Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy New Year!

I.C. - Happy New Year 2007 (2006)Here's hoping....

Exit Saddam

Hangman's NooseGive the evil psychopath his due; he died with dignity. Shame those oafs who witnessed his execution couldn't keep their mouths shut. They've almost certainly made a martyr out of him. Did you know that he owned paintings by that wonderful US fantasy artist Rowena Morrill? Click the title link to visit her website.

Kylie's New Year Gig

Kylie wearing Klingon headphones - Kerplow Zasblat, Earthling!Wembley Arena is a safer bet than the banks of the Thames on a hellish evening like this. Kylie Minogue kicks off the British leg of her Showgirl Homecoming tour at 10pm and ends as the clock strikes midnight. Don't bother if you haven't already lashed out £65 on a ticket. No Cinderella, this lass. I'm starting to believe that being Kylie is an artform in itself. The V&A certainly thinks so. Kylie: The Exhibition runs ... er ... flounces ... from 8 February to 10 June 2007. Admission is free, but entry is timed. Click HERE for details.

Dreams for London

Dreams for London projection (2006)Storm-lashed Britain is being forced to cancel many of its New Year's Eve celebrations, but the old Metrop. soldiers on. Dreams for London will be screened in ginormous video on the side of the Shell Building on the South Bank, showing children from Johanna Primary School, Lambeth, confiding their hopes and ambitions for the future. At a guess, most of the boys want to be footballers and the girls want to be cute. The best of luck! The cost of Dreams? £1.5 million! Are these kids movie stars or what? £1.5 million for a home video! The sooner we sack Red Ken the better. We can't afford him. At midnight the kiddie show gives way to fireworks at the London Eye, if the blue touch paper isn't soggy.

Iffy Goya Update

Squashed Cherubs (detail from iffy Goya)Spanish fuzz are still holding the iffy Goya I criticized two days ago. One of its certificates of authenticity is false. This is no surprise to Coxsoft Art. Come on, Museo del Prado. What is it: modern fake or vaguely Renaissance rubbish from a third-rate but genuine workshop?

Nationwide Phish 2

Nationwide logoOn Thursday 21 December I reported a phishing scam that targets Nationwide customers. The link took you to a Russian website. Today I received an identical email, complete with the same two spelling mistakes. This time the "security" link takes you to a Polish website. They get around, these scammers, don't they? And what is our incompetent Government doing about it? Answer: Yer Gotta Larf 2.

Yer Gotta Larf 2

Laughing SmileyPut two news items together and you have a tale. On 1 February 2006 Directgov's newsroom posted an article entitled: "Awareness month aims to stamp out scams" (click title link). On 13 December 2006 BBC News reported the UK Financial Services Authority's finding that phishing scams have increased by 8,000% since last year (CLICK). The moral of this tale? If you want to increase a branch of crime by 8,000%, get HM's incompetent Government to mount a campaign to stamp it out!

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Divorce: Nasty Business

Pablo Picasso - Er...Weeping Woman?Isn't it sad when husband and wife fall out over who owns the Picasso? Blame those hyenas ... er ... legal eagles ... which feast off dead marriages. Personally, I'd be inclined to give her this one. What a load of rubbish!
Tissue, anyone?
(Click the title link.)

Call For Entries

BP logoThe National Portrait Gallery in London is calling for entries to the annual BP Portrait Award 2007. For the first time, this competition is open to anyone aged 18 and over. Hi yo, silver surfers, at last you get your chance. Don't thank BP or the NPG; thank the law against age discrimination. First prize £25,000. Closing date for entries Sunday 4 March 2007. Click the title link to find out more and to register. Wonder if they'd let me enter a portrait of a dog....

Friday, 29 December 2006

UK Toad Patrols

Common British Toad: Bufo bufoNothing to do with art, but I thought you'd like to know that toad patrols have started again in the UK: Somerset to be precise. Toads are fussy about their breeding ponds and will march long distances to find a good'un. The journey takes them across roads, where they are likely to be squashed. Toad patrols count them and try to see them safely across roads. How do you sex a toad? I'm sure you want to know. The males develop dark gripping pads on their toes in the breeding season, because females are slippery underwater.

Police Grab Iffy Goya

The Saints Adoring the Holy SacramentSpanish fuzz have collared an alleged Goya - The Saints Adoring the Holy Sacrament - that was up for auction at Lamas Bolaño in Madrid, with a starting price of 1.2 million of those euro thingies, and carted it off to the Museo del Prado for examination. The work has already passed various authentication tests, but you can see why the fuzz are suspicious. If I were Goya, I'd turn in my grave at the thought of having this monstrosity attributed to me. For a start, St Francis is out of proportion with a massive head. Then there are the cherubs being squashed by the Sacrament. The saint in muddy gold appears to have broken his neck. And what about those garish red and blue robes which were so popular during the Renaissance? This doesn't even look like the right century to me. I'm not suggesting it's a modern fake, but pre-Goya tripe from a hack workshop. It will be interesting to learn what the Museo del Prado experts think.

New Year Parade

London 21st Birthday New Year Parade logo (2006)Only three days to go before London's 21st New Year Parade hits the streets. This free family spectacular is the greatest annual street parade in Europe. If brass bands, snazzy uniforms, baton-twirling and cheerleaders with pretty legs are your thing, go for it. Good news is that the Fort Myers High School Marching Band from the USA will be here. Nervous school officials blocked participation last year, due to fears that Muslim suicide nutters might shower the band with body parts. Cheers to the students and their parents who told school officials where to stick their nutter-worries. Click the title link to see the parade map.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

UK Beatles Stamps

With the Beatles cover (1963) on stamp (2007)Recognition at last! The UK's Royal Mail is to issue a set of six stamps featuring six of the Beatles more memorable record sleeves. This is the first class stamp. The six Beatles stamps will be available at Post Offices across the UK from Tuesday 9 January 2007. First day covers will be collectors items, especially those posted from Liverpool. Click the title link to view the complete set.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Velázquez at NG

Velázquez - Joseph's Bloody Coat Presented to Jacob (1630)Writing of Velázquez (next blog down) reminds me that the National Gallery's Velázquez exhibition closes on 21 January 2007. Everyone from Sir Paul McCartney to HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has visited this critically acclaimed, record-breaking show, even Simon Schama, bless his little cotton socks. So far, visitors total 150,000. Remember, Coxsoft Art told you it was a biggie. Do you also recall my tip that silver surfers can enter for half price (£6) on Tuesday afternoons between 2.30-6pm? Click HERE to find out more.

US Art Experts Clots

Diego Velázquez - Infanta Margarita: 1656, 1653, 1656ArtDaily reports that Yankee art experts are alleging that a Velázquez portrait of the Infanta Margarita (1653) on loan to Atlanta's High Museum of Art isn't by Velázquez. Cobblers, ripostes the Louvre in Paris; the portrait was painted by Velázquez in 1653 on the orders of Felipe IV; it arrived in France in 1654 and spent more than 100 years on the Queen of France’s wall. I've put together three of Velázquez's portraits of young Margarita, so you can see for yourselves. The disputed work is in the middle (1653). The undisputed works on the outside (both from 1656) are of a slightly older, more poised girl, less chubby in the face. This is exactly what one would expect from the dates. The girl's head is at the same angle in all three portraits, presumably because the artist wanted to show her to best effect. Coxsoft Art detects more psychological depth, more introspection, in the disputed portrait and therefore recognizes it as the work of a master. So, unless it has "Made in Hong Kong" printed on the back, the Yankee "experts" are talking through their derrières. If you're in Atlanta, visit Kings as Collectors until 2 September 2007. Don't bother with its website; Flash Player 8 nonsense on every page!

Allotment Art

Allotment Mannequin (photo by Paul, 2006)What's an allotment? Sigh! It's a patch of land for hire at a small fee, where you can grow your own veggies. It's also another Brit. tradition under threat as councils decide that selling land is more important than doing what their voters want, especially around overcrowded London. Allotments have their roots in mediaeval serfdom, but officially they began with the Enclosures Acts of the early 18th century. Food shortages caused by the Industrial Revolution and two world wars made allotments life-savers. During World War II, the Ministry of Food's Dig for Victory campaign was so successful that by 1943 over a million tons of vegetables were being grown in gardens and allotments. Of course what every allotment needs is a shed and a scarecrow. What price a pig-tailed Judy Garland dancing along the Yellow Brick Road with this one?

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Yoicks! Tally-ho!

Thomas Ivester-Lloyd (1873-1942) - Hunting SceneFancy doing this sidesaddle? Er ... for non-Brits (three-quarters of the population of London at a guess) I may need to point out that Boxing Day ... er ... the day after Christmas ... is traditionally when the upper crust ... er... English Upper Class ... hops into its saddles and chase foxes across what is left of our countryside. As foxes are now urban pests, due to all the discarded big macs, Kentucky fried chickens and spewed-up curries that litter our pavements, the hunt doesn't stand much chance of catching anything, but who cares? It's jumping hedges and whacking anti-hunt protestors with riding crops that's the thing. Why anyone should ban this harmless sport is beyond me, but that's the Loony Left for you. Due to the fact that hunting with dogs is now illegal, it's more popular than ever! (CLICK for BBC News.) Click the title link for Horse and Hound in Art, an arts website devoted to the hunt.

Happy Birthday (x 2)

E.H. Shepard - Christopher Robin and Pooh play PoohsticksCoxsoft Art News is one year old today. My first post wished Winnie-the-Pooh a Happy Birthday (he was then 80) and complained that his brilliant illustrator, Ernest H. Shepard, hadn't been mentioned in a number of the news stories covering Pooh's 80th birthday. A.A. Milne received his due credit, but the man who brought Pooh to life didn't. And I'm not talking Walt Disney. At best he made Shepard's illustrations move; at worst he took serious liberties with the original art.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Damien Hirst at Portland

Damien Hirst - Autopsy with Sliced Human Brain (2004)Full of turkey, stuffing, Christmas pud and good cheer? Then you're in just the right mood to view Damien Hirst's Autopsy with Sliced Human Brain (2004). This is the best of four of Hirst's works to be shown at the Portland Art Museum, USA, from 13 January to 22 April 2007. You've got to admit the guy knows how to paint surgical gloves. Nice perspective too.

Cardinal Conned

Botticelli - Nativity (detail)The big news for Christmas Day is that Jesus wasn't born in a stable, but in a grotto! A fairy grotto? one wonders. This gobsmacking revelation comes from none other than Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who does his thing in Westminster Cathedral. Fresh back from the strife-torn Unholy Land, the Cardinal said, "I was enter the Basilica of the Nativity and go down those steps that have been there for a thousand years and kneel and pray in the grotto where Christ was born." Er...Cormac, old son, I hate to tell you this, but Jesus was born 2,000 years ago! If the steps to his birth place have been there for only a millennium, how did Mary and Joseph and the three wise men get down there? And where did they park their camels? Sounds to me as though you've been caught by a mediaeval scam to con tourists. Anyway, I much prefer the stable fable. I saw it in William Wyler's Ben-Hur at a West End cinema when it first came out, complete with an ass braying in stereo, and I'm far more inclined to believe Hollywood than I am Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Best Contemporary Art

What is your understanding of the label "contemporary art"? Borné tripe created by living arts graduates? Or do you think in broader terms? For me, the most exciting contemporary art display of 2006 was The Sultan's Elephant: that mechanical jumbo which plodded around London over a bank holiday weekend. It knocked spots off anything Tate Modern and the smaller contemporary art galleries could provide, and it caught the public imagination big time. Nick Park's Wallis and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won an Oscar this year for best animated feature film. My favourite exhibition was Split Infinities: the Fantasy & Sci-fi Artwork of Les Edwards. For cutting-edge technological art, how about Simon King's breathtaking slow-motion shots of great white sharks bursting out of the sea while hunting seals, filmed for BBC's Planet Earth? For sheer aesthetics, I can't think of anything more pleasing than underwater shots of world freediving champion Tanya Streeter gliding among the most streamlined predators on the planet in Shark Therapy. Beautiful. If these visual highlights of 2006 don't count as contemporary art, then the label has no meaning and should be scrapped.

Shay Kun BA, MA

Shay-Kun - Melting Midlands (2006)Here's a newish artist with bags of talent, but who hasn't figured out what to do with it yet. He oil-paints uninspiring landscapes which knowledgeable Yanks will assert belong to the Hudson River School, but which Europeans can see as Late Renaissance, and then he uses acrylic paint to add incongruous detail, such as a crashed car or killer whales bursting out of a pond. Okay, the backgrounds aren't satisfying as landscapes - they're too picturesque and need a Davy Crockett on horseback or a sturdy French peasant-woman hauling a cow to pasture -, but why add something incongruous and silly? Blame Goldsmiths College, London, where Kun did his MA. I'll bet it also taught him to invent pretentious, meaningless titles for his exhibitions. How does this grab you? Perversion is The Love We Feel, When Others Feel Love. That's the title of his forthcoming exhibition at the Seventeen Gallery from 31 January to 24 February 2007. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe he got this tripe from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where he did his BA. But it sounds like Goldsmiths to me. Despite its awful title and unresolved visual style, Kun's exhibition promises to be the most interesting contemporary art show in London for months.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Google's Aussie Xmas

Google's Yankee Holiday Offering (2006)Hey Google! How come your Yankee readers get a line of soft toys for the Winter Hols and we in the UK get bloody kangaroos! This isn't Australia. Stuff your kangaroos. Give us good 'ol Brit. Pagan festival graphics: Wicca witches, druids, Yule logs, robins, holly and mistletoe.

London Fog Chaos

I.C. - Airport Watch in the Fog: ho, ho, hoNow is the time to visit London, while our skies are free from noisy, polluting and dangerous jumbo jets. Days of grounded aircraft and travel chaos caused by fog across southern England have demonstrated the stupidity of the UK Government's insistence on expanding major airports around London. Spread the load, you idiots, and build elsewhere. Maybe the Shetland Isles. You could turn one island into a sort of Guantánamo Bay detainment camp for all those unwanted illegal immigrants and criminals seeking asylum from their own police forces.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Virgin Births Expected

Flora at Chester ZooHow's this for a Christmas story? Chester Zoo in the UK is expecting a miraculous happy event: the virgin births of eight baby Komodo dragons. For the technically minded, this is called parthenogenesis. Zoo curator Kevin Buley said, "We will be on the look-out for shepherds, wise men and an unusually bright star in the sky over Chester Zoo." The proud mum-to-be is Flora (named after the goddess or the margarine?).

Woodland Trust Ecards

Glen Finglas at Dusk (ecard thumbnail)Damn! You've just received a Christmas card from Aunty Mabel. You didn't send her a card, because you thought she was still banged up in a Jamaican nick, having been caught with a condom full of dope down her left knickers leg, and the judge hadn't bought her story that it was just a memento of her late hubby, your Uncle Colombo, who died in 1950. She's now running phishing scams from Sidcup (easy marks in the UK and less wear and tear on her knickers). But you've missed the last posting day for Christmas. Double damn! Don't panic. Click the title link to send the old dear an ecard from the Woodland Trust.

GB Stamp Sale

British £5 Orange Stamp (1882)Last Tuesday, in its latest Great Britain Stamp Sale, Bonhams flogged an early Victorian £5 stamp for £15,270. It isn't the most exciting example of postage art I've ever seen, but it dates from 1882, not many were printed and it is in mint condition. Thought you'd like to know.

Gérôme Harem Returned

Jean-Léon Gérôme - Piscine du Harem (1876)First the good news: Jean-Léon Gérôme's beautiful Piscine du Harem - stolen from the State Hermitage Museum in 2001 - was handed in at the Communist party's parliamentary offices in Moscow by an unknown man. The bad news is that it had been cut into four pieces! (Question: Why aren't those nice Muslim girls wearing their hijabs?)

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Nationwide Phish

Nationwide logoJust in time for Christmas, here's the latest phishing scam to hit my inbox. It comes with the Nationwide logo and looks official. "Dear Valued Customer" it begins, "Nationwide Online Banking is hereby announcing the New Security Upgrade." The threat: "Failure to verify your account details may lead to account disconnection". It invites you to click on a link "Sign in to Secured Online Banking", which takes you to the scam website: "". It ends: "Thank you. Online Security Team Nationwide Bulding Society © 2006 All Rights Reserved". Oh yeah? Any bank details you give to the scam website will go straight to the Nigerian Mafia. Or the Russians.

London Art Fair

London Art Fair logoClick the title link for more information, but be prepared to wait ages for some animation to load! I gave up.

And A Merry Yule

The True Spirit of YuleIt's the shortest day on this part of the planet: 21 December. The Winter Solstice or Yule is here again. Time for Pagans to celebrate and Wicca witches to do their thing. Not only did those pesky Roman Christians rebrand Bacchanalia, but also they tried to stamp out the Brit. Pagan winter festival, which predates Greco-Roman mythology. But Yule survives. The proof is in the holly, mistletoe and Yule logs which adorn our cards. Coxsoft Art wishes all its Pagan readers a Merry Yule and lots of mistletoe. (Its winter berries symbolize life at a time when most sensible plants and animals are dormant. That's why we kiss under it, if we get the chance!)

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Performance Art Plea

Michael Stone - Performance Art (2006)Now I've heard it all. Michael Stone, the Loyalist twerp who interrupted a crucial meeting at Stormont in Northern Ireland, has instructed his defence lawyer to claim that his incursion was "performance art"! He was merely "replicating a terrorist attack", not actually making one. Mm....

Santa Ban Spreads

Ban Santa Claus stickerIt seems the German anti-American neo-Nazi Christian Fundamentalist ban-Santa-Claus campaign has spread to the UK. A vicar in Dorset recently banned Santa from a church carol service. Imagine: you've spent hours donning a false beard and crimson robe, stuffing cushions up your jumper and practicing your ho-ho-ho's and some snotty vicar orders you to take it off! Santa refused and walked out in a huff. Good for Santa. We need to reject killjoy religious extremism, wherever we find it.

Frustrated Artists

Coxsoft Art - ASBO's Suck! (2006) with apologies to William BouguereauOne of the criticisms levelled against ASBO's (Anti Social Behaviour Orders; it's a UK thing) is that they merely push crime elsewhere. Two yobbos whose graffiti had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to Network Rail and who were banned from local railways and from carrying spray-paint were recently jailed for three years each for robbing a man and spray-painting his body. The convicted pair's ASBO's merely diverted them from painting railway property to enforced body painting. Now that they're safely locked away, they should be good candidates for art therapy. Maybe with a touch of electro-shock negative reinforcement....

Bridge Mural Threat

Mill Lane railway bridge MuralRailway bridges owned by British Snail (now known as Network Rail) are usually painted a boring grey, but six years ago the Mill Lane railway bridge in West Hampstead, north west London, was decorated with a colourful mural as the result of a community art project organized by Charlotte Gerrard. The 64-panel mural is getting a bit flaky, so Charlotte asked Network Rail to restore it. Fat chance! Hey Charlotte, why not ask Arts Council England to fund the restoration? It's always pontificating about bringing art to the masses. It should jump at the chance of funding the restoration of artwork created by the masses.

The Puffer Sphere

Angus Bremner - The Puffer Sphere (2006)Here's the latest medium for artists: The Puffer Sphere, an inflatable ball on which images can be projected. This new technology arose from an undergraduate project at the University of Edinburgh. It is on display as part of Future Playground at the Science Museum, London. This is the last day: Wednesday 20 December! Sorry, folks, but this is a three-day-only exhibition, because product developers need to be on-site to operate the displays and to answer questions about them. I found out about it yesterday evening and needed to confirm the dates given by BBC News (three days seemed too short). Confirmation arrived this morning from the Science Museum's press department. Click the title link for more information and links to relevant websites.

Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George - Bomber (2006)Two bemused men in business suits as "living sculptures" might once have raised a titter at the expense of the Art Establishment, but the joke wore thin about 35 years ago. For fans of the undynamic duo, Tate Modern will be showing a retrospective of Gilbert and George from 15 February to 7 May 2007. The exhibition will include their only work this year: six tombstones created as memorials to the 52 Londoners who were murdered by Muslim Fundamentalist loonies on 7 July 2005.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Santa Claus Banned!

Anti-Santa Sticker (2006)Just to keep you in the Christmas spirit - i.e. to drive you to drink - here's news that anti-American Christian Fundamentalist nutters have succeeded in banning Santa Claus from Christmas markets across Austria and Germany. It began in Vienna and spread. Anti-Santa campaigners claim he's a Yankee import invented by Coco-Cola. They want Saint Nicholas back. And Jesus. According to Wikipedia "Santa Claus" is a Yankee mispronunciation of the Dutch "Sinterklaas", a contracted form of "Sint Nicolaas"; in other words Saint Nicholas! Do I detect the confused, mindless jingoism of the Third Reich stirring again? The campaign sticker looks as though it was designed by a Nazi propagandist. Achtung! Santa verboten!

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Coxsoft's Xmas Message

Coxsoft Art - Blog Bacchanalia (2006)Coxsoft Art wishes you a merry one, whatever you want to call it and whatever your irrational beliefs. And a Happy New Year too. Remember, practice safe sex (if you haven't got the hang of it yet). The clap makes a lousy Xmas pressie. If you hail from the Indian sub-continent, don't be too shy to ask for a smaller condom (BBC News' most popular item: CLICK). And don't suicide bomb! You'll need an even smaller one afterwards! Be green, but not if you're riding anything more powerful than a donkey. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. Lastly, I keep reading hypocritical guff from the Vatican over child abuse (CLICK). It's nothing more than a cynical damage-limitation exercise. So long as the Vatican demands priesthood celibacy, it will continue to attract weirdos into the Church and boys will continue to be abused by them (CLICK). Nuns have also abused children....

The True Spirit of...

Guido Reni - Dionysus (Bacchus)If you're fed up with ignorant wallies complaining that the true spirit of Christmas has been lost, take heart; here it is and it's never been lost, merely subordinated. This is the lad himself: young Bacchus, known to the ancient Greeks as Dionysus (the god of wine and drunken orgies). When Christians took over the Roman Empire they tried to rebrand the popular Bacchanalia festival as Christmas and cut out the orgies. Office parties may seem tame by comparison with those good ol' Roman days, but we can live in hope. I recall a gang of drunken female louts threatening to debag a driver who'd wandered into an office party! And there's still the mistletoe, a popular hangover from pagan days....

Amateur v. Professional

Here's an interesting sculpture by an amateur who has no intention - nor pretension - of becoming a professional artist. Many people find art an agreeable hobby and produce good quality work. And there are many professional artists who make a living selling junk: rusty bicycle parts cobbled together as a "profound statement" on our throwaway society! So what makes the difference between a talented amateur and an untalented professional who has the cheek to sell rubbish? Art School. At the end of it, the "artist" has a diploma. The Art Establishment places great store by these diplomas. It brands any upstart without formal training as "self-taught". (Alfred Hitchcock was a self-taught film director, but there were no movie schools in his day.)
I suspect that many amateurs, like Kris, measure their efforts against the world's greatest artists and find themselves lacking. But for the person with a diploma, the question isn't How good am I? It's How do I make a living? Easy. Get a grant from our national joke: the Arts Council. It has millions of pounds to give away to people with diplomas. Footnote: Arts Council England has recently appointed a sociologist as its Executive Director for Arts Planning and Investment! Say no more.

Phishing Explosion

I.C. - They're After Your Money (2006)The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) recently reported that since last year there has been an 8,000 per cent increase in phishing scams that lure people into revealing their bank account numbers online! This makes it the fastest growing crime in Britain. As the FSA is Government's financial watchdog, Blair & Co can't say they haven't been apprised of this explosion of crime. So when will they get their collective finger out and do something about it?

Friday, 15 December 2006

Cameraphone Winner

Lena Lachmann-Morck - Fire at the Royal Academy of Arts (2006)Congratulations to Lena Lachmann-Morck, who won the title of Cameraphone Photographer of the Year 2006 for her powerful photo of the fire at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The top photos can be viewed in the Sony Ericsson Newsflash exhibition at the Air Gallery in Dover Street, Mayfair, until 17 December. Entrance is free.

Bouguereau: Game Copy

Bouguereau's Angels (left) Game Screenshot (right)A new furore has broken out over a warmongering Christian video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces, which is being marketed through US churches. It leads to "dehumanisation of the feared other..." claims an opponent of the game, "a first step towards genocide". Not to be outdone in religious video violence, The Global Islamic Media Front has released a game called Quest for Bush, in which the object is to assassinate the US president. The Christmas market certainly brings them out, doesn't it? (Click the title link to read the full story.) Nobody at the BBC seems to have noticed that the game screenshot which depicts angels carrying a Christian to Heaven is a ripoff of William Bouguereau's Une Ame au ciel (1878), but what does the Beeb know about art?

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

E-cards for Xmas

Xmas tree supplied by Feebleminds Animated GIFsWhy not save a tree and send e-cards this year? You can design your own, using free graphics, such as this Xmas tree, which are widely available on the Internet. I can recommend Feebleminds Animated GIFs as a safe website (it won a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award). Just give the website a plug. If you prefer to send ready-made cards, click the title link for Jacquie Lawson's website. This English artist designs wonderful animated e-cards that are movie-quality and a joy to watch. She charges an annual subscription of £5 or $8, which allows you to send as many cards as you wish for a whole year. (Consider the cost of boxes of Xmas cards plus birthday cards throughout the year.) Jacquie has 81 e-cards to choose from and adds about a dozen new ones every year. Highly recommended.

V&A Needs Sponsor

V&A Inspired By...Competition Leaflet (2006)ArtDaily hasn't caught up with the fact that the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green reopened last Saturday, and it doesn't mention the Miffy exhibition at all! In fact Coxsoft Art scooped BBC TV News on this story. And here's another scoop. I emailed the V&A to find out what the prizes are for its Inspired By...Competition. It turns out that the main prize is the prestige of having artwork on public display at the V&A or the Museum of Childhood. Any other prize or prizes - to be announced at the awards ceremony on 18 May 2007 - will be "small", because the competition lacks a sponsor. Come on! This could be a nice little earner in the public relations department. Vladimir?

Churchill Sale Update

Sir Winston Churchill - View of Tinherir (1951)Sir Winston Churchill's oil painting View of Tinherir (1951) was auctioned for £612,800 ($1,198,024) at Sotheby’s 20th Century British Art sale in London last Monday. This is almost three times the pre-sale estimate of £250,000 and more than twice the price of £300,000 for a Churchill sold earlier this year.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Bacchus and Chum

Gérôme - Drunken Bacchus and CupidOnly 12 more shopping days to Bacchanalia. Here's Gérôme's painting of young Bacchus and his chum Cupid linking arms for mutual support, both sozzled. This is the latest graphic on Coxsoft Art website. Click the title link to go there, then click on the thumbnail to view the 768 pixels high graphic. Tip: stick to the chocolate liqueurs.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Quentin's Therapeutic Art

The Nightingale Project was set up to use art to brighten the lives of hospital patients and to help in their recovery. Good designers should already know that cheerful colours and bright surroundings have therapeutic value. The Nightingale Project goes a step further by arranging temporary art exhibitions, buying paintings for permanent display and arranging for musicians to play to patients on the wards. It invited Quentin Blake to create works to liven up Kershaw Ward for elderly patients in South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre. The result, as you might expect, is humorous illustrations depicting grannies swinging from trees, and so on. The exhibition Quentin Blake: Sixty New Drawings is on display in the reception area of the South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre until 31 January 2007.

The True Artist...

Unknown Artist - Smiley Madonna"The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths" (Bruce Nauman 1967). See the next blog down!