Sunday, 30 September 2007

Black History Month

Child's ProfileOctober is Black History Month in the UK. Click the title link to see paintings of black people on Coxsoft Art's Black History Page. This year I've added links to the websites of Stephen Wiltshire MBE and Willard Wigan MBE, two of Britain's most successful black artists. Stephen recently won the GG2 Achievement Through Adversity Award.

Nan Goldin 'Porn' Photo

Nan Goldin - Klara and Edda belly dancingHere's the top part of Nan Goldin's alleged child porn photo seized by Northumbria Police from Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art on 20 September. The allegation of child porn arises from the fact that the little girl lying on her back is starkers with her legs open. It is clearly a snapshot of uninhibited young girls having innocent fun, not pornography. The question for the police is whether or not it violates the Protection of Children Act 1978. The Crown Prosecution Service is taking its time mulling over this question.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Christie's Illegal Export

Peter Paul Rubens - oil sketch of The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta (1630s)The Art Newspaper reports that Christie’s illegally exported this Rubins oil sketch of The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta (1630s) from Britain to New York, due to a cock-up by a junior employee. It seems Christie's obtained a temporary export licence so the sketch could be shown in New York prior to being auctioned in London, but the junior employee thought it was a full export licence. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has deferred an export licence for the work, despite the fact that it is now in New York and its buyer, who paid over £3m for it in 2005, refuses to return it to the UK and cannot be compelled to do so. Fancy raising £3.3m for an unobtainable work of art? Walk on water, Ms Hodge!

Space Invader

Space Invader - Rubik Jaws (2007)If you're into spots (sorry, "pixellated mosaic tiles"), then a Frenchman who punningly calls himself Space Invader is the artist for you. His first UK solo exhibition opens at London's Lazarides Gallery - run by Banksy's agent Steve Lazarides - on 5 October. The gallery is more interesting than its art. A former Soho sadomasochists' boutique, it retains its dark red walls and a sign that points to the Dungeon. Maybe that's where they whip you into signing your cheque. "Stop! I'll buy it!" Crack! "Mercy! Two!" Crack!

Alexander Roslin

Alexander Roslin - Damen med slöjan (beskuren)Ever heard of Alexander Roslin? Stockholm's Nationalmuseum is trying to rescue its greatest 18th-century master from obscurity with Utställning: Alexander Roslin, from 27 September 2007 to 13 January 2008. The problem is that he specialized in portraits of the rich and famous. His technique was superb, but who wants to gaze at a bunch of self-important old farts dressed in wigs, satins and silks? But come on, folks, look at this example: Damen med slöjan (beskuren). That lady has style. So has the artist. Could this be the original Merry Widow?

Andrew Gosden missing

Andrew GosdenA fortnight ago, South Yorkshire schoolboy Andrew Gosden, aged 14, skipped school, withdrew at least £200 from his bank account and took a train to London. His worried mother and his sister are now putting up posters outside London tourist attractions in hopes of finding him. He likes museums and science, so the Science Museum in South Kensington should be top of his visiting list. If you see him, telephone the police. Andrew, if you happen to read this blog in an Internet café or a library while researching places to visit, go to the nearest police station and discuss whatever family problems you may have. London is a dangerous city and your money must be running out.

Photo Portrait Prize

Anke Linz & Andreas Oetlinger - Sophia (2007) © the artistsThe National Portrait Gallery will be showing 60 of the 7,000 images entered for its Photographic Portrait Prize 2007, including the winner and three runners-up, in the Porter Gallery from 8 November 2007 to 24 February 2008. It will continue to charge an admission fee of £1 to cover costs until a new sponsor is found. Click the title link to view my favourite out of the four photos shortlisted for the award. Note the tight control of colour and gentle lighting in the Top-60 exhibit shown: Sophia by Anke Linz & Andreas Oetlinger (2007).

Friday, 28 September 2007

Painting Songbirds

Sherry C. Nelson - Painting Songbirds Cover (2007)I don't usually write book reviews, but I spotted this art book on a library's New Books shelf and couldn't resist sharing it with you: Painting Songbirds with Sherry C. Nelson: 15 Beautiful Birds in Oil, published by North Light Books, 2007. The birds are American. The quality of artwork is top flight, and the artist's drawings and colour palettes illuminate her work. The list price of the paperback is $24.99 (£14.99). You can buy an autographed copy direct from the artist at list price plus $4.10 P&P (title link) or visit Amazon for deals: $16.49 or £9.74. Better still, borrow it from your local library: class 751.4543288.

Povey Paintings Stolen

Ed Povey - Rehearsal (2003)Two paintings by the Welsh artist Ed Povey have been stolen from a private collection while they were in storage in London: Rehearsal (2003) and Minotaur and Hermaphrodite (1996). They're worth £40,000.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Etch-A-Sketch Two

I.C. - Etch-A-Sketch Dave's House (2007)Just in case you weren't impressed by George Vlosich's YouTube video Etch-A-Sketch (CLICK) the webmaster of Cameradio has sent me his best effort on this fiendish device. When's the video coming out, Dave? Just kidding. Click the title link to visit his multi-award-winning hobbies website.

Wheat Fields Sale

Vincent van Gogh - Wheat Fields (1890) © Sotheby's ImagesIf you fancy a butchers (butcher's hook = look; Cockney rhyming slang, for my foreign readers and those few Londoners who speaky di English) at Vincent van Gogh's Wheat Fields (1890) before it's auctioned in New York on 7 November, it will be on view at Sotheby’s offices in London from 7 to 12 October. Tell them Coxsoft Art sent you. But don't embarrass me by asking the price! Estimate $28/35m.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Child Porn Update

Nan Goldin '78It turns out that the "artwork" seized by Gateshead fuzz at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is a photo by Nan Goldin, who's into the "snapshot aesthetic" in a big way (you can tell she's got a diploma). The seized snap is from Thanksgiving, a "micro-retrospective installation of photographs documenting the artist’s life from 1973 to 1999". Sounds like the same one White Cube showed in London in 2000 without a twitter of protest. Thanksgiving is on loan from the Sir Elton John Photography Collection. According to BBC News (CLICK) the suspect snap is called Klara and Edda belly-dancing and shows two naked young girls. According to The Daily Telegraph (CLICK) it shows a girl with her legs wide open. Sorry, Telegraph, I might have given you a bum steer there. That image, by Kendell Geers, was my best guess as to the alleged child porn (CLICK).

Bridge Art Fair 07

Bridge Art Fair advertisement (2007)How's this for a near-the-knuckle advertisement? It shows a happy family wearing sexually explicit furry suits. And look what the little girl is holding! It's Daddy's furry imitation whatsit! Police! Child porn! If this is your idea of fabulous contemporary art, then pop along to the next Bridge Art Fair in London's The Trafalgar Hotel, from 11 to 14 October 2007. There's a public reception at 5pm on the 11th.

Saatchi Saleroom Online

Saatchi Online - Saleroom Online animated GIFSaatchi Online has just launched Saleroom Online, which will allow artists to display and sell pictures online without being charged commission. Click the title link for details. This news is so fresh that the web page isn't finished. It's a slow-loader. Somebody ought to tell Saatchi that research in the UK shows that the average broadband user is prepared to wait no longer than 4 seconds for a page to load. We also have one of the slowest broadband networks in the world, thanks to relying on BT's old copper wires. Japan and South Korea are top of the league with extensive fibre-optic systems. To give you an idea how bad it is here, if I use my local library's broadband connection during a busy period, web pages take longer to load than over the 56K modem I use at home! Howzat for slow?

Prince: No to Brick Lane

Notice any women in this protest?The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have chickened out of the Royal Film Performance of Brick Lane, the movie of Monica Ali's novel. The male Bangladeshi residents of the real Brick Lane have been protesting since the start of filming, because they don't want to accept the truth about themselves. I haven't noticed any Bangladeshi women complaining about Monica's novel, which tells the story of a Bangladeshi woman sent to London for an arranged marriage. I guess they're too downtrodden to argue with their husbands or to campaign in favour of Monica's story. All the more reason why the royal couple should have gone ahead with the screening, instead of buckling under to male-chauvinist umbrage.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Banksy POW Scandal

Banksy - Smiley Reaper (detail)Have you recently bought a Banksy print through eBay? Then you had better click the title link to visit Art News Blog and read about the fakes that have been sold. BBC News has also covered this story (CLICK), but Art News Blog does it better and links to its source, The Art Newspaper: "Unauthorised prints by the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy have been sold on eBay as limited edition, signed works, by employees of the company which publishes and authenticates the artist’s works on paper, Pictures on Walls (POW)" (CLICK).

Bono (Not Sir) in Oils

David Nolan - Bono showing his Honorary Knighthood (2007)U2's Bono receiving an honorary knighthood for his music and humanitarian work has been immortalized in oils by Irish artist David Nolan. James Adam auctioneers will be flogging the painting next month, estimate 3,000 of those euro thingies (about £2,090). At that price, it might well be a sensible investment.

Child Porn Inquiry?

Kendell Geers - La Sainte Vierge (2005)Today, under the sensational headline Child porn inquiry over artwork, BBC News broke the story of a work seized by police last Thursday at Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (CLICK) a day before five exhibitions opened. The name of the artist has been withheld, but the work above looks a fair candidate for prolonged police inspection. I've shown the top half only! How old is the model? Having seen the bottom half of this picture, I can assure you she's a fully equipped young woman, not a little girl. Maybe this isn't the piccy....

Rubens Sketch For Sale

Peter Paul Rubens - Two studies of a Young Man © Christie's Images Limited 2007You probably haven't seen this Rubens oil sketch before - Two studies of a Young Man -, because it's been tucked away in the Anton Philips Collection. If you have £4m to £6m burning a hole in your pocket, the Rubens is up for grabs at Christie's. The collection auction has been split between Christie's London, New York and Amsterdam. If you can grab this masterpiece for less than £4m, it could make Coxsoft Art's Star Buy of The Week.

Viva Italia Show Update

Claudia CardinaleThanks to an anonymous tip-off pointing to a different web page, I can now tell you that the Viva Italia Show 2007 at the London National Hall, Olympia, from 5 to 7 October, will have an Art & Cinema Club Room showing Italian classic movies and more recent films. Any spaghetti westerns? There will also be the Viva Italia Art Gallery with some "illustrious" Italian artists gesticulating about their stuff. I couldn't find any graphics of the art, so you'll have to make do with a snap of actress Claudia Cardinale in her prime. I can suffer it.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Sexy in Trafalgar Square

Sexy? so-called Art Installation (2007)BBC London News has pulled a sneaky on me. It's updated its Sunday item on Journey, adding a new graphic Sexy? to replace the photo of Emma Thompson it showed yesterday. As you can see, the "art" inappropriately parked outside the National Gallery is crude, and so is the emotive propaganda. It doesn't stir my sympathy. These girls volunteer to enter Britain illegally, in hope of stealing a better life. That makes them criminals. So they are exploited by even nastier criminals. Hard cheese. London is snowed under with immigrants, legal and illegal. Our social services are snowed under. So are our police. So are our medical services. Our prisons are full. We can't cope. We haven't the homes for this influx. A huge housing programme to accommodate them all will crush London's Green Belt and swamp the surrounding countryside. Life won't be worth living here if that happens. I don't care what these prostitutes' hard-luck story is; deport them.

Camden Town Nudes

Walter Sickert - Seated Nude (1906) © Estate of Walter R. Sickert, DACS 2007Prostitution must be the in-thing at the moment. From 25 October 2007 to 20 January 2008, the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House will be exhibiting Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes. Sickert lived and worked in Camden Town, London, and painted prostitutes in their sleazy bedsits. He's credited with reinventing the nude from 1905 to 1912 by deglamorizing it. I thought Peter Paul Rubens did that three centuries ago. There's nothing less glamorous than a fat, crinkly Rubens' bum. The exhibition will also include Sickert’s four so-called Camden Town Murder paintings. Don't all rush at once.

Sex in Trafalgar Square

Billie Piper as Belle De Jour (2007)Last Saturday I published a facetious blog suggesting that the Royal Academy of Arts or Tate Modern should recreate the Amsterdam red-light district as performance art (CLICK). On Sunday I discovered that Emma Thompson, Anish Kapoor and Michael Howells had beaten me to this idea (sort of). They've set up an "art installation" of six containers in London's Trafalgar Square to illuminate the evils of sex trafficking in the UK: Journey. (Blame it all on Brussels and the European Union.) As I couldn't find any photos of this week-long "art installation", here's a charming publicity photo of Billie Piper dressed for her latest role as - guess what - a prostitute: Belle De Jour. Can't say she looks trafficked to me; more like a footballer's wife.

Madeleine Newsflash

I.C. - Newsflash (2007)Kate and Gerry McCann have hired Control Risks Group, a top British private investigation agency specializing in kidnappings, to hunt for their daughter Madeleine. The agency has 600 employees, many of whom are former MI6 agents, SAS or Special Forces members. Sounds like a declaration of war on the Portuguese fuzz! About time too. There's a strong possibility that the agency will be following Coxsoft Art's advice to investigate paedophile rings in Portugal, especially where the police seem to have acted to protect child abductors, rather than to find lost children, as in the case of Leonor Cipriano as well as in their apparently irrational persecution of the McCanns. Kick down a few detectives' doors, lads. You might find more than one missing child.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Death of Mime

Still from Barbarella (1968) detailMarcel Marceau died yesterday. He and Charlie Chaplin were the two great mime artists of the 20th century. I still remember being entranced by one of his French movies many years ago. What I didn't know until today is that he appeared in Barbarella (1968). In the clip above he's playing gooseberry between Jane Fonda's Barbarella in kinky boots and John Phillip Law's Angel keeping a stiff upper lip in a ticklish feathered loincloth.

FeedBlitz Email Changes

FeedBlitz LogoSubscribers to Coxsoft Art News via FeedBlitz will notice a few changes. I've been fiddling with my new FeedBlitz email template, adding a logo, increasing font sizes and insuring the background is white (I hope). If you think your Coxsoft Art News emails look better or worse, please let me know by leaving a comment here.

The Art of Lee Miller

Lee Miller - Self-portrait in Headband (detail) published 1933 © Lee Miller Archives, England 2007. all rights reservedIf the V&A's haute couture biggy leaves you cold, how about The Art of Lee Miller, which opened a week ago and continues until 6 January 2008? This exhibition marks the centenary of Miller's birth in 1907 and celebrates her career as model, journalist and remarkable photographer. Admission prices are £6 or £4 concessions (66%). You can book online without incurring a booking fee (title link).

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Red-light District for RA?

Brothel Display Window in Red-light DistrictAs both the Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Modern are scraping the barrel to find art shows that avoid the dreaded criticism of being "chocolate-boxy", here's a helping hand from Coxsoft Art, inspired by yesterday's news that the Dutch city of Amsterdam is to close one third of the brothels in its infamous red-light district. This sleazy area has been a major tourist attraction in Amsterdam for many years. So how about recreating it in the RA or, better still, Tate Modern's Turbine Hall? There's nothing chocolate-boxy about prostitutes strutting their stuff in shop windows. It's performance art. And it could be a nice little earner (no sales, of course; display only). Remember, you're the Art Establishment. If you define it as art, it is art. So what have you got to lose?

The One To Shun

Georg Baselitz - Dinner in Dresden (1983) inverted detailLondon's Royal Academy of Arts seems determined to prove it has no artistic taste whatsoever. Today it opened a major retrospective of Jerry artist Georg Baselitz, featuring over 60 paintings of such dire quality as Dinner in Dresden (1983) plus sculptures, prints and drawings. The RA expects you to fork out £10 to view this appalling tripe, and silver surfers £8 (80%)! I've seen more aesthetically pleasing horse droppings (vibrant and beautiful when freshly laid and covered with shimmering green bottles). Without a doubt, this show is the one to shun this autumn.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Thanks, Blogger

Blogger LogoFor the past week, instead of seeing View Blog (in a new window) on my Your-blog-post-published-successfully! page, I've been getting Blog anzeigen (in einem neuen Fenster). Why German? No idea. Anyway, it's fixed now. Thanks, Blogger. Let's hope my comments emails go back to normal too. And could you please fix that bug which always causes my first word verification to be rejected?

Tate Modern's Balls

Gabriel Orozco - Carambole with Pendulum (1996)The latest insanity from Tate Modern is that it's forked out £152,000 on a round Mexican billiard table with no pockets: Carambole with Pendulum (1996) by Gabriel Orozco. "The shape and lack of pockets deny the traditional function of a games table while drawing attention to its visual qualities," waffled the Tate! There's a mug born every minute. Get off your high horse, Tate, and admit you've been snookered.

Aussies Buy Hockney

David Hockney - A Closer Winter Tunnel (2006)The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, is chuffed to have added David Hockney’s A Closer Winter Tunnel (2006) to its British 20th century collection. Er ... on this side of the planet, 2006 is the 21st century. (I guess Barry Humphries' Australian Cultural Attaché, Sir Les Patterson, wrote the blurb.) The painting consists of six canvas panels which give it the appearance of a kid's comic. It's not a patch on the chilly English landscapes of Atkinson Grimshaw.

V&A Friday Late Debate

V&A Friday Late Debate ad. graphic (detail)If you fancy debating the "real" purpose of design with professionals, then pop along to the V&A Museum on 28 September for its Friday Late Create Debate from 18.30 ... er ... 6.30pm to 22.00 ... er ... 10pm. Admission is free, installations and workshops included.

Somerset House Skating

Somerset House Courtyard Ice RinkIf you're into ice skating, here's a hot tip: priority booking is now available for this winter's ice rink in the 18th century courtyard of London's Somerset House, from 21 November 2007 to 27 January 2008. (Booking doesn't open to the general public until 9 October.) Prices are as stiff as the ice: adults £10 to £15 according to time of day, £7 children (12 years or younger). Click the title link to book or telephone 0844 847 1519 and mention Coxsoft Art.

Etch A Sketch Video

George Vlosich - Etch A Sketch (2007)Art News Blog recently published an item on George Vlosich's YouTube video that has received over 1.6 million hits: Etch A Sketch. The video shows the creation of an artwork, which took 60 hours or more to make, condensed into 3 minutes. Click the title link.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Paddington & Marmite

Paddington Bear with Marmite Sandwich (2007)My foreign readers may have difficulty believing this, but the biggest art news story in the UK at the moment is whether Paddington Bear should have been allowed to eat a Marmite sandwich for a TV commercial! Paddington fans are outraged, and his creator Michael Bond has appeared on BBC London TV News to reassure them that Paddington is just trying out this Marmite sandwich and will continue to keep a marmalade sandwich under his hat. Phew! Relief! Did you know that Marmite is a British yeast extract that is 100% vegetarian, kosher and so rich in vitamins that Bovril bought the scum off the top to enrich its beef cubes? Marmite is one of the best health foods on the market. One dab makes the tastiest gravy you've ever had. All this is what those overpaid twerps of advertising executives have failed to tell you for decades.

Coxsoft's Haute Cuisine

Unknown Artist - Smiley ArtistFrom haute couture (next post down) to haute cuisine. Time Out London's Eating and Drinking Awards 2007 newsletter also arrived in my inbox today (title link). Not to be outdone by its celebratory missive (25 years), I thought I'd give you today's menu chez Coxsoft:
Mushroom & Creme Fraiche Filo Tartlets (Tesco Finest Range, 70p reduced from £2.79) followed by a Bramley Apple Crumble (Sainsbury, 2 for 79p reduced from £1.39) surrounded by delicious squishy raspberries (Somerfield, half a £1.99 portion reduced to 20p). Total cost: £1.20 ($2.40). Who says you can't eat cheaply in London?

Couture's Golden Age

V&A Couture Diary 2008 CoverLondon's V&A Museum has gone all haute couture for its autumn biggy. It's even produced its own 2008 diary for the exhibition (illustrated). As Coxsoft Art has never been impressed by slender toffee-nosed models posing as Martians, it must admit the V&A's latest female extravaganza leaves it unmoved. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, from 22 September 2007 to 6 January 2008, features dresses by the likes of Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Hubert de Givenchy, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. Admission £9, silver surfers £7 (77%)! For a collection of old togs?

Sniper's Last Word

British Marine SniperAlso received in my inbox today: Katie Couric, interviewing a British Marine sniper, asked:
"What do you feel when you shoot an Arab Terrorist?"
The Marine shrugged and replied, "A slight recoil."

UK Artist Faces Prison!

The Evidence, Me Lud (with apologies to Michael Dickinson)Oh dear. Here we go again. Exactly one year ago, Coxsoft Art reported the plight of Stuckist artist Michael Dickinson, who had been arrested in Turkey for lampooning the Turkish Prime Minister in two collages (above). After 10 days in a Turkish jail, Michael was ordered to leave the country. He did so, but went back. Today I received an email from Michael: he has been "summoned again for trial on October 8th". Nasty shock, when you think the case is over. If found guilty, he faces up to 3 years in prison. The repression of artistic expression in Turkey is appalling. Please click the title link to sign a petition on Michael's behalf. To view my earlier posts on this case, type Michael Dickinson in the search box at the top of this blog. To send Michael a personal message of support, visit his website: CLICK.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

NPG Award Shortlist

Jonathan Torgovnik - Portrait Photo of Joseline IngabireThe shortlist for the National Portrait Gallery's Photographic Portrait Prize has been announced. Competing for the £12,000 award are Jonathan Torgovnik, Michelle Sank, David Stewart and Julieta Sans. The stark composition of Jonathan Torgovnik's photo of rape-victim Joseline Ingabire makes it look more like a painting than a photo. To me it seems the obvious winner, although Julieta Sans' photo of her friend Lucila must count as one of the most relaxed, informal portraits I've ever seen. Nice legs too. Click the title link to make your own choice.

An Honest Judge!

Madeleine McCannThe stench of corruption surrounding Portuguese detectives is so pervasive that I was beginning to wonder how high it rose into the Portuguese legal and political systems, but it seems the insane case against Kate and Gerry McCann reached an honest judge. Yesterday's Evening Standard reported that Judge Pedro Daniel dos Anjos has rejected the police request to have the McCanns brought back to Portugal for further interrogation (CLICK). Today's Daily Mail (title link) expands on the story with a slight change of name for the judge: Pedro Anjos Frias. (I know these foreigners have funny names, lads, but try to get them right.) Judge Pedro (?) has ruled that the evidence against the McCanns is too flimsy to demand their return to Portugal. Thanks for confirming what we all knew, Pedro. The Mail also reports that the McCanns' legal team has decided to become "pro-active" and investigate police attempts to character assassinate the McCanns. Excellent move! But a first step. The appalling case of Leonor Cipriano warrants closer scrutiny (CLICK). The £80,000 earmarked for a new Find Madeleine campaign would be better spent on hiring a team of private detectives led by an ex-CID officer who worked on Operation Orchid.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Ilya Repin 2

Ilya Repin - Barge Haulers on the Volga (1873)Here's another example of Ilya Repin's art, one with a more Russian flavour than his Portrait of a Boy (below): Barge Haulers on the Volga (1873). You guessed it: I'm a Repin fan. The Coxsoft Art collection (of graphics) includes a number of his paintings. Oh for the real thing!

Sotheby's Auction Off

Ilya Repin - Portrait of a Boy (1867)Sotheby's London auction of the Mstislav Rostropovich art collection, due to take place this week, has been cancelled. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov stepped in and lashed out a "substantially higher" sum than the £20m estimated value of the 450 artworks up for sale. He wants to keep the collection intact and donate it to the Russian state. Nice one, Alisher. The collection includes paintings by Ilya Repin and Boris Grigoriev. So I've illustrated this post with Ilya Repin's Portrait of a Boy (1867). To see a larger graphic CLICK.

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks (1942)Some idiot has made a pig's ear of the website of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Its elegant design won a CASSFA, but the white background has been replaced by French navy (as I see it on my PC) and the text is now unreadable! Click the title link to try it for yourself and read - if you can - its blurb on Edward Hopper, a major exhibition which opened yesterday and continues until 12 January 2008, when it goes to Chicago. The exhibition traces Hopper's career with 96 of his paintings and works on paper.

Hindu God Dunked

Lord Ganesha enjoying Southend-on-Sea (2007)Times are changing for Southend-on-Sea. When the Victorians built a railway line from London to Southend-on-Sea, they opened up the possibility for east-end Cockneys to take a day trip to the seaside, and Southend-on-Sea became the poor man's Blackpool. Even in my boyhood - not quite Victorian - a car ride to see the Southend illuminations remained a treat. Yesterday, a crowd of 4,000 UK Hindus went there to dunk Lord Ganesha, their elephant-headed god, in the sea. Apparently this was one of the largest immersion ceremonies for Lord Ganesha outside India. Such a jolly good time was had by all that the organisers hope to make it an annual event. Just make sure you check the tide tables, lads. When the tide goes out at Southend-on-Sea, it exposes about a mile of mud and slime. That's a hell of a long way to slither to dunk an elephant.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Jacqui Smith & Suspect

Jacqui Smith (retouched to emphasize her defective vision) and Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral (untouched)On the left you have Jacqui Smith, our own Home Secretary, and on the right you have the suspect: Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, showing his hairy chest and crucifix. Been to confession lately, Goncal? It was Jacqui Smith's idiotic announcement of her satisfaction with the Portuguese police' handling of the Madeleine McCann case that gave the green light to the suspect and his cronies to persecute Kate McCann and try their evil best to implicate her in Madeleine's abduction. Still satisfied, Jacqui? Still looking forward to your hols in the Algarve?
Resign, resign, resign!

Algarve Hell Hole

Missing Joana Cipriano (poster) and her Mother's eyes following a Portuguese Police investigation!My apologies for posting this shocking image, but it indicates what the Portuguese police have in mind for Kate McCann. On the left you see another pretty little girl who went missing in the Algarve and who has never been found. On the right you see her mother's eyes after detectives had allegedly beaten her into confessing that she had killed her own daughter. They claim the mother fell down a flight of stairs! Oh yeah? There is no way those blackened eyes are consistent with a fall down a flight of stairs. They are obviously the result of a savage beating. The victim is now serving a 16-year prison sentence for having supposedly murdered her own daughter! And who is implicated in the cover-up? Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, one of the two senior detectives in joint charge of investigating the abduction of Madeleine McCann! Leonor Cipriano also ran an annoying poster campaign in hope of finding her missing child. But I suspect that the motive for Portuguese police crimes lies deeper than mere annoyance. It is becoming manifest that there is a paedophile ring in the Algarve, and the sooner those detectives' homes are raided, the sooner Madeleine will be found. Click the title link to read the full horror story in today's The Mail On Sunday.

Brazil in Vienna

José Maria de Medeiros - Iracema (1884)Today, the Kunsthalle Krems in Vienna opened Brazil: From Austria to the New World, showing for the first time in Europe works on loan from the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and other Brazilian collections. This intriguing example, depicting a nubile maiden eyeing a suggestive arrow which some saucy fellow has planted on her beach, is Iracema (1884) by José Maria de Medeiros, on loan from the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition continues until 17 February 2008. Click the title link for details.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Koons' Blue Diamond

Jeff Koons - Blue DiamondHow's this for cold, hard beauty? Jeff Koons' 8ft (2.5m) sculpture of a blue diamond, constructed of polished steel and chromium, will be up for auction at Christie's New York on 13 November. Part of his Celebration series begun in 1994, the work is expected to fetch £6m ($12m).