Thursday, 31 January 2008

London Street Art

Pure Evil - Neon BunnyThis week's edition of Time Out London features London's best street artists and asks the punning question: Is the writing on the wall for Banksy? (Groan!) Click the title link for Time Out London's exclusive London street art picture gallery online. This example is Neon Bunny by Pure Evil. There are 38 more. E-newsletter readers also have the chance to vote on whether we need a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Don't forget to give this potential plague on our environment the raspberry. (No prizes for guessing which way Coxsoft Art voted.)

Lucas Cranach at RA

Lucas Cranach the Elder - Detail from The Golden Age (ca 1530)Lucas Cranach the Elder seems to be in vogue. Last year The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery held the first ever exhibition in Britain devoted to his work (CLICK). His The Ill-Matched Lovers also went on show in London last year (CLICK). And don't miss his Venus wearing a silly hat (CLICK). Now it's the turn of the Royal Academy of Arts to present "the first major exhibition in Britain" of "this important master of the German Renaissance." The RA isn't kidding: 70 works. That's a biggy. Cranach will run from 8 March to 8 June 2008 in the Sackler Wing and promises to be a lot more interesting than all that French twaddle in its current From Russia show. Tickets are cheaper too: £8 adults, £7 concessions. But that's 87.5% for silver surfers! You tight gnats' whatsits!

Stolen Painting

Not the stolen work, but one showing a similar view of the ThamesAn oil painting similar to the one here, showing a view of the south bank overlooking the River Thames in London, was stolen from the driveway of a house in Bath while the owner removed items from his car. It measures 15 x 45 inches and is worth thousands of pounds. One to watch out for the next time you visit a car boot sale.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Missing Make-up Artist

Female Face MaskFears are growing for an Emmy-award-winning make-up artist who vanished a week ago while visiting London: Diane Chenery-Wickens, who has worked on some of UK TV's top shows. As I can't find a good image of her, I've illustrated this post with a female face mask. Click the title link to see the BBC News photo of her.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Art Shed Update

Royal College of Art - Invitation Map (2008)In case you thought I was kidding about Thomas Pausz's shed (one post down or CLICK) here's a map sent to me as part of an invitation to visit this noble project at a private showing. (There are perks to being an unsung art critic.) Unfortunately, the date was yesterday. Never mind. Gift horse and all that. Viewings by appointment will continue until 7 February. You can telephone or e-mail the artist - he's doing his MA at RCA, by the way, so he already has a diploma - or Julie Sumner, for details.
Thomas: 07 957 374 463,
Julie: 07 956 890 825,

My thanks to Redbridge Allotwatch for sending me this information. It's part of a worthwhile campaign to save our allotments. In case you don't know, for a small fee you can become a member of your local allotment community - you don't need an allotment - and you'll receive a discount on all the tools, seeds, bulbs and whatnot you buy there for your garden. Click the title link for the story of Manor Garden Allotments, which inspired the RCA's Revisiting The Community Shed.

Unsung Heroes of Art

Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare (2007) screenshot enhancedThe biggest selling video game of 2007 was Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare, developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision in November, with sales of over 7 million copies. It won "Best Action game", "Best Shooter" and "Best Military Game". But who are the unsung heroes who created its stunning graphics? Anyone know? The video games industry relies on such artists, but refuses to give them the credit they deserve. Where are the Video Games Oscars for graphic artists?

Monday, 28 January 2008

Art Student Builds Shed

Royal Albert HallThomas Pausz, a student at the Royal College of Art, has recreated an allotment shed as part of his course. For God's sake! How to churn out arts graduates with no proven talent in art! Still, I won't complain about his shed, no matter how inartistic it may be. It will stand next to the Royal Albert Hall and house an exhibition about allotment life. It's high time someone showed London's endemic foreigners and the West End's arty-farty crowd how to plant a British spud.

Marc Quinn's Latest

Marc Quinn - Evolution (2007)Marc Quinn is an extremely rare talent among UK artists. Not only does he convince me he has great potential, but also he pleases the Brit. Anti-art Establishment! He manages to perform this gobsmacking feat by carving realistic statues of unusual subjects or poses. Remember Alison Lapper Pregnant (CLICK) and Sphinx 2005 (Kate Moss in a Yoga position; CLICK)? An exhibition of his latest work is now showing at White Cube's Mason Yard Gallery in London: Evolution, a series of nine jumbo statues in pink marble showing the development of the human embryo. That's in the "lower-ground" gallery. In the ground-floor gallery is his new collection of flower sculptures cast in bronze and then heat treated for a chrome-plated bronze finish. Too glittery for my taste and probably too pretty-pretty for the Anti-art Mob; but, as always, interesting. The exhibition continues until 23 February.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Learn Chess

I.C. - Learn Chess: cassette cover and screen shot (© Coxsoft 1987)I discovered today that my old Learn Chess software for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K (© Coxsoft 1987) is available to use online at World of Spectrum. Previously it was available only as a download and you also needed to download a Spectrum emulator to convert it to work on a PC. (WoS has my permission.) Now you can simply visit the website and use it online. As far as I know, it is still the only chess software ever written that teaches beginners from scratch, starting with the right way to position the board and concluding with full notation of "The Match of The Century", breaking down a lot of chess jargon on the way. You could buy a book for beginners, but Learn Chess is free and moves pieces and flashes appropriate squares to illuminate its text in a way no book could match. Part 2 Board Play allows you to play games with a friend and will block any illegal move you or your opponent try to make (unlike a real chess board). To start Learn Chess CLICK.

A Touch of Dutch

One of the Dutch exhibitsFrom the sewers of Sao Paulo to the royal courts of Europe; Coxsoft Art goes anywhere on the Internet for a snippet of news. The Fan Museum in Greenwich, London, is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to fans. From 29 February to 28 May it will be exhibiting A Touch of Dutch: Royal Fans from the House of Orange-Nassau, 68 fans dating from the 18th to 20th centuries created by Europe’s finest fan makers. Click the title link for thumbnails of some of the exhibits and further details.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Brazil's Banksies

Titifreak - New Art For A New EraBrazil has its own Banksies. One of them is Zezao, who paints his graffiti in the slums and sewers of Sao Paulo. Another is Titifreak, who spreads his graffiti as far as he can. Sao Paulo's Museum of Contemporary Art is showing their work. Gary Duffy in Brazil tells the story for BBC News, with more pictures and links to their websites.

Friday, 25 January 2008

ICE Searches Museums

Statuette of BuddhaUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are searching four museums in California looking for antiquities allegedly smuggled from south east Asia: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Bowers Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum and the Mingei International Museum. It seems genuine antiques were smuggled into the USA under Made in Thailand stickers and then donated to the museums in order to claim tax.

Manhunt 2 Judgement

Manhunt 2, Axe-slaying SceneToday, one week earlier then expected, a high court judge ruled that Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 must be re-evaluated by the Video Appeals Committee (VAC). The British Board of Film Classification argued that its own ban of Manhunt 2 had been overturned by VAC's misinterpreting the law. The judge agreed. So it's back to VAC. The axe has been poised for so long. Will Manhunt 2 ever get the chop?

RBS Strikes Again

Helaine Blumenfeld - ReflectionBy sheer coincidence, the Salon & Studio Galleries of the Royal British Society of Sculptors will be showing Helaine Blumenfeld VPRBS: recent works The Space Within from 7 to 29 February. (The VP stands for Vice President of the RBS.) At least this sculpture has a tactile quality - you feel you want to stroke it -, but it hardly lives up to its blurb: "Art is an encounter with the unexpected that can extend our capacity for experiencing ourselves and the unknown." Unexpected? Looks like another of those decadent abstracts which Brit. sculptors have been churning out for decades. I'll stick with Wallace and Gromit.

Beijing Olympic Park

John Atkin FRBS - Strange Meeting (1999 & 2007)I suppose Coxsoft Art should congratulate John Atkin FRBS - Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors - for being selected from 2,600 applicants to create a new sculpture for the Beijing Olympic Park, but I don't like his work. He strikes me as another of those people with a diploma (MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art 1982 - 1985) who thinks if he calls it "art" it is art. His industrial flotsam doesn't attain "craft" as far as I'm concerned, let alone "art". But the Beijing judging panel gave his Strange Meeting (originally 1999, but revamped in 2007 for the competition) an "outstanding award". So much for art. The even worse news is that a similar waste of taxpayers' money will be inflicted on London for that next costly planet warmer and monument to narcissism the 2012 Olympic Games. The drugs companies should be made to pay. Better still, cancel it. All it's done so far is create dissension. And Londoners are footing the bill!

Banksy Telephone Box

Banksy - Bent Telephone Box (photo Kevin Towler)Here's a Bansky "sculpture" I haven't seen before: our iconic red telephone box bent out of shape yet with all its panes of glass intact, photographed by Kevin Towler and sent to BBC News Magazine Monitor. Click the title link to see 5 more Banksy photos sent in by viewers.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Collect at V&A

Jack Cunningham - Untitled (2007)Collect - the international art fair for contemporary objects, organised by the Crafts Council - opens at London's Victoria and Albert Museum tomorrow and continues until 29 January. What are described as "museum quality" ceramics, glass, art, jewellery, silver, textiles, furniture and wood will be on show. There is an admission charge, but the Crafts Council website was too slow for me to find out what it is. Don't you hate those spinning graphics that go on for minutes and warn you of a cumbersome site that doesn't care about visitors?

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Virgin Galactic

Unknown Artist - Space Ship Two slung beneath White Knight TwoHere's an anonymous artist's elegant impression of Sir Richard Branson's latest project, already under way: Virgin Galactic, a launch system that will take eight fare-paying millionaires into space at a time. (I assume they'll need to be millionaires to afford the tickets.) Their trips will be sub-orbital only and are expected to take off in 2010. I think I'll wait for Virgin Intergalactic, providing the trip takes no more than a week and I can carry on blogging in outer space.

Randy Gives NPG £5m

John Constable - Self-portrait in pencil and chalk (ca 1799-1804)Good news for the National Portrait Gallery in London: US billionaire Randy Lerner - the owner of Aston Villa football club - is donating £5m to the gallery over the next three years, in order that it can acquire new paintings. This is the largest single donation the gallery has ever received. Its ground floor galleries will be named after him as a thank-you. The Randy Galleries ... mm ... not sure about that.

Pigs Taboo in UK

Shoo-fly - Piggy Builder (2007)Those politically correct half-wits of the Labour Loony Left are at it again. They've rejected an award-winning digital book on CD-ROM that features an updated version of a classic children's story Three Little Cowboy Builders, because "the use of pigs raises cultural issues"! It might offend builders as well as Muslims! For God's sake! This book has already won a prize at the recent Education Resource Awards, but the Bett Award panel gave it the bum's rush. So, writers and artists, beware that Britain is fast becoming an Islamic state and we mustn't offend those foreign nutters who are taking over our country. I guess we'll be banning pig-farming soon. No more crackling or apple sauce. No more spicy pork sausages. Hell!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

From Russia Hung

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin - Bathing of a Red Horse (1912)The From Russia paintings have arrived and have been hung in the Royal Academy of Arts. BBC London News crept in, filmed a few French paintings and interviewed some old duffer from the Brit. Anti-art Establishment who thought that Matisse's The Dance was the most beautiful painting in the world! Where do they find these myopic twerps? Answer: the Royal Academy of Arts. Where were the Russian paintings? The BBC wasn't interested. Nor, it seems is, the RA. Click the title link to see a Gauguin and that laughably incompetence Dance. Such has been the hype on this show that the punters will flock to see it. As far as Coxsoft Art is concerned, this is the Damp Squib of the Year. If I were Russian, I would be deeply offended by the lack of interest shown in Russian art. The show opens this Saturday 26 January. Book. Better still, don't bother.

Modern Chinese Art

Fu Baoshi - Landscapes of the Four Seasons (1950) detailOn 1 February London's Asia House Gallery will open a two-instalment exhibition: Modern Chinese Art - The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection. Part 1 is called Beginnings and will display Chinese art in its more traditional aspect, such as Fu Baoshi's Landscapes of the Four Seasons (1950) detail shown. This instalment continues until 15 March. Part 2, A New Generation, runs from 1 April to 24 May 2008. Part 1 certainly looks worth a visit. Part 2? Er ... well ... mm ... maybe. I'll post a graphic nearer the date if I come across one.

Crafts On The Web

Pardalote - Space Invader EarringsMark Ward, Technology Correspondent for BBC News website, has written an interesting article on the rise of traditional arts and crafts on the Internet. These handmade Space Invader Earrings by Pardalote are a good example: old craft, modern design., the leading online market for craftsfolk, has recently notched up its one millionth sale (CLICK). Did anyone in his wildest dreams envisage modern technology breathing new life into cottage industries crushed by mass production? I wonder what William Morris - founder of the Arts & Crafts Movement - would make of it. His ideas are as pertinent today as in Victorian times. What a shame the Labour councillors of Waltham Forest are too uncultured to appreciate this fact! Hi, Gordon. Read the petition yet? (See the next post down.)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Petition Goes To No 10

The Wyvern Bindery - William Morris Gallery Petition (2008)The William Morris Gallery Petition containing more than 11,000 signatures and messages of support from all over the world was handed in at No 10 Downing Street this morning. BBC London News was there to record the event. Unfortunately the PM wasn't. Gordon Brown is in India doing his thing for the 2012 Olympic Games. He was filmed telling a group of slim Indian children how to get fit! He should be here, telling our fat kids to get off their flabby bums and exercise.

McAttee's Anti-Gravity

Andrew McAttee - Snapdragon (2007)If you like your art to be bright, brash and fun, how's this? It's Snapdragon by Brit. artist Andrew McAttee, one of his new paintings to be exhibited at the Forster Gallery in London: Anti-Gravity from 1 February to 1 March. Despite the exuberant chaos of brilliant acrylics exploding across the canvas, these images are meticulously painted; note the realistic tennis ball to the left of centre. Click the title link to view another of Andrew's paintings. And yes: that defies gravity too. I'm impressed. Private viewing 31 January 6-9pm.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Photos of Frida Kahlo

Frida with Olmeca Figurine, Coyoacán; photo Nickolas Muray (1939)Here's a beautifully composed photo of the Mexican artist Frida Kahl, the lady with the eyebrows who made a career out of self-portraiture. As a photographic portrait it outshines the portraitist. This is one of nearly 50 photos of Frida which Muray took between 1937 and 1941. Find them in the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, from 2 February to 30 March: Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray. Also note that the Delaware collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings has returned from its international tour.

A Holiday Thought

I.C. - Boycott Portugal (2007)As it's the Brit. holiday-booking season, here's a quick reminder of one of the countries you should avoid visiting until it stops being a land fit for paedophiles, sacks all its detectives who force the mothers of missing children to kneel on broken glass to coerce false confessions of guilt from them, and employs decent and competent officers to rescue Madeleine McCann. Why should the McCann's be forced to employ a Spanish detective agency to do the job of the Portuguese cops?

Madeleine: A Suspect

Drawing of Suspect in Madeleine McCann case (2008)Here's another grim portrait, published as a World Exclusive by the News of the World. Drawn by an FBI-trained police artist, it depicts the face of a suspect seen in the vicinity of the McCann's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. There is a confidential phone line to ring if you think you've seen this man: 0034 902 300 213 (Spanish). As usual, the News of The World goes OTT with melodramatic headlines, but this is a possible lead ignored by police at the time. In another development, the Daily Mail reports on the disappearance of a little girl in Spain - Mari Luz Cortes - 120 miles from where Madeleine was abducted (CLICK). One thing is certain: the Brit. press is doing more to find Madeleine than the Portuguese Keystone Kops ever did. They frame innocent mothers (CLICK).

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Tony Blair's Portrait

Jonathan Yeo - Tony Blair (2008)Here's the painting you've all been waiting for: the first official portrait of Tony Blair, commissioned by the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Jonathan Yeo - son of Tory MP Tim Yeo - did the deed. Is Tony left of centre or right of it? The Tory Party spent more than a decade trying to figure that one out and what to do about it. The commemorative poppy is a nice touch; shows soul.

Big Garden Birdwatch

Gary Martin - Blue Tit (2005)The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch - the world’s biggest bird survey - is next weekend 26-27 January. Last year more than 400,000 Brits took part and spotted 6 million birds simply by watching their gardens for one hour. Click the title link for details. I've illustrated this post with a beautiful photo of a blue tit taken by Gary Martin. For more of Gary's excellent photos of British birds CLICK.


Photo showing Yedoensis in progress plus insert of the artist: Ayomi Yoshida (2008)This week the Northern Illinois University Art Museum (CLICK) opened its Rotunda Gallery to reveal Ayomi Yoshida's Yedoensis (cherry blossom). It's one of those installation thingies. As art it isn't original; Japanese artists have been going bananas over their cherry blossom for centuries. As wallpaper it won't last much longer than the real thing, because each blossom was hand-printed on a one inch square of rice paper. (Try dusting that lot without stripping the walls!) What fascinated me was the ongoing blog which shows the team involved and the work as it progressed. If you fancy designing an installation thingy, click the title link. The show lasts until 7 March, providing nobody sneezes!

Friday, 18 January 2008

The Seer

The Seer LogoMy local authority, the London Borough of Redbridge, has recently joined The Seer (title link): "The free online directory and resource for all of London’s creative individuals, organisations and venues to find, receive and promote arts and creative information in London." I began to add Coxsoft Art to the database, then discovered that it wanted personal details I'm not prepared to give, such as my ethnic origin! There's far to much of this creeping racism and invasion of privacy going on. Does it matter what an artist's race is? And all the personal details gathered by The Seer are fed into a database to which all member Greater London authorities have access. Talk about "Big Brother is watching you"! If other creative individuals feel as I do, this will be a very small database. It's supported by Arts Council England!

Wildlife Photos 2008

Announcement showing detail of Mallard's-eye View © Graham EatonThe Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2008 is now open for entries. The above graphic shows a detail of Mallard's-eye View by Graham Eaton, to give you an idea of the high quality of photography you're up against; but snorkels aren't obligatory! Click the title link for details. Youngsters, there is a junior category.

Kremlin Gets Nasty

I.C. - Wanted for Murder (2007)It looks as though the Kremlin's spies in the UK read The Guardian. Having noted last Saturday's Brit. Anti-art Establishment letter condemning the British Council (CLICK) they reported it as a soft target for KGB intimidation (now called FSB, but just as stupid and nasty). All these FSB actions amount to is an implied confession that its boss ordered the hit on Alexander Litvinenko. Who's in charge of the FSB, Vladimir? Not you, surely. Hi, Gordon, why don't you have a European arrest warrant issued for the suspect and collar him when he comes here to open the From Russia exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts? Bit undiplomatic? Aw, what the hell!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

San Paulo Heist Update

Chef's HatBrazilian police reckon a TV chef - Moisés De Lima Sobrinho - cooked up the robbery from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art (CLICK). Allegedly he sniffed around museums in Madrid prior to the robbery. What a sauce! I wouldn't put anything past a TV chef. What a boring, egotistical crowd. They pop up everywhere: trailers, commercials, news. I can't reach the switch-off button fast enough.

Arts Council Show!

Mark Titchner - Something Plastic to Fight the Invisible (2001) © the perpetratorI'm embarrassed to put the above tripe on my blog as "art", let alone as British "art"; but I owe it to my fellow tax-payers to show them what sort of rubbish the Arts Council wastes our money on. Only a week ago I wrote "ACE has wasted a fortune in tax-payers' money on statues that are never put on public display, presumably because they are so awful that it daren't let the public see them" (CLICK). Well, I was wrong in one respect: ACE dares! However, this dross is being opened in Margate - an old-fashioned south-coast holiday resort - in winter, when few members of the public and no art critics are likely to see it. Smart move. Art lovers and tax-payers, demonstrate outside the Turner Contemporary Project Space any time this bilge is on display: Nature is a Workshop selected from the Arts Council Collection, 28 February to 1 June 2008.

Designer Roughed Up

Brian Haw bleeding after arrest (14/1/2008)I tend to forget that Coxsoft Art News is international. A German comment on my post Brian Haw Design Wins (CLICK) reminded me. So here's a London news item from Monday which might not have reached foreign parts. The photo shows Brian Haw after he was arrested by the Met. Police during a protest march outside Downing Street. The Brit. Anti-art Establishment gives Mark Wallinger a golden handshake of £25,000 (the Turner Prize) for copying Brian Haw's design and the original designer gets manhandled by the police. How's that for British justice? State Britain indeed!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Clive Barker, Artist

Clive Barker - Ripe (price: $2000)Best known as a horror writer and for his movie Hellraiser, Clive Barker is also an artist. Last Friday an exhibition of his work opened at the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago: Clive Barker - Apocalypses: Paintings and Works on Paper. At his best, Barker reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley; but I wouldn't say this was Barker at his best. Click the title link for an online gallery of his pictures on show. The exhibition continues until 16 February 2008.

William Morris Petition

The Wyvern Bindery - William Morris Gallery Petition (2008)On Monday 21 January 2008 at 10.30am this beautifully bound William Morris Gallery Petition containing over 11,000 signatures and messages of support from all over the world will be handed in at No 10 Downing Street, hopefully to the Prime Minister in person. You're welcome to attend the presentation, with or without fancy dress. BBC London News should be there. Click the title link for details.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Banksy eBay Update

Banksy - Artist Painting 'Banksy' (2008)The final bid for this Banksy mural auctioned on eBay was £208,100. If the deal goes through, the new owner must pay about £5000 extra for the removal and replacement of the wall.

Landscapes of Food

Carl Warner - Italian FoodscapeFeeling peckish? The ingredients in this layered photo are food laid out on a tabletop. Even the Italian village on the hill is made out of Parmesan cheese. The fields are pasta, the stone wall pine nuts, the farm cart lasagne. Photographer Carl Warner has caught the food bug in a big way. Click the title link to view a gallery of his clever foodscapes. Watch out for the sunset over a smoked salmon sea!

Banksy Mural on eBay

Banksy - Artist Painting 'Banksy' (2008)Here's the latest Banksy to hit the headlines. It's in the Portobello Road, London, painted on the wall of a media production firm. The owner has put it up for sale on eBay and the top bid so far is £200,000. However, not only must you remove the wall to secure your Banksy, but also rebuild the existing wall to stop any draft coming in!

Windows Warning!

Don't panic! It's another jest from Dave.

Arthur Lewin-Funcke

Arthur Lewin-Funcke - Mother & Child (1906) I.C. enhancedThanks to Kris's trying a different spelling, we now know that "Lewisfuncke" is Arthur Wilhelm Otto Lewin-Funcke (1866-1937). I spent the morning researching this artist. He was a German Jew, which probably explains why his work has been neglected or lost and why most of the surviving photos of his work predate Nazi persecution of the Jews. This photo of his delightful Mother & Child (1906) was faded and badly cropped, so I've enhanced it. His statue of Boys Arguing (below or CLICK) exists as two casts (1904 and 1905), one at Staatsarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen in Detmold, the other at the Museum Abteiberg (Altenheim Lürrip) in Mönchengladbach. Hey, Jerries, isn't it time the Fatherland recognized a great classical German artist, regardless of his religion?

Sunday, 13 January 2008


Arthur Lewin-Funcke - Two Boys Arguing (1894 or 1895)Here's a great statue by an artist named Lewisfuncke depicting two boys fighting over a bunch of grapes (1894 or 1895). I chanced upon an old black-and-white photo of this statue some years ago and cleaned up the image as best I could (title link). Today Kris sent me a new photo of the statue, also chanced upon while browsing the Internet. We still know nothing about the artist, although it's a fair bet he was German. If you have any information, please let us know.

Mariko Mori: Oneness

Mariko Mori - Er...Flash Gordon's Spaceship?The trouble with living beyond puberty is that you have the feeling you've seen most of it before. Take this sculpture or installation or set design by Japanese artist Mariko Mori, who's building an international reputation with her innovative works. To me it's a combination of the flying saucer from The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and "Buster" Crabbe's old spaceship in which he flitted about the planet Mongo while struggling to defeat Ming The Merciless. Cigarette smoke used to curl from its rocket tubes to represent their exhaust streams. (Those were the days of special effects!) Mori's model is nicely done, very nostalgic, but hardly original. Note: the forgotten artist who penned the Flash Gordon comic strip was Alex Raymond.

Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art presents its second 20-21 International Art Fair on Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 February, admission £5. Jonathan Stewardson's oil painting District, then Home, presented by David Lilford Fine Art, is a perfect example of the mundane being turned into beautiful art. CLICK for the art fair thumbnail gallery. David Lilford will also be showing ceramic torsos by an artist I featured last year: Anna Keiller (CLICK for The Abduction and Anna's website).

Saturday, 12 January 2008

British Council Furore

Union JackOn Thursday the actors union Equity passed a motion of no confidence in Arts Council England (CLICK). Today 100 big guns in the UK arts scene put their names to a letter to The Guardian newspaper condemning British Council's proposal to slash its visual arts department. It was not a happy ship, tra-la-la. If you look at the signatories (CLICK) you'll spot a lot of piffle peddlers from the Brit. Anti-art Establishment. Could it be that the British Council has realised that UK art has become an international joke, thanks to the mindless dross promoted by the Anti-art Establishment?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Tate Gets Big Maman

Louise Bourgeois - Maman (1999)Louise Bourgeois' largest spider sculpture Maman - it stands 9 of those foreign metre thingies high, which is ... er ... 30 feet - has been donated to Tate Modern by an anonymous benefactor and the artist. Sir Nick will be chuffed. I wonder where he'll put it.

Kenwood House

Last year I reported that open-air concerts had been cancelled at Kenwood House in Hampstead, London, due to local residents' complaints about the noise (CLICK). English Heritage has submitted revised plans to Camden Council in hope of restoring these concerts (title link). Kenwood House is home to a magnificent Robert Adam library and an important collection of works of art, such as Vermeer's Guitar Player. Visit it in early spring, when its daffodils are in bloom.