Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Pastel Society Exhibition

Ann Wilkinson - Still Life with DaffodilsTomorrow sees the opening of the 108th Pastel Society Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London. 108! Don't tell me haven't any tradition in England, and with Judge Dredd's help we'll keep it. The best of contemporary pastel art will be shown until Sunday 11 March 2007 (early closing last day 3pm). Admission at £2.50, concessions £1.50, is fine. Okay, it's not 50%, but who can quibble at this price?

Oscar for Danish Poet

A still from Danish PoetFleaCircusDirector (title link) reminded me that I missed the Animated Short Film Oscar 2007, which went to Danish Poet, a Norwegian film which you can buy from the National Film Board of Canada. All this international stuff has me completely fogged. Is it a Danish cartoon or not? And must we brace ourselves for riots and mayhem around the world?

Stephen Wiltshire's Tokyo

Stephen working on his Tokyo panoramaI've just discovered that Stephen Wiltshire is exhibiting his latest artwork at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond Upon Thames, London, including a 360-degree large-scale panorama of Tokyo. It's now Stephen Wiltshire MBE, by the way. (Doffs cap to touch forelock.) His exhibition continues until 11 March 2007 (click the title link). For more details about this unique artist, see my post Stephen's New Gallery (CLICK).

Happy Birthday, Judge

Judge DreddCult comic 2000AD and its hero Judge Dredd hit their 30th birthday this year. To help them celebrate, Finlo Rohrer has written an interesting article for BBC News Magazine (title link). The big surprise for me was that 2000AD is a British comic! Its self-assured art, huge motorcycles, flashy uniforms and right-wing stance had convinced me it was American. But now I see the truth: that hellhole Mega City One is London 2007! Security cameras everywhere, muggers and vandals round every corner, fanatical Muslims primed to explode, schoolgirls wielding knives, armed police, stop-and-search, on-the-spot fines, police helicopters searchlighting burglars at night, carjackings, ghettos simmering with revolt, schoolboys shot dead in their beds.... Of course it's London. Welcome to Mega City One!

Fizza Abdulrasul

Fizza Abdulrasul - Happy SplashHere's continuity: from Happy Feet to Happy Splash. The artist is Fizza Abdulrasul, originally from Zanzibar, now living in London. Fizza is an established artist in her own country and that region of Africa, but is looking to spread her wings in the old Metrop. As you can see, she's into Nature in a big way. So her website (title link) has lots of exotic landscapes and seascapes with palm trees, blue skies or blazing sunsets, painted in an impressionistic style. She's currently seeking exhibition space in London. Any offers?

Monday, 26 February 2007

The Ignored Oscars 2007

Oscar for Happy Feet (2007)Congratulations to Dame Helen for winning the Coxsoft Art Award For Most Charming Recipient of an Oscar ever. She outshone a herd of Hollywood babes half her age and struck a powerful blow against age discrimination. But that's enough of the artistes. Let's get down to the important stuff. Who or what won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film? Yes, it's Happy Feet! And did you notice that Pan's Labyrinth picked up Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Make-up? The Honorary Award went to Ennio Morricone.

USA: Land of Injustice

I.C. - Not me, guv! Honest (2007)I certainly wouldn't risk being a teacher in the USA. Julie Amero, a substitute teacher at Kelly Middle School, has been convicted on four counts of "risk of injury to a minor" and is scheduled to be sentenced on 2 March in Norwich Superior Court. She faces up to 40 years in prison! What did she do to earn such a sentence? She switched on her classroom PC, which displayed an endless loop of pornography, to the delight of her 7th-grade pupils! This is exactly the sort of prank a student would play on a teacher. But a jury of 12 computer-illiterates found her guilty of showing porn to minors! Would the student who played this prank please raise his hand before Teach goes down for 40 years? What a country! Land of Injustice.

Guercino: Mind to Paper

Guercino - Aurora (c.1620)Here's the latest exhibition at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery in Somerset House, London: Guercino: Mind to Paper, a collection of drawings by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri - nicknamed "Guercino", because of his squint - one of Italy's finest Baroque draughtsmen. The exhibition continues until 13 May 2007. And don't forget that Rembrandt Drawings also opened at the ICA on 22 February and continues until 3 June 2007.

Art For Sale

Art Forums SplashHere's another new online resource for artists: ArtForums.co.uk has just opened up the possibility of selling your art through its website "with no charge whatsoever to yourself or your customer." All you need to do is join its Art For Sale section and post digitized copies of your work. "Arty Ted" who runs ArtForums claims his website has had "nine and a half thousand page views in the past week". Sounds good. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Saatchi's Showdown

Saatchi My Gallery logo?Those of you who have registered with Saatchi's My Gallery (for artists) or Stuart (for art students) will know that today is the start of Showdown, when online artworks compete for visitors' votes. The winner will receive £1000 and the runner up £750. The winning artwork will go on display at the new Saatchi gallery ... er ... that's a prize? Maybe. Unfortunately, Saatchi is still living in the past, so there's no chance of entering animated GIFs. For those of you who haven't joined My Gallery or Stuart, they are free online showcases for artistic talent. Click the title link to join. Coxsoft Art joined and posted a scraperboard of a chess king (1987), which is one of the last artworks I designed before going completely digital. It's also on my Museum page (CLICK). Since then I've done nothing without a mouse or an UNDO option. You're 30 years out of date, Mr Saatchi.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Network Rail Art Vandals

Banksy - Explosive Monkey (2007)While BT kept me offline, Art News Blog (see my links) beat me to this story from the Evening Standard's website (title link). Network Rail painted over a Banksy monkey on doors in the Leake Street underpass into Waterloo Station with - horror of horrors - magnolia paint! This desecration has since been covered with graffiti tags! Fortunately, somebody photographed the Banksy, which shows a monkey preparing to blow up a bunch of bananas, before NR got heavy with the magnolia. Following complaints and a few searching questions from the Evening Standard, an NR spokesman declared "We have now issued our maintenance crews with photographs of Banksy's work, so if they come across it, they'll recognise it for what it is." Er ... art or graffiti? And what do they do with it? Slap on the magnolia or touch their forelocks?

10th World Book Day

10th World Book Day logo (2007)Thursday 1 March 2007 is the 10th World Book Day (title link). Visit your local library for information about events and freebies for kiddies. Now's the time for a shameful admission from Coxsoft Art: I'm a closet novelist (blush). I've recently posted the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my fantasy saga The Creatures of Halcygen on a website financed by Arts Council England. Shock! Horror! It's called YouWriteOn.com (CLICK). The idea is to nurture amateur writers and to promote talented unknowns. It looks the most interesting project Arts Council England has supported in a long time. If you have any interest in the written word, join. And here's the ultimate carrot: you might get to review my novel! Wow!

Brit Blog Awards 2007

Best of Brit Blog Awards logo (2007)You may recall that Coxsoft Art News was selected as Metro Blog of the Week about a year ago. Now, with shameless trumpet-blowing, Coxsoft Art News has entered itself for the Best of Brit Blog Awards 2007 (Arts and Entertainment category) run by Ask.com and Metro.co.uk. I mean, is there another blog like this? Click the title link to read more. You'll also find lots of interesting blogging information and links to top blogs.

Martín La Spina

Martín La Spina - Giovanna Tornabuoni together with Chameleons (after Domenico Ghirlandaio)Here's a beautiful picture from the February edition of Art4heart News. It's by Argentinian artist Martín La Spina, who puts a new slant on classical paintings. The blurb by Aida Navarro Barba - art historian for the University of Barcelona - is clueless drivel and doesn't tell you anything. I assume this is digital art in the style of Worth1000. It's fun spotting the original works. You'll find Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding Group with Darth Vador and Mrs Arnolfini! Then there's Michelangelo's Lybian Sybil, a ghostly Velázquez Las Meninas ... but why spoil your fun? Click the title link and spot your own digitally tweaked masterpieces.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Nutters News Dept

Father Daniel Petru CorogeanuThe religious nutter lurking behind that idiotic fluff is Father Daniel Petru Corogeanu, a Romanian priest who led a group of four nuns that killed another nun on the pretext of exorcising those devils Corogeanu believed possessed her. The victim - 23-year-old Irina Cornici - was chained to a cross at the Holy Trinity Convent in Tanacu Village and was starved to death. The priest has been convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 14 years. His nutty nuns received prison sentences of five to eight years. When you consider all the mayhem being committed around the world in the name of God or Allah or whatever else you want to call this figment of human imagination, the death of one nun is unimportant, but it is one too many. We must stop our schools from brainwashing children into sick beliefs.

No Kenwood Concerts

Kenwood House (English Heritage)English Heritage has been forced to cancel all of its outdoor summer evening concerts at Kenwood House this year after complaints from local residents about noise and traffic. It is hoped that concerts will resume in 2008. Click the title link for more information. Note: early Spring is the best time to visit this lovely house and view its art collection, because the lawn's daffodils are in bloom.

Tasteless Tourists

Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (2006)What has Tate Modern in common with Blackpool Pleasure Beach? They are the UK's top tourist attractions! Both have helter-skelters and show no understanding of genuine art. On second thoughts, I'm probably being unfair on those wizards who create the magical Blackpool illuminations. For tourists with taste, the most popular venues are London's National Gallery, The British Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum.

Slave Britain

Antonio Canaletto - St Paul's Cathedral, LondonIn my post on the V&A's Uncomfortable Truths exhibition, I wrote that "slavery is alive and well and living in Britain today". That same evening I spotted a new exhibition in St Paul's Cathedral, Slave Britain, which exposes human trafficking into the UK. This exhibition by Panos Pictures is supported by Amnesty International, Unicef, Eaves and Anti-Slavery International. It continues until 29 March 2007.

Coxsoft Art Up Again!

Coxsoft logoCoxsoft Art has been offline for nearly three days, thanks to British Telecommunications plc. It took them that long to come round and repair the wire between my house and their telegraph pole. And what a pain reporting it to BT (on a neighbour's phone): recorded voices giving you streams of options - press this button; press that button -, then wait for a line test to confirm there's a problem. Do you want to speak to somebody? Yes. Off to India to speak to an Indian lady who didn't care I needed access to the Internet or that I would take my business elsewhere if BT didn't fix the fault that day. At least she spoke more comprehensible English than the last Scot I was connected to. I think it's time to remove the embarrassing "British" from BT and rename it Cowboy Telecommunications plc!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

New London Wetland

View of Sutcliff Park Nature Reserve © Environmental AgencyHere's good news for Londoners, tourists and wildlife: a new wetland has been created in Greenwich: the Sutcliffe Park Nature Reserve. This imaginative project involved raising one of London's "lost" rivers - the River Quaggy - to allow controlled flooding of rundown playing fields in Sutcliffe Park. Dragonflies, damselflies, kingfishers, snipes and reed warblers have already moved in. I've recently received confirmation that this project has won the Living Wetlands Award 2007, run by the RSPB and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM). Click the title link for details and more photos.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Uncomfortable Truths 3

Schoolboy victims: Michael Dosunmu (left) and Billy Cox (right)This post is for my readers from foreign parts who might think I'm exaggerating the upsurge of gun crime in the UK's black ghettos (next post down). The picture shows two handsome young faces familiar to Londoners: Michael Dosunmu (left) and Billy Cox (right). Both were 15 years old when they were shot dead in their homes. Michael was still in bed when his killers burst into his home and shot him. These are just two of the schoolboy victims of recent weeks. Motives? Billy may have upset a local gang leader. The police think Michael was shot by mistake. In his own home? The killers knew his address and where his bedroom was! Maybe he was targeted because of his African surname. There is no love lost between Africans, who sold their social misfits into slavery, and West Indians, whose parents were the victims of slavery. (I've heard this from both sides.) Maybe he was too good at school, too middle class for the ghetto. Maybe he simply failed to show "respect" to the morons with guns. What makes me sick is that the ghetto knows who murdered these youths, but it won't name names to the police. Instead, it demands millions of pounds be spent on the ghetto to make the problem go away. You think upgrading a killer's neighbourhood will turn him into a model citizen? Dream on.

Uncomfortable Truths 2

V&A Uncomfortable Truths logoUncomfortable Truths: the shadow of slave trading on art & design opened at London's V&A Museum today. Since my post of 3 February (CLICK) the V&A has uploaded an Uncomfortable Truths webpage with a list of related events (title link). It boasts this evocative logo of an African profile formed by a splash of dried blood. Brilliant! Here's the V&A blurb: "2007 marks the bi-centenary of the parliamentary abolition of the slave trade. It is a landmark year, not just in British history but in human history, signalling the end of 400 years of slavery." A mere 400 years? The V&A's hand-wringing on this subject seems more in line with political correctness than with either genuine remorse or celebration. It needed to commission 11 artists to invent "the shadow of slave trading on art & design"! And for whom? Answer: white middle-class Brits who don't have to live in London's black ghettos, where gun crime and "black-on-black" crime are rampant and 15-year-old schoolboys are shot dead in their bedrooms. Slavery ended two centuries ago? It's estimated that half of London's prostitutes are pimped by the Baltic Mafia, who smuggle teenaged girls into Britain and keep them imprisoned as white slaves for London's sex trade. Then there are the black children smuggled into the UK as housebound slaves for African immigrants! The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade may have been abolished 200 years ago, but slavery is alive and well and living in Britain today.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Yanks Ban Scrotum!

Cover of Susan Patron's The Higher Power of LuckyTing! First we had Christian and Muslim nutters banning Harry Potter from library shelves in the USA, because they feared it would encourage witchcraft and ungodliness among children, while in Britain the Harry Potter books received critical acclaim from the outset and they have become a huge, worldwide success. Now the same nutters are banning Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky, which won the prestigious Newbery Medal for children's fiction! And all because of the word "scrotum"! It's in the dictionary, you plonkers. It describes a normal piece of male anatomy (a dog's in this case). I thought American schools were supposed to be secular. Obviously not, when religious prudes run school libraries and can ban award-winning children's novels. Land of the Free? You're joking. Land of the Prude, more like it.

Renoir Landscapes

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Garden in La Rue Cortot, Montmartre (1876)Here's another of my bell-ringers: Nature. On Wednesday 21 February, London's National Gallery opens a major exhibition: Renoir Landscapes 1865 - 1883. This exhibition boasts 70 Renoir landscapes. It continues until 20 May 2007. As you know, Coxsoft Art is sceptical about Impressionism, but the example shown is a gem. Admission is expensive: £12 adults, £11 silver surfers. A measly quid off! But there is an extra senior concession every Tuesday, 2.30-6pm, £6. Thanks!

Virtual Reality Therapy

University of Southern California - Two scenes from therapeutic virtual reality scenarios (I.C. enhanced 2007)Here's news which rang three of Coxsoft Art's bells: art, computers and psychology. Researchers at the University of Southern California have used video-games-quality virtual-reality scenarios to help US soldiers returned from Iraq overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. (In 2004 a study at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found that nearly one in eight US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reported some symptoms of PTSD. Symptoms might include depression, nightmares and flashbacks.) The new hi-tech therapy system combines animated graphics with sounds, smells and a chair that can rock the subject as though he is in a vehicle. The difference between this system and a top arcade game is that a therapist guides the "player's" experiences, from easy situations to traumatic ones. Initial results on a handful of volunteers look promising. The idea of persuading psychiatric patients to relive traumatic experiences in a safe environment is the conventional wisdom of psychotherapy. However, studies of holocaust survivors in Israel have contradicted this idea: patients with the best therapeutic outcomes were those who could forget!

Supermosque Rejected

The Cross of St George, which forms part of the City of London logoThis may be bad news for people who enjoy exotic architecture, but it's great news for Londoners: Ruth Kelly is expected to block plans for a huge "supermosque" to hold 70,000 fanatics which was to be built next to the venue for the Olympic Games 2012. The last thing we need is another hotbed of lunacy and terrorism. So far, politically correct BBC News has ignored this story, which was published in the Sunday Telegraph. Click the title link to read it.

Banksy Rat in Alaska!

Time for Tea by Steve Brice, Aaron Costic, Heather Brown and Joan Brice, photo © Patrick J. Endres (2006)I'm kidding. This cute little mouse with the spoon - Time for Tea - was an entry in last year's World Ice Art Championships multiblock competition, carved by Steve Brice, Aaron Costic, Heather Brown and Joan Brice and photographed by Patrick J. Endres. To browse photos of last year's ice sculptures or to buy a print, click HERE. The World Ice Art Championships 2007 in Fairbanks, Alaska, begins on 27 February. Over 1500 tons of ice are harvested for this event! You can visit the finished sculptures from 10 to 25 March. Click the title link for details.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Taningia danae Art Show

Taningia danae's attack light showWhat's this? The latest light exhibition at Tate Modern? More wasted electricity? No. This is the spectacular light display of a giant squid (Taningia danae) which it uses to mesmerize its prey before it strikes. The picture is from video footage taken in deep waters off Chichijima Island in the North Pacific. Click the title link to see the show.

BP Portrait Award 2007

BP logoQuick reminder: the closing date for registration to enter the annual BP Portrait Award 2007 is Sunday 4 March. This competition is open to all artists aged 18 and over. The top prize is £25,000. Click the title link to fill in the application form. Let's hope we don't have any idiots splashing oil about when the winners go on show later this year!

Year of the Golden Pig!

A Golden PigNot only is it the year of the pig, but also it's the Year of the Golden Pig! Wow! This happens only once every 60 years! So what does this indicate? Good luck, prosperity and turbulence. Safe predictions: a baby boom in Chinatown and a rise in natural disasters and conflict. Muslims will be battier than usual, because they don't like pigs. (Seriously, in areas where there is a mixed Chinese/Muslim population, the year of the porker needs to be celebrated as diplomatically as possible, otherwise it's the usual riots and mayhem! For God's sake!)

Saturday, 17 February 2007

SWLA's Shameful Ageism

Vicky White ASWLA - BenjaminThe Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) has put out an invitation for young artists inspired by nature to apply for SWLA bursaries worth up to £1000. Applicants must be aged from 15 to 30 inclusive. This is rampant ageism! Discriminating against people because of their age is supposed to be illegal in the UK. I'm sure there are many talented amateur painters over 30 who would love a chance like this. Write to the Federation of British Artists, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD to complain about SWLA's disgusting age discrimination. If you're a pesky whippersnapper who wants to apply for a bursary, write "SWLA Bursary" at the top of the address and enclose A4 SAE. Deadline 1 August 2007.

Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George - Fates 2005Don't laugh. It's Gilbert and George at Tate Modern giving a two-finger salute to mad Muslim bombers. I can remember when these two buffoons hung about in art galleries and called themselves "living sculptures". Since then they've developed their own artistic style - a chunky stained-glass window look - which BBC TV copied for a recent advert for Swan Lake. (Hadn't you noticed?) It looks like they're bucking for sainthood. Do saints give two-finger salutes? Ask the Pope. He's the one who's supposed to have a direct telephone link to God. The show opened on Thursday and continues until 7 May 2007. Admission: £10, concessions £8 (a measly 20% discount). Forget it. These prices are a joke!

Chinese New Year

Wheeeeeeeee!Since Mayor Red Ken's propaganda sheet The Londoner led me up the garden path about the start of Chinese New Year 2007, I've been wondering why celebrations in the UK begin on 18 February, which isn't the night of the new moon here. Thanks to the Feng Sui Web (a UK website for all those white middle-class Brits who currently follow this fad, which has something to do with flower arranging and deep breathing) I can tell you that the Chinese in Britain have got it wrong too! The second New Moon in Britain is this evening: 17 February. Trust Coxsoft Art and the Feng Sui Web: you're all a day late! Happy Year of the Porker.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Virgin Dragon Update

Komodo baby IrwinMeet Irwin, one of the five baby Komodo dragons hatched at Chester Zoo last month from eggs laid by a virgin female (see my post on 24 January 2007). A CBBC Newsround competition asked children to suggest names for the hatchling Komodos. The winner chose Irwin, after Steve Irwin, the famous Australian conservationist who was killed by a stingray last year. Good choice. It suits the little fellow.

Face of Fashion

Combined Photos, left: Desiree Dolron - Xteriors XIII; right: Kate Moss poster for Face of FashionYesterday, the National Portrait Gallery in London opened its new show Face of Fashion, which continues until 28 May 2007. Not being a rich fatso with a large carbon footprint, I've never been able to figure out why Kate Moss's skinny haggard waif attained supermodel status. Maybe she's a nice girl to work with. I've combined Kate's photo (right) with a brilliant photographic portrait by Desiree Dolron: Xteriors XIII, on exhibition at Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair, which the King of Spain opened recently (CLICK). As Brit. lager louts don't visit museums on their hols in Spain, I'll say no more about that. Just compare the Face of Fashion with Desiree's gorgeous, aloof, anonymous model, a classical portrait by an artist with a camera.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

PayPal's Token Security

PayPal's Security TokenPayPal intends to introduce a security token, purportedly to stop fraud, but this looks no more than a smart business deal to me. PayPal agreed to buy one million of these tokens - made by Verisign - following eBay's acquisition of Verisign's payment portal business. And PayPal is owned by eBay! Non-business customers will be charged $5 (£2.57) for this hi-tech doodad, which changes its six-digit numbers every 30 seconds and will probably confuse most clients, but will be rapidly sussed out by cyber criminals, if they haven't already done so. PayPal clients are a major target for phishing scams (CLICK for a useful example). It is important for eBay - the firm that proves the adage "Let the buyer beware" - to make its customers feel secure, whether they are or not. Here's a headline from a Canadian website, sent to me by sculptress Julianna Yau (CLICK), who runs the Bogus Art Fairs website (see my links), "Buyers beware: Phony Norval Morrisseau paintings have been selling on eBay" (CLICK). Do you fancy lashing out $5 (£2.57) for the illusion of security? Wouldn't it be more reassuring to know that fake, stolen or non-existent articles can't be offered for sale on eBay?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Paris Art Staff Strike

Musee d'Orsay - Falguiere's The Winner of the Cockfight (1862-64) in the foregroundAttendants at the Louvre museum and Musee d'Orsay, both in Paris, have gone on strike. They claim that protecting famous masterpieces, such as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, against crowds of tourists puts them under so much stress that they deserve a bonus. Good point. What a nerve-racking job! Click the title link for more information.

Jerwood Rubbish

Maria Glyka - Er...Cardboard Box?Just to prove Coxsoft Art's point that art graduates have the cheek to churn out any rubbish their meagre talent suggests to them, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation presents its 30 prize-winning Jerwood Contemporary Painters at Jerwood Space, Union Street, London, SE1, beginning tomorrow and ending on 31 March 2007. Each of these pathetic, no-talent graduates won £1000. Maria Glyka's cardboard box is about as good as it gets! If you don't believe me, click the title link. Is it any wonder that we tend to give "contemporary art" the raspberry? The problem is we have too many art colleges and not enough talented students to fill them. At a time when my cash-strapped local hospital is threatened with closure, I am furious that public money is wasted on trash like this.

Pete Panse Latest

Caravaggio - Amor Victorious (detail)Today, recordonline.com from the Times Herald-Record published a letter by Jerry Fisher, father of a Middletown High School student who received a $60,000 scholarship after following Pete Panse's advice to enroll in a figure-drawing class. Mr Fisher's letter - headlined Middletown art teacher was vilified for trying to help - repudiates the unwarranted attacks on Pete's integrity and is well worth reading (title link). Why did I choose to illustrate this post with a detail from Caravaggio's Amor Victorious? It is Valentine's Day. So we need a Cupid, and this is one of the finest Cupids ever painted. How can an artist paint an anatomical study of this quality unless he has a naked sitter? And practice makes perfect. This is what life classes are all about. Prudes who don't understand this should not be in charge of high schools that offer art courses. (For comparisons of two Cupids by Bouguereau and two St John the Baptists as a Child by Caravaggio click HERE).

UK Nest Box Day

BBC artist/s - Give a Bird a Home (2007) plus photo of Baby Blue TitDid you receive a dozen red roses today at a cost of anything between £3.50 and £70? Hard luck. Neither did I. Not even a card! So forget Valentine's Day and think about homeless birds. Today is also National Nest Box Day, which is the start of National Nest Box Week 2007. BBC Local Radio stations across the UK are hosting nest box making events this weekend, with free bird box kits. Click the title link to visit the British Trust for Ornithology website, where you can learn how to make a nest box and take the Nest Box Challenge. Have you noticed the "kiddie" drawing to the left of the baby bluetit? If I know anything about commercial art, ten professional artists worked on that picture until the twit in charge was satisfied it looked suitably kiddiefied!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Bollywood Retro

V&A Bollywood Retro ad. (2007)Sign of the times. Click the title link.

Feminist Schoolgirls

Beatriz Martins-Paes (18)In Shilpa Shetty v Plebs (20 January 2007) I wrote that Feminism has unleashed violence and knife-crime in British schoolgirls. In case you thought I was kidding, here are two items from yesterday's news. "A schoolgirl (14) who kicked a 12-year-old girl unconscious on a bus while robbing her has been given a 10 month detention and training order..." The victim's eye socket was broken during the attack (CLICK). "A 15-year-old girl has been stabbed at Liverpool Lime Street railway station ... Two 15-year-old girls were arrested..." (CLICK). The English rose pictured above is Beatriz Martins-Paes, who knifed to death Charlotte Polius (16) at her birthday party in Ilford - my home town - last April. In fairness to the English Tourist Board, I must point out that our Feminist schoolgirls don't kill too many tourists....

Monday, 12 February 2007

GRAMMY for Joan Baez

Joan BaezIt must be the season for awards. Coxsoft Art doesn't usually take much notice of the Granny Awards - I'm too old to need a granny -, but I couldn't help noticing that Joan Baez won a lifetime achievement award on Sunday. Blast from the past! I saw her first one-woman show on BBC TV in the 1960's and goosebumps ran down my spine. Wow! I bought all her LP's. Then she formed an "easy listening" backing group with an Hawaiian guitar and I lost interest. Can't stand Hawaiian guitars. She looks amazingly good after all those years!

Andy Goldsworthy's Earth

Andy Goldsworthy - Stone River at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CaliforniaDid you know that you can view Andy Goldsworthy's more monumental works from space, thanks to Google Earth? I've been a fan of Andy's environmental art for years. This unique British artist manages to be modern, innovative and aesthetically pleasing, which is more than can be said for many contemporary artists. His Stone River shown here (a 400-foot-long wall) was built with stone from buildings damaged in the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. Click the title link to see more.

Cars Wins ANNIE

ANNIE Award and Cars clip (I.C. 2007)Hot on the heels of Happy Feet's BAFTA comes news that Cars roared past the chequered flag to snatch Best Animated Feature at the 34th ANNIE Awards in California yesterday. Ironically, the animated feature film which won most awards (5) was the DreamWorks/Aardman co-production Flushed Away. For those of you who don't know, DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animations recently agreed to go their separate ways. DreamWorks sees the future as digital, while Aardman wants to continue with its claymation artistry, and quite right too. Click the title link to see all the ANNIE winners and to learn the names of the top artists. Click HERE if you're interested in Sir Ian McKellan's Toad (Flushed Away).

Floppy Cleavage Award

Toni Colette at BAFTA Ceremony (2007)And the Coxsoft Art Award for Floppiest Cleavage at the BAFTA's 2007 goes to Toni Colette. For God's sake, woman, put them away before you do yourself a mischief! (Let's hope her plucky escort was standing by with plenty of Vicks Vapour Rub at the ready.)

BAFTA for Happy Feet

Still from Happy FeetAs I'm sure you know, the ceremony for the British Academy Film & TV Awards 2007 took place in London's Royal Opera House yesterday evening. News cameras zoomed in on the actors and actresses who won or lost or sported the best cleavage. Did you notice amid all this coverage and undercoverage that the Animated Feature Film Award went to Happy Feet? Congratulations to the dancing penguin and those media-ignored animators who brought the little cutie to life. Forget the artistes. What about the real artists?

Yes, but is it Art?

Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler - Camouflaged History (1991)The most exciting art news over the last few days was a Cambridge student's receiving an £80 on-the-spot fine for building a 4ft high snow phallus. Passing fuzz noticed the rude artwork amid a crowd of merry onlookers and their smirking cherubs, dished out the fine and ordered immediate emasculation (CLICK). I know it's a poor substitute for a 4ft high snow phallus, but I thought you might like to see this rather strange exhibit from an alleged art show which opened in the USA yesterday: America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler. It's at the Austin Museum of Art Downtown until 6 May 2007. So, is it art or merely fanciful exterior decoration? Click the title link for details, but only if you're on broadband. The AMOA webpage takes about 10 minutes to load over a 56K modem and isn't worth the wait.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

I.C. - Anna Nicole Smith as Marilyn Monroe (2007)Not an arts story, but Man gets such a hammering in the Feminist media - for instance, the BBC's accepting the Thatcherite lie that divorced dads shirk their parental duties - that Coxsoft Art feels compelled to applaud the male altruism of all those wonderful fellows who are accepting paternity for the late Anna Nicole Smith's five-month-old daughter: Anna's partner and lawyer, Howard K. Stern; her ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead; and Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt. Well done, chaps! In fact I feel so overwhelmed by all this male altruism that I can't help raising my own hand to the noble deed. I mean, the poor little mite needs a dad. Okay, I admit it! (Blush.)

Dr Who in The Beano

Dr Who in Beano Comic Relief Edition (2007)Dr Who will appear in a special edition of the UK children's comic The Beano - home to Dennis The Menace and his pooch Gnasher - to raise money for BBC's charity extravaganza Comic Relief, which produces the worst TV evening of the year. We're assured that this loss of an evening's entertainment at the licence-payers' expense is for good causes. African warlords? The Nigerian Mafia? Who knows? We Brits are a trusting lot; that's why international criminals and our own politicians find it so easy to rip us off. The Beano charity edition with the first BeanoMAX monthly - a mere coincidence - will go on sale on 15 February. BBC switchoff night is 16 March.