Thursday, 30 November 2006

Nude in the News

Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova - Reclining Nude (1930)Here's another nude in the news: Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova's charming portrait of her daughter Katya (1930) fetched £881,600 at Sotheby’s recent Russian Sale in London, a record for this artist at auction. The price is a little more reasonable than one might expect from current trends. There's yet hope for UK galleries.

Banksy at Santa's Ghetto

UK "guerrilla" artist Banksy is in the news twice today! How's that for fame? Firstly, thieves tried to steal a metal door painted with his Liverpool Love Rat, which shows a rat carrying a pot of paint and a red heart. A cleaner disturbed the thieves and they ran away empty handed. (Click the title link.) Secondly, his latest artwork, which can be found at Santa's Ghetto until 23 December, looks like a traditional Christmas card, but closer inspection suggests it depicts "pop singer Michael Jackson luring children into his house with Christmas sweets" (Metro)! Coxsoft Art can't see that at all. No. No. It's a charming Christmas card showing a very kindly person offering a nice pressie to kiddies. Click HERE for the defamatory Metro version. To decide for yourself, visit Santa's Ghetto at 15 Oxford Street, London. Its exhibition features some of the world's finest underground artists.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Nudes Banned at Fair

Sarah Horsfall - Alienated (2005) with the artist's kind permissionA week ago I posted The Great Art Fair's top ten artists, which I illustrated with Freud's ghastly painting of Kate Moss in the nuddy while preggers. I've since discovered that the inaugural show, The Great Art Christmas Fair, at Alexandra Palace, London, from tomorrow to 3 December 2006, has banned nudes! Talented artist Sarah Horsfall, who paints beautiful, artistic nudes (example shown), had booked space at the show, but when the organizers discovered she wanted to display paintings of nudes, they rejected her booking! Okay, they want the event to be a family show, but come on ... life studies are the basis of art, and Sarah's nudes are gorgeous. I would be happy to allow any child of mine to view them. So what are these "Great Art" wallies playing at? And why pay £7.50 at the door for a nuddyless show when you can click the title link and view Sarah's lovely nudes for free?

UK Artist Arrested!

Maurice Agis - DreamspaceRemember that inflatable sculpture Dreamspace that was thrown 100ft into the air by a freak gust of wind last July, killing two people and injuring a dozen others? The artist who created Dreamspace - Maurice Agis - was arrested in London today by Durham Police officers, on suspicion of manslaughter! Mr Agis kept an appointment at Charing Cross police station, where he was arrested. If an artist can be held responsible for a freak gust of wind, nobody is safe.

It's Big Ronald!

Sjowol - McDavid (2006)I found this gem on Art News Blog this morning: Michelangelo's David recast as Big Mac by Sjowol. This is one of 72 entries in the latest Worth1000 Photoshop contest: Art Ads 2, Artistic Advertising. (Click the title link to see all of them.) The artists who enter these contests are amateurs who show up the alleged art displayed in "contemporary" art galleries for the old-fashioned, unimaginative, unprofessional tripe that it is. Look at the Warhol trash below. Twits pay fortunes for such rubbish! The amateurs competing for Worth1000 prizes are mainly doing it for fun. If the UK's impoverished galleries want to add to their collections on the cheap, this is the way to do it.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Warhol or Rodin?

Andy Warhol - Pink Marilyn (1985)According to ArtDaily, the London fine art firm Coskun has just launched its new galleries at 91 Walton Street, SW3 2HP. According to Coskun, it has occupied its current gallery space at this address for the last eight years. Whoops! The one thing they agree on is that Coskun is currently showing Tickled Pink: Warhol Canvases from Pink Shoes to Pink Marilyn, which continues until 22 December 2006. As Coxsoft Art can't can't see anything clever or artistic in copying photographic negatives, I'd go for the other current exhibition at Coskun: RODIN in association with Musée Rodin, which continues until 15 December 2006.

Xu Beihong update

Xu Beihong - Slave and Lion (1920's)ArtDaily reports that Xu Beihong's Slave and Lion sold for more than US$7 million at Christie’s Hong Kong 20th Century Chinese Art sale! Okay, this painting was good enough to catch my eye, but US$7m for a work from the 1920's, by a minor artist, worth probably about £20,000! Such prices are insane. I repeat Coxsoft Art's advice to UK galleries. If you spot something like this in a car boot sale for 50p, buy it!

Thurrock Marshes Threat

Walwyn - Bird threatened by Development (2006)Here's an interesting use of art to punch home another threat to UK wildlife. "Walwyn" has superimposed metal tracks over a photo of a wild bird to promote a campaign aimed at protecting part of Thurrock Marshes from a massive and unwelcome development by Royal Mail. Unfortunately, the area under threat is a "brownfield" site - one that has been built on, then abandoned - which makes it difficult to protect. The powers that be haven't woken up to the fact that UK wildlife is under such pressure that it needs the habitats afforded by ecologically important brownfield sites. To learn more and to sign an online petition to save this important site, click the title link for Buglife.

Children's BAFTA Awards

Children's BAFTA AwardThe Children's BAFTA awards for 2006 have been announced. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, starring that dynamic duo Wallace and Gromit, won best film. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won the BAFTA Kids' Vote with about 100,000 cherubs voting for it. Nice to see a TV nature programme Michaela's Wild Challenge winning the factual award. Click the title link for details and more winners on the BAFTA website.

Monday, 27 November 2006

Overheated Art Market

Xu Beihong - Slave and Lion (1920's)According to research by UK charity The Art Fund, which handed out over £4m to UK galleries and museums last year, "rampant inflation" is squeezing Brit. galleries and museums out of the art market. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art spent £53.5m buying works in 2004 and 2005; MoMa spent £20m; the Louvre in Paris spent £16.8m. In comparison, London's National Gallery spent £6.3m; the four Tate Galleries spent a total of £4.8m; the British Museum spent only £761,000. So, should we Brits be worried? No. Most of the alleged art which is currently selling at insanely inflated prices is trendy tripe. Let the Yanks buy it. Future, wiser generations will visit MoMa and demand to know "What idiot bought that trash?" Coxsoft Art is prepared to stick its neck out - don't I always? - and predict that much of today's trendy tripe will end up in the vaults of the world's sillier galleries, whose curators will be too embarrassed to put on public display what their daft predecessors bought as "art"! The above painting came up for auction yesterday at Christie's Hong Kong; looks like a minor Renaissance masterpiece worth many millions. Actually it was painted by Chinese artist Xu Beihong in the 1920's. UK galleries, if you spot something like this in a car boot sale for 50p, buy it.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Secret Postcards Sale

The Royal College of Art's annual charity sale of secret postcards donated by the great and the good in the art world - now in its 13th year - has yet again raised a fair sum for its student award fund, which supports students with grants and bursaries. Artists paint a postcard and sign it on the back. Buyers don't get to see an artist's signature until they buy a card. Imagine the horror when you discover you've bought a Damien Hirst or a Tracey Emin! But this is part of the fun. Some of the artists play tricks by disguising their work. With about 2,500 postcards for sale at £35 each, this is nice little earner. It was supposed to last all weekend, but three quarters of the cards were sold by noon on Saturday! As I haven't a copy of any of the cards sold, I've illustrated this blog with a saucy seaside postcard from the most famous Brit. postcard painter of them all: Donald McGill. Click HERE to visit Chris Beetles' online gallery of McGill humour from the Michael Winner collection.

Editor Sentenced

Detail from Danish cartoonThis snippet of news reminds me that Coxsoft Art has been blogging for almost a year. One of the first major art controversies I covered was that of the Danish cartoons, in early February. Remember the explosion of insane religious violence those cartoons produced? A court in Yemen has just sentenced newspaper editor Kamal al-Aalafi to a year in jail for reprinting them. It also ordered that the newspaper involved be closed for six months. Appalling! Thank Goodness I don't live in a backward, primitive, Islamic country like Yemen. The recent kerfuffle over Nadia's cross is a perfect example of how a religious controversy can be handled in a civilized country.

Footnote to Cross Saga

AirportWatch logoOn Friday the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams took time off from making a fool of himself in the Vatican to join the Nadia's cross uproar. He issued a thinly veiled threat to sell the £6.6 millions worth of shares the Church Commissioners hold in British Airways on behalf of the Church of England. What a gaff to reveal this shameful investment! The airline industry is one of the worst pollutors of the environment in the UK. The threat of airport expansions blights homes. The noise under flightpaths blights lives. Jet streams across London's crowded sky have become so intertwined that a major disaster looks inevitable. No institution with any pretence to moral leadership should invest in this harmful industry. C of E, why not become a socially responsible investor and follow the Vatican's past example of investing in contraception?

Friday, 24 November 2006

C of E Running Amok

Aishah Azmi or not?Hot on the heels of Nadia Eweida's victory comes news that a Church of England school in West Yorkshire has sacked a Muslim classroom assistant - Aishah Azmi - for wearing a veil in lessons, because pupils found it hard to understand her. At least it thinks it's sacked Aishah. As nobody at the school seems to have seen her face, it might have sacked an imposter! The sacking is bound to infuriate Muslims. (Doesn't everything?) Before the C of E becomes drunk with power, it should be reminded that the UK is a "post-Christian society" and that 75% of its population reject all that Creationism twaddle in favour of Darwin's theory of Evolution.

Nadia's Not Cross

Nadia's CrossBritish Airways employee Nadia Eweida has won her fight to wear a cross outside her BA uniform. Good for her. BA caved in due to immense pressure from the Church of England. Everyone but the Pope got stuck in; but he's not C of E and he's a foreigner. So what's next? Stars of David? Sikh knives? Wicca pentacles? Flat Earth Society squashed globes?

Volume at V&A

Volume light displayHere's another exhibition that opened today: Volume at London's V&A Museum in partnership with PlayStation. Volume is a luminous interactive installation created by United Visual Artists and one point six. It combines light and sound and responds to human movement. And the price is right: free! Timing too: it continues until 28 January 2007, so covers the Xmas school holidays. Find it in the John Madejski garden.

The Triumph of Eros

Etienne-Maurice Falconet - Menacing Cupid (1750s)A few weeks ago I previewed The Triumph of Eros: Art and Seduction in 18th Century France, which is being held in the Hermitage Rooms of London's Somerset House. Recall the artist painting a seal of chastity on the Mrs? I thought you might like to be reminded that this exhibition opened today and continues until 8 April 2007. It includes Falconet's masterpiece Menacing Cupid and some fine examples of Sèvres porcelain.

London's Wildlife Crime

Met. Police Operation Charm posterThe Met. Police has launched a major campaign - Operation Charm - against Chinese "medicines" which include ingredients from endangered wildlife species, such as tiger bone, rhino horn, bear bile and musk. The sale of these products is illegal in the UK. As "medicine" they are useless, but idiots buy them. Sadly, London has become a major importer of illegal wildlife products. It isn't just Chinese "medicines": fur coats made from endangered species, such as tigers, shaving brushes with ivory handles and so on. The punchy poster for this new campaign shows a dead tiger in a pool of blood outside the National Gallery, London. Click the title link for more information and wildlife news.

Damien Hirst Interview

Time Out London logoClick the title link for a Time Out London interview with Moneybags Hirst. He's plugging his "art" collection (see below). Can't be bothered? Same here. If he were a real artist, instead of a stuffed shark merchant....

Damien Hirst's Collection

Banksy - FeelingsBBC London News interviewed Damien Hirst about his personal collection of alleged artworks which goes on display at London's Serpentine Gallery: In the darkest hour there may be light, 25 November 2006 to 28 January 2007. What dross! The only exception to Hirst's lack of artistic taste (called "collecting acumen" by the Serpentine!) is a powerful work by Banksy I glimpsed in the background: Feelings. Remember that naked little girl from the Vietnamese war, running in terror? Bit anti-American maybe, but you must admit it makes its point.

Nadia's Cross update

Nadia's CrossSuspended British Airways employee Nadia Eweida has become an international Christian celebrity. She's received financial help from US Christians and her case is to be raised at the UN. More than 100 MPs have signed parliamentary motions asking BA to re-think its ban, which House of Commons leader Jack Straw describes as "wholly inexplicable" (click HERE for link). The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, has declared that BA's stance "smacks of religious intolerance". H-e-a-v-y! (Click title link.)
For months, Coxsoft Art has been warning that the UK Establishment's policy of sucking up to Islam is going to lead to a backlash. Government is mainly to blame, but Prince Charles and some leading art galleries and museums have stoked the fire. BA is copping the bad publicity, but it's the UK Establishment which needs to have a re-think. Nadia's cross is merely the start.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Praise be to AdSense!

Smiley at PrayerOh God! I'm getting Christian adverts now, thanks to my latest blog! Did you know that Google's shares broke the $500 barrier yesterday, due to high hopes for the online advertising market? Mm....

More Stroppy Christians

Croydon Mosque? (no ALT on its website)Lunchtime BBC London News announced it was going to run this item, then bottled out and postponed it until later today. I found it last night on the BBC website! Atwood Primary School in south London had organized a trip to Croydon Mosque for a class of 10-year-olds as part of their religious education, but some parents withdrew their children from this trip, because "they did not want their children exposed to a religion that was not their own." So the trip was cancelled. The school's head teacher expressed the mindless, impercipient, official UK Government propaganda on this issue: "It is important that children have a range of knowledge about cultures and religions to develop understanding and respect for each other." Take this codswallop to its logical conclusion and schools will be organizing trips to the local psychiatric hospital to learn respect for the delusions of its inmates! By all means take children to view the architecture of outstanding churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, but don't teach them the fairy tale of Creationism in any form. The UK needs scientists, not more nutters.

The Illustration Cupboard

Shirley Hughes - Alfie's Feet (1997)Yesterday another new art gallery opened in London, the third I've covered in a month. This latest is at 22 Bury Street, SW1Y 6AL, a new home for an existing firm: The Illustration Cupboard. This is Britain’s only specialist dealer in contemporary book illustration, which, on the whole, means children's books. Over 100 artists from all over the world are represented, including the brilliant Shirley Hughes, who writes and illustrates the charming Alfie books. Now concentrate. The gallery's inaugural exhibition is the dealer's 11th Annual Winter Exhibition, which continues until 31 January 2007. Family visits welcome; 300 artworks on display; and it's free. This weekend, 25 to 26 November, there will be book signings at 2pm by Babette Cole (plus storytelling) and 3.30pm by Bruce Ingman (Saturday) and 2pm by Emma Chichester Clark (Sunday). For details and an online exhibition - Shirley Hughes: 25 Years of Alfie - click the title link (good Flash Player routine).

Artists' Top Ten

1. Lucien Freud
2. Howard Hodgkin
3. David Hockney
4. JMW Turner
5. Antoni Tapies
6. Rembrandt
7. Jack Vettriano
8. Barbara Rae
9. Frank Auerbach
10 Van Gogh
This is the result of a poll of 500 contemporary artists conducted by The Great Art Fair. It's a strange, inconsistent mixture: Jack Vettriano - spurned by the UK Art Establishment - sandwiched between Rembrandt and Barbara Rae. (Who?) Why Lucien Freud at No. 1? I guess any artist who paints horrible nudes and can persuade Kate Moss to pose in the nuddy deserves an award for brass front. Only one clot out of the 500 voted for Damien Hirst. None of them voted for Tracey Emin or Chris Ofili. Makes sense: who defined these two as artists? Anyway, it's all good publicity for the inaugural The Great Art Fair, which opens in London at Alexandra Palace on 30 November. Click the title link for details.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Stolen Goya Retrieved

Goya - Children with a Cart (1778)Francisco de Goya's Children with a Cart (1778) - stolen a week ago while being transported from the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, to the Guggenheim Museum in New York - has been retrieved by FBI agents working on a tipoff, reports ArtDaily. We've scooped BBC News on this one. I guess the Beeb's arts correspondent (if it has one) is still warm in bed. Your ace cub reporter scooped ArtDaily on two of its other news stories today. Weeks ago! Click the title link to check them out.

Stroppy Christians update

Nadia's CrossNadia Eweida of Twickenham, London, has put her foot down over British Airways' refusal to allow her to wear her cross openly. (She is allowed to wear it under her BA uniform, but she wants to display it.) She argues that BA allows Muslim employees to wear headscarves and Sikhs to wear turbans; so why ban her cross? Because, say BA, it's jewellery. Today she lost her appeal, but another is pending. Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has waded in on Nadia's behalf, calling the BA ruling "nonsense". The problem is, only Christian clergy are entitled to wear official silly hats. So here's a design challenge: create a unisex silly hat with a cross on it for Christians to wear at work, so they can have equality with Muslims, Sikhs and Jews.
Footnote: the watchdog of London's Wandsworth Prison has warned of potentially explosive rivalry between opposing Muslim factions among its prisoners! When will a UK political party have the guts to propose a ban on teaching religion in our schools? It's the only way to begin to curb all this crippling, socially-divisive mental illness.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Art Rabbit launched

Art Rabbit logo (2006)For my Yankee readers I must translate Brit. slang: to "rabbit" is to talk at great length, to chatter inconsequentially, often in a rambling way. Sounds like the sort of arty-farty verbiage that gets right up Coxsoft Art's nose. Newly launched claims to offer a complete contemporary UK art listing. Some job! It's already out of date, showing events for October. As you know, Coxsoft Art News tends to ignore contemporary art, unless it shows genuine artistic talent (a rare commodity) or is so outrageous it warrants the raspberry. So there's a gap in the market. Click the title link to see for yourself.

UK Romanticism in USA

Rossetti - Drawing of Desdemona's Death-Song (1875-80)The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC has just opened an exhibition with a commendable Brit. flavour: The Artist’s Vision: Romantic Traditions in Britain, 19 November to 18 March 2007. About 70 prints, drawing and watercolours from UK visionary artists such as Blake, Turner, Fuseli, Palmer, Ruskin, Varley, Burne-Jones and David Cox are on display. Highlight of the show is Rossetti's drawing of Desdemona's Death-Song, newly acquired by NGA and on public view for the first time. One quibble: Where's our greatest watercolour artist John Sell Cotman? Click the title link to view the NGA's elegant website.

US Western Art

Frank Tenney Johnson - Smoke of a .45 (1937)I'm afraid the Brit. Art Establishment is too snobbish to consider putting on an exhibition of US Western art. Not being an arts snob, I can admit that Frederic Remington has long been one of my favourite artists. His Nocturnes are superb. He is one of the Western artists on display in a new exhibition by The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska: Legends of the West: The Foxley Collection, until 25 February 2007. Cattle baron Bill Foxley had the foresight to start collecting American Western art years ago. His collection - now one of the best in the world - spans more than 125 years and includes Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt and Maynard Dixon. Some of their landscapes are breathtaking. There's also The Cowboy Corral for youngsters. You lucky Yanks! Click the title link for details.

Mystery Cupid

Have you seen this Cupid?A dearth of worthwhile art news at the weekend prompted me to get round to renovating an old, poorly digitized, black and white photo of this Cupid, which I downloaded yonks ago. I've colourized it, shifted Cupid down within the frame, decreased the gamma setting to compensate for slight overexposure, smoothed an extremely spotty background, black-edged the shadowy side to make it clearer and tidied up some nasty blotches on the statue. But I still can't find the sculptor! The only information I have about this statue is from the save title: "koslowski-mi-museerussemoscou". I assume this means the artist is M.I. Koslowski and that the work is in a Russian Museum in Moscow. If you recognize this Cupid, please let me know, either with a blog comment or by going to Coxsoft Art and sending me an email.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Lowry's Riverbank Sold

L.S. Lowry - A Riverbank (1947)Coxsoft Art brought you the first rumblings of this story back in February. Today, L.S. Lowry's A Riverbank, bought by Bury Council in Greater Manchester for £175 in 1951, went under the hammer at Christie's and fetched £1,408,000 including commission. Proceeds of the sale will go toward Bury Council's estimated £10m budget shortfall. The Council now faces expulsion from the Museums Association!

Children's Film Festival

Child's face and Festival logoFrom Saturday 18 November to Sunday 26 November, the London Children's Film Festival is back for its second year. It kicks off at the Barbican, but also pops up at other venues. There are films at £4.50 and workshops at £5 (film + workshop £7.50). Hot tip is to buy a Golden Ticket for £7.50, then admission to all films is only £1 per film. There are 39 feature films and 30 shorts at 16 venues. Click the title link for further details or telephone 0845 120 7531.

Latest Email Phish

He should have gone to Specsavers!This is a lulu. STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. Mr Karefa Johnson Kingbo's rich Dad, David, "was made to drink diesel oil and later mudered in a land dispute in Zimbabwe" (sic). Karefa, his Mum and sisters need Coxsoft Art's help to transfer US $20.5 million out of South Africa without the government of Zimbabwe finding out. I'm offered 20%. If only....

Book Sale

Fullwell Cross LibraryHere's a local event for Saturday week, 25 November, between 9.30am and 3pm: a drop-in find-out-about-your-library day with a book sale stand for good measure. It's at Fullwell Cross Library, Barkingside.

Carnival Art

Carnival GirlLondoners, wondering how to entertain the kids tomorrow (Saturday 18 November)? Why not visit the Natural History Museum's Carnival Art: Costume Inspired by Nature and help a Trinidadian carnival costume maker create a prehistoric flying creature? Find it in Central Hall between 11am and 5pm. It's a free drop-in activity suitable for all ages. Dads, no guarantee of a gorgeous model. Live in hope.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Jewish Architecture

Bradford Synagogue ArkEnglish Heritage has published a new guidebook, Jewish Heritage in England, to coincide with the 350th anniversary of Jewish re-settlement in England under Oliver Cromwell (a previous administration had expelled Jews from England). The English Heritage website doesn't seem to have been updated to include its new publication, but you can see eight images of outstanding Jewish architecture in England by clicking the title link.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

George Best Fiver

George Best £5 banknote (2006)I'm told the new limited edition George Best commemorative £5 banknote, recently issued by the Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, is selling for ridiculously high prices on EBay. Before you lash out, click the title link to visit the official Ulster Bank georgebestfive website - you'll find contact details there - to learn whether it's still available at face value (plus a stiff post and packing charge).

Dazzling Diamonds

Part of the Aurora CollectionThink diamonds are white with a touch of fire when properly cut? Think again. Diamond collectors Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman have loaned London's Natural History Museum their dazzling Aurora Collection, which includes 296 naturally coloured diamonds, from emerald green to blood red. Some of these colour varieties are extremely rare; some actually glow and change colour under ultraviolet light. You'll find them in the Museum's Minerals and Meteorites Gallery. Admission to the NHM is free.

Trafalgar Square Mammoth

Woolly MammothIf you bump into a woolly mammoth in Trafalgar Square today, it's in a good cause. London's Natural History Museum is displaying the replica as a warning about climate change, which made woolly mammoths extinct thousands of years ago. Can't say I'm dismayed that these giants aren't trampling around the UK nowadays. Imagine the mess they would make in my garden! The Yankee grey squirrel is bad enough. Question: If a species evolves into something new, can we truly say it has become extinct? If the woolly mammoth moved to Africa and shed it's fur to keep cool, the line didn't die out; it progressed. How can it be considered extinct if it's still going strong in a new, better adapted form?

Goya Stolen in USA

Goya - Children with a Cart (1778)Francisco de Goya's Children with a Cart (1778) has been stolen near Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, while being transported between museums: the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, which owns the work. Believe it or not, this painting is insured for a piddling $1m (£527,977)! The insurer is offering a reward of $50,000 (£26,395) for information leading to its recovery. When you think of the insane prices being paid for "modern art" rubbish, this masterpiece is a snip at $1m. The insurance company must be laughing at such a tiny payout. Somebody at the Toledo should be sacked.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Fra Angelico's Found!

Fra Angelico - Two Panels from an Altarpiece (1439)Two panels from an altarpiece painted by Fra Angelico in 1439 for St Marco Church and convent in Florence, have been found in a pensioner's spare room in the UK! These panels disappeared when the altarpiece was dismantled during the Napoleonic wars. The pensioner - now deceased - bought them for about £200 in the 1960's. Michael Liversidge, a former Bristol University art history expert and friend of the deceased, found the paintings hanging behind a door. Despite being a friar painting holy works, Fra Angelico was a bit of a lad who got into trouble for making a nun pregnant. Click the title link for the official BBC News version!


Heather and Ivan Morison - Study for Earthwalker (hyena) 2006The Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art Gallery in Kennington Road, London, is currently showing Heather & Ivan Morison: Earthwalker, which continues until 10 December 2006. This is a strange exhibition of geometrical designs superimposed over wildlife photos to create a science-fiction effect. Interesting, but the artists need to improve their identification of wildlife. The animals in the sample graphic aren't hyenas as labelled; they're African hunting dogs! Let's hope the Morisons get their labels right before they represent Wales at the Venice Biennale of Art 2007, otherwise it'll be blushtime for the dragon.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Forgeries at V&A

Fake Picasso © Coxsoft Art 2006The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is to open an exhibition that won't be on display to the public. The Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries, from 21 to 23 November, will showcase fake art snared by the Metropolitan Police. The exhibition is sponsored by the Art Loss Register to raise awareness of art crime and help experts fight it. Of course they don't want the public to see how forgery is done! Coxsoft Art still believes the Met. Police should mount an exhibition of recovered items to boost public confidence. A private show won't do it.

Sir Elton on Faith

Henry Scott Tuke - Study (1928)Somebody at BBC News dipped into Sunday's gay edition of The Observer Music Monthly. The result is a garbled item headlined Sir Elton: Ban organized religion. As The Guardian interview took place in August, this isn't hot news, but the Beeb added it to all those Christian grumbles which the festive season has stirred up. The headline hints that Sir Elton has seen the light and become an atheist. That isn't how it reads in context. The anti-gay stance of major religions is the crux of Sir Elton's comment. He wants religion to be compassionate. He's missed the point. There is Humanitarianism, which puts people first, whatever their sexual disorientation, and there is Religion, which puts the notion of God above all else. These views are opposed and irreconcilable. Cheer up, Sir Elton. I've illustrated this blog with a painting by one of your favourite artists: Henry Scott Tuke.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Prelates Attack Atheism

Michelangelo - The Creation of Adam (Creationism in a nutshell)A week ago Coxsoft Art reported that UK Christians are getting stroppy. Then it was over festive stamps. Yesterday, under the title Archbishop attacks public atheism, BBC News reported that the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, condemns "the systematic erosion of Christianity from public life". This outburst followed a joint attack on "intolerant public atheism" by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Isn't it time somebody told these dinosaurs that the World Health Organization includes "religiosity" in its classification of mental diseases, that a survey this year found that approximately 75% of Britons reject Creationism in favour of Darwin's theory of evolution, and that, to cap it all, Alan Yentob in one of his BBC TV programmes described the UK as "a post-Christian society"? (If Yentob says so, it must be true!) Wouldn't it be better for all concerned if these potty prelates stopped pontificating to the media, sought treatment for their religiosity and joined the majority of Brits in the 21st Century?

New Art Competition

Leonardo da Vinci - Sketch of a HorseHere's a new international digital art competition. The deadline is 20 November 2006, so you have one week to e-mail your masterpiece to the Cultural Association Acquamarina, organizers of The Brain Project (click title link). This year's subject is "Borders". Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing of a horse has been taken as the logo for The Brain Project, which aims to promote and popularize "art in its most innovative aspects". Your medium is up to you - paint, photography, graphic design -, but you must be able to send your work by e-mail in JPG format no larger than 250KB and the size must be 576 x 576 pixels. Square! Yuk! Why square? Why reject the Golden Section? If next year's Brain Project competition doesn't have revised technical specs, the only artists it will attract will be tile designers. As for innovation, animation is the thing. GIFs disallowed? Forget it.


E.H. Shepherd - Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher RobinHe's made it! Despite Disney's feeble imitations, that bear with very little brain Winnie-the-Pooh, brilliantly illustrated by E.H. Shepherd, has achieved iconic status by making it into the latest additions to Icons: A Portrait of England, funded by Culture Online. There are now 74 icons. This should reach 100 by the end of 2006. Click the title link to visit Icons' Winnie-the-Pooh page. Nominations are still open. Rupert Bear needs your vote if that other great children's illustrator Alfred Bestall is to join Shepherd on the list of English treasures.

Building Site Mural

Section of Giant MuralBermondsey, in south-east London, isn't exactly the arts corner of the old Metropolis, but for two months a group of local artists has been beavering away on a 200-metre fence of boards two metres high which surrounds a construction site. The result, judging by this snippet, was worth the effort. Several boards have been left blank, so that visitors can make their own mark. The fence will come down in a year's time, when the building under construction is finished.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Kylie: The Exhibition

Kylie in a John Galliano blue satin showgirl outfitSeeing Kylie Minogue in the news yesterday and today, bouncing back into her interrupted world tour and looking more glamorous than ever with her post-chemo short hair, reminded me that London's V&A Museum will be showing Kylie: The Exhibition next year, from 8 February to 10 June 2007. This exhibition, created by the Arts Centre in Melbourne, Australia, will view Kylie as a popular style icon as well as an international performer. 200 objects will be on display, including 45 costumes and 60 photographs. Click the title link for more information.