Monday, 30 April 2007

Lates Rather Late

Lates LogoWatch out for the Lates logo if you fancy visiting one of London’s top arts venues, including the V&A, after hours. The Lates website (title link) isn't properly set up yet. It has a home page with the Lates logo and a pdf file to download. Pathetic! I'll leave the pdf to you. They're a waste of computer memory.

Portrait Painters Show

Brendan Kelly RP - Sir Viv RichardsThe Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition opened at The Mall Galleries in London last Thursday and continues until 13 May 2007. I hope the general standard is better than that of Brendan Kelly's dire painting of Sir Viv Richards, which seems to have been copied from a badly distorted photo. Take photography lessons, Brendan. Nobody except you sticks their camera lens within a foot of a subject's nose. Admission £2.50, concessions £1.50.

Xu Beihong's Lady

Xu Beihong - Portrait of a Lady (1939)I might as well continue the Chinese art theme while it's hot, all thanks to Red Ken calling the immigration officers at Heathrow Airport "racist"! This Portrait of a Lady by Xu Beihong (1939) will be up for grabs at Christie’s Hong Kong 20th Century Chinese Art Sale on 27 May. I prefer his Slave and Lion, which Christie's Hong Kong flogged for US $7 million last year (CLICK).

Zero Tolerance in Wales

Hazel Mercer (2007)Banksy better not try his stuff in Wales, because it's zero tolerance for graffiti artists across the border. Two 16-year-old girls - Hazel Mercer (photo) and her friend Charli Lyth - have recently been fined £80 for chalking hearts and rainbows on a pavement in Bangor, Gwynedd. Hazel's dad is furious with the fuzz. He's threatening to make an official complaint and go to court. Thinks: Banksy is rich enough to afford an £80 fine. Hey, Banksy, the Hay Festival is coming to Wales in May. Go for it!

Zhang Hongtu

Zhang Hongtu - Last BanquetThanks to a Chinese tipoff, Coxsoft Art can now reveal the identity of the artist who painted Chairman Mao and his 12 Mao clones in The Last Supper: Zhang Hongtu (Saturday's blog). His painting is actually called Last Banquet. Click the title link to visit his MoMao website.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Scribble A Squirrel

Neil Kinnock - Scribble A Squirrel (2007)Neil Kinnock, artist! We know him as ex-Labour leader and more recently as ... er ... an official in Europe, but now his true talent is revealed. His Scribble a Squirrel is one of many celebrity contributions to Anglesey's Red Squirrel event to raise cash and red squirrel awareness through an online auction of celebrity-drawn red squirrels. The funds raised by the auction in May will go to red squirrel conservation projects in Wales. Brilliant idea! For those of you from foreign parts, including most "Londoners", the red squirrel is the UK's indigenous and much loved cutie, which has been pushed to the edge of extinction by grey squirrel invaders (a bit like the Cockney Sparrer, really). To visit The Friends of the Angelsey Red Squirrels, click HERE.

Strikes & Dates at NG

Jan Molenaer - Two Boys and a Girl Making Music (1629) enhanced detail"The National Gallery regrets that there will be significant room closures on Tuesday 1 May, due to strike action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)." And we now know the dates for the Take One Picture schools exhibition in Room 1: 30 April to 1 July, admission free (CLICK).

Trojan Horses!

Giandomenico Tiepolo - The Trojan Horse (late 1700's)The webmaster of a multi-award-winning website recently applied for another award and was shocked when he received a reply warning him that "Symantec Antivirus detected a Trojan Horse at your index page"! The following details were supplied:
Risk Level 1: Very Low
Discovered: June 8, 2001
Updated: February 13, 2007 11:50:11 AM
Type: Trojan Horse
Infection Length: varies
Systems Affected: Windows 2000, 95, 98, Me, NT, XP.
The webmaster checked the source code at his website and found two lines of code that shouldn't have been there. They were directly under the code for his hit counter and bore the name "counter". So this trojan masquerades as a hit counter! It was easy enough to remove, but a week later it returned! In the meantime, the webmaster had subjected his own PC to a barrage of checks to insure that it wasn't infected. All clear. So, the trojan had been inserted via the World Wide Web, not via the webmaster's PC. We like to think that the code in our webspace is secure. It isn't. It's under attack! BBC News (title link) reports on this worrying new trend. If you know the "counter" trojan, please email me and I will forward details to the webmaster concerned.

Er...Art Joke?

Anonymous Artist - Er...Here's something else I found on the web while trawling for a good kowtowing graphic for Red Ken. Hey, Google, is this really how you present yourself to Chinese surfers or is it an artist's joke at your expense?

Ken Defends Commies

I.C. - Mayor Red Ken Livingstone and Chinese Flag (2007)As I couldn't find a good enough picture of kowtowing, I was forced to make my own graphic. I dedicate it to all those unsung heroes (and heroines) of the immigration staff at Heathrow Airport who upset Red Ken's fat-cat commie mates by refusing to kowtow to them. Brits don't, Ken. It's not the British way. So we'll leave it to you to kowtow all you want and give 'em a rousing chorus of "We'll keep the red flag flying here." By the way, Ken, Coxsoft Art News is blocked by The Great Firewall of China. That's a far more despicable offence than illegal cockle picking.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

China Gets Religion

Anonymous Chinese Artist - Mao Zedong in The Last SupperWell, it had to happen, I suppose. Here's the new religion in China, depicted by an anonymous Chinese artist's lampoon of Leonardo da Vinci's famous work: Mao Zedong in The Last Supper. I found this in Letters From China, while browsing the web for a suitable picture of kowtowing to represent Red Ken's vision of how our "racist" immigration officers should greet his commie buddies when they visit London.

Friday, 27 April 2007

William Morris News

William Morris GalleryThe petition to safeguard the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum has collected 9,000 signatures. To maintain pressure on the council, the Victorian Society plans a protest rally in Walthamstow on 1 May at 11am (details to be sent by email). Another rally on 5 May will gather at Vestry House Museum at 12 noon. For details and to sign the petition - if you haven't already done so - click the title link. See also links to correspondence in The Guardian on the disingenuousness and ignorance of Councillor Naz Sarkar (Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Culture)! Where did this clueless clot come from and how did he get himself elected? Whatever political party he belongs to should drop him like a hot potato, because he is going to lose the next election for you.

Indy ReArtFormation

Peggy Smith - Las Vegan Showgirl (2007)Here's an idea for London Mayor Red Ken, who's always pretending to be Green. Indianapolis USA has launched its First Annual Recycled Art Competition to find the best artwork made of recycled rubbish: ReArtFormation. Visitors to the Indygov website are encouraged to vote for their favourite work of rubbish, which will receive the Viewer's Choice Award. The example shown has a nice play on words: Las Vegan Showgirl (2007). Voting closes at noon today (US noon). So click the title link fast.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Nocturne Over the Tyne

Nayan Kulkarni - Nocturne (2007)Launched today, this is Britain's biggest work of light art: Nocturne by Nayan Kulkarni, 360 of those foreign metre thingies (allegedly longer then three football pitches) of low-energy LED lights that will illuminate the QEII Metro Bridge, which spans the River Tyne from Newcastle to Gateshead, for at least the next 15 years. What happens then? If China and America don't stop burning up the planet, Britain will become the Saraha Desert and we'll all be fried to a crisp. So don't worry about it. This jumbo Christmas-tree light display, which ripples with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colours, cost a mere £300,000. A snip. Anything to upstage Antony Gormley's Angel of The North. It will be interesting to see how many traffic accidents it causes.

Banksy Up And Up

Banksy - Self-portraitYesterday in London, Bonhams auctioned four Banksy artworks, two of which broke the old record price for a Banksy: £102,000. Space Girl And Bird (title link) went under the hammer for £288,000 - 20 times its estimated value - and a jokey Self-portrait (shown) fetched £198,000 from a US buyer.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice Poster (detail)Er ... yes ... girl in miniskirt and ginger wig discovers ... er ... cloaca machine exhibits ... I think ... er ... maybe ... er ... urban fox scent posts? Anyway, it's all good girlie fun from eight art graduates breathless with the excitement of having gained a brand new diploma. And it's free, so you can't grumble. Find Sugar and Spice at the Vegas Gallery in Shoreditch, East London, from 27 April to 20 May 2007.

Islam Persecutes Nuba

Leni Riefenstahl - Art of the Nuba: Face PaintingWhile researching my post on Leni Riefenstahl (CLICK) I discovered the plight of the Nuba, those tribal people she photographed so beautifully. The Nuba were a million strong, speaking more than 50 languages or dialects, living their picturesque lives in and around the Nuba Mountains on the plains of central Sudan (CLICK). Since the 1960's, the jackboot of Islam has descended on the Nuba. Their lands have been stolen. Many of their warriors joined freedom fighters struggling against the Islamic Sudanese Government. Their villages have been bombed, their women forced into concentration camps and subjected to gang-rape by Sudanese soldiers (CLICK). A government ban on foreign journalists has kept its Nazi-style persecution of the Nuba from world attention. It also refused to allow aid agencies to help the Nuba. Recently, Ethiopia has been drawn into the chaos and bloodshed. To learn more, visit Nuba Survival (title link) set up by Suleiman Rahhal, a leading campaigner for the Nuba (CLICK). In the UK we must stop regarding Islam as some fruitcake religion with a few terrorists and see it for the Fascist political doctrine that it is: the gravest threat to freedom since Communism. Islamaphobia? Try telling that to the Nuba!

Alan Johnston

BBC - Alan Johnston banner (2007)The BBC invites bloggers to put this Alan Johnston banner on their blogs to show their support for the kidnapped correspondent.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Scarlett Hooft Graafland

Vanishing Traces (2006) © Scarlett Hooft GraaflandWho? Scarlett? I guess her mum was swept away by Gone With The Wind. The Michael Hoppen Gallery (Contemporary Floor) at 3 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TD, is giving Dutch photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland (no kidding!) her first solo show in the UK, until 1 June 2007. Her surrealist photos were taken in the salt deserts of Bolivia. The "pearls" in this picture are balloons. Worth a look, if you're passing. The Gallery website (title link) is so ghastly that you're better off reading the ArtDaily blurb (CLICK).

Being Beauteous

Russian Beauty (c.1989)I thought beauty contests were politically incorrect, something to be sneered at by all right-thinking women in bovver boots, but London's White Space Gallery - not known for the beauteousness of its contemporary art - has come up trumps with an exhibition curated by Anya Stonelake. Being Beauteous is a "wonderfully thought-out group show" (The Guardian) of photos of Russian beauties strutting their stuff, until 2 June 2007.

50 Artists' Self-Portraits

Velázquez - Self-PortraitThe current exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery is Artists' Self-Portraits from the Uffizi: Masterpieces from Velázquez to Chagall, which opened on Sunday and continues until 15 July 2007. All fifty exhibits have been borrowed from the Uffizi Gallery's Vasari Corridor to give us our first ever opportunity to view them in the UK. (If you haven't read Vasari's Lives of The Artists, do so. It is the source book for art historians, but don't let that deter you. Vasari's style is journalistic scandal mongering à la News of the World. Great fun.)

18th c. British Childhood

Sir Thomas Lawrence - The Children of Lord Cavendish (enhanced)Brits are so used to portraits of children painted by some of our greatest old masters that we tend to forget what an innovation children's portraiture was in the 18th century. A recently opened exhibition in the Städel Museum Annex, Germany, acknowledges our lead in this field: The Changing Face of Childhood: British Children's Portraits and their Influence in Europe. And here's a blurb worth reading: "The recently purchased painting The Children of Lord Cavendish by Sir Thomas Lawrence, a masterpiece in the Städel collection, provided the occasion for this exhibition on the evolution of the portrait of children in eighteenth-century England and its spread to the European continent." (Title link.) Germans can view these paintings until 15 July 2007. Now the best news: this exhibition is coming to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London: 1 August to 4 November 2007 (CLICK).

Monday, 23 April 2007

Nuit des Musées

V&A Announcement (2007)They say a picture is worth a thousand words. All I can add to this 9Kb GIF is: Click the title link.

Billy Cox Mural Update

Anonymous Graffiti Artist - Billy Cox Mural (2007)If you didn't read my Life-cheap-in-Lambeth post, a copy of which I sent to Lambeth Council, click HERE first. Now the update. Lambeth Council has postponed its offensive plan to obliterate the Billy Cox mural in Fenwick Place, following a meeting between officials and residents last week. The Council will now conduct a survey of residents to gauge their opinions on the mural, the alternative being a permanent memorial in a nearby play area. It's good to see Lambeth taking Democracy seriously. Too many councillors in the UK regard Democracy as some rigmarole to go through every five years. That's why so many of us don't vote at local elections. We write stroppy emails and sign petitions instead. Voting just gets you a party; campaigning may get you the result you want.

TV's Dirty Secrets

GMTV LogoAn exposé by BBC TV's Panorama programme claims that "Callers to premium-rate phone competitions on the GMTV breakfast show have been defrauded out of millions of pounds." So what else is new? Coxsoft Art has stated its view on premium-rate number scams (CLICK) and has called for premium-rate telephone numbers to be made illegal. GMTV has suspended all phone-in quizzes and has responded with the usual bull about not having breached regulators' codes. Maybe not, but it is still immoral to rip off the punters in this way. You can view the Panorama exposé TV's Dirty Secrets tonight on BBC1 at 8.30pm.

Maharajah fetches £1.7m

John Gibson - Bust of Maharajah Duleep Singh (1859-60)Here's proof of a booming Indian economy. Last Thursday, at Bonhams' Indian and Islamic Sale in London, a marble bust of Maharajah Duleep Singh by British sculptor John Gibson, which had been estimated to be worth £25,000 to £35,000, fetched a staggering £1.7 million! What a shame that the nouveau riche of India are allowed to reap the rewards of child slave labour (CLICK). Think of this next time you watch a Bollywood movie.

Happy St George's Day

Coxsoft Art couldn't let St George's Day pass without showing you another of Paolo Uccello's ridiculous dragons - love that curly tail - being slain by the patron saint of England: Saint George. This one is in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. My favourite is in London's National Gallery. The rudimentary perspective is Uccello's major contribution to Western Art. Isn't it time we English were allowed a national holiday on St George's Day? Click the title link to sign a petition.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Goldsworthy Archive

Andy Goldsworthy - Seeds and Iris Leaves floating on a PondHere's news for fans of the Brit. artist Andy Goldsworthy: Glasgow University has embarked on a major project to digitize Andy's artwork. Volume 1 of the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue, which shows his work from 1976 to 1986, is now online. Some of these early works have never been published before. Click the title link.

Iffy Princess

The Amarna PrincessA father and son have been charged in connection with the sale of an iffy Egyptian statue - The Amarna Princess - to Bolton Council for £440,000 (about $1m) in 2003. The twits of Bolton Council thought they were buying a 3,300-year-old antiquity! Chuckle, chuckle. One glance should tell you this is a third-rate, post-Rodin piece of frippery. So what happened to "Let the buyer beware"? And why the hell did Bolton councillors waste ratepayers' money on an Egyptian antiquity, real or fake?

Christopher's Epoch

Christopher Campbell - The Two Dirty Stags of Chingford (2007)StART SPACE at 150 Columbia Road, London, recently opened an exhibition of paintings by Christopher Campbell - Epoch -, which continues until 3 June 2007. "Epoch is a series of paintings that follow a theme of ambiguous storytelling." (Translation: the artist can't tell a clear story.) "They depict England awash in a pseudo apocalyptic environment." What's "pseudo" about England's apocalyptic environment? It's one disaster after another. Today the Scots are awash with sewage around the Firth of Forth (CLICK). Blurb aside, Christopher Campbell is a talented artist, and his wild animals in suburban settings are eerie.

eBay Apologises

Angry SmileyIf it's any consolation, eBay has apologised for having given its UK sellers short notice of its change to listings in the USA. (See my posting last Wednesday: Sales Lost on eBay UK.) Its advice remains the same: register separately for eBay US, maintain two accounts and pay two listing fees. So what happens when two bidders "win" the item you've put up for auction? Ask eBay. Hopefully you know your market. If you gain most of your sales through eBay UK, stick with that. If sales mainly come from the USA, abandon eBay UK and set up a US account.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Banksy Bananas Gone!

Shock! Horror! Another Banksy artwork has been painted over by Transport For London idiots. I thought they were supposed to receive art training, so they didn't make this mistake again. Maybe that was British Snail. Or Railtrack. There are so many companies involved in our railway system, it's no wonder accidents happen. But this was no accident. It was corporate vandalism. So look your last upon John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson advertising Fair Trade bananas. People at Transport For London should be sacked for this desecration, starting with its insensitive clod of a spokesman. Click the title to read his drivel.

Thumbs Down For Vista

Windows XPDell - the second-largest PC seller in the world, with a 15.2% share of the market - has resurrected Windows XP by popular demand! Almost 11,000 users voted to keep Windows XP. This is a major smack in the eye for Microsoft's new platform Vista, which has been beset by incompatibility problems due to the arrogance of Microsoft, which thinks everyone should fall in line with its software, including Internet Service Providers! Dell announced at the end of March that it will offer the Linux operating system as an alternative to Vista (70% of 100,000 respondents to a Dell survey said they would use Linux: CLICK). So, Dell customers will soon have two alternatives to unpopular Vista.

Jane Austin Doesn't Sell

Ozias Humphry - Jane Austen (1788 or 1789) known as The Rice PortraitOzias Humphry's portrait of Jane Austen failed to sell at Christie's New York auction yesterday. What a bummer! Hard cheese, Christie's. Haw, haw, haw. Seriously, folks, this is a surprise, because the painting is accepted by the family as a portrait of Jane Austen, so the smear campaign mounted against it by the National Portrait Gallery should have increased its value, rather than putting buyers off. NPG's reason? Its experts are persnickety about Jane's costume. Don't they realise that women made their own clothes in those days and cobbled together fashions they fancied? Sue the plonkers, Henry.

Countryfile Photo Comp

Sheep in Spring (a 2006 finalist, photographer not credited by BBC)The BBC Countryfile Photography Competition is back again, This year's theme is the cliché "All creatures great and small". Groan! Photos "should be taken in the UK and have the natural world or the countryside at their heart". Er ... landfill sites? ... wind farms? ... fly-tipping ... unwanted and useless immigrants - legal and illegal - despoiling our parks and woodlands with their makeshift campsites? Summer hasn't begun, but already endangered species have been fried to a crisp on nature reserves in England and Wales. The dramatic decline of London's sparrow population correlates with the introduction of mobile phone masts (CLICK). Come on, Countryfile. Our land is in such dire straits that a rosy hymn to disappearing UK wildlife is out of touch. Time for a hard-hitting theme about conservation.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

A Passion for British Art

Here's an exhibition which will be of interest on both sides of the Atlantic: Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art recently opened at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, which "houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom". The exhibition continues at Yale until 29 July, when 150 of the greatest masterpieces in the collection will travel to London's Royal Academy of Arts for a major exhibition from 20 October 2007 until 27 January 2008. "This will be the first and only time that certain important works ... will ever leave the Center." Click the title link for details.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Leni Riefenstahl on 4

Leni Riefenstahl - Nuba Girls Dancing: Warriors Feign IndifferenceNo apologies for showing you another of Leni Riefenstahl's fabulous photos of Nuba tribal life. By sheer coincidence, BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week is Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl by Steven Bach, read by Kenneth Branagh, 16 to 20 April, 9.45am-10.00am, repeated at "00.30-00.45am" (er ... 12.30am?). To catch up on what you missed, click the title link.

Sales Lost on eBay UK

Smiley WeepingHave your art sales on eBay slumped recently? If so, this is due to UK entries no longer appearing on the US eBay website. Since February, Yanks need to do an "advanced" search to find items on eBay UK. The answer suggested by eBay is to have two eBay accounts and pay for two listing fees. Lousy advice, because you can't post the same item twice or you'll end up with two winners! Working Lunch (title link) will have a full discussion about the eBay problem on Friday.

First Thursdays

Time Out London First Thursdays logo (2007)For some reason best known to itself, Time Out is promoting the galleries and museums of East London by means of First Thursdays. Over 60 galleries and museums will stay open until 9pm on the first Thursday of every month, beginning on Thursday 3 May. Free art tours are promised. Tower Hamlets and Arts Council England are supporting this scheme. Click the title link for details.

The Right To Bear Arms

US Belt BucklesIn the aftermath of the appalling carnage at Virginia Tech caused by a lone gunman - 23-year-old student Cho Seung-hui from South Korea - it is too easy for Brits to say "change those stupid US gun laws". First we should remember the Hungerford massacre in 1987 (CLICK) and the Dunblane massacre in 1996 (CLICK). Then we must consider the American constitutional right to keep and bear arms. This right is so ingrained that it is virtually a patriotic duty to own a gun. The American flag, the bald-headed eagle and guns all go together (see the illustration of US belt buckles). In the USA it would probably be easier to ban sex than to ban guns! Finally we should consider that gun crime in Britain is on the increase, despite the restrictions brought in after the Hungerford massacre. Reliable figures are hard to come by, especially as the Home Office keeps massaging its statistics, but there seems to be a consensus that Britain's crime figures are not only worse than America's, but also the worse in Western Europe! Civitas claims Britain is "a seriously crime-infected and disintegrating society." So we are unfit to criticize.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Art at the British Museum

Exhibition Catalogue Cover showing John White's watercolour An Indian Chief (c.1585)Last Sunday, a fascinating art exhibition opened at the British Museum in London: A New World: England’s first view of America, which displays more than 70 watercolours by the Elizabethan artist John White as well as other exhibits. "Enthralling ... unmissable" squeals The Telegraph. "Staggering" thunders The Times. Staggering? I assume The Times' art critic must be about 10 years old, because a lot of John White's artwork will be familiar to any adult who has read books on early American History or the indigenous tribes that sold land to the settlers for a handful of beads. ("White Man big mug, because land belong to Great Spirit, not to Indian") White's drawings and watercolours are stock illustrations for such history books. Nevertheless, here they all are in one place - Room 5 - until 17 June 2007. Admission charge: £7, "concessions available". The Catalogue costs £25.

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl - Nuba Girl with Tribal ScarsYesterday, Bryan Ferry apologised for praising the "iconography" of the Nazi party. "I'm talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer..." he explained. It is sad that a cultured man must apologize for admiring the artistry of Leni Riefenstahl. That he described the Nazi rallies as "beautiful" was a gaffe. "Menacing" would have been a better choice of word, because we now know what those rallies would lead to: World War II, blizkrieg, slavery, concentration camps, extermination.
Leni Riefenstahl was never forgiven for making Hitler's propaganda film Triumph of the Will, but this was in 1934, before the world could begin to imagine the horrors Hitler would unleash, and that movie won the gold medal in Venice in 1935 and the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. Her magnificent film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which begins with a panning shot round a naked discus thrower, also won golds at Paris (1937) and Venice (1938) and in 1956 it was recognized as one of the world's ten best films. Ironically, this was the Olympic Games in which that great Afro-American athlete Jesse Owens got right up the Führer's nose by showing the Master Race how to win four gold medals and break 11 Olympic records!
Leni Riefenstahl was cleared of war crimes, but the stigma remained. Before you condemn anyone for admiring her multi-faceted talent - artist, dancer, actress, movie director, photographer - examine this charming, ennobling photo of a pretty girl bearing tribal scars. Leni lived with and befriended the Nuba people, hardly the behaviour of a Fascist. To read a concise illustrated biography, which includes a surprising photo of her with Mick Jagger, CLICK.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Professor of Games

The Thing cover art (Artist Unknown) Goldsmiths University in London has appointed William Latham as professor to head a new masters course in computer games. His UK computer firm developed The Thing (illustrated) and other hit games. Prof. Latham reckons "The games industry is worth more than Hollywood and television put together"! This new post-graduate course begins in Autumn 2007. Don't all rush at once.

Wildlife Budget Cuts

Tiger: a victim of Chinese folk remediesBad news for wildlife: Metropolitan Police budget cuts will reduce London's Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) by half, severely hampering its fight against wildlife crime. The savings will amount to a piddling £80,000 a year. How many millions of pounds did the last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease cost the UK? That terrible killer was imported with illegal bush meat from an endangered species! London is the capital of the global trade in illegal wildlife products. We need more wildlife police, not less. Click the title link to visit the World Wide Fund for Nature UK to send your protest to the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner.

Hockney on Turner

David Hockney - East Yorkshire LandscapeIt's a busy time for David Hockney. Not only will a handful of his latest paintings be on display at Tate Britain in June, but also he is helping to curate the Tate's major exhibition of Turner's watercolours, with 165 paintings, including The Blue Rigi. The BP Summer Exhibition: Hockney on Turner Watercolours is due to open on 11 June 2007 and will continue until 3 February 2008. It's free! Unmissable at that price, whatever Hockney says about Turner (CLICK).

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Criminal Cashback Scam

Smiley pointing to £ sign (2007)I know artists who have been targets for this con trick: the Criminal Cashback Scam (from an article by Cliff D'Arcy in Motley Fool UK, 12 April 2007). This scam relies on the time it takes for banks to clear or "bounce" a cheque, usually five working days. The phoney buyer loves your artwork and sends you a cheque or banker's draft for a sum exceeding your asking price. Whoops! He's noticed his overpayment. Would you please bank the cheque and refund the excess by money transfer? Well, would you? If you do, your money transfer takes effect immediately and is irrevocable. A few days later the buyer's cheque bounces and you're stuck. There is no way you're going to get your money back.

Take One Picture at NG

Jan Molenaer - Two Boys and a Girl Making Music (1629) enhanced detailProspective visitors to London's National Gallery are warned that there will be "significant room closures" on Wednesday evenings, "due to strike action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)". What has this to do with the enhanced detail from Jan Molenaer’s Two Boys and a Girl making Music (1629)? Nothing, but it should be familiar to teachers who teach art to children at primary schools, because this painting was last year's inspiration for the National Gallery's Take One Picture educational scheme. An exhibition of work by pupils based on this painting will be shown in Room 1 this Spring (CLICK).

The Creationist Museum

A Creationist (Artist Unknown)Isn't it amazing how human beings can go on believing soppy ideas despite all the evidence to the contrary? Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, is one of those gullible people who take the biblical fable of Creation seriously, and he's spending a fortune building a Creationist museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, to promote this anachronistic absurdity. What, one wonders, can the exhibits possibly be? A statue of a woman who smiles and declares "Hi, folks; I'm Adam's rib; have a nice day"? A talking dinosaur that repeats "I was made by God only five days before he made Man"? Interminable reruns of The Greatest Story Ever Told with John Wayne drawling "Surely he was the son-a Gawd"? What about a stuffed ostrich with its head buried in the sand?

Saturday, 14 April 2007

An Emin Up The Pole

Tracey Emin posing in front of her flag (2007)BBC News seems to think that if it keeps calling Tracey Emin an "artist" for long enough we might start to believe it. No way. Her latest arrogant folly is a huge flag with the message One Secret is to Save Everything against a backdrop of swimming sperm. The sperm are needed to make this tripe risqué - it must be controversial - and the message is needed to give the impression that Ms Emin has something profound to say. She doesn't. And sperms are commonplace. This piffle - the second in a series of Southbank Centre commissions - will be up its flagpole until 31 July. The blurb is supplied by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, who lauded Ms Emin's "precise sense of paradox and ambiguity in subverting what might be a reassuring formula for happiness"! How's that go again, Ralph? You don't seriously expect any intelligent person to believe that bull, do you?

Coxsoft Art Wins Gold

Smirking SmileyCoxsoft Art is feeling smug, because it has won Cameradio's first ever Gold Award! And the criteria are challenging. Just for starters, your website must be compatible with IE7, Opera and Firefox browsers. (Click the title link for all the criteria.) I often come across forum messages from artists requesting feedback on their new websites. Truth is, if you want honest feedback, apply for a web award. Despite having won Cameradio's Gold Award, I received suggestions for a number of improvements.