Friday, 29 February 2008

Danes Risk Bacon

MeccaDanish artists are risking their bacon yet again. An exhibition by satirical art group Surrend, whose artists "make fun of the world’s powerful men and crazy ideological conflicts", has triggered bomb threats from the usual suspects. Hint: one of Surrend's posters takes the Mickey out of the Kaaba in Mecca. The German gallery showing this exhibition has been forced to close. To visit Surrend CLICK.

Flat Orange For Sale

Vincent van Gogh - L'Enfant a l'Orange (1890)Here's a van Gogh I haven't seen before: L'Enfant a l'Orange (The Child With An Orange) painted in the year of the artist's suicide: 1890. It will go on sale for the first time in 90 years at the European Art Fair in Maastricht, from 7 to 16 March. Its estimated value is £15m ($30m). Place your bets now, folks. Will it reach its reserve price? By the way, the subject was a boy - two-year-old Raoul Levert -, not a girl. And the "orange" is that flat disc he's holding! £15m? I wouldn't pay 50p.

Darwin Awards 2007

Walter William Ouless - Portrait of Charles Darwin (1875)The winners of the Darwin Awards 2007 have been announced. These posthumous awards recognize those selfless individuals who improve the species by accidentally and permanently removing themselves from the gene pool. Not so much natural selection as unnatural deselection. And the winner is ... an alcoholic Texan with a sore throat who managed to give himself a fatal dose of alcohol poisoning by means of an enema! Yes, that's a lulu, but the five runners-up were hard on his heels for prize-winning stupidity. Click the title link to read more. You can also nominate your favourite fatal loopiness of 2008.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Make-up Artist Appeal

Diane Chenery-WickensSussex police have issued this more flattering photo of missing make-up artist Diane Chenery-Wickens, in a fresh appeal to find witnesses. It's now five weeks since Diane went missing and no trace of her has been found. Click the title link for more information. For other photos CLICK, CLICK.

Rash Bacon Buy

Francis Bacon - Study of a Nude with Figure in a Mirror (1969) detailOnly yesterday I wrote "I doubt the top end of the art market will feel the pinch" (of recession). I didn't expect my words to be confirmed so quickly, but Sotheby's Evening Sale of Contemporary Art in London took a record £95m ($39m) for a contemporary art auction in Europe. Caught up in the frenzy of bidding, some tasteless twerp lashed out nearly £20m on this mentally disturbed image by Francis Bacon: Study of Nude With Figure In A Mirror (1969)! Why do fat cats buy paintings that are symptomatic of mental illness? Simply to make a huge profit in a few years time? Or to help their shrinks make a diagnosis? I find it difficult to believe that anyone shrewd enough to amass a fortune could be persuaded that this sick tripe is a masterpiece worth buying.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

EC Fines Microsoft

Windows Vista® Capable StickerSoftware giant Microsoft - the one that inflicted Windows Vista® on an unsuspecting world - has been hit with a double whammy this week. The European Commission has fined it 899 million euro thingies ($1.4bn or £680.9m in real money) for its for anti-competitive practices. Back in the USA, a judge has given the go-ahead for a limited lawsuit against Microsoft for putting this misleading sticker on computers for sale using Windows XP®. It turned out that the XP machines could run only the most basic version of Vista, so weren't truly "Vista capable" (CLICK). Anyone know if these stickers appeared in the UK?

Monet's Steam Train

Claude Monet - Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil (1873)On the subject of Impressionism, here's one of the "greatest" examples of the genre still in private hands: Claude Monet's Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil (1873). It's coming up for grabs at Christie's New York auction on 6 May and they're hoping for a new world record. At a time of recession? Probably. I doubt the top end of the art market will feel the pinch - but at least one art show in the USA has already been cancelled due to the economic climate: ArtDC in Washington (CLICK).

How To Photo Art 3

Photo: Norbert Miguletz; Painting Eva Gonzalès - Le reveilThat great American novelist Raymond Chandler once wrote "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand". Here's the art equivalent: When in doubt, pose a pretty girl in front of a painting. Norbert Miguletz's excellent photo of a model in front of Eva Gonzalès' Le reveil tells you everything you need to know about Women Impressionists: Morisot Cassatt Gonzalès Bracquemond at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (title link). For another Norbert CLICK. For How To Photo Art 2 CLICK.

Pakistani YouTube Mess

Islam is Peace: a Muslim woman (or cross-dresser) demonstrates in London in 2006Don't you love it when censorship backfires and creates the opposite effect? The loss of YouTube for two hours last Sunday, caused by Pakistan's hamfisted attempt to block a video it deemed anti-Islamic, is a case in point (CLICK). One of its effects has been to create a resurgence of interest in those Danish cartoons which caused so much insane fuss. Bloggers have been quick to point to websites where the cartoons can be found (title link). My review of those cartoons was critical (CLICK), but one of them did make a valid point: brainwashed dupes who blow themselves up in hope of being transported to a giggle of admiring virgins deserve to be lampooned. See also Laughter: a basic human right (CLICK).

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Somerset House Theft!

Francis Cotes - Portrait of Sir William Chambers (1764)This Portrait of Sir William Chambers by Francis Cotes (1764) is one of two paintings reported missing, "believed stolen", from Somerset House in London. The second painting is John Thomas Serres' Shipping (1821). Their combined value is about £82,000. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced the loss of these paintings late this afternoon, but admits they were first reported missing last Wednesday! How's that for dithering?

Hope For Hayley

Forget your movie stars - apart from Remy, of course - and meet Hayley Okines, a little girl who suffers from Progeria, a rare illness which ages its sufferers eight years for every year of life. I saw a documentary about Haley in 2005 and was greatly impressed by her brave, chatty, matter-of-fact attitude. She is one terrific kid. Now nine years old, Haley has the body of a woman in her 70's. Time is running out for her, but there is a new drug which might offer a cure.... See Hope For Hayley on Wednesday 27 February at 9.00pm in Five TV's Extraordinary People series.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Duchamp, Ray, Picabia

Francis Picabia - Femmes au Bull-Dog (1940-42)The latest exhibition at Tate Modern is Duchamp Man Ray Picabia: The Moment Art Changed Forever. "Moment" is pushing it a bit, unless the Tate means that moment when Marcel Duchamp gulled the art world into accepting a mass-produced urinal as his own work of art: Fountain (1917). Remember The Emperor's Clothes fairytale? It isn't all urinals, though, as you can see from Francis Picabia's cosy cheesecake Femmes au Bull-Dog (1940-42). Love that Brit. pooch! This gathering of works by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Francis Picabia continues until 26 May. A must for art historians and folks who still believe the Emperor isn't strutting about in the buff. Watch out for Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 (1912) which caused Yanks to throw wobblers in 1913.

Rat Triumphs

It certainly is the Year of the Rat. As predicted, Remy the Rat triumphed at the 80th Academy Awards® by winning an Oscar® for best animated feature film Ratatouille (with a little help from Pixar Animation Studios and Disney). Other Oscar® winners include:
Best art direction: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best animated short film: Peter and the Wolf
Best visual effects: The Golden Compass
Best cinematography: There Will Be Blood.
Click the title link for all the winners.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Virgin's 'Crime'

Boeing 747 in Virgin Atlantic LiveryToday Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airline to test a biofuel, on a flight from Heathrow to Amsterdam (CLICK). Bad move, Sir Richard. According to Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, biofuels are
a crime against humanity.
Click the title link to learn more.

TFL: No Boxer-shorts

King's Head Theatre - Fat Christ Poster (2008)That prude in Transport For London has done it again! Hot on the heels of TFL's Venus fiasco comes news that it has rejected an Underground poster advertising Gavin Davis's play Fat Christ at the King's Head Theatre (CLICK). The podgy actor in the advert sports pink-striped boxer-shorts in a cruciform pose. "Offensive" whinges TFL. Looks like a sad comment on a flabby nation to me. On this occasion BBC London News managed to find the story. Well done, Beeb. I guess the office boy who looks after London news at the weekend is a theatre-goer.

Joke Web Awards

SD Plastics - Blue Jay Web Award (Only The Best Get The Bird)A lot of Web awards are no better than jokes, such as the fictional Aunt Bessie You Tickled My Fancy Award. The award-giver wants a link on your website to increase his Web rating and gives you a pretty little graphic as a bribe. So long as your website loads, you'll win the award. Not so the Blue Jay Web Award (Only The Best Get The Bird). This is a genuine joke. From the same website (title link) you can also download the Dead Horse Award (You Can't Beat A Dead Horse).

Tommy Cooper Statue

James Done - Tommy Cooper Statue (2008) photo enhancedIs it the glum reality of modern British life - the everyday stabbings, murders, mayhem, rapes, immigrants, nutters, drunks, vandalism - which makes us yearn to see statues of dead comedians who used to make us laugh? Or is it simply that councils have found that a statue of a famous comedian is a nice little earner, because it brings tourists to town? Whatever the answer, here's the latest: the inimitable Tommy Cooper sculpted by James Done. Sir Anthony Hopkins unveiled it yesterday in Caerphilly, the Welsh town where Tommy was born. The £45,000 cost of the statue was raised by the Tommy Cooper Society.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

TFL Will Post Nude

Lucas Cranach the Elder - Venus (1532) detailA week ago I posted the news that Transport For London had rejected the Royal Academy of Arts' poster for its Cranach exhibition, which begins on 8 March, as being too rude (CLICK). Now I can report that TFL has backed down and agreed to stick up the RA poster on London Underground, despite Cranach's full-frontal Venus. That's why she's looking so smug. BBC London News has failed to bring us this tiff between two of London's major institutions! Without ArtDaily, I wouldn't have known about it. Tut, tut, Beeb. (To see 6 more Cranach's, type Cranach into my search box.)

Bad News For Buglife

Walwyn - Bird Threatened by Development (2006)In November 2006 I reported on Buglife's campaign to protect part of Thurrock Marshes from a massive and unwelcome development by Royal Mail (CLICK). Yesterday Buglife lost its case in the High Court. Mr Justice Mitting dismissed Buglife's application to quash planning permission granted by Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation. This judgement undermines the Biodiversity Duty (2006) that is supposed to apply to all public bodies. So it is very bad news for conservation generally. Buglife was refused permission to appeal, but its lawyers may seek permission from the Court of Appeal. CLICK for Buglife.

UK Arts Apprentices

Master of Apprentices Gromit © Aardman AnimationsIt seems Government has just woken up to the fact that Brit. culture is worth about £9bn per year. It may also have noted Coxsoft Art's groans about the untalented, elitist plonkers our art colleges have been churning out. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has announced plans to create 5,000 apprenticeships in arts and media bodies, at a cost of more than £70.5m. This should mean practical education, not arty-farty elitism. The "bodies" include the Royal Opera House, Tate Liverpool (?), Universal Music, the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Trust, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Aardman Animations. Gromit as Master of Apprentices? About time.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The Flute Player?

Philippe Mercier - 'The Flute Player'Here's another painting from the Looking For Owners exhibition at the Israel Museum: Philippe Mercier's "The Flute Player", on loan from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Strasbourg. Pity I can't find a coloured graphic. Maybe that's because the title is wrong. Flute? Take a closer look. This instrument belongs to the bagpipes family. It isn't the familiar Scottish version. Also, according to different sources, Philippe Mercier was German, French or British, all 1689-1760. (I mentioned before that Brits adopt foreigners with talent. It looks as though the French do too.) He was born in Berlin, but lived and worked in England from about 1716. He visited Ireland and Scotland. So my best guess is that these bagpipes are Irish. The correct name for this painting is The Bagpiper. Click the title link for an online gallery of MNR exhibits in Israel. The exhibition continues until 3 June.

Looking for Owners

Gustave Courbet - The Bathers (1858)Two days ago a poignant exhibition of 53 unclaimed paintings looted by the Nazis opened in the Weinstein Gallery of Jerusalem's Israel Museum: Looking for Owners: Custody, Research and Restitution of Art Stolen in France during World War II. These major works are from the Musées Nationaux Récupération collection in France and are on display in Israel for the first time. The title link takes you to the BBC News item. CLICK to go to Israel Museum's exhibition page.

Pickled Art in Shangrila

Dawn Csutoros at Pickled Art Centre (2007)I thought Shangri-La was a fictional place created by Brit. author James Hilton in his novel Lost Horizon (1933). It turns out that Shangrila is Beigao’s art district. I chanced upon this useless information thanks to Coxsoft Art's having been invited to attend the opening of Contemporary Beijing on 14 March at the Pickled Art Centre, which was established in 1999 in Shangrila and boasts its own bronze-casting foundry. Now the important news: PAC has an international artist exchange programme and you don't need any artistic talent to apply! (Maybe a diploma?) Look at Dawn Csutoros beaming happily in a corner of her installation thingy Ink, Tea and Coal (2007). Hey, Chinese folks. See, no talent! Aren't I a clever girl, then? If you fancy inflicting dross on the Land of the Giant Panda, click the title link to find the PAC application form.

Turner Contemporary

Model of Turner Contemporary by David ChipperfieldWhile Southwark Council was voting to axe the Livesey Museum on Wednesday evening in order to save £146,000, Thanet District Council was granting planning permission for the new Turner Contemporary gallery to be built in Margate, Kent, at a cost of £17.5m. It seems there is always money for prestige projects. Here's a model of the proposed gallery, designed by architect David Chipperfield. Ships' sails for a seaside resort? A visual cliché, but why not?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Livesey Lost

Sorry, Kids. You Lost.Yesterday's full meeting of Southwark Council voted to close the Livesey Museum for Children on 29 February. BBC News managed to find a propagandist for Communities and Local Government who claims there was no need to cut services as next year "Southwark Council will benefit from a 2% increase in core funding". If you accept Government's fiddled statistics, inflation is running at more than 3%. So a 2% rise in funding for councils will be another shortfall. The reality of inflation at my three local supermarkets is far worse than Government claims: prices of basic food items have risen by 10% since Christmas! Recent energy increases have been around 15%. So Government is lying through its teeth when it claims 3% inflation. Gordon's war on London's councils and English culture will be even more destructive in 2009.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

100 Top Designs

United Visual Artists - Volume at V&A (2007)The Design Museum in London recently opened an exhibition featuring 100 designs short-listed for the Brit Insurance Designs of The Year, a new international award with seven categories to cover "all" design disciplines: Architecture, Graphics, Fashion, Product, Furniture, Interactive and Transport. The graphic shown is United Visual Artists' Volume, an interactive installation thingy with music for the V&A Museum's Christmas display (CLICK). The show continues until 27 April. A joint ticket includes the current Jean Prouvé exhibition and entry to a Prouvé-designed house at Tate Modern, all for £8.50, concessions £6.50 (76%), students £5.

Livesey Faces Axe

Save The Livesey Banner (2008)Here's another example of ex-Chancellor Gordon Brown's attack on London's finances: Southwark’s Executive Council feels constrained to close the Livesey Museum for Children in order to save £146,000 a year. This decision is due to be ratified at a full Council meeting this evening at 7.00 in Peckham Town Hall. Click the title link to sign the petition against closure. What has Gordon got against London? Is he angry with Red Ken? Does he want to obliterate English culture in our metropolis to make the flood of immigrants - legal and illegal, some on the run from their native police forces (CLICK) - feel welcome? Or is it a Scot's revenge for Bannockburn? Send us your reply, Gordon.

EEG Games Playing

Emotiv Systems Epoc™ Neuroheadset 2008 (gamma adjusted)If you want to know why you can't read the text of half the websites you visit nowadays, here's the answer. Developers use BIG screens to save their vision and to hell with ours! But this isn't the reason for showing you Emotiv Systems' employee Tan Lee groping her monitor. She's wearing the new Emotiv Epoc™ Neuroheadset, which is a cheap version of an electroencephalograph (EEG) machine. The new wonder headset measures neural activity without technicians, scalp-scratching or dollops of gell and is designed for the games market. All you need is the headset and a dongle (don't ask; it plugs into your USB port) and away you go. No need to strain yourself waggling your mouse or jiggling your joystick. Just think "Zap that alien" and Poof! You reckon the obesity epidemic can't get any worse? Shopping, Mum? Think "baked beans". Every little helps. I only hope the headset spots when a player is brain dead and switches off his computer to save power. £150 ($299)? A snip.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Swiss Theft Update

Swiss police have confirmed that two paintings were recovered from a sedan in the Psychiatric University Clinic car park: Monet's Poppies near Vetheuil (1879) and van Gogh's Chestnut in Bloom (1890). The two I posted earlier today are the ones still missing. See below.

Pompeo Batoni at NG

Pompeo Batoni - Diana and Cupid (1761)Tomorrow The National Gallery in London will open an exhibition to mark the tercentenary of the birth of "Italy’s Last Old Master": Pompeo Batoni 1708-1787 in the Sainsbury Wing. He painted the great and the good when they stopped off at Rome during their Grand Tour, also mythological scenes. My favourite Batoni - sounds like some sort of Euro cheese, doesn't it? - is a charmer depicting Diana teasing Cupid (1761). This may not be in the exhibition. Click the title link for an online gallery of 8 of his works. The bad news: timed entry, admission £8, concessions £7 (87.5%!) and maybe "significant room closures on Wednesday evenings due to strike action". The good news: silver surfers can gain entry for only £4 every Tuesday 2.30-6pm, kids under 12 free.

Stolen Paintings Found?

Paul Cezanne - Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888) and Degas - Count Lepic and his Daughters (1871)The paintings stolen from the Emil Buehrle Collection, Zurich, on Sunday week (CLICK) may have been found, but the secretive Swiss fuzz won't confirm this news. The paintings were spotted in an unlocked white car in the Psychiatric University Clinic car park! Maybe the thieves were visiting their mum. Or maybe they wanted to comment on the philistines who pay fortunes for unfinished oil sketches. Above are two of the stolen works: Paul Cezanne's Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888) and Degas' Count Lepic and his Daughters (1871).

Monday, 18 February 2008

Museum Staff Walkouts

Flying Scotsman Centenary Poster (1962)Two hundred specialist staff who work for the National Museum of Science and Industry, including museum curators, conservators and managers, have voted for a series of one-day walkouts. They are incensed that they still haven't received a pay offer due last April, in effect a 10-month pay freeze. If the walkouts go ahead, the museums that will be hit are the Science Museum in London, National Railway Museum in York, National Media Museum in Bradford and the Science Museum in Swindon.


Neuroarthistory GraphicIf you fancy listening to an art lecture by John Onians, who is Professor Emeritus of World Art at the University of East Anglia, now's your chance. He's on at 6.30pm tomorrow at the Louise T. Blouin Institute in London, admission £5. His subject: "Neuroarthistory: How the eye moves the artist's hand and how art moves us all". What Coxsoft Art wants to know is: 1) Does Prof. Onians know his onions? and 2) Do you get free coffee and biscuits?

Affordable Art Fair

Joanna Ewa Glazer - The SunMoney still burning a hole in your pocket with recession round the corner? Or maybe you just want to see what your fellow artists are selling. London's Battersea Park will again host the Affordable Art Fair, from 13 to 16 March. Its Spring Collection boasts 120 galleries showing paintings, sculpture, photos and original prints all priced between £50 and £3,000. The bad news is the cost of entry: "on the door" £10, concessions £8 (80%) with a measly £1 discount for advance booking. If you can afford admission, look out for paintings by Sarah Harvey. A detail of her underwater Handstand 1 graces the AAF's home page (title link). Coxsoft Art News featured Sarah last year when she exhibited at Sesame (CLICK, CLICK).

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Digital Camera Awards

Nicholas Ferrando - 3rd Place Winner of Black & White Category 2006The second show to open at the Mall Galleries on 19 February is the Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2007 exhibition, which showcases the best images from the 80,000 submitted by amateurs and professionals to Digital Camera magazine's international competition. The photo shown, by Nicholas Ferrando, won 3rd place in the Black & White category 2006. This exhibition ends on Saturday 1 March at 4pm. CLICK for Digital Camera magazine.

John Cooke show 2008

John Cooke - Settle, Carlisle at DentThe Mall Galleries in London will open two interesting new exhibitions on Tuesday 19 February, both free. The first is a one-man show by John Cooke, whose paintings and drawings are described as a "pot-pourri of ideas". This landscape gives you a glimpse of the quality of his paintings. To see a preview of some of the works he will be exhibiting CLICK. The exhibition closes on Saturday 23 February at at 4pm.

Nodding Day Gecko

Madagascan Day GeckoThe repeat of Episode 2 of Sir David Attenborough's brilliant new series Life In Cold Blood is on BBC1 this evening at 6pm. (CLICK for the golden frog waving its last in the wild.) Episode 3 is on BBC1 tomorrow at 9pm. It includes another first: a Madagascan day gecko (shown) nodding its head to entice or to intimidate an insect - called a plant hopper - into flicking small balls of honeydew for the gecko to eat. Click the title link for video footage of this behaviour, never filmed before.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Battle of Britain Coin

Bailiwick of Guernsey £5 Battle of Britain commemorative coin, obverse designed by Ian Rank-Broadley (2008)We tend not to think of coins as works of art, probably because they're minted by the millions, but look at Ian Rank-Broadley's design for the obverse of the new Bailiwick of Guernsey £5 Battle of Britain commemorative coin, which perfectly evokes RAF fighter pilots scrambling to their aircraft during the Battle of Britain in 1940. This coin celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

Art Taboo Two

I.C. - Fleshy Knickers Convention: Left Cranach, Right Lefebvre (2008)A closer inspection of Lucas Cranach the Elder's Venus (see next post down) reveals that it may breach the Fleshy Knickers Convention of European art, despite a coy wisp of clothing. (Click the title link for The Great Art Taboo.) I've compared it with Jules Lefebvre's Chloe (1875) which has graced the Young & Jackson Hotel in Melbourne, Australia, for over a century without a twitter of complaint (CLICK). Lefebvre's painting is far more sensuous than Cranach's, but it obeys the F.K. Convention. The Cranach was painted on wood, if you're wondering why it looks so ... er ... wooden.

Too Rude For TFL!

RA Advert showing Lucas Cranach the Elder's Venus (1532)The Royal Academy of Arts has run afoul of a prude in Transport for London's what-is-an-acceptable-advert department. This poster showing a full-frontal Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1532) - one of the paintings in the RA's forthcoming Cranach exhibition (CLICK) - has been rejected by TFL as too rude! The RA's spokeswoman Jennifer Francis is gobsmacked by this slur on Cranach. She thinks his Venus "innocent". TFL ripostes "We have to take account of the full range of travelers and endeavor not to cause offense in the advertising we display" (sic). Remember that lovely photo of a naked, preggers Britney Spears rejected by Japanese subway moguls in 2006? They relented (CLICK). Will TFL? Will Red Ken throw a wobbler?

The Angel of The North

Antony Gormley - The Angel of The North (1998)Antony Gormley's The Angel of The North is 10 years old this year. Hence a group of unemployed actors or whatever dancing round it like kiddies round a maypole. I think it's better celebrated as a feat of engineering, rather than as a work of art. Your average wind turbine looks more elegant, but at least the Angel doesn't slaughter wild birds. And it hasn't blown down yet. It was designed to withstand gales of 100 miles per hour. For more statistics about Tyneside's pride and joy - it looks like a flasher to me - click the title link.

Tim Hetherington

US 120mm Mortar Company: photo © Tim Hetherington/Panos Pictures (2007)BBC News has published an interview with British photographer Tim Hetherington, who won the World Press Photo Premier Award with his photo of an exhausted US soldier in Afghanistan, taken while on assignment for Vanity Fair. It beat more than 80,000 other entries. There's an online gallery of 11 of his dramatic photos from this assignment (title link). For a gallery of all the winners CLICK. The BBC News item coincides with yesterday's opening of the World Press Photo exhibition tour 2008 in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare. The exhibition will travel all over the world, but not to the UK! Why not?

Friday, 15 February 2008

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sculptures at Sapporo Snow Festival (2008)The 59th Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan closed on Monday, but there are at least two online photo galleries of some of the massive artworks created this year (example shown). The title link takes you to the Japan National Tourist Organization website. Look for an inconspicuous link under a photo of the "Stortinget" Norwegian Parliament building created in snow. Spot the basking shark. Sky News (CLICK) has more photos, including a sculpture of the Great Sphinx of Giza, if you can tolerate its slow and ponderous website.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Shakira's Bra

Roberto Cavalli - Shakira's Bra (2007)Now here's contemporary art worth bidding for, especially if you're a fan of a Colombian singer I'd never heard of before: Shakira. This bejewelled bra, designed by Roberto Cavalli for Shakira's Oral Fixation world tour, fetched £1,500 ($3,000) on an eBay charity auction in aid of the Barefoot Foundation (Fundacion Pies Descalzos). Shakira's generosity raised a total of £38,000 ($76,000) for the charity. Nice one. Note: despite what BBC News states, the auction ended last Sunday 10 February.

Wannabe Artists

Marcius Gala - Er...? (Enhanced!)On the subject of wannabe artists and their ghastly work (yesterday's post) how's this? It's an example of what to expect at the 27th Contemporary Art Fair ARCO8 in Madrid, Spain. It reminds me of that famous quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time". Marcius doesn't fool Coxsoft Art. I've seen more artistic roadworks than this.

Vanity Fair Portraits

Jean Harlow - photo George Hurrell (1934)Valentine's Day - today, in case you hadn't noticed the Google Doodle of a sprightly Darby and Joan - seems a good choice for the opening of the National Portrait Gallery's Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913 - 2008. Jean Harlow is one of the screen goddesses whose photos graced the covers and pages of Vanity Fair magazine. The exhibition includes 150 pictures by top photographers. It continues until 26 May.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Sex and Witchcraft

Susan Taylor - Pink"A sinister beauty pervades the work of seven artists from London, Manchester and Budapest in Sex and Witchcraft" says the burb. Oh yeah? Catchy title. Shame about the art. You can view the daubs of these wannabe artists at the Transition Gallery, London, from 15 February to 9 March. Don't think I'll bother, thanks.

Dreamspace Nightmare

Maurice Agis inside DreamspaceDo you remember that inflatable art installation Dreamspace which rose into the air, driven by a freak gust of wind, and killed two people and injured 13 others, in July 2006? If not, CLICK. Today, at Charing Cross police station in London, artist Maurice Agis was charged with "gross negligence manslaughter". He has also been charged under health and safety laws, as have Chester-le-Street District Council, its director of development services Tony Galloway and promotions company Brouhaha International Ltd. They are all due to appear before Peterlee Magistrates' Court on 26 February. It makes you wonder how Tate Modern can get away with Doris's Crack (CLICK). No deaths yet, I suppose.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Quinn Evolution No 2

Lorenzo Quinn - Metal SculptureQuinns seem to be popping up all over London at the moment. Marc Quinn's Evolution is currently showing at White Cube's Mason Yard Gallery (CLICK). Tomorrow, the Halcyon Gallery's new contemporary gallery in Bruton Street, Mayfair, presents as its inaugural exhibition Evolution: Lorenzo Quinn (son of the famous Hollywood actor Anthony). What is it about these unrelated Quinns that they chose Evolution as the title of their shows? Is Evolution the in-thing? Is educating Creationists away from their fruitcake delusions the modern trend? What a shame Brenda Emmanus, BBC London's vivacious arts correspondent, didn't question Lorenzo on this subject when she interviewed him. The show looks good.

JMW Turner in Dallas

JMW Turner - Regulus (1828) reworked 1837 © Tate, LondonLast Sunday the Dallas Museum of Art opened a major retrospective of the art of J. M. W. Turner with about 140 of his paintings, roughly 50/50 oils and watercolours, many never exhibited in the USA before. This example - Regulus (1828) reworked 1837, bequeathed by the artist to the Tate Gallery as it was in 1856 - looks as thougn it needs a good clean. Southerners take note: this will be the only US showing south of the Mason-Dixon line, whatever that is. The exhibition continues until 18 May.

Danish Cartoonist Saved

Detail from Danish Cartoon by Rasmus Sand Høyer (2005)It seems like a decade ago that Muslim nutters rioted over those Danish cartoons which lampooned Islamic Fundamentalist suicide bombers, but it's little more than one year ago (CLICK). How quickly we forget. The Danes thought their bacon had been saved, but today Danish police arrested three people suspected of planning to murder cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew a caricature of Muhammad wearing a bomb with a lit fuse as a turban (fair comment, you might think, in the wake of Muslim bomb attacks on Western civilization). Two of the suspects are Tunisian, the third a Moroccan with Danish citizenship.