Saturday, 30 June 2007

Zaha Hadid

Artist's Impression of the revised London 2012 Olympics Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid ArchitectsYesterday, London's Design Museum opened the largest exhibition it has ever held: Zaha Hadid: Architecture and Design, which continues until 25 November. This is the first major exhibition in the UK of Hadid’s work. If you missed the BBC London News item on Friday, you might be wondering who Zaha Hadid is. She designed the London 2012 Olympics aquatics centre (revised version illustrated), and her award-winning space-age designs are slowly covering the planet. Worth a peek, if the price is right.

Friday, 29 June 2007

William Morris Future

Today, Coxsoft Art attended a round-table discussion in Walthamstow on future developments at the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum, on the invitation of Lorna Lee, Head of Libraries, Museum and Gallery, and Clive Morton, Head of Culture and Leisure Services. Both officials convinced me they wish to protect and develop the Gallery and Museum - obviously within Council budgetary constraints and staff restructuring - and to encourage wider use of the facilities. They were adamant that the changes to opening times which will take effect in September are not the "thin end of the wedge" as protesters have feared. Opening at weekends is a logical step that should be more convenient for most visitors, and it will also allow the hosting of weekend events. Lots of promising ideas were discussed. We'll have to wait to see what transpires. I've illustrated previous blogs on this subject with Faith and Hope. Time for Charity.

Armed Forces Art

Caroline Lees - The Golden Temple, Amritsar (2007)As the Mall Galleries in London are home to the British Federation of Artists (FBA), a wide range of art societies exhibit their members' work at the Mall. From 3 July to 8 July it's the turn of the Armed Forces Art Society, which "encourages art amongst those with a past or present Armed Forces background". Judging by Caroline Lees' The Golden Temple, Amritsar, this exhibition is well worth a visit, especially as admission is free. Click the title link for more information.

Andy Capp Non-smoker!

Jane Robbins - Andy Capp (2007)Forget Italian masters. Here's the latest sculpture perpetrated in England, unveiled yesterday: Andy Capp by Shropshire sculptress Jane Robbins. Nothing like him! The cap is all wrong for a start. This monstrosity in bronze cost £30,000. And it's politically correct, which Andy never was: he's lost his cigarette! An Andy Capp without a fag in his mouth is like Wallace without Gromit, Batman without Robin, Gordon Brown without Tony Blair.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Verrocchio's David

Andrea del Verrocchio - The Young David (1473-75) I.C. enhancedHaving posted blogs on two of the four greatest statues of David, I might as well go the whole hog and make it a Davids' week. So here is my favourite: Andrea del Verrocchio's The Young David (1473-75). Why this one? For me, this statue of a slim youth wearing an antique battle kilt captures my mental image of the lad who brought down Goliath with a slingshot. Michelangelo's David is a huge Apollo - a Greco-Roman god to worship -, not a David. Donatello's David is an effete nude wearing a silly hat which would have got the raspberry from the troops. And Bernini's David, which is the most dynamic and powerful of the four, looks too mature and muscular (title link). All four are magnificent works of art, but for me Verrocchio sticks closest to the plot.

Michelangelo David Cast

Plaster Cast of Michelangelo's David in the V&A (cast date 1856)Having mentioned the V&A Museum's plaster cast of Michelangelo's David in Tuesday's post showing Donatello's David (CLICK), I thought you might like to see the Michelangelo cast. This graphic gives a better idea of the scale of David than do most photos of the original. To the left of the city gent with the brolly is a cast of another Michelangelo: Crouching Boy. Two Michelangelo masterpieces in one shot, taken in London! For more information, click the title link to read The Cast Courts by Malcolm Baker.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Age of Rembrandt

Frans Hals - Willem Coymans (1645) detailQuick reminder: Dutch Portraits: The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals opens at The National Gallery, London, today. Coxsoft Art previewed this exhibition in May (title link). Wednesday evenings after 6pm admission is half the adult price.

Potter 1st Ed. £9000

Cover of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone (1997)Yesterday, Bonhams in London sold a first edition hardback copy of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone for £9000. Only 500 copies were printed in 1997, which doesn't show a great deal of confidence on the part of its publisher Bloomsbury. How things have changed! The final Harry Potter novel is due out on 21 July (CLICK). Is it only ten years since this phenomenon began? Unbelievable!


Whoops!Is Allah trying to tell this man something? Like, if you're going to smuggle rockets to the Taliban, it's better to have a four-wheeled donkey cart than a two-wheeled one. And don't you just hate that helpful passerby who says, "Oi, mate, d'yer know yer donkey's up in the air?" (Found while searching for a statue of a boy riding a donkey, in Berlin. So much for Google image search!)

For Love of Sugar

Satch Hoyt - Olaudah Equiano (allegedly)St Paul's Cathedral in London is displaying some pathetic portraits of black heroes made out of sugar cubes: Olaudah Equiano (this graphic, according to a clueless BBC News), George Bridgewater, Ignatius Sancho, John Archer and Mary Seacole. For Love of Sugar continues until 12 July. The sugar is significant, folks, because slaves were bought to work Britain's sugar plantations in the West Indies. Ah! Shame the "artist", Satch Hoyt, didn't do his homework. His picture isn't of Olaudah Equiano, but is a copy of a portrait of an unknown black, possibly a servant. To see the real Olaudah Equiano CLICK. If you want to know how a clot gets work like this, click the title link to see his arty beret. Coxsoft Art's tip for unemployed artists: wear a French beret for your job interview and the boss will know you're the real thing!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Happy 150th, V&A

Donatello - David (Original or V&A Cast?)London's Victoria and Albert Museum, nowadays known as the V&A, is 150 years old today, and it's anniversary album has gone on display (CLICK). Of recent years, the V&A has been selling itself as a fashion design centre. Don't you believe it. The Museum holds everything from cast iron gates to netsuke. It's Cast Room is my favourite. Here you can find casts of Renaissance masterpieces, including Michelangelo's David and Donatello's David.

Gods and Guardians

A Chinese GodOn the subject of the British Museum's galleries (next blog down) currently showing in Room 91 is Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese religious paintings, until 22 July 2007. This free exhibition explores "the interplay of different religions throughout Chinese history." It's best to abandon your own personal god before you visit this exhibition, if you can. (Did you know that Mankind - possibly with some help from Womankind - has created 2500 gods over the centuries? There is no evidence that any of these fantasies ever created a single human.)

Brit. Museum Ethnic Art

Kaipel Ka - Painted Metal Shield (Note: Superman)If you're interested in ethnic art, such as Kaipel Ka's painted metal shield, the British Museum's Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas is the place to visit. Entry to the British Museum is free, except for those big one-off exhibitions that draw in the crowds. Believe me, there is enough in that building to keep you gawking for a month without queuing to pay admission fees. It also has its own art gallery; use the rear entrance and climb the stairs to find it.

Rock Crystal Skull

Rock Crystal SkullWhen reviewing Damien Hirst's Diamond Geezer earlier this month (CLICK) I mentioned the rock crystal skull in the Museum of Mankind (the British Museum's Department of Ethnography). Bit out of date there! The Museum of Mankind closed in 1997 and its collection was returned to the British Museum in Bloomsbury. It is now the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Anyway, here's the rock crystal skull. It was originally thought to be Aztec, but is now known to be a 19th Century fake. This photo doesn't do it justice. Properly lit, it's a gem. Click the title link for more.

Monday, 25 June 2007

New Alan Johnson Video

Alan Johnson wearing explosive vest (June 2007)The Army of Islam - the group that abducted Alan Johnson in March - has released a video of him wearing an "explosive" vest, which he says his captors will detonate if there is any attempt to rescue him by force. He looks pale and drawn, but spoke clearly and with confidence, as though he were reporting for the BBC. The threat is upsetting for Alan's parents, but it may be a hopeful sign. It shows that his captors are scared stiff of being shot by Hamas. It also suggests Hamas knows where Alan is being held. So the pressure is on his captors to make a deal.

Due Diligence

Learned SmileyCoxsoft Art has received a reply from New Scotland Yard on the subject of due diligence (CLICK). It's a term used in the art trade to describe "the process and action required to check the legality of a work of art before purchasing or selling it. If 'due diligence' is not performed then a purchaser is unlikely to (be) protected by the law from title claims." The reason for warning the visitor against using the Art & Antiquities database for this purpose is that it is too limited to be accepted as "due diligence." You need to contact the Met. Art & Antiques Unit.

Diane Ibbotson Wins

Diane Ibbotson - Star ShineThe winner of Insight Investment's Newcomer's Prize 2007 at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition is Diane Ibbotson for her oil painting Star Shine. She receives £5000. Er ... no comment.

La Joueuse de Boules

Jean-Léon Gérôme - La Joueuse de Boules (enhanced)I chanced upon this graphic of a lovely bronze statuette yesterday while searching for Jean-Léon Gérôme's Study of a Dog. You can just make out the signature J L Gerome on the base. It's called La Joueuse de Boules, which Alta Vista's Babel Fish translated into "The Player of Balls"! I guess she just dropped one. To me she looks like a slimmer trying to see if her bum has lost any weight. (I really must try to be more arty.) If you're interested in Gérôme's sculptures, search for his Corinth.

Global Cities at Tate

Francesco Jodice - TokyoTate Modern has gone all green and demographic! I saw this item on BBC News last week, but Tate Online hadn't been updated to include Global Cities, which continues in the Turbine Hall until 27 August 2007. Free! As an art show it's a non-starter, but as a means of displaying statistics with the maximum visual impact it's excellent. Did you know that 50% of Earth's population now live in cities and that cities emit 75% of our carbon emissions? So you can't blame global warming on cow farts (a Brit. preoccupation)! How many cows do you know who live in a city? Lego-style models of the top 10 cities show the density of human populations, with photos and art displays to illustrate aspects of city life. The most surprising fact is that twerps like President Bush aren't as important as we thought. How we tackle global warming is in the hands of city mayors, not presidents.

Fantasy Art in the News

An Artist's Impression...Fantasy art rarely features in the news. So tickle me pink when I found this excellent example on Barkingside 21 (CLICK). But it's not fantasy! It's an artist's impression of new Brit. technology soon to go on trial off Scottish shores. Undersea prisons to house the overflow from our packed jails? No. Red Ken's answer to London's housing crisis? In his dreams, maybe. Offshore detention centres for all those girls the Baltic Mafia smuggle in for prostitution? No. Secure accommodation for suspected Muslim terrorists who keep absconding from house arrest? Good idea, but no. Gordon Brown's idea of holiday camps for the masses? No. These are buoys to harness wave energy, developed by UK company AWS Ocean Energy. How boring! Who needs hi-tech energy devices? All we need is to get our massive population of unemployable immigrants pedalling power-generation bicycles wired to the National Grid. Simple. On yer bikes, lads.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Louise T Blouin Latest

The Louise T Blouin Institute, LondonRich, powerful people tend to be surrounded by two types of dishonest person: 1) the charming psychopath who is out to separate the rich person from his or her money, and 2) the smiling sycophant who agrees with every nutty notion the rich person conceives, in order to keep his job. I don't know which type figures in Louise T Blouin's entourage, but she's wasting a fortune on highfalutin tripe and pretentious ideas. Her institute's inaugural show was a waste of electricity (CLICK). Now she's exhibiting work by two uninspiring piffle-pushers - Gary Hill & Gerry Judah - until 26 August 2007. It won't wash, luv. You're trying to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. You're in the wrong city to do that. Sack your yes-men. Take an "A" Level course in Art History and visit the many quality art galleries in London. Start with the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (CLICK). It needs a wealthy patron.

Christie's Dog Sale

Dogs by Sargent, Blinks and GérômeWhile Christie's in London persuaded the Silly Money Brigade to lash out a staggering £237m during a week of post-war art sales, Christie's New York collared a mere $2m on its inaugural Dog Sale. (No jokes about New York going to the dogs, please.) The prices for some classy works of art seem very low in comparison with the recent London auctions. From left to right:
John Singer Sargent - Pointy, a portrait of Louise Burckhardt's dog, (1885) fetched $432,000;
Thomas Blinks - Waiting for the Guns (1894) set a modest record of $564,000 for this artist;
Jean-Léon Gérôme - Etude de Chien de Terra-Nuova (1852) sold for a mere $204,000.

EAC Art Awards

Brian Wigger - Wet Day, Trafalgar Square (2007)With this year's BP Portrait Award having been recently won by a 59-year-old, the time is ripe to point you in the direction of the EAC Over 60s Art Awards 2007 exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, from 26 to 30 June, admission free. EAC stands for Elderly Accommodation Council or "Elederly Accommodation Counsel" (sic) as the website puts it. (This is what happens when you employ a dyslexic programmer and don't avail yourself of the Coxsoft syntax checking service: CLICK.) Note: if you wish to attend the life drawing class with Bridget Woods on Wednesday 27 June, you'll need to book in advance; phone 01372 462190.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Robbie Wraith R.P.

Robbie Wraith - Marina2 (with the artist's permission)Can you imagine Her Majesty the Queen waving her handbag in Sotheby's to bid £9m for a Hirst pill cabinet? Of course not! This is the difference between "old money" and the nouveau riche. Genuine patrons of the arts employ talent when they find it. So it's a privilege to show you a drawing by a British artist whose work is of such high quality that he has received commissions from members of the Royal Family: Robbie Wraith R.P.. Look at his Marina 2, soft, subtle, superb. I didn't choose this portrait to represent Robbie's body of work; I just fell in love with it. Would it be out of place on a wall between portrait drawings by Michelangelo and da Vinci? Only if the frames clashed. Click the title link to view more of Robbie's wonderful draughtsmanship.

The Mother Of All Babies

Maria Von Kohler - The Mother of All BabiesIf you fancy naked and obese fibreglass cherubs with "conspicuous genitals", here's a must-see exhibition: Maria Von Kohler - The Mother of All Babies. Find it at the Seventeen Gallery from 4 July to 4 August 2007. As you know, Coxsoft Art tends to ignore the many contemporary art galleries in London peddling tripe to the twerps. So do note that this is the fourth time in a year I've featured artists exhibiting at the Seventeen Gallery: Shay Kun (CLICK), Kiyoshi Yasuda (CLICK) and Richard Cuerden (CLICK). Only one of them got the raspberry. This says a lot for the Seventeen Gallery (title link).

Silly Money Centre

Damien Hirst - Lullaby Spring (Lot 36) detailIn an "unprecedented" week of sales, not only did London's premier auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, both break the record price for a work by a living artist, but they proved that London is where Silly Money comes to fill its vaults with dubious treasures. Christie’s alone flogged gear to the value of £237,055,980 ($470,408,453), a record total for any week of art sales in Europe. Whatever you think of Moneybags Hirst - one of this week's record breakers: see yesterday's post -, you must admit he paints a neat pill. Not as good as a Fabergé egg, of course, but he's still learning his trade....

Friday, 22 June 2007

Bin Laden Gets Award!

The Unacceptable Face of IslamThe furore over Salman Rushdie's knighthood hots up, with Muslim protests in London and in many parts of Pakistan. In retaliation for the UK Establishment's "insult", the Ulema Council - a group of Pakistani Islamic scholars - has awarded its top honour to the world's most wanted criminal, al-Qaeda leader, mass murderer and serious fruitcake Osama Bin Laden: the title "Saifullah", which means The Sword of Allah. So it's Saifullah Bin Laden from now on. Did I hear somebody mutter "Islamophobia"? Could we have a new Government, please? One that isn't politically correct and knows what it's doing.

Hirst Breaks Record!

I.C. - Newsflash (2007)Early this morning I reported that Lucian Freud's caricature of Bruce Bernard, auctioned at Christie's for £7.8m, had broken the record for a work by a living European artist. Not to be outdone, Sotheby's in London has just flogged Damien Hirst's Lullaby Spring - one of his idiotic medicine cabinets containing 6,136 individually painted pills - for £9.65m. Such is the buying fever in London among the uncultured nouveau riche! It's all Gordon Brown's fault. He's the "Labour" Chancellor who made the rich very much richer and the poor very much poorer. He should have been sacked years ago, instead of being allowed to inherit Tony's throne.

Stolen Magritte Found

René Magritte - Les Reflets du Temps (1927) detailRené Magritte's painting Les Reflets du Temps (1927), which was stolen from a storeroom last year, has been recovered. A member of the public looked it up on the Art & Antiques London Stolen Art Database (LSAD) and contacted the Art & Antiques Unit of the Metropolitan Police. Curiously, the LSAD website (CLICK) gives the following warning: "NOTE: This site must not be used for due diligence purposes." I've emailed the fuzz, requesting a translation. It's nice to know what one isn't supposed to do; then one can make an informed decision about whether to do it or not.

Freud Breaks Record

Lucian Freud - Bruce Bernard (1992)This gloomy impressionistic caricature of Bruce Bernard by Lucian Freud fetched £7.8m at Christie's sale of post-war and contemporary art in London recently. According to BBC News, this is the highest price ever paid for a work by a living European artist. I guess it's another one for the vault. What tasteless jerk would want this uninspiring mess hanging on his living-room wall?

Thursday, 21 June 2007

BP Portrait Winners

Paul Emsley - Michael Simpson (2007) and detail from Hynek Martinec - Zuzana in Paris Studio (2007)Coxsoft Art has surpassed itself this year. I picked both winners (CLICK)! Paul Emsley collects the £25,000 BP Portrait Award for his portrait of Michael Simpson (face as landscape), and Czech artist Hynek Martinec won the inaugural BP Young Artist Award for his portrait of his bespectacled girlfriend Zuzana. He receives £5,000. This is the first year the annual BP Portrait Award has been open to artists over 40. And the outright winner, Paul Emsley, is 59 years old. Nice one, Paul.

A Fine Piece Of Art

Manhunt 2, Axe-slaying SceneThe chairman of Take Two - the US publisher of Manhunt 2, a video nasty I reported banned by the British Board of Film Classification last Wednesday (CLICK) - has defended the game. Strauss Zelnick declared Manhunt 2 has his full support and is a "fine piece of art". Nobody is criticizing the artistry of the graphics, Strauss, old son. This example is a very dramatic and powerful 3D image. It's the psychological impact on the player that's the problem. With street crime out of control in the UK - schoolboys being shot, schoolgirls stabbing one another almost daily - we don't want anything that might encourage murder.

RA Newcomer's Prize

Tatsuya Kimata - 57485 (carved marble)For those of you who live in foreign parts, such as Scotland, and can't visit the RA Summer Exhibition, the BBC has opened a web page which shows the top 20 artworks shortlisted by the Royal Academy for the Newcomer's Prize. And you can vote for your favourite. But only once. Either the standard of the Summer Exhibition has plummeted since I last visited it or the Anti Art Establishment has chosen the most dire tripe it could find. The most aesthetically pleasing work is this light switch by Tatsuya Kimata. Yes, folks, it's a life-sized sculpture in marble, superbly done, but what a waste of time! Don't we have enough of the plastic version? The only other work of note is Julie Yip and Agata Zaleszczyk's Untitled 2, which shows a bearded lady cradling the severed head of a pig! What did I write recently about freak shows (CLICK)?

Walt Disney, Art Hero

A Chuffed Mickey Mouse © Walt DisneyWho is the top "Art Hero"? More than 6,000 people were questioned for a survey commissioned by the Arts Award. The survey didn't distinguish between artists and artistes. It sought heroes of any branch of the arts. The winners are:
1 Leonardo da Vinci
2 Bob Dylan
3 Andy Warhol
4 Walt Disney
5 Peter Kay.

The 18 to 25 age group, named these winners:
1 Walt Disney
2 Peter Kay
3 Banksy
4 Leonardo da Vinci
5 Bob Marley.

I can't help wondering how many of these voters would have heard of Leonardo da Vinci without the hard work of his publicist Dan Brown. Disney is worthy of his place, because he gave the world a new art form, the feature-length animated cartoon, which is still going strong. Interesting that the UK artist Banksy has taken the place of Andy Warhol for younger adults. Banksy is in the news all the time over here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Video Game Banned

Rockstar Games - Manhunt 2 ScreenshotThe British Board of Film Classification has banned Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2, due to its "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying" and its "sustained and cumulative casual sadism" (David Cooke, director of the BBFC). Video games designers and graphic artists take note!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Nympheas Sold: £18.5m

Claude Monet - Nympheas (1904)Hot off the presses: Claude Monet's Nympheas (1904) fetched £18.5m at Sotheby's in London this evening. This is the first time it's been on view since 1936. I'm not a great fan of Monet's impressionist paintings of his water lilies, but this is certainly one of his best. If you want tranquility in a painting, here it is. Back to the vault?

Refugee Week 2007

Refugee Week Poster - Dancers On GreyRefugee Week 2007 began yesterday and continues until 24 June. This is "a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the positive contribution of refugees to the UK". So it's propaganda. It doesn't tell you about the negative side of refugees. A recent study found that young immigrants from violent and war-torn countries fuel crime in Britain (CLICK). Ignore the bias. What's the art like? Dunno. The website (title link) doesn't show examples for 2007, although there are archives. It has a long list of events, some of which are in London. So take a dip and see what you can find.

News From Saatchi

Your Gallery has been renamed Saatchi Online, to avoid confusion. Saatchi has also introduced a website facility - Your Studio - which allows users to create graphics online, using a wide variety of colours, brushes, tools and backgrounds. It will be up and running in a few days (title link). Seems pointless, when you can download a free graphics package.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Pakistan Condemns Sir

Protest Banner (2007)As expected, Pakistan has condemned the knighting of Salman Rushdie. The protests have begun. According to a translation from Urdu by Reuters news agency, the Pakistani Minister For Religious Affairs, Ejaz-ul-Haq, told parliament, "If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified." Usual bull. These loonies threaten to "self-detonate when they don't get their own way" (Coxsoft Art, less than 24 hours ago). And the Brit. Establishment, which accuses sensible people of "Islamophobia", didn't see this coming! I'm not sure which group is more out of touch with reality.

Systema Metropolis

Mark Dion - Er...Bric-A-Brac (2007)Does this look like a pile of junk to you? Yes? Well, let Coxsoft Art tell you it was funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. So? Okay, forget that. Then how about this? It was commissioned by the Natural History Museum to explore the biodiversity of London in celebration of the tercentenary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern classification. Convinced? No? Okay, I give up. It's a pile of junk. It's by Mark Dion. Systema Metropolis opened at the Natural History Museum in London on 15 June and continues until 2 September 2007. The price is right: free.

BBC Puts Cows' View

I watch BBC News to get the cow's point of viewNo sooner had I posted Badger Update than I sat down to watch BBC News at 1pm and was appalled by the ignorance and bias of the BBC's coverage of this story. It showed us a cuddly longhorn cow with her calf - a real Ahhhh factor - under threat of death, then interviewed the owner, who is convinced badgers infect cattle. This outweighed any attempt at objectivity in the script. And there was no mention of Ireland, where the badger has been virtually exterminated and the incidence of bovine TB is twice what it is over here. This proves beyond any shadow of doubt that it is the unrestricted movement of cattle, not the badger, that spreads TB. Even the BBC's website headline Badger cull 'not cost effective' implies badger culling might be a good thing if it weren't so expensive! And this is the TV channel that gave us Springwatch and exhorted us to Do One Thing For Wildlife (CLICK). What a hypocrite! Click the title link, read the Beeb's tosh and email a complaint.

Badger Update

British Badger (not a painting, but a Victorian stuffed specimen)The final report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) in the UK states: "After careful consideration of all the RBCT and other data presented in this report, including an economic assessment, we conclude that badger culling cannot meaningfully contribute to the future control of cattle TB in Britain." This is good news for our badgers, which are under threat (CLICK), and bad news for cattle farmers who need to blame something other than poor husbandry for TB infections. Viewers of BBC TV's recent Springwatch will have noticed healthy cattle and a lively badger set on the host farm. No problem.

Alan Johnston, Captive

Alan JohnstonTo be deadly serious for a moment, awarding "apostate" Salman Rushdie a knighthood when BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston remains in the hands of Muslim nutters was a dangerously provocative act. Fingers crossed it doesn't inflame his captors....

The Biters Bit

Padma Lakshmi (Sir Salman Rushdie's Missus)The UK Establishment, which includes HM's Government and the BBC, has been applying the false label of Islamophobia to anyone who distrusts Muslims, as though it's abnormal to be wary of loonies who riot over cartoons, plot mayhem, kidnap journalists and self-detonate when they don't get their own way. So Sunday's news that Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini has accused British officials of "Islamophobia" for awarding the "detested apostate" Salman Rushdie a knighthood is most welcome. Nice one, Mohammad Ali. You tell 'em. (Salman miffed Muslims with his novel The Satanic Verses and has been under sentence of death since 1989.) Apostate or not, Sir Salman has a beautiful wife: Padma Lakshmi. She doesn't give a fig for his fatwa and wore her best mini skirt to Buckingham Palace on Saturday.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

UK Pole Dancing Art

Sports Media Gaming - Advert For (2007)Welcome to the UK. Airline passengers coming along the flight path to Gatwick Airport can see an example of Brit. contemporary art at its best. This design by London-based marketing agency Sports Media Gaming (SMG) was recently painted on a field in Surrey and occupies 100,000 square feet. The killjoys of Tandridge Council say it's illegal. SMG says it isn't, because it can be seen only from the air and therefore isn't subject to council planning regulations. If found guilty, SMG faces a piddling maximum fine of £2,500 plus an extra £250 for each day the advert remains. So why worry? It has already generated thousands of pounds in advertising revenue. Loony Brit. justice again.

Picasso Pots On View

Picasso decorated PotLord "Dickie" Attenborough has put his collection of Picasso-decorated ceramics on display at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. Surprisingly, this example is rather good. The Madoura pottery factory in Vallauris must have injected some French elegance into Picasso's pots. Lord Attenborough has dedicated the exhibition to his daughter and granddaughter, Jane and Lucy, who died in the Asian tsunami in 2004.

Ignis Thief: 12 Months

Ignis [Personification of fire] (1679)This 17th century tin-glazed porcelain figurine of Ignis, the personification of fire, was recovered after daft thief Jason Cochlin contacted a ceramics expert for a valuation (up to £160,000)! Ceramics expert contacts Police. Thief is collared. At Winchester Crown Court last week, Cochlin was found guilty of conspiracy to steal and was jailed for 12 months. Twelve months! Some deterrant! Which is more stupid: the thief or British justice?

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Cow Parade

Cow Painted As SkyHoly cow, Batman! What's this? If you visit Denmark this summer, watch out for some colourful cows around Copenhagen. These globetrotting bovines have already visited London, New York, Sydney, Paris and Stockholm, to raise money for charity. This year the Danish children’s charity Red Barnet will benefit. CowParade Copenhagen 2007 continues until 31 August. If you fancy owning a life-sized hand-painted cow, the auction takes place at the end of September. Coxsoft Art will wait until they do it with Vietnamese pot-bellied piglets. (I'm a sucker for piglets.)

Friday, 15 June 2007

Logo For London 2012

Where Would You Hide? A Logo For London 2012Coxsoft Art has found the perfect logo for the London Olympic Games 2012: a woman squatting behind a rock to relieve herself. You may not know that London councils have been selling public loos like there's no tomorrow, and Red Ken can do nothing to stop them. This "performance art" is from Lausanne, Switzerland, where the German Toilet Organisation put on an exhibition to raise international awareness that everyone should have access to a loo. Sorry, folks. Not in London. And don't expect to find any convenient rocks like this one. It will be plastic bag time in the old metrop. come 2012. Click the title link for more loo art and a possible Banksy installation (I'm sceptical).

Frans Van Mieris Theft

Frans van Mieris - Self Portrait: A Cavalier (1657-59)Yesterday, the Rocks Police (an Aussie force) announced the brazen theft of a valuable work by Frans van Mieris from the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney: A Cavalier (actually a self portrait). It was stolen last Sunday (10 June) during opening hours, when more than 6,000 people visited the gallery! I've enhanced this graphic of the stolen painting, which is rather grubby. It's the size of a chess board, so a bit awkward to stuff up the leg of a pair of shorts. Rocks fuzz are scouring video footage for a man with a pronounced limp. Coxsoft Art bets the thief wore overalls. Nobody takes any notice of a man in overalls unscrewing something from a wall, even if that something is worth $1,000,000. People assume he's doing a legitimate job.