Friday, 30 November 2007

No Demo at Tate Liver

Sir Nicholas Serota on the steps of the Tate (2007) photo © Rick FriendSir Nicholas Serota looking puzzled.
"Here, what's this?"
"It's art, Sir Nick."
"Oh. But what does it mean?"
"It's an artist's impression of you looking at Tracey Emin's knickers hanging on her washing line, wondering if they're art."
"Oh. I see. But what does it mean?"
"It's in the eye of the beholder."
"Oh. Like Doris's Crack, you mean."
"Er...sort of."
"I wish the punters would stop falling in the damn thing. Still, all publicity is good publicity, what?"
Purely an imaginary conversation, you understand, inspired by today's witty press release by Charles Thomson apologizing to Sir Nick for Stuckists not demonstrating outside Tate Liverpool over the Turner Prize this year. Best laugh I've had all week. Watch out for it in the up-market weekend magazines. The title link takes you to an archive of Stuckist demos, which includes a video of Sir Nick receiving this work of art. To view a slightly larger version of the original, CLICK.

Phishing Scams Latest

I.C. - Montage of Banking Logos used by Criminals (2007)I received more than my usual crop of phishing scams yesterday - 5 in all -, so I thought I'd post this montage as a warning. Make no mistake, the people who hijack banking logos and use them on emails warning you that there's been "unusual activity" on your account are serious criminals. The Russian Mafia is the world leader in this type of crime. As the Russian government isn't above harbouring a suspected murderer, we can't expect it to crack down on this nasty little earner. As for our banks, see how easy it is to report a phishing scam to your bank. Extremely difficult to impossible? Complain. To read an excellent account of phishing scams, click the title link. To read the latest news on the Russian Mafia's attempt to hijack Google in order to use online Christmas shopping as bait for scamming, CLICK.

A Warning To Artists

Gillian Gibbons (enhanced image I.C. 2007)The insanity of Islam has been confirmed by the news that a Sudanese court has convicted Brit. teacher Gillian Gibbons of insulting religion and sentenced her to 15 days in jail, allegedly for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad (title link). This has been widely misreported (CLICK for the BBC Magazine's daft "What can't be named Muhammad?" article). So you may have missed the point that this is an art story. It wasn't the naming of the teddy that caused the arrest, but the project book for the children's entries about the bear. This had a picture of the teddy on the cover entitled "My name is Muhammad" (CLICK). Any depiction of the Prophet is taboo. (Remember the insane riots over those Danish cartoons, which convinced sensible people everywhere that Muslims are an extremely dangerous and volatile mob? CLICK, CLICK.) The teddy bear book was seized as proof that an image of the Prophet had been perpetrated. Take this lunacy to its logical conclusion and you will see the danger to artists, to photographers and even to cameramen. Produce an image of any man or boy called Muhammad and you have broken strict Islamic law!

V&A Illustration Awards

Deborah Hill - Origami (animation still) 2006 © the artistThe V&A Illustration Awards 2007, supported by the Enid Linder Foundation, opens on 4 December 2007 and continues until 18 March 2008, admission free. I wish I could recommend this exhibition, but I'm afraid last year's winners show that the Brit. Ant-art Establishment dominates these awards. In a word "dross". This is the only worthy picture I found: Origami (an animation still) by Deborah Hill, who won a £300 Commended Award in the Student Illustrator Category. What better way to illustrate origami than with a cute origami penguin?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

UK Anti-art Strikes Again

Emin and her Rubbish (2007)The most horrendous news of the week is that Tracey Emin, that purveyor of tripe loved by the Brit. Anti-art Establishment, is one of six "artists" who have each been commissioned to produce a scale model of a new sculpture for the fourth plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. The others are Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare, Jeremy Deller, Anish Kapoor and Patrick Brill. What a waste of money! Who's footing the bill?

The Vault

Madagascan BerylThis vivid pink beryl from Madagascar is one of the exhibits in The Vault, a new gallery at London's Natural History Museum. The Museum's finest gems and crystals from its geological collection are on display alongside loans such as the Aurora Collection of rare diamonds from blood red to emerald green. There's also a meteorite from Mars!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

BBC's William Blake

William Blake - Satan, Sin and Death at the Gates of HellFinlo Rohrer has written a piece on William Blake for BBC News Magazine (title link). It's the usual stuff - Was he a visionary or a nutter? -, but it contains some interesting snippets of fact. Here's Satan, Sin and Death at the Gates of Hell, one of Blake's illustrations for Paradise Lost. Does it matter whether he believed this Christian fantasy or illustrated it as he might a Judge Dredd comic? Nobody believes in Judge Dredd, do they? Er ... I might be on unsafe ground here. Over the centuries, humanity has created and worshipped 2,500 gods! Any bets that a denizen of the London ghettos is praying to Dredd right now? "Save me, Dredd. All the kids on the block got guns or knives."

Egg Smashes Record

Workmaster Mikhail Perchin - Rothschild Fabergé Egg (1902)This fabulous bejewelled Easter egg by Karl Fabergé - workmaster Mikhail Perchin - with clock and pop-up cockerel automaton, fetched a world record of £8.9m at Christie's London auction today. The cockerel's cock-a-doodle-doo is decidedly croaky, but still works after more than a century (1902). Four Russian millionaires went at it hammer and tongs to grab the prize, pre-sale estimate £6m to £9m. What a pressie for the girlfriend!

Violent Elegance

Miss Mexico: Rosa Maria Ojeda (2007)While I'm on the subject of beauty pageants (next post down) I thought you might like to be reminded of an art furore that blew up over Miss Mexico's gown for another Miss Universe preliminary back in April. The outfit worn by Miss Mexico, Rosa Maria Ojeda, was elegant and suitably Mexican, but if you look closely you might see that the fabric includes a line of hung men. There's also a man facing a firing squad. The fabric was designed as a memorial to the thousands of Roman Catholic rebels who were killed in Mexico's Cristero War. It had to be toned down for the big event.

The Art of Makeup

Ingrid Marie Rivera (2007)We tend to ignore makeup as an art form, because we're surrounded by amateurs who make a pig's ear of it; but Achievement in Makeup is a category recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the shape of an Oscar. (Name this year's winners!*) Coxsoft Art hesitated before reporting this saga of skulduggery among beauty queens in Puerto Rico. Here's the victim, the lovely Ingrid Marie Rivera, whom nobody can accuse of having made a pig's ear of her makeup. Some evil philistine adulterated Ingrid's makeup with pepper spray, in hope of forcing her to withdraw from the contest. She didn't. She soldiered on, despite attacks of the hives, using ice packs between appearances, and won the show to become Puerto Rico's candidate for Miss Universe 2008. Good for her.
(*David Martí and Montse Ribé for Pan's Labyrinth.)

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Moo Cow

Caroline Shotton - The Moo (Edvard Munch's The Scream)London artist Caroline Shotton is making a good living out of painting replicas of old-master paintings with cows replacing humans. She's sold more than 5,000 limited-edition prints for up to £600 each. Her works include The Moona Lisa, The Laughing Cowvalier, The Persistence of Moomery, Cow with the Pearl Earring and The Moo (shown). Washington Green Fine Art Publishers have signed her up and her series The Great Moosters could earn her as much as £3 million.

Visual Arts Summit

Maple LeafCanadian sculptress Julianna Yau is attending the Visual Arts Summit in Canada and she reports that an historic agreement has been reached between the museum community and artists’ organisations over fees for the exhibition of artworks. They've also agreed to work toward establishing an Exhibition Right Fund, similar to the Public Lending Right Fund which pays the authors of books issued by public libraries. Click the title link to read Julianna's account (look for the A+ button to increase the tiny font and click it 6 times). I'd direct you to the official Visual Arts Summit website, but it's boring rubbish, a perfect example of how NOT to try selling art to the public.

Doris's Crack Update

Doris Salcedo - Shibboleth 2007According to The Times, which obtained this news from Tate Modern by means of the Freedom of Information Act, 15 twerps slipped into Doris's Crack in the first four weeks of its ... er ... opening (title link). Of these accidents, four were reported to the Health and Safety Executive. Why on earth did Sir Nick ever allow himself to be smitten by this dangerous female orifice? Answer in a word: "Publicity". The Times also reveals that Tate Modern is facing a number of legal claims arising from Carsten Holler's Test Site slides (CLICK).

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Allen Jones' Latest

Allen Jones - Hatstand, Table and Chair (1969)Thirty new paintings, prints and watercolours by British pop artist Allen Jones go on show tomorrow at the Alan Cristea Gallery in London to mark his 70th birthday: Allen Jones At Seventy. He made his name in the swinging sixties with statues depicting semi-naked women acting as furniture. Hatstand, Table and Chair (1969) seems to have inspired at least one set in Stanley Kubrick's classic movie A Clockwork Orange (1971). Pity this furniture didn't go into mass production. It would have been worth buying a couple of chairs just to annoy any visiting feminists. The exhibition continues until 22 December.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Artcyclopedia Change

I've been tinkering with my blog template and website today. I've put the new William Morris button on my sidebar and also on my London page (CLICK) and swapped the Thayer angel Artcyclopedia link graphic for this one, based on a William Morris design. You'll find both on the Artcyclopedia banners page (title link).

RCA Secret 2007

Anonymous Artist - Pig (2007)Today in London saw the Royal College of Art's latest secret postcard sale, over 2000 of them. The secret is the name of the artist who painted or drew the work. All the cards cost £40 and the trick is to avoid the ones prepared by the likes of Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst. Most of the doodles are utter rubbish, so it's impossible to spot the infamous hacks. However, I'll bet that nobody infamous donated this Pig (Postcard 5); it's far too good.

Corlett's Cartoon Kylie

Peter Corlett - Bronze sculpture of Kylie Minogue (2007)"Hello, possums." Whoops! Ah, it's not Dame Edna. No spectacles. It's sculptor Peter Corlett's life-sized bronze statue of Kylie Minogue, unveiled yesterday in Melbourne's Docklands. He may have got Kylie's figure and stance right - his model was Sophia James, a waitress with the correct vital statistics -, but the face is a ghastly parody of the diminutive diva: a cartoon Kylie.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Winona's Vulcan Ears

I.C. - Winona Ryder with Vulcan Ears (2007)Since 9 November, BBC News website has been asking visitors to vote on the following question of vital importance to the Nation: Should Winona Ryder play Spock's mother in Star Trek? (She has been booked to play this role in the 11th Star Trek movie, due out late next year.) The yeas have it with 66.02% of the 22,991 votes cast so far. So I thought I'd try out some Vulcan ears on Winona to see if they suit her. Tasty. Click the title link to see the original photo.

Queen Elizabeth I Sold

Steven van der Meulen - Queen Elizabeth IThis inept portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Steven van der Meulen - the earliest known full-length painting of the Queen - fetched £2.6m at a Sotheby's auction in London, far exceeding its estimated value of £700,000. It looks like one of those pictures in a caption competition. "Sir Walter, for God's sake! Have you no manners?" or "Somebody get this dratted hound from under my gown!" or "Eek! I have a ferret up my leg!"

Thursday, 22 November 2007

London Transport Art

Walter E. Spradbery - Windsor Castle (1930)Those of you who have been bursting to peruse an old London tram will be pleased to learn that the London Transport Museum reopened today after a two-year renovation which cost £22m. Yes, this is arts news. For a century London Transport has produced stylish posters reflecting the artistic trends of the day and has employed over 700 artists during this period. Its website boasts on online gallery of over 5000 posters and other artworks. This view of Windsor Castle painted in 1930 by Walter E. Spradbery using gouache - also called "poster paint" - is a fine example. Click the title link to browse by artist, theme or date.

An Irrational Aesthetic

Peter Sedgley - Video Disc ROB2 (1968)Yesterday the Osborne Samuel Gallery in London opened Towards a Rational Aesthetic: Constructive Art in Post-War Britain, which continues until 21 December. As you must know by now, Coxsoft Art tends to give "Modern Art" the raspberry, partly because most of it seems to be stuck in a time capsule that mentally disturbed aliens dumped on our planet in the last century before blowing themselves up. But one of the exhibits did catch my eye: Peter Sedgley's Video Disc ROB2 (1968). It could hardly miss it! Click the title link.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

ASBO Threat For Charlie

CharlieMeet Charlie. This dastardly cockerel has been keeping the neighbours awake with his cock-a-doodle-doing starting at 2.30am and exceeding 30 decibels. So the sheriff up in Scotland threatened him with an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order). Now he must be kept in the dark. How times have changed indeed!

Violent Times

For a Fistful of Dollars (left) and Shoot 'em Up (right)Advertising agencies need to learn that Britons' attitude to actors waving guns in movie posters has changed. Posters such as For a Fistful of Dollars used to be commonplace and nobody complained, but now that crime is out of control in the UK and the ghettos are full of teenagers armed with guns or knives, adverts that glorify violence are out of favour. Two posters for Shoot 'em Up have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following 55 complaints. Of course the posters aren't to blame for 24 teenagers having been murdered this year. We've raised a generation of psychopaths in the ghettos and allowed guns to be put into their hands. But violent posters on the streets don't help the situation by making violence seem the norm.

UK Broadband 88.4%

Smiley With WingsThe latest figures from National Statistics show that 88.4% of UK Internet users are now on broadband. Only four years ago 81% of users were on dial-up modems and 17% had broadband. So, after years of steady growth, the market has just about hit saturation point. Time somebody offered me a free PC so I can convert to broadband. Windows '98 SE is starting to look a bit creaky. The biggest fly in the ointment is Microsoft's Vista™. Not only has it been mauled by the press, but I don't know anyone who likes it. And you get stuck with it when you buy a new PC. What a put-off!

Rubbish Find Update

Rufino Tamayo - Tres Personajes (1970)A month ago I reported that Rufino Tamayo's Tres Personajes (1970), stolen 20 years ago then found on a pile of rubbish in a New York City street, was up for auction (CLICK). It sold for just over its estimated value of £484,000 ($1m). I still wouldn't give you 50p for it. Maybe if it had a decent frame....

William Morris Graphic

I.C. - William Morris Gallery link graphic (2007)One of the things the William Morris Gallery website lacks is a link graphic that can be posted on other websites to link to the Gallery. So I've designed one, based on Morris's Blue Acanthus: size 150x60 pixels, 5Kb. Please feel free to download it and post it on your website or blog to link to the William Morris Gallery.

Art vs Science 3

A Fibroblast (2007)No, this isn't a brilliant abstract by a new artist. It's a fibroblast. Scientists are at it again, producing pictures that outshine the works of many a contemporary artist. To find out everything you ever wanted to know about fibroblasts, but were afraid to ask, click the title link. To see Art vs Science 1 CLICK and Art vs Science 2 CLICK.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

The Artist's Magazine

The Artist's Magazine Header (2007)Not content with a circulation of 160,000, The Artist's Magazine is going digital. Coxsoft Art received an invitation to a sneak preview today. Its graphics are excellent and the general layout stylish; but it is clearly aimed at artists with advanced computers, big monitor screens and fast Internet connections. On my old PC, the website crept at a snail's pace and the text of the wildlife-art article I wanted to read was so small I couldn't read it! If you own serious computing power, it's well worth a look (title link). The big question is: Why pay a subscription fee when you can be updated free by Coxsoft Art without any bull?

Rokeby Venus Abroad

Diego Velázquez - Venus With Mirror (the Rokeby Venus)If you're planning a visit to the National Gallery in London, be warned that one of its most famous paintings won't be there. Diego Velázquez's Venus With Mirror (also called The Rokeby Venus) is on loan to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid for the inaugural exhibition in its new extension: Velázquez’s Fables: Mythology and Sacred History in the Golden Age. The exhibition opened today and continues until 24 February 2008. For Londoners, this means an entire winter deprived of the most pattable bum in the business. Sigh.

Antiscrap Benefit Tonight

William Morris - Blue AcanthusShort notice, I'm afraid, but I received this news only this morning. Antiscrap (Artists Against Cuts) have organised an evening of poetry and music at the William Morris Culture Club, The Plough Inn, 173 Wood Street, Walthamstow, E17, Tuesday 20 November, from 7.30pm. Admission £5 or £3. At least 11 performers have agreed to do their thing.

In Defence of Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte - Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877)ArtDaily recently posted an item on The Art Institute of Chicago’s loan of about 90 paintings from its extensive Impressionist collection to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, next summer. One of the paintings on loan will be Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877). Why lump Caillebotte in with the Impressionists, you might wonder? He arranged their exhibitions, showed his own paintings with theirs, collected their works and tried his hand at impressionistic painting, example Voiliers à Argenteuil (1883). But his finest work makes no concession to this new fad and puts most of it to shame. His anti-heroic realism captures ordinary scenes in detail; his dramatic use of perspective is masterly. And look at how he plays around with the Golden Section in this painting, using a lamppost to divide a cityscape into two vistas. To me, his art is far more interesting than that of the Impressionists he supported so generously.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Police Mascot Too Pink

Police Mascot PCSO Steve (2007)Not the world's greatest piece of art, but that isn't the reason police mascot PCSO Steve has been banned. He's too pink for London. He'll be replaced by PCSO Sunita and a couple of other non-pinkos at a cost of £15,000 to the Metropolitan Police. This isn't the silliest piece of political correctness to emerge from the boys in blue today. Media regulator Ofcom has rejected police claims of distortion against Channel 4. Its Dispatches' Undercover Mosque showed a nine-months investigation into Islamic extremism, filming imams doing their loony and extremist thing at various UK mosques. Instead of arresting the extremists, West Midlands Police complained to Ofcom about the programme (CLICK)!

EU Concentration Camps

Photo of Vasky (2007)This emaciated girl sitting on a potty is Vasky. She is 18 years old. Her condition is the result of a lifetime of starvation and neglect in the Mogilino Social Care Home in Bulgaria, a member of the European Union. While filming Bulgaria's Abandoned Children for BBC 4 (title link), producer/director Kate Blewett noticed that Vasky's leg was broken. The Bulgarian nurse who was putting salve on Vasky's feet hadn't noticed, despite the girl's obvious distress! Most of the female "carers" in the home are grossly fat, which gives us a suspicion as to where the children's food is going. Vasky is just one of the children who are suffering, starving and slowly dying in Bulgaria's concentration camps for unwanted kids. To find out more CLICK. To sign a No 10 e-petition CLICK. What has any of this to do with art? Bulgaria's Abandoned Children is the finest documentary I've seen since Phil Grabsky's multi award-winning The Boy Who Plays On The Buddhas Of Bamiyan (CLICK).

Polar Meltdown

Arne Naevra - Polar Meltdown (2007) photo © Arne NaevraStill not convinced that humanity is destroying our planet? Don't care, because you think it won't happen in your lifetime? More interested in the good life than in wildlife? Think that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are exaggerating the problem (title link)? Look at Arne Naevra's powerful photo Polar Meltdown and think again. It's happening now!
To see more top wildlife photos from the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 2007 CLICK or visit the exhibition at London's Natural History Museum until 27 April 2008.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

UK PM's Hypocrisy

Shirley Hughes - Christmas Card for No 10 (2007)If you're unlikely to receive a card from Prime Minister Gordon Brown or his missus this Christmas, you might like to see what you'll be missing. The official No 10 Christmas card bears this cute painting by Shirley Hughes, who writes and illustrates the charming Alfie books (CLICK). Proceeds go to Booktrust, the UK charity which encourages all age groups to get stuck into a good book. Considering that Chancellor Brown caused savage cutbacks to public library budgets up and down the country, PM Brown's token gesture to Booktrust is a blatant act of hypocrisy.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

John Fletcher Portrait

Unknown Artist - Portrait of John FletcherThe National Portrait Gallery in London has launched an appeal to raise £218,000 to buy this painting by an unknown artist of the Jacobean playwright John Fletcher, who collaborated with Shakespeare and with Francis Beaumont. It is the only known portrait of Fletcher painted in his lifetime and is of historic importance, especially for the National Portrait Gallery. The Art Fund charity has granted £50,000 toward the acquisition. The deadline is 20 January 2008.

The Telltale Fakes

George Greenhalgh - Fake Assyrian Relief (c.2005)This is one of three fake Assyrian reliefs, supposedly dating from 600 to 800BC, that caused George Greenhalgh's downfall. In 2005 he tried to sell them to the British Museum. Experts spotted spelling mistakes in the cuneiform script and inaccuracies in the detail of the horses' bridles. The police were called in. Click the title link to read about Greenhalgh and view more of his fakes. You might spot one in your local museum!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Sculptor Convicted

The Amarna PrincessIn Bolton Crown Court, Shaun Greenhalgh from Bolton was jailed for four years and eight months by Judge William Morris for creating a fake Amarna Princess and selling it to Bolton Council (CLICK), plus other offences. Mum got a 12-month suspended sentence for her part in the con, and Dad will be sentenced at a later date. Nice little family business rumbled by the British Museum.

Twombly Kisser Fined

Rindy Sam (2007)Here's Cambodian-born Rindy Sam enjoying the publicity of her final court appearance for slurping on Cy Twombly's plain white canvas with what seems to have been indelible lipstick (CLICK). Today, in the French city of Avignon, a judge fined her 1,500 euro-thingies (£1,074) and ordered her to pay 1 euro-thingy (71p) compensation to the artist. I guess that shows what the judge thinks of Twombly's twaddle.

Anti-Brit Eurostar Ads

Eurostar Advert - Skinhead Relieving Himself (2007)Eurostar is at it again. Its latest anti-British advertising campaign, aimed at Belgium tourists, features this skinhead relieving himself into a teacup. Foxhunting, a streaker and a Margaret Thatcher lookalike appear in other posters, which went up on billboards in Antwerp, Brussels, Liege and Ghent on Wednesday. So much for bringing romance back into rail travel! Click the title link to see more. Anti-British Eurostar ads caused a furore in 1999 (CLICK). Dunno why we let this Froggie train use St Pancras. Who needs it, apart from illegal immigrants?

Streaky Bacon Sells

Francis Bacon - Self PortraitThere are still people with more money than sense who are prepared to lash out millions on a pathetic load of codswallop, in the USA at least. This Self Portrait by Francis Bacon sold for $29.5m (£14.3m) at Sotheby's New York auction of contemporary and postwar art on Wednesday. Bacon's Study for Bullfight No 1, second version, fetched $41m (£19.9m), a new auction record for a living artist. Jeff Koons' girlie Hanging Heart, Magenta and Gold (CLICK) went for $23.5m (£11.4m), a fitting pressie for the tasteless, gold-digging floozy who has everything.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Habbo Hotel Thief

Oi! Where's my furniture?I don't believe it! Firstly that people lead such impoverished lives that they're prepared to live in a virtual hotel (Habbo Hotel). Secondly that they're daft enough to pay real money to buy virtual furniture for their virtual hotel rooms. Thirdly that anyone is prepared to steal other people's virtual furniture. And lastly that real Dutch police have actually arrested a real Dutch teenager for allegedly stealing virtual furniture worth £2,840! It's almost as unbelievable as our Prime Minister's car being guarded by any of 5,000 illegal immigrants working in Brit. security (CLICK)! Almost. No wonder he can't get a grip on immigration.

Lowry Cigarette Packet

LS Lowry - Football Game Sketch (1930's)Yesterday in Nantwich, Cheshire, Peter Wilson Auctioneers sold this tiny pencil sketch on the inside of a packet of Wild Woodbine Cigarettes for £5,280. An expensive doodle! The creases of the opened packet are clearly visible. L.S. Lowry gave it to his friend Arthur Delaney in the 1930's.

Marvel Comics Online

Marvel Comics has created a digital archive which already contains 2,500 of its back issues. So, a new generation can read online the early adventures of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk. You need to subscribe to Marvel to access its archive (title link). Pretentious UK art charities that waste money trying to bring their idea of art to the masses should take note. Marvel Comics is way ahead of you and didn't need a grant. It's been bringing art to the masses since 1939 (CLICK). I've illustrated this post with Iron Man, the latest Marvel superhero to hit the big screen, due out in 2008.

El Jueves Update

Guillermo Torres - Cartoon detail showing Letizia Ortiz, the Royal Missus (2007)Back in July I reported on the El Jueves cartoon scandal (CLICK) and on the magazine's cheeky response (CLICK). Spanish cartoonist Guillermo Torres and El Jueves' cartoons editor Manel Fontdevila, who wrote the caption, have been fined £2,100 each for offending the Spanish royal family by depicting Prince Felipe and his wife, Letizia, in a thoroughly rude posture (CLICK if you must). Bonuses, Ed.? The publicity must be worth far more than £4,200.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Rape of Ganymede

Sir Peter Paul Rubens - The Rape of Ganymede (sketch left)Browsing Sotheby's online catalogue of Old Master Paintings Evening Sale on 5 December, I spotted a familiar Rubens, The Rape of Ganymede, but not the famous one in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (right). The Rubens on the left is a preliminary oil sketch on panel, and it's fascinating to see how Rubens modified his sketch into the finished work. Click the title link to go to my Comparisons Page 3 to read more and to view a larger graphic. If you have £80,000 to £120,000 to invest, the Rubens sketch is L07033-18. It's a snip when you think of its historic importance and the millions spent on trash by Picasso. You can view the original sketch at Sotheby's London, New Bond Street, from 30 November.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Export Ban on Turner

JMW Turner - Lake of Lucerne, from the Landing Place at Fluelen, looking towards Bauen and Tell's Chapel, Switzerland (ca 1815)Another export ban within a week! On this occasion it's been imposed on a watercolour by JMW Turner worth £2m: Lake of Lucerne, from the Landing Place at Fluelen, looking towards Bauen and Tell's Chapel, Switzerland (c. 1815). Earlier this year £4.95m was raised to keep Turner's The Blue Rigi in Britain (CLICK). So there's a good chance this one can be saved too.

Central Library Sale

Book SaleIf you missed the book sale at Fullwell Cross Library last Saturday, don't panic! Central Library in Ilford is having its last major sale of the year next Saturday 17 November, from 10am to 3pm. This is the biggie: books - adult, junior, large print, fiction, non-fiction -, CDs, videos, DVDs, sheet music, talking books (cassette tapes), all at greatly reduced prices.

ING Discerning Eye

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition LogoThe ING Discerning Eye 2007 Exhibition will open at the Mall Galleries, London, on Thursday 15 November and continue until Sunday 25 November. This is a mixed bag of styles, media and techniques brought together with the pretentious aim of broadening our horizons. Ta ever so. It's free, so you can't complain even if you don't get your horizons broadened.

W & G: Trouble At Mill

Aardman Animations - Storyboard Drawings (2007) for Trouble At MillWhile I'm on the subject of Aardman Animations (next post down), you might like to know that early next year filming begins on the new Wallace and Gromit TV adventure: Trouble At Mill. It's still at the storyboard stage, but we know Wallace and Gromit will be running their own bakery in dire circs and Wallace will be wooing Piella Bakewell. (Bakewell, a type of British tart ... tart equals cheap floozy ... oh, forget it. Yanks, revel in the animation and ignore the Brit. jokes.) The new film should be ready for Christmas 2008. One great TV programme to look forward to! Click the title link for a few more storyboard drawings.