H. Smith: retail price 1 shilling! (My 2003 Collins Greater London edition cost £25!) What do publishers know? They rejected James Herriot's vet books and Harry Potter and ... the list is endless. Click the title link to read Claire Heald's account in BBC Magazine.

Single Shot

Ori Gersht - Pomegranate (2006) © the artistHere's another example of how the wallies at Arts Council England waste taxpayers' hard-earned money: Single Shot. The main venue for this nonsense is Tate Britain from 3 November to 10 December 2006. The title refers to a series of newly commissioned film and video clips all shot in a single take. Example: what looks like an attractive Dutch still-life painting turns out to be a pomegranate demolition job when the fruit is exploded by a high-velocity bullet in excrutiating slow motion! This is art? Ho hum; Bollywood here we come.

Saatchi Promotes Porn

Lara Shnitger - I want kidsThe forthcoming Saatchi exhibition USA Today is already embroiled in controversy before it opens to the public next month at the Royal Academy of Arts. As one expects from the doyen of tasteless tripe, it's a collection of rubbish; but this time some of it is rude rubbish! Take Lara Shnitger's "sculpture" I Want Kids. Please do: the farther the better. She reckons it's a "sort of fertility symbol". To everyone else it looks like a crass joke about paedophilia. (Lack of communication here, Shitger?) Then there's Gerald Davis's Monica, a painting of a young girl with pompoms on her socks engaged in oral sex. Academicians are furious about the pompoms! "Bloody Yankee pompoms," you can hear them muttering. Sculptor Ivor Abrahams accused Saatchi of "scraping the barrel". Doesn't he always? (I'm thinking unmade beds and stuffed sharks.) The morons will flock to see it at the Royal Academy of Tripe. Read all ab-aart-it in The Evening Standard's online London Guide. (My thanks to Selby Whittingham for this story. I couldn't find Brian Sewell's comments on the Mond Bequest, but spotted Shnitger instead.)

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Black History Month

William Sidney Mount - The Banjo Player (1856)October is Black History Month in the UK. So Coxsoft Art has reinstalled its page of historic paintings featuring black people and has added two more: Frans Hals' Family Group in a Landscape (1648) and Francois Auguste Biard's The Slave Trade (1840). These additions were painted nearly two centuries apart. Click the title link to view the appalling contrast between them.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Manet to Picasso

Seurat - Bathers at Asnières (1884)The National Gallery, London, has rehung its 19th-century collection - mainly Impressionist paintings - in the brand new Sainsbury Wing. Manet to Picasso opened today, 22 September, and continues until May 2007, admission free. Sainsbury may not know much about art - Tesco's own-brand packaging in patriotic red, white and blue shows far more artistic savvy than does Sainsbury's packaging -, but at least it recognizes a brand leader in the art lark. Building a new wing for the National Gallery must be worth a bob or two in free advertising. Smart business move, Sainsbury. Click the title link to design your own room, using paintings from the National Gallery. It uses Flash Player.

China Power Station

Clipped still from Chinese Wu Xia drama Chivalry CoupleHere's your last chance to see Battersea Power Station in its present dilapidated state and view an exhibition of Chinese culture as well. From 8 October to 5 November the Serpentine Gallery will present China Power Station: Part I, a showcase of Chinese art and architecture. For £5 you get a one-hour tour. Waterproof clothing is recommended! Maybe a building-site hard hat too, in case a chimney topples?

Samuel Wade Wins Award

Samuel Wade - Grey Day at Central (2006)Isn't it refreshing when a talented young artist wins an award? We're so cynical about awards in the UK, because our allegedly most prestigious awards keep being won by untalented twerps. This beautifully atmospheric oil painting won Australian artist Samuel Wade the 8th Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. Samuel receives $25,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Good on yer, cobber.

BBC toes Blair line

Coxsoft Art is appalled that BBC News has failed to report the plight of British artist Michael Dickinson, who faces up to 3 years in a Turkish jail for displaying a collage that lampoons the Turkish Prime Minister. The BBC can't deny that it knows this story - reported in The Times and The Guardian - as it has been featured on BBC Turkey! It appears that the BBC has withheld this important news from the British public because it doesn't want to queer Tony Blair's pitch to support Turkey's bid for EU membership. It is clear from this story that Turkey is a backward, primitive and dictatorial country which is totally unfit to join the European Community, where all PM's are seen as fair game for political cartoonists. That Blair is "proud to champion" Turkey's bid shows how little he cares about democracy and human rights. And that BBC News is withholding this important story from us proves it is toeing Blair's line. Independent? Apolitical? Unbiased? Come off it, Auntie, you've been in Government's pocket ever since you came unstuck in the Hutton Report.
To view a thumbnail of Michael's "criminal" collage, scroll down to find my blog for Monday 18 September: UK Artist Faces Jail. To view the dastardly work for real, visit the Go West exhibition at London's Spectrum Gallery from 6 October to 4 November. Gallery Director Royden Prior is "absolutely appalled" by what has happened to Michael.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Jolie buys Banksy art

The Stars of the Show: Angelina Jolie (left) and Tai (right)According to the Daily Mail, which lurked around Banksy's Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles, Angelina Jolie spent £200,000 there. Not bad, Banksy! You see, it pays to take your hols in the USA. The spray-painted elephant - Tai - caused US animal welfare activists to throw a wobbler. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services told Have Trunk Will Travel (I'm not making this up) that Banksy's paintjob had to be scrubbed off. Tai took it all in her stride. A phlegmatic Jumbo. When not being hired out to UK artists, she lives on a ranch.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Pumpkin Art at Tring

Maureen - Darth Vader pumpkin (2004)The NHM's sister museum the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire, is having two Pumpkin Carving days: Tuesday 24 and Thursday 26 October, times 10.15 to 12.15 and 13.30 to 15.30, suitable for fives and over. The cost is a mere £1.50 per child. Book in advance: only 60 pumpkins available per session (click title link). To illustrate this blog, I've chosen the best example of pumpkin art I've ever seen, borrowed from the art gallery of the multi award-winning website Star Wars The Tantive IV. As you know, I've often moaned about Macromedia Flash Player 8 routines, and my latest moan is dancing menus. Well, to see a perfect animated menu using Flash Player 8, click HERE. It's brilliant.

African Bark Art

Ugandan Bark Artist with Budding Bark ArtistCoxsoft Art tries to bring you as wide a range of art as possible. So here's the latest from the Natural History Museum, London: African Bark Art on Saturday 14 October, starting times 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 hours. This is a one-off activity for kids aged 7 to 12, a Diverse City Season event celebrating different cultures in the English Metrop. An artist from Uganda, where using tree bark to create art is a tradition, will help the kids design their own gifts. Send Coxsoft Art your photos.

London Design Festival

Tom Dixon's expanded polystyrene armchairs in Trafalgar SquareWe're in the middle of the 4th London Design Festival - 15 to 30 September - and, so far, it's dropped like a brick and sunk without trace. All the news has been about London Fashion Week and whether to ban anorectic models from the catwalks. (Okay, so clothes hang better on girls without boobs, but must fashion be a knobbly knees contest? Why not bind those boobs the way MGM did with Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz to make her look like a schoolgirl?) The most exciting thing about the London Design Festival is that Tom Dixon is giving away expanded polystyrene armchairs in Trafalgar Square tomorrow: Thursday 21 September. Wow! See if you can find anything better on the official website (title link), but I warn you it's a design bummer! Talk about user-unfriendly! Its home page takes 1 minute 25 seconds to load on a 56K modem. It has boring graphics, tiny fonts and the latest trend in eye-confusing menus that shift and flicker as you move your mouse pointer over them. Yuk! Cool Britannia? Forget it. This is Boring Britannia.

Rodin at the RA

Auguste Rodin - The Kiss (1889) Coxsoft Art enhanced imageNow it's the turn of the Royal Academy of Arts to roll out a biggie: Rodin opens on 23 September and continues until 1 January 2007. The RA has brought together over 300 of Rodin's works, mainly borrowed from the Musée Rodin and his former home in Meudon, France. These include The Gates of Hell, The Kiss and a large version of The Thinker. Ticket prices range from £2.80 to £11 and the book costs £24.95. It upstages the Kettle's Yard Rodin exhibition, which concentrates on one work: Eve. However, the Kettle's Yard website has won a CASSFA, while the revamped RA website is still way off target; Internet Explorer 6 keeps reporting an error on Line 2 "'Element' undefined" and Line 16. That's not good enough, RA. I know Coxsoft Art complained about your old website and this is an improvement, but you've got to iron out those bugs to qualify for a CASSFA. And your page-loading times are much too slow.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Kettle's Yard wins CASSFA

Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award   © Coxsoft Art 2006I visited Kettle's Yard website yesterday to view its forthcoming All about Eve exhibition - Rodin's statue Eve (1881) on display from 23 September to 19 November 2006 - and discovered a truly elegant website with colour-coded navigation. Faultless! Kettle's Yard in Cambridge, UK, is a "refuge" for visual arts and music, coming up to its 50th birthday. What better way to celebrate than by winning a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award? Click the title link to find out more.

Blogger Forum

Blogger Forum star logoCoxsoft Art has joined Blogger Forum. Er...thought you'd like to know. Check out the knotted snakes.

Monday, 18 September 2006

UK Artist Faces Jail

Michael Dickinson - Best in Show (2006)Here's a story I picked up at Art News Blog. It has a slight touch of art (not a lot) and all sorts of political overtones. Michael Dickinson, founder of the Istanbul Stuckists, was collared by the Turkish fuzz for displaying the above collage in Istanbul. It shows the Turkish Prime Minister as a dog being awarded a rosette by President Bush. Lousy art, but fair comment, you might think. Not in Turkey; it's against the law to lampoon the PM. Michael faces anything up to three years in a Turkish prison if found guilty. All this is hugely embarrassing for twerps like Tony Blair who want to bring this Islamic state into the Euro Community. The Stuckists have written to Tony, asking him to intervene on Michael's behalf (title link). What is even worse than Michael's arrest on this dictatorial charge is that BBC News appears to be withholding the story from us. I've searched the BBC website with its own pathetic search engine, and I've also used Google. The only mention of this story I can find on BBC worldwide is on! Censorship, Aunty?

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Kate Moss connasewer!

Kate Moss (left) and dead quail (right)UK model Kate Moss has started her own "art" collection. She's already invested £50,000 in contemporary "art", including £10,000 spent on two pieces by alleged artist Polly Morgan: 1) a stuffed quail chick in a foetal position in a matchbox When We Were Children and 2) a blue tit lying across a prayer book To Every Seed His Own Body. Talk about one born every minute! Hey, Kate, Coxsoft Art had to clear up the mess left on the lawn by a fox dining on a wood pigeon; I've still got the claws if you want them. They'll each fit into a matchbox. To you, only £5000. That's two for the price of one. A snip. Need a grave title. What about Won't tap dance no more? Seriously, Kate, do yourself a favour and give up on the art lark before any more birds get stuffed.

Coxsoft Art wins GID Gold

Smug SmileyCoxsoft Art has won the Global Internet Directories Gold Award for Excellence in Website Design and Presentation. Click the title link.

London Film Festival

London Film Festival logoThe British Film Institute's 50th London Film Festival, supported by The Times, has been officially launched. Selected movies - 181 features and 131 shorts - will run from 18 October to 2 November. Click the title link for details. Forest Whitaker, the actor who plays the slimy police investigator hunting Vic in The Shield, stars as Idi Amin in Giles Foden's The Last King Of Scotland, directed by Kevin Macdonald. This movie opens the Festival. The clips look good.

Banksy Exhibition in LA

Barely Legal exhibitsYanks, you have one afternoon left in which to visit Banksy's exhibition Barely Legal in Hunter Street, Los Angeles. According to Banksy, this street is "off Santa Fe, two blocks from the freeway". The last day is 17 September, noon to 8pm. Watch out for the elephant. It's real, Indian, 37 years old and painted with that type of OTT florid wallpaper design favoured by UK stately homes and pubs! Let's hope it's also house-trained. Banksy's real name is Robert Banks. He's from Bristol and is 5 years younger than the elephant. House-trained? Well.... Click the title link to see more. Click HERE to read more or HERE for Banksy's profile.

Friday, 15 September 2006

Euro Workers' Mobility

European Year of Workers' Mobility 2006In case you're wondering why the UK Government is powerless to stop millions of migrant workers - both legal and illegal - from infesting our overcrowded and poorly resourced little desert island, sleeping rough on London pavements, undercutting our wages and stealing our fish (see title link) it's because 2006 is the European Year of Workers' Mobility, and here's the graphic to prove it. Just what we all want, isn't it?

Science Fiction Art

Oliver Ullman - The Drop (2005)This incredibly atmospheric graphic by Oliver Ullman is an example of the excellent online gallery of cover art created for Sci Fi Weekly The Web's #1 Source for News, Reviews and Interviews. If you're into either art or science fiction, it's a must. Click the title link to browse the gallery, then visit Sci Fi Weekly's home page to view good, safe Flash Player animations and to sign up for an e-newsletter.

Commercial Art

Digital Advert (detail)Wipe that sneer off your face! There are some top notch artists working in the despised field of commercial art. Here's a perfect example I came across recently: a detail from an online advert selling woman's dresses and hats. This is an unknown artist's digital creation that exudes beauty, elegance and sophistication to sell a product. Yet very little of the woman is actually shown; it's all subtle suggestion. So, how easy it is for a woman viewing this advert to put herself under that hat and imagine this is how she will look wearing it. Powerful consumer psychology as well as first-rate digital art.

Where's Euro Artiste?

Artiste banner (2002) detailArtiste is or was an ambitious project to integrate "metadata-based image retrieval across disparate databases" in four major Euro. galleries: the Louvre, the Uffizi, the V&A and the National Gallery, London. Funded by the Euro. Commission, the project took off in 2000 and a small trial version for use by selected Euro. artists was set up. Click the title link to read an illustrated review, dated June 2002. My local library just received a batch of leaflets from the Euro. Commission entitled "Europe on the move". What a misnomer! The manuscript for the leaflet that caught my eye - A community of cultures The European Union and the arts - was completed in 2001, copyrighted in 2002 and hit my local library in 2006! (On the move? More like Europe bogged down!) On page 7 I found Artiste. I tracked down its website - - and read an Apache server message: "Hey, it worked !". So, a URL and webspace have been reserved for Artiste. Thinks: Is this another of those white elephants that software houses are so good at selling to clueless managers and so bad at implementing? After gobbling up millions in public funds, the monster finally gets killed off. We need to know. Having failed to find any news of Artiste at, Coxsoft Art has e-mailed the Euro. Commission to find out what's going on. Judging by past performance, I expect a reply in 2012!

Renaissance at V&A

Sofonisba Anguissola - Sisters Playing Chess (1555) © Muzeum NarodoweAnother V&A Autumn exhibition, At Home in Renaissance Italy, which begins on 5 October and continues until 7 January, looks far more interesting than the Leonardo show and is more sensibly priced: £7 (£5 silver surfers). In order to give the visitor a genuine "feel" for Renaissance Italy, the curators have come up with the novel idea of putting together 1) everyday objects from the period, 2) treasures from the Medici and the palazzi of Tuscany and the Veneto, and 3) masterpieces by Donatello, Carpaccio, Botticelli, Titian and Veronese. A fascinating prospect.

Leonardo at the V&A

Leonardo da Vinci - Sketches of Horses (1505)The V&A Autumn biggie opened yesterday and continues until 7 January 2007. Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design brings together 60 of his drawings from British collections, including the Royal Collection. Manuscripts of his writings and models of some of his designs are also displayed. Looks interesting, but there is bad news: high admission prices (£10) grudging silver surfer concessions (£7) plus booking fees if you buy in advance (recommended by V&A) and tickets are timed! Presumably this means a large security guard will grab you by the collar and toss you out of the exit when your time is up. There's also Flash Player! I'll give this a miss.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

London Print Studio

Filament exhibitThe London Print Studio Gallery has recently opened a new exhibition Filament which continues until 4 November 2006. On show are newly commissioned digital prints made at London Print Studio by four internationally recognized artists: Andrew Carnie, Sandra Crisp, James Faure Walker and Andrea Jespersen. This is all hi-tech stuff integrating computer processes with printmaking techniques, an interesting form of pixel wizardry. The Studio is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am-6pm.

British Art Fair

Beryl Cook - Bouillabaisse in Marseilles (2006) detailThe 20/21 British Art Fair, now in its 19th year, will be opened at the Royal College of Art by John Humphrys at 5pm today: Wednesday 13 September. "Lovely to see you all here, possums". Whoops! That's Barry. Who's John? Never mind. The Fair covers British art from 1900 to the present day and is the market leader for Modern Brit. art. Expect to see loads of rubbish, but you'll also find the latest gem from Beryl Cook (detail above) and an excellent bronze sculpture by Jacob Epstein: Portrait of Peggy Jean (1928). The Fair's at The Royal College of Art until 17 September. Admission: £8 (silver surfers £5). Ripoff!

CASSFA Goes Global

Global Internet DirectoriesThe Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award has been accepted for registration with Global Internet Directories. Click the title link to find out more.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

The Invention of Solitude

The Invention of Solitude poster (detail)The Nunnery Gallery in London will show the work of four unknowns in its The Invention of Solitude exhibition from 21 September to 22 October 2006. The Nunnery isn't expecting a rush of punters for this show, because the layout allows only four persons to enter at a time. They sit on a square of park benches and watch a slide projection of one of the unknowns' work. Cor blimey! Ambitious, ain't it? This is another example of how the arty-farties waste taxpayers' money. The Nunnery is part of the charity Bow Arts Trust, which was sensibly offline when I tried to reach it. But it has something to do with Engage, which gets dosh from the Arts Councils of England, Scotland and Wales. What's the purpose? Is it to get hooligans off the streets? or stop graffiti? or massage unemployment statistics? or simply to gain knighthoods for the chinless wonders in charge? If we saved the billions we waste on no-talent "artists" and spent it on sports facilities, we could wipe the board at the next Olympics and maybe win Wimbledon too. Maybe.

Damien Hirst's Latest

Damien Hirst - Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain (2006)Sotheby's is flogging big sculpture at Chatsworth in Derbyshire, from 8 September to 27 October 2006. Beyond Limits is what terrorists call a "spectacular". Sotheby's has plonked modern and contemporary junk all over Chatsworth's magnificent gardens in hopes of making a bob or two. This is a private sale with everything on display up for grabs, except the Rhododendrons. Antony Gormley's Iron Angel of the North (presumably a copy) has been installed on a rock at the top of Ring Pond. And the best is yet to come. Stung by Coxsoft Art's frequent raspberries, "Moneybags" Damien Hirst has set out to prove he can sculpt. And he's succeeded! His Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain, a life-sized bronze flayed figure with its skin over its arm, was sculpted especially for Beyond Limits. Give you a fiver for it, Damien (my best offer).

Banksy targets L.A.

Banksy - Barely Legal noticeBanksy's website (click title link) is showing this notice to prove he's still lurking somewhere in California, waiting to pounce on Los Angeles! The notice promises "a three day vandalised warehouse extravaganza" in Los Angeles from 15 to 17 September 2006. I suppose it's one way to spend your holiday in the USA. Watch this space.

Banksy hits Disneyland!

Banksy - Prisoner in DisneylandUK "guerrilla artist" Banksy surprised Disneyland California last weekend with a life-sized replica of a hooded Guantanamo Bay prisoner inside the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. This protest installation lasted about 90 minutes before Disneyland employees removed it. Americans may not realize it, but the Guantanamo Bay prison camp gets a lot of bad publicity on UK TV. We don't use leg-irons on prisoners here; handcuffs, yes. So, to Brits, the combination of hoods and leg-irons looks more like torture than reasonable restraint.

Monday, 11 September 2006

11 September

Zurab Tsereteli - To The Struggle Against World TerrorismYou don't need Coxsoft Art to tell you that today is the 5th Anniversary of the insane Muslim Fundamentalist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. A total of 2,973 people lost their lives in the 2001 attacks, including 67 Britons. The 100-foot-tall bronze-clad monument "To The Struggle Against World Terrorism" by Zurab Tsereteli - a gift from President Putin, the artist and the Russian people - is due to be dedicated today. Inscribed on its granite base are the names of the victims of both the 2001 and 1993 atrocities. The Duke and Duchess of York will attend a memorial service in Manhattan, together with 120 British police officers who have flown to New York at their own expense to show solidarity with US counterparts who lost their lives. In London, families of the British victims will attend a private event at the memorial garden near the US Embassy. This event has been organized by the US Embassy. The UK Government has organized nothing, allegedly due to the wishes of the victims' families. British TV has been building up to this day by showing documentaries about the 2001 attacks. That our own Government has failed to mark this sombre occasion demonstrates its divisions and its continuing failure to take the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism seriously!

Sunday, 10 September 2006

9/11 Memorial

Steve Tobin - Trinity RootSo far, the one memorial in the vicinity of Ground Zero to mark that Muslim Fundamentalist atrocity on 11 September 2001 is Trinity Root by the Pennsylvanian sculptor Steve Tobin, his inspiration the news of a 70-year-old sycamore tree felled by the impact of the collapsing towers. Not only did the tree absorb shockwaves, but also it fell in such a way that it shielded St Paul's Chapel at Trinity Church and its ancient tombstones from falling debris. Trinity Root stands at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway and has been visited by approximately 1.5 million people. The Russian teardrop is due to be installed tomorrow: 9/11.

New York Plans Unveiled

An artist's impression of the new towersHere's something Brits can be proud of: two of the architects responsible for designing the new towers for the World Trade Center in New York are Lord Norman Foster (Tower 2) and Lord Richard Rogers (Tower 3). Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki designed Tower 4. Today, details of the overall plan and designs for the three new towers were unveiled, one day before the fifth anniversary of "9/11" (11/9 in the UK). Lord Foster's full title is Lord of Thames Bank!

Another Art Rumpus

Thomas Manning - Can't Jail the SpiritThe University of Southern Maine kicked up a storm when it decided to exhibit paintings by Thomas Manning, who is serving 80 years for a series of bombings and the murder of New Jersey state trooper Philip Lamonaco in 1981. Manning claims to be a political prisoner, and in the context of the exhibition the University appeared to be supporting that contention. With a grovelling apology from Uni. President Pattenaude, the Manning paintings have been withdrawn. The correct decision. However, in general, prisoners should have the right to art therapy and perhaps to have their work exhibited. In the UK a number of prisons run art groups - Holloway Prison for women is one - and some of those prisoners both exhibit and sell their work.

Bigfoot hits London

Red Ken's Green FootprintAs Coxsoft Art supports things green, I took an interest in the opening by Sebastian Coe and Red Ken of Future London: Footprints of a Generation. Unfortunately, website pages for this exhibition take ages to load on a 56K modem, because each one downloads a hefty file of Flash Player nonsense. If the exhibition is as boring and predictable as the website, forget it. Okay, it's free and worthy, but this isn't going to pack the house. If you care to risk boredom, find it at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, until 16 September. It moves to the Science Museum on the 25th.

60 years of Brit. Art

What's this mess? Click the title link to find out.Here's something truly embarrassing for the UK. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection, the Hayward Gallery, London, presents How to Improve the World: 60 years of British Art. Groan! This promises to be 60 years of dire tripe. Worse! It's 60 years of wasting taxpayers' money. Andy Goldsworthy is the only worthwhile artist I know of whose works have been added to the Arts Council Collection. Will any of his photos be on show? The Hayward doesn't tell us. Its website is typical Anti Art dross. Admission £5 and no concessions! And it's UK taxpayers who are paying for all this! We should be allowed to see for free what is being bought with our money. The exhibition opened on 7 September and continues until 19 November 2006. Let's hope some of our politicians visit it and decide to axe Arts Council funds.

Coxsoft Art in Will!

A happy Silver Surfer!Coxsoft Art has received a post-mortem e-mail from Mrs Perpetual Selim, widow of the late Mr Rashad Selim, to inform me that I've been selected as a worthy beneficiary of her largesse. Mrs Selim points out from beyond the grave that she doesn't want her son to get his hands on my share, because she knows he'll squander it on drugs! All I've got to do to benefit from her fortune is to contact her lawyer, Mr Christie, who'll do the biz for me. Isn't it nice to know that there are still, kind, generous, altruistic, wonderful philanthropists in this world? Here's hoping Mrs Selim's spirit gets its just deserts!

Chinese Girl artist dies

Remember this strangely coloured face? Back in the 1960's and '70's you saw it everywhere. People too young to recall that era may have spotted copies that ended up in charity shops. Believe it or not, this is the best selling art print ever! The man who painted the original, Vladimir Tretchikoff, died last month aged 92.