Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Are You Going Vista?

Vista LogoBill Gates must think Britons are mugs, because he expects us to pay roughly twice the price for Vista that US users will be charged (CLICK)! Even the US prices are exorbitant. He's also making claims for Vista online security - it's main selling point - that experts are challenging (CLICK). Pirated Vista packages are already hitting the market - especially in China - and half of those ripoffs have spyware installed! Now add the fact that most home PC's are too underpowered to run Vista; £1000 will buy you an entry-level system. Vista's copy protection, which allows playback degrading of copyright protected video and audio files, has been described as "the longest suicide note in history" (CLICK). In short, Vista (a "narrow view") looks like a bummer. Okay, there are twerps with more money than sense who rush out and buy the latest thing, just so they can boast they have it, but are there enough for Microsoft? Coxsoft Art will stick with Windows 98 for a bit longer, maybe until Windows Panorama comes along.

Multiple Masters

Louis Henriquel-Dupont after Paul Delaroche (1853)Here's the opposite end of the spectrum from initial sketches: reproductions of finished masterpieces by means of lithographs, etchings, engravings or photography. Such copies often require as much mastery of technique as the original work. Hence the title of a new exhibition at Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, UK, Multiple Masters: French Prints after Paintings, 1700 - 1900, which continues until 15 April 2007. There is also a Study Day at Maison Française on 3 March from 11am to 5pm. Brits telephone 01865 276 172.

True Love: Rachel Cattle

Rachel Cattle - Drawing of a Brownie (2006)Today, an interesting exhibition of drawings opened at C4RD (sic) Centre for Recent Drawing: True Love: Rachel Cattle, until 16 February 2007. C4RD in Cudworth Street, Bethnal Green, is one of those new galleries which are springing up in the East End of London. It is "the only independent non-commercial exhibition space in London dedicated to the exhibition of recent drawing". Sounds good. Drawings catch an artist's initial vision before it becomes refined into a finished work, although in Rachel's case the drawing is the finished work. Note: C4RD is open afternoons only, Wednesday to Friday, admission free.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

No London Super Casino

Single Zero Roulette WheelHere's good news: London's bid for the UK's first super casino lost out to Manchester. Great! Let Manchurians have all the crime, gambling addiction, suicide and other social problems that go with a huge casino fleecing the punters. Greenwich's Chamber of Commerce leader Steve Nelson is disappointed. So are the owners of the Millennium Dome. And so is Mayor Red Ken! He's rejoined New Labour with a vengeance. "Make the rich richer and the poor poorer" is their motto. Now all we need to do is get rid of the damned Olympics....

Monday, 29 January 2007

Have You Seen This Rat?

Banksy - Rat with Ball, Paddington, LondonPrompted by recent news that a Banksy rat similar to this one was cut from a building and briefly appeared for sale on eBay for £20,000, BBC London has invited readers to send in their photos of Banksy's rats in the old metrop. Click the title link to see them, but you're better off doing a Google picture search for "Banksy rats". There are at least 700 of his guerrilla rats from around the world. What a busy little Banksy! But he hasn't beaten the real thing yet. It's estimated that in London there is a rat for every person! The English Tourist Board doesn't tell you about our rats, does it?

Shilpa Shetty Winner

A gobsmacked Shilpa Shetty (2007)You don't need Coxsoft Art to tell you that Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty won Celebrity Big Brother yesterday and managed to look ladylike and gobsmacked at the same time. So much for alleged racism in the UK. I told you it was culture clash: middle class lady v. modern feminist guttersnipes. Two interesting facts emerge: 1. the plebs who watch this rubbishy show and who vote for the contestants preferred an old-fashioned lady to modern feminists, whatever their colour, and 2. BBC News is confused about this result. The 1 o'clock TV News reported that India is pleased by the outcome, whereas the BBC News website reports a "muted response to Shetty in India" (CLICK). Make your mind up, BBC.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Are You Spamming?

I.C. - Guilty Computer: Not me, Guv! Honest. (2007)According to a BBC News report on the World Economic Forum in Davos, up to a quarter of the world's computers on the Internet are now under the control of cyber criminals! That's between 100 and 150 million computers out of 600 million! Criminals' botnets use "innocent" computers they've infected with trojan virus programs to send spam e-mails, launch denial-of-service attacks or commit online fraud or phishing scams. Is your computer part of a botnet? Last year, a friend of a friend moaned that his PC was taking ages to "warm up". Armed with AVG FREE Anti-Virus (CLICK) and Spybot Search & Destroy (CLICK), our friend cured this problem: the PC was riddled with trojans and was spending up to an hour after bootup posting spam e-mails! One very guilty PC, but an innocent owner. How did his PC become so heavily infested? It was an unprotected family computer: kids download free games; Dad seeks tasteful screensavers; Mum browses porn sites in hopes of finding what men want, to make herself more seductive. These are the websites that commonly lure punters into delivering their computers to the criminals. Browser Hijack Blaster is another useful safeguard; it's been discontinued, but you can find its replacement here (CLICK).

British Art at the Mead

Sir Thomas Lawrence - Charles Baring WallAn art exhibition with a strong Brit. interest recently opened at The Mead Art Museum, Amhurst College, Massachusetts, USA: Through British Eyes: British Art at the Mead, until 26 August 2007. The exhibits are all from the Mead's extensive British collection and they read like a Who's Who of the UK's finest artists: Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir Edwin Landseer, Gainsborough, Edward Lear, William Hogarth, William Blake, Thomas Dicksee and David Cox. Okay, there are some gaping holes in this list of the UK's great artists, but the impression it conveys is that of a wise buyer who wasn't prepared to pay inflated prices. Note: the museum is closed on college holidays and may also close due to bad weather! Call (413) 542-2335 before you visit in winter.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Chinese Girl and Jumping PigletThis piglet is jumping with joy because it's the Year of the Pig coming up on 1 February. "Gung Hay Fat Choy" supposedly means Happy New Year in Cantonese. If it means something else, blame Red Ken's propaganda sheet The Londoner (January Edition page 3). This year, the big Chinese New Year Parade with dragon and lion dancers and pretty Chinese girls takes place on 18 February. Chinatown will be filled with Chinese arts, crafts and food stalls. Click the title link for details.

Friday, 26 January 2007

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

Juvenile Blackbird on Clothes Line (RSPB photo)More clothes pegs! They must be the In Thing. This graphic is to remind UK readers that this weekend - 27 and 28 January - sees the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which is an excellent way of monitoring the status of our garden birds. You don't need to don your winter woollies and go tramping round the countryside. You don't even need a garden. A balcony or a window box will do. Just put out some birdseed and watch what turns up in one hour. You don't even need to watch for an hour. So long as you're facing your garden, you can read a book or surf the web and your eye should be drawn to any movement on your bird table. Write down the name of the bird and how many there are. Can't tell a wood pigeon from a blue tit? Don't worry. Click the title link and visit the RSPB page which shows you photos of the birds you're likely to spot. Tip for complete duffers and illegal immigrants: if it's got teeth, grey fur and a bushy tail, it's a bloody squirrel!

UK Funds Anti-Israeli Propaganda

Khalil Rabah - 50,320 NamesWhat's this? It claims to be an art "installation" entitled 50,320 Names by Khalil Rabah, who appears to be otherwise known as The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind. A one-man museum? ... Er... I gather so. Look closer and you find that this is anti-Israeli, anti-British, pro-Palestinian political propaganda! The 50,320 names are "...the buildings on RIWAQ's Registry of Historic Buildings in Palestine ... which date earlier than 1945." (Blurb by Kelly O'Reilly, Curator of the Stephen Lawrence Gallery at the University of Greenwich, who writes the most dreadful bull; CLICK). The London venue for this propaganda, which opened yesterday, is the Brunei Gallery, part of The School of Oriental and African Studies (title link). Rabah's sponsors include Consolidated Contractors Company - an Arab construction firm - (CLICK), Arts Council England (CLICK) and Visiting Arts (CLICK) a registered UK charity funded by the British Council, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Name and shame! These are the UK institutions wasting taxpayers' money on Palestinian propaganda against the "Israeli occupiers" (O'Reilly).

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Wayne Paige's Pegs

Wayne Paige - Returning (2003)As regular readers will know, Coxsoft Art tends to give the raspberry to a lot of so-called "contemporary art". Then along comes something fresh and striking and you think "How do I define this without accusing it of being contemporary art?" Forget definitions. This oil painting is an example of the unique vision of US artist Wayne Paige, who's into clothes pegs in a big way. Large characters are clothes pegs and the detail of his paintings is made up of clothes pegs. And it works! Wayne is featured in the January edition (12) of Art4Heart News. Click the title link to see more of his paintings.

Dragons Hatch!

Egg Hatching and Baby Komodo Dragon in Hand (2007)And here's the Nature news you've all been waiting for: virgin births of Komodo dragons at Chester Zoo in the UK. Altogether now: Ahhhhhh! Cute though these little chaps are, they grow up to become fearsome predators capable of killing humans and even bigger prey. Bit late for Christmas, but never mind. Virgin mum Flora is blasé about the whole thing. I've enhanced these photos to bring out the detail. To see the originals, click the title link for the Chester Zoo website.

Pete Panse: Good News

Unknown Artist - Giant Thumb Up, ParisA decision has been reached in the case of Middletown High School art teacher Pete Panse, who has been on suspension for more than a year accused of all sorts of nonsense. Sanity has prevailed. Administrative law judge Joel M. Douglas, who heard testimony in this case, cleared Pete of any moral impropriety in the proposing of life classes for his more advanced students, although technically it seems Pete did breach the school's no-solicitation policy in broaching this subject with his students. Oh, pesky technicalities! So it's tut-tut and loss of two week's pay, but Pete keeps his job, emerges without a stain on his character and with the prospect of some lucrative law suits against some of his former accusers, whose testimony the judge described as "evasive, vague and ambiguous". And that's being polite! I'd like to see them charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, which is a very serious crime. Anyway, for Pete here's a giant thumb up.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Rembrandt & Rembrandt

Rembrandt - Drawing and painting Girl At A Window (1645) drawing © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, Courtauld Institute of Art GalleryHere's a rarity: being able to put an artist's original rough sketch next to his finished painting. The subtle changes from sketch to oil painting reveal Rembrandt's mastery in turning a boring image into a portrait with psychological depth. Simply by making the subject look at us and by putting her hand to her throat, he hints that she feels slightly embarrassed at having been caught spying on her neighbours. Brilliant! The painting - newly restored - is on display in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The sketch is one of Rembrandt Drawings at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House, London, from 22 February to 3 June 2007. Also at Somerset House and opening on 22 February is Guercino: Mind to Paper, another exhibition of old-master drawings. This one ends on 13 May 2007.

Dino Bi-plane Design

Jeff Martz - Microraptor gui and Bi-planeHere's an artist's impression of a fascinating evolutionary possibility (Creationist dupes stop reading now. You don't want to know about this.) Scientists have taken a fresh look at Microraptor gui, which lived 125 million years ago and appears to have used all four limbs as wings; it had long and asymmetric flight feathers on hands and feet. Initial thoughts were that it glided with all four wings/limbs on the same plane, like a dragonfly or a flying squirrel; but it now seems more likely that it used its legs as a lower pair of wings, as in those old bi-planes flown in World War I. The early bi-plane configuration was needed to gain enough lift to take off and fly. Ditto for nature, it seems. Until the fore limbs became long enough to sustain flight, a bi-plane configuration using feathered legs was needed!

Monday, 22 January 2007

Brian Haw Wins Case

Banksy PosterNewsflash, City of Westminster Magistrates' Court: anti-war protester Brian Haw has given the Metropolitan Police a sound thrashing in his latest legal battle to carry on demonstrating in Parliament Square. Today, District Judge Quentin Purdy gave the Met's case the raspberry. Does this mean Brian will get his Banksy back? If it's an original, it could be worth £50,000. Note: Sotheby’s forthcoming auction of Contemporary Art at Olympia (8/2/07) and New Bond Street (9/2/07) includes seven Banksy's ... er ... Banksies?

Book Sale, Ilford

Book SaleLocal news: there will be a massive sale of ex-library books, CD's and videos at Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, IG1 1EA, on Saturday 27 January 2007, from 10am to 3pm. The sale also includes children's books and cassettes. Bargains galore. Don't miss it. Need a map? Click the title link.

Blue Rigi Reminder

JMW Turner - Dark Rigi and Blue Rigi (1840s)Just a reminder that Turner's three Rigi's are on display at Tate Britain from today until 25 March. Click the title link for the story, which I published on 8 December 2006.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Al Pacino as Dali

Laughing SmileyI don't believe it! According to ArtDaily, Al Pacino has been signed up to play Salvador Dalí in a biopic Dali & I: The Surreal Story! (Get the pun? The Surreal Story? Groan!) This has got to be a bummer. Al Pacino with a ridiculous waxed moustache playing the eyepopping Godfather of Surrealism! No way. Don't do it, Al. You'll lose all street cred.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Shilpa Shetty v Plebs

Here's irony - Shilpa Shetty as a circus tiger for PETA's Boycott the Circus campaign (2003) The Lady volunteeredRed Ken, the globe-trotting Mayor of London, has pitched into the furore over Shilpa Shetty's maltreatment in Big Brother. He is "delighted" that 82% of viewers who phoned in voted to remove her principal tormenter from the show. He's now calling for Channel 4's broadcasting licence to be revoked. He's grandstanding, of course, to appeal to his Asian electorate. (That's UK Asian, not US Asian.) It's amazing how one pathetic TV show designed for feeble minds that crave an updated version of "What The Butler Saw" has caused an international incident. Despite all the clips and quotes hitting the news, I still haven't seen anything racist in it. To me it's obviously a clash between pre-feminist and post-feminist cultures. On the one hand you have that old-fashioned person a lady - beautiful, polite, elegantly dressed - looking like a bemused princess who's lost her bodyguard and strayed into an East End pub at chucking-out time. On the other hand you have the brash, strident, semi-literate, ugly, foul-mouthed, aggressive slob that is Modern Woman. Thanks to Feminism, Brit. schoolgirls are starting to carry knives and are prepared to slash another girl's face if snubbed. Racism? Forget it. It's female emancipation! It's progress! Accept it, Mother India; it's coming your way!

Silver Surfer Awards

Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award Avatar © 2006I finally got round to putting winners of the Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award into alphabetical order. I've also added a few more award-winning websites.
1. The Illustration Cupboard, an excellent website devoted to artists who illustrate children's books, with an appealing, safe Flash routine.
2. Jacquie Lawson E-cards lives up to its boast "the classiest cards on the web" with a host of delightful movie-quality animated greetings cards. You can download the latest version of Flash Player here.
3. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, is the fastest, most elegant art gallery website I've come across, and its search routine works (more than can be said for some websites). The font it uses for its menu is too small for my award, but this can be enlarged by selecting LARGEST text on your browser, so I relented.
To visit these websites, click the title link and scroll down to the 2007 heading. Click the avatar you'll find there to learn more.

Dali at the Movies

Poster for Spellbound (unknown artist) and Dalí's memorable Man-with-a-Wheel dream sequence in Hitchcock's classic movieHere's gobsmacking news: Tate Modern has announced an exhibition worth visiting! And it's discovered cinematic art! Cor blimey, Sir Nick! What's the world coming to? Dalí & Film is the first exhibition to focus on Salvador Dalí's fascination with movies, including his surrealist contributions to such classics as Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), Luis Buñuel's Un Chien andalou (1929) and L’Âge d’or (1930) and Walt Disney's Destino (1946). Altogether, more than 100 works will be assembled for this ground-breaking exhibition - including 60 of Dalí's paintings -, from 1 June to 9 September 2007. It's expensive at £11 and tight-fisted for silver surfers at £8 (88%). Mutter, mutter. For this blog I've combined evocative poster art for Spellbound by an unknown artist with one of Dalí's memorable scenes for Hitchcock's classic movie: the man holding a wheel (a revolver).

National Gallery Insult

Tim Gardner - Couple by a Lake (2006)While Tate Modern is gearing itself up to go all artistic, Freudian and cinematic with a master of traditional painting technique, the National Gallery, London, is currently delving into contemporary art with an exhibition of watercolours by Canadian artist Tim Gardner, until 15 April 2007. Judging by this runny impressionistic mess - Couple by a Lake (2006) - the NA should stick with what it knows best. To be fair to Tim, his Skier (click title link) looks better than this example. However, England is the home of great watercolour art, and we still have many talented artists working in this medium. In fact we have so many that most of them can't make a living with their art. We don't need to import mediocre artists. Wise up, NA. This is an insult.

Friday, 19 January 2007

BA Finally Caves In

Nadia's CrossYou recall the story of Nadia's cross, which raised the hackles of Christendom. She's won. It's official. British Airways has been forced to change its uniform policy to allow Nadia to wear her cross openly while on duty. But don't get too excited, Klansmen: flaming crosses still won't be allowed! And white masks with dunces hats remain taboo. I assume pagans and witches will now be able to wear their pentacles. Try. BA is on the run, and Paganism is the original English religion. Followers of that foreign import Christianity killed thousands of innocent old ladies in an attempt to obliterate witchcraft and Paganism. Wear your pentacle with pride and declare "This is for granny!" But don't ask me to fly BA. I need to know there's more than prayer keeping me in the air!

DIY Supermodels

Danie and Marforno - DM's Nanette, detail (2007)Why on earth have I posted a photo of a nose? you wonder. Has Coxsoft gone crackers? No. This isn't a photo. It is digital art! Look at that skin texture: its pores, its slight freckles, its sheen, its realism. Not only can sets of body parts and facial details for your graphic DIY supermodel be bought online and downloaded, but also skin texture! This nose is on sale as one small part of DM's Nanette, created by Daniela Hobracht (Danie) and Martin Fornoni (Marforno) for Poser 6 or above and Victoria 4 complete. All the user does is select the features, limbs and poses he wants in his supermodel and put them together. Little artistic talent is required. The woman of your dreams can be assembled from a DIY kit! Click the title link to view some of the possibilities.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

The Art of Les Edwards

Les Edwards - Close Relations (2005) with the artist's permissionLes Edwards - also known as Edward Miller - has recently revamped his website, which won a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award last year. It's better than ever, with the addition of PayPal to enable visitors to buy his art online. Les is the UK's top fantasy artist and his website has pages of great fantasy art to view, but he also paints cover art for women's novels. Here's a fine example: Close Relations (2005) painted for the cover of Michael Taylor's novel published by Hodder. Click the title link to see more.

Museum of Erotic Art

Aubrey Beardsley - Salome, page 9 detailThe Saatchi Gallery has begun an ambitious database of museums around the world (CLICK). I had a dip and look what I found: The British Museum of Erotic Art! Strewth! Don't panic! It's online only and its first two exhibitions - by Alan Daniels and by Ray Leaning - are very prim and proper: stocking tops and high heels. This is about as near to eroticism as Brits get. It's all rather soppy, but I did glimpse an Aubrey Beardsley, so there's hope yet. For potential art students, Saatchi is offering another new database: art colleges around the world (CLICK).

Hogarth at Tate Britain

William Hogarth - The Graham Children (1742)While browsing Tate Britain for Wallinger's mess, I discovered the next major art exhibition to hit London: Hogarth 7 February to 29 April 2007. This is a must. William Hogarth was one of out most brilliant artists ever, with a huge range of works from satirical engravings to sensitive portraits in oil paint. He took the lid off English society (18th century) in a way which no artist of any period, of any country, has ever done. As you're probably familiar with works such as Gin Lane, A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress and Marriage á la Mode, I've chosen to illustrate this blog with Hogarth in gentler mood: The Graham Children (1742). I can't promise it will be on display, but the Tate claims "This superb exhibition is the most comprehensive showing of the artist's work in living memory and incorporates the full range of Hogarth's work." Wow! No gobbledygook. Must be good. Expensive at £10 (a mean 20% discount for silver surfers: £8), but go for it.

State Britain PS

Banksy - Ban The Bomb?On closer inspection, one of the pieces in Brian Haw's messy display was worth recreating: a Banksy! Cleverly done: two soldiers surreptitiously painting a Ban-the-bomb logo. Question is: Was it the original on display? If so, the Met. Police seized a British work of art worth thousands of pounds! Oi, Commissioner! Where's our Banksy? Restore it to the Nation.

Tate Britain: State Britain

Replica of a Brian Haw posterI'd read some dire gobbledygook about Mark Wallinger's forthcoming "installation" at Tate Britain from which I inferred it was going to be tripe. (Coxsoft Art Rule No. 1 The worse the gobbledygook, the more pathetic the art.) I finally saw it on BBC London News on Monday. It's worse than tripe! Wallinger and a team of "artists" with nothing better to do have recreated all that rubbish that Brian Haw - lone anti-war protestor who has been parked outside the Houses of Parliament for six years - had spread along the railings. Most of this litter was confiscated by the fuzz in a dawn raid. Now it's in Tate Britain! As art! Until 27 August 2007. If you want to support Brian, great. Take him a sandwich and a mug of coffee, have a chat with him and sign his visitor's book. But don't let anyone tell you that Wallinger's replica of Brian's display is art. And the Tate commissioned him to make this mess! For Goodness' sake! This is how taxpayers' money is wasted. Complain to your MP.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Ice Art

Beach Walker by Steve Brice and Junichi Nakamura (2006)Trail Canada arrived in my inbox with an article about Canadian ice festivals (click the title link to read it). This reminded me to look up the biggie in ice sculpture: Alaska's World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. The male fiddler crab shown above was last year's winner in the Realistic Category: Beach Walker by Steve Brice (USA) and Junichi Nakamura (Japan). Brilliant! CLICK for details of this year's Championships, from 27 February to 25 March 2007.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Chiho Aoshima

Chiho Aoshima - City Glow detail (2005) © 2005 the artist and Kaikai Kiki Co. LtdThere's so much going on in London that Coxsoft Art rarely bothers with art shows in the provinces. However, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead is currently giving a very interesting Japanese artist her first solo show in the UK: Chiho Aoshima. Regular readers will also know that I tend to give "contemporary art" the bum's rush. If the term meant "the work of living artists", I would be interested, but it has been degraded to the point at which it's now synonymous with "dreadful rubbish by a pretentious and untalented arts graduate". Chiho Aoshima doesn't fit that category. She's a graphic artist - strongly influenced by Manga comics - who uses Adobe Illustrator to create feminine fantasy art which can be printed to form installations large enough to fill a room. Her show continues until 28 January 2007. Click the title link.

Pink Floyd Body Art

Unknown Body Artist - Pink Floyd LP coversHere's another unknown work. We haven't had any body art on Coxsoft Art News for months (bit nippy for that sort of thing), so I thought you might enjoy this rather cheeky lineup. Who painted these beauties? No idea. All I can tell you is that Pink Floyd fans will recognize the LP record covers ... er ... album sleeves.

Pedigree Chump

Unknown Artist - Pedigree Chump canI wish websites that post works of art would credit the artist and give the date of his work. Here's a case in point I chanced upon while browsing the web for something else: Pedigree Chump. At first glance it looks like the work of that Yankee artist who used to paint Campbell soup cans, but a closer inspection reveals a talent for original humour that Whatshisname lacked. All I know of this graphic is that it hails from the Emerald Isle and shows a monocled English upper class twit with his monocled upper class twit dog. Nothing but grouse (flavour) is good enough for these two. Anyone know who designed it?

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Drabble's Guest Star

Kevin Fagan - Drabble comic strip (2006) United Features SyndicationCould this be Middletown High School art teacher Pete Panse guest-starring in Drabble? The saga of Neanderthals v. Panse seems to have inspired cartoonist Kevin Fagan, whose comic strip Drabble is syndicated to 200 publications. In September, Kevin's nerdy hero Drabble made a complete twit of himself after having been teased by his "friends" into believing that a nude model would appear at their next art class. His art teacher wants to know where on earth he got this idea. The "friends" try to look innocent. Pete's accusers have also been trying to look innocent, but without much success. Patricia Simmons, House Principal at Middletown High School, has been fired. Ina Segnit, Supervisor of Fine Arts - also Pete's supervisor -, lost her position when it was scrapped. And Ellen Kaplan (CLICK) has vanished from the Board of Education offices, presumably using up holiday time before receiving the heave-ho. What makes this debacle so insane is that the New York State Art Teacher's Association had asked Pete to write a course outline for a figure drawing course for the NYS Education Department! (Previously, Pete helped the New York Academy of Art create a program which teaches figure drawing to 8,000 students in 22 NYC high schools.) As a result of Pete's yearlong suspension, thousands of art students have been disadvantaged. Time for sanity to prevail....

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Elbowed Picasso Update

Picasso - Le Reve (The Dream) 1932First buy your Picasso, then accidentally give it the elbow and claim the difference between pre-elbow value and post-elbow value from your insurers, in this case $54m (£28m) and Lloyds of London. The claim is actually more than the owner paid for it in 1997: $48.4m (£24.7m). There's inflation for you! No wonder Lloyds is taking its time over this claim. The US casino mogul who owns the slightly damaged daub is taking Lloyds to court. If I were the respondent in this case, I'd be tempted to counter claim that the Picasso is now worth more, thanks to having had a celebrity's elbow put through it.

London Art Fair 2007

London Art Fair logoThe London Art Fair will be at the Business Design Centre in Islington from 17 to 21 January 2007. Admission is a ridiculously overpriced £10 with a pathetic 10% discount for silver surfers: £9. Even with work by more than 1800 artists to view, forget it. Why pay to go shopping?

Friday, 12 January 2007

Making Eyes at Art

Takashi Murakami - Jellyfish Eyes (2002)A few months ago a visitor to Art News Blog started a lively debate by asking for advice on whether he should enter art school. My view was that he should, and here's an example to prove the point. How many amateurs would have the cheek to submit this mediocre, schoolgirlish graphic design to a wallpaper manufacturer, let alone to an art gallery? Takashi Murakami earned such cheek by gaining the qualifications to convince himself and others that he is an artist: BFA (1986), MFA (1998) and PhD (1993) from the National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan. His diplomas don't convince Mr Grumpy here, but they convinced somebody, because Jellyfish Eyes (2002) now plasters the walls of Puck’s Café at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, USA. Yuk! Maybe the idea is to make you wolf your coffee and doughnut and dash out, in order to free your table for the next punter.

New Kylie Waxwork

Kylie Minogue Waxwork No.4 (2006-7)From one Kylie (next blog down) to another. Two days ago, Madame Tussauds in London launched its fourth waxwork of Kylie Minogue, who attended sittings with Tussauds' sculptors last November. This makes her the most waxed ... er... wax-modelled celebrity after Her Majesty the Queen, who has been sculpted by Tussauds' artists five times. To learn more, click the title link. Did you know that you can now have your own image sculpted by Madame Tussauds? Telephone 020 7487 0313 or email to find out how much it will cost.

Coxsoft Comp. Results

I.C. - Five Beauties (2007)So much for the Coxsoft Art Competition: one entry! I won't bother again. Sorry to tell you this, weggis, but you plumped for the sex doll! Whoops! The photo of a live flesh-and-blood woman is No. 4.
1. Computer graphic from Final Fantasy VII
2. Madam Tussauds waxwork of Kylie Monogue
3. 3 Dream Productions - Adventure Hair
4. Du Juan
5. Sex Doll
The gobsmackingly gorgeous Du Juan is the first Chinese model ever to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine (2006).

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Ballerina Under Fire

Simone Clarke (Ballerina)Coxsoft Art doesn't usually post blogs about hoofers, but I thought you might be interested in this example of intolerance by the Loony Left. BBC News headlined this item "Storm grows over 'BNP ballerina'". For those of you who live in foreign parts, the BNP (British National Party) is considered to be Far Right ... er ... somewhere between Tony Blair and the Ku Klux Klan. Simone Clarke (pictured) is a principal dancer at the English National Ballet. Last month she revealed to The Guardian newspaper that she's a member of the BNP, and more recently she defended her choice of party in The Mail On Sunday. Like many Brits, she's concerned by the vast numbers of immigrants - legal and illegal - that are swamping our overcrowded little island. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is now screaming for her to be sacked. These intolerant twerps seem unaware that to sack somebody for being a member of the BNP is just as bad as sacking her because she's Jewish or black. They are the real fascists. From Coxsoft Art's point of view, anyone who can hug a tree as elegantly as Simone does is a good egg, whatever party she votes for.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Canaletto in England

Canaletto - Eton College © National Gallery, LondonI had a distinct feeling of déjà vu when I saw this forthcoming exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London: Canaletto in England: a Venetian Artist Abroad (1746 - 1755) 24 January to 15 April 2007. Yes! It's the same exhibition shown last Autumn at the Yale Center for British Art in the USA (CLICK for my tongue-in-cheek review and an excellent painting of Warwick Castle). What the Dulwich tells us is that many of the pictures in this exhibition are loans from English private collections which aren't open to the public. Thanks, Yanks. You've organized a good'un for us.

Sir Joshua's Mona Lisa

Sir Joshua Reynold's Mona Lisa (post 1602)This is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Lisa Gherardini Giocondo, better known as the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda. It was owned by the famous Brit. artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, who believed it to be the original. It wasn't. Recent tests have shown that the wood on which it was painted came from a tree felled after 1602 (a century too late). However, it is one of the earliest and best copies of Da Vinci's painting and retains its clean aspect and bright colours. So, if you want to see how the grubby original should look, here's your chance. Sir Joshua's Mona Lisa is on display at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 11 February 2007.

Monday, 8 January 2007

The Spirit of Finland

Akseli Gallen-Kallela - Karelian Mother (1891)Here's another painting - see Ad Astra below - by "Finland's greatest artist" Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Karelian Mother (1891), a charming impressionistic view of a mother breastfeeding her baby. This painting is featured in a major retrospective Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931) The Spirit of Finland, which continues until 15 April 2007 at The Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. If you're planning a trip to the Dutch bulb fields this Spring, I think the Groninger is somewhere nearby.

Jolie Virgin Mary

Kate Kretz - Blessed Art Thou (2006) © Chelsea Galleria and the artistSome artists will do anything to grab attention. US artist Kate Kretz, who has been painting for 20 years without anyone taking a lot of notice, has shot to fame thanks to her portrait of Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary, complete with little angels Shiloh, Maddox and Zahara, hovering above a supermarket checkout (Wal-Mart, if you need to know). It's called Blessed Art Thou. Gorgeous celebrity or fat shoppers? Did Kate bother to find out whether Angelina is an atheist or not before she decided to depict her as the Virgin Mary? Sooner or later, one of these presumptuous, publicity-hungry artists is going to be sued.

GettyGames For Kids

GettyGames Menu (screenshot detail 2007)Here's the first website I've found that uses Adobe Flash Player 9: the J. Paul Getty Museum’s newly launched GettyGames for kids. It's slower and more boring than most websites I've seen using Flash Player 8, but at least it didn't crash IE6. Maybe that's because Flash Player nudged me into accepting its latest download two days ago. The object of this tedious website is to teach kids about art. Haw, haw, haw. I waited five minutes for a jigsaw puzzle to load, then gave up! "We hope that Getty Games helps kids become art lovers and museum-goers" trills Peggy Fogelman, assistant director of education and interactive programs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (CLICK). Wanna bet, Peggy? This boring tosh wouldn't persuade me to visit JP's museum. Get rid of all that Flash nonsense and concentrate on getting screens and games to load. Fast! Visit Muppet Central to learn how Flash Player can be used (a Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award winner: CLICK).

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Coxsoft Art's Latest

Akselli Gallen-Kallela - Ad Astra (1894)Here's the latest addition to the Coxsoft Art website: Akselli Gallen-Kallela's Ad Astra (1894), which has had a glaring white background above the curve of the frame removed. Click the title link to view a larger version. Why is it that those old artists insisted on painting full frontal female nudes as though the model were wearing flesh-coloured knickers? Maybe models didn't fancy shaving down there with a cut-throat razor, so the artist needed to guess!

Coxsoft Art Revamped

Blue EyesI've just finished a major rewrite of Coxsoft Art for 2007. Those of you who visit regularly won't spot much difference, except for this Blue Eyes graphic above an invitation to select a larger font size. What I've been working on is making all the text fit an 800x600 screen in the largest font available while retaining the graphics. This is more user-friendly than those websites which lose all their graphics to give you a screen full of large text. If you find any problems with the LARGEST font on an 800x600 screen, please email me.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Pete Panse Update 2

Photo of Pete PanseThe Hearing Officer's decision in the case of Pete Panse - the New York art teacher suspended more than a year ago for having suggested that his advanced students should be allowed to enter figure drawing classes - is "imminent" (email from Pete). Personnel Director Ellen Kaplan seems to have decided it was a good career move to try to disgrace Pete. She was found to have withheld important evidence from the Hearing Officer and from Pete’s defence lawyer! Much of her evidence appears to be suspect. Following orders or doing her own thing? It seems to Coxsoft Art News that the local Board of Education has been keen to pervert the course of justice in this case, in order to justify it's idiotic decision to suspend a good teacher.