Monday, 31 March 2008

Sylvia Pankhurst in WG

Sylvia Pankhurst - Self-portrait, Red Cottage and WSPU LogoDid you know that Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of the suffragette Emmeline or Emily Pankhurst, was an artist? Neither did I. Born in Manchester in 1882, she won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Above is a self-portrait, a sketch by an unknown artist of her Red Cottage cum café, where she lived in Woodford Green, and two buttons bearing the logo she designed for The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) founded by Mum in 1903. To find out more, visit the exhibition Celebrating Sylvia Pankhurst at the Redbridge Museum, Ilford. It opens on Monday 7 April.

Angus Fairhurst

Angus Fairhurst - A Couple of Differences From Thinking and Feeling II (2003)The corpse of Brit. artist Angus Fairhurst was found in woodland in Bridge of Orchy, Scotland, last Saturday. Strathclyde Police say foul play isn't suspected and that a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death. He may have committed suicide. He was only 41. Click the title link for Sarah Lucas and Moneybags Hirst's tribute to their chum and fellow Goldsmiths College graduate.

Typhoons Up Thames

RAF Red Arrows Typhoons over Route Map (2008)If you're in London tomorrow, watch out for low-flying aircraft. No, this isn't a premature April Fool's gag. On Tuesday 1 April there'll be a 90th Anniversary Flypast in London to celebrate the birth of the Royal Air Force in 1918, when the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged at the end of World War One. For the first time the RAF Red Arrows will fly in formation along the River Thames, with four Typhoon aircraft, to pass the London Eye at 1pm. Don't blink or you'll miss them. These guys go like the clappers.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Orphaned Art

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim - Marriage Portrait of Charlotte von Rothschild (1836) detailThis detail from Moritz Daniel Oppenheim's Marriage Portrait of Charlotte von Rothschild (1836) shows a beautiful lady or the flattering work of a talented artist. Either way, it's a great painting, one of 50 unclaimed artworks on show at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem: Orphaned Art: Looted Art from the Holocaust. This display compliments the museum's current Looking for Owners exhibition, which I previewed in February (CLICK). The curator of this museum is a plonker, because in February I sent a query about Philippe Mercier's "The Flute Player" (CLICK) and last week received an auto e-mail reply to confirm it had been deleted unopened! This makes me wonder if the museum really wants to restore these paintings to their rightful heirs or is simply putting on an emotive show to pull in the punters.

English Pots in Philly

Staffordshire Teapot with pierced decoration (c.1760-65)The Philadelphia Museum of Art has gone potty on English ceramics with an exhibition which opened yesterday and continues until 27 July: Turned and Thrown: English Pottery 1660 - 1820 from Local Collections. If you're into pots, its blurb is unusually informative (title link). The museum is also showing an exhibition organised by London's V&A and shown at the V&A last year to celebrate the centenary of the birth of one of our great photographers: The Art of Lee Miller until 27 April (CLICK). To see her self-portrait CLICK.

Russian Artist Missing

Anna MikhalchukBerlin police are searching for Russian artist Anna Mikhalchuk, who left her apartment in the city's Charlottenburg district on 21 March and hasn't been seen since. In 2003 she miffed the Russian Orthodox Church with a "blasphemous" exhibition. She has also been an outspoken critic of ex-President Vladimir Putin. When will they learn? Hi, Vladimir. Coxsoft Art thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread.

'Art', The Pollutant!

Eduardo Srur - Giant Plastic Bottles (2008)Here's the latest thing in "art installations": Eduardo Srur's 20 giant plastic bottles along the shore of the Tieté River, where it runs through Sao Aulo in Brazil. The river has suffered major contamination, due to economic growth, and this attempt to prettify the damage by means of jumbo plastic bottles adds insult to injury. Plastic in one form or another is killing wildlife all over the world. It is dangerous stuff. So let's not call this monstrous junk "art". Let's call it what it is: toxic contamination. (CLICK for David Shukman's report on toxic waste around the island of Midway; article and video.)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Three New Shows at Mall

Andrew Stock SWLA RE - Halcyon Day (Lyme Regis)On 8 April the Mall Galleries in London will be running amok with three new exhibitions, all free. First there's top wildlife artist Andrew Stock. This is his 6th solo exhibition at the Mall. He is President of the Society of Wildlife Artists and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-printmakers. The graphic shown is of his beautiful painting Halcyon Day, subtle and atmospheric. CLICK for Andrew's excellent website. The second exhibition is Whispered Secrets, Murmuring Dreams, featuring artists and photographers from Iran (CLICK). The third is Imagining the Source, which displays the work of three contemporary Vietnamese artists (CLICK). All continue until 17 April. Three shows for free must be worth a visit.

TATE ETC. Online

TATE ETC. Magazine Cover 1Can't find your copy of The Bluffer's Guide® to Modern Art (CLICK)? Don't panic! The Spring edition of TATE ETC. Magazine is here. As befits its blurb, "the internationally acclaimed art magazine from Tate", it is really, really boring. Its most exciting picture is a black and white photo of Francis Picabia and his mutt Ninie on a Moulton-look bicycle in 1940. Breathtaking stuff! The good news is that you don't need to lash out £15 on a UK subscription - £17 Europe or £20 the rest of the world -, because it's now available online. So you can be bored for free (title link). Note: don't you hate those angled photos which create the optical illusion that the frame is tilted?

Friday, 28 March 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Missus

Carla Bruni, photo: Michel ComteNicolas Sarkozy’s missus, the former model Carla Bruni, has been charming the socks of Brits recently during a full state visit. Gordon Brown got so excited he announced an "entente formidable". Careful, Gordon; remember you're supposed to be a Labour politician. It seems unfair to put up for sale an unflattering photo of Carla in the buff when she's wowed Gordon, but such is life. Christie’s New York will auction this print (original photo by Michel Comte) on April 10, estimated value $3,000.

Hitler's Venus

Thanks to research by Dr Birgit Schwartz, the National Gallery in London has learned that one of its paintings - Lucas Cranach the Elder's Cupid complaining to Venus (c.1525) - was once in Adolf Hitler's private art collection. The gallery bought the painting from New York dealers E & A Silbermann in 1963. It seems that in 1945 American war correspondent Patricia Lochridge Hartwell was allowed to take it from a warehouse full of art which was controlled by US forces in Germany! Thanks, guys. This explains its trip to the USA. But where did Hitler get it from? The National Gallery wants to know if anyone can resolve this mystery.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

John Currin in London

John Currin - Pushkin Girl © the artistThe next exhibition by US artist John Currin at the Sadie Coles HQ private gallery in London opens on 2 April and continues until 10 May. His latest series of paintings range from flowers to hardcore eroticism adapted from European pornography. His artwork is representational and of high quality, with visual references to classical art. Note the hint of eroticism in his chubby Pushkin Girl. This promises to be an interesting exhibition.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Spiel in The Arts

Isa Genzken - Car Park (2008)Here's a perfect example of spiel in the arts. Monopol magazine recently described Isa Genzken as "the world’s most important artist". If you make plastic washing baskets or toy cars, yes, because this is what Isa used to create the utter tosh you see before you: Car Park (2008). I had serious doubts about tainting my blog with this tripe, which looks as though it should have "Made in Hong Kong" printed on its bottom (it probably does). See this important work at Isa's Ground Zero show from 3 April to 17 May at Hauser & Wirth, London.

Aussies' Vestal Virgin

Jacques Blanchard - Mars and the Vestal Virgin (17th c.)From the Nazi Olympics (next post down) to Mars, the Greek god of war. How's that for continuity? But a Van Dyke beard on a Greek god? Come on! Jacques Blanchard's Mars and the Vestal Virgin is the latest purchase by The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia. This $2m oil painting was paid for with insurance funds plus a "substantial" contribution from the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales. Not a bad buy - better than a $50m Picasso -, but that beard....

The Nazi Olympics

Poster for the 1936 Olympic Games (I.C. enhanced)Having mentioned the 1936 Summer Olympics - Games of the XI Olympiad, to give it its proper name -, I thought I'd post this excellent poster for the event, featuring Johann Gottfried Schadow's famous Quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate (CLICK). Not a swastika in sight, just the German eagle, yet it has that grandeur which Nazi artists were so damnably good at. Note the word "Spiele". Nowadays we're inundated with spiel, usually referred to as "spin" in UK politics. I call it "the blurb" when I encounter it in the art market. It isn't money that makes the world go around. It's spiel. Whether it's from politicians or from the Anti-art Establishment or from advertisers or from religious nutters allegedly preaching the word of God, spiel is the enemy we must all strive to resist. Look where it leads....

Dickinson Trial Delay

The Evidence, Me Lud (with apologies to Michael Dickinson)Yesterday Michael Dickinson duly presented himself for trial in an Istanbul court, but the expert witnesses - professors of art from Marmara University - didn't turn up! Art or insult? is the question. Can't make up your minds, profs? Don't know what day of the week it is? Closet Christians? Visit for clues (title link). So Michael's trial has been adjourned yet again: next hearing 25 October 2008. The longer this idiotic case drags on, the more people around the world will view the offending artworks. In fact without Michael's infamous collages of the Turkish PM, most of us wouldn't know what he looks like! I still can't recall his name.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Dickinson on Trial

WorriedI've heard nothing from Michael Dickinson, the Brit. artist accused of insulting the Turkish PM. His trial was due to begin today. What an uncivilized country to put a man on trial on Easter Monday!

Cardinal's Pet

Victor Marais-Milton - EducationJoei Yoshikuni (next post down) isn't the first priest to teach his pet pooch to sit up and beg. Here's an anonymous cardinal doing the same thing. This detail is from a sumptuous painting Education by prize-winning French artist Victor Marais-Milton, a member of the Salon of French Artists where he exhibited his work from 1892. He specialized in cardinals at play in their palatial homes. Click the title link for a "virtual exhibition".

Pooch of The Week

Conan and Joei Yoshikuni (2008)If you're as irritated as I am by deluded old duffers crawling out of the ormolu to puke their Easter messages all over us, as though they know best, then cheer up. Here's Conan the Chihuahua and his owner Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni praying at Jigenin Temple in Okinawa, Japan. Temple attendances have perked up by 30% since Conan joined in the prayers. There you go, duffers. Stop lecturing us on things you know nothing about, such as science (CLICK), and get yourselves a cute pooch.

Quote of The Week

I.C. - Olympic Tableau with Message (2008)The Olympic torch was lit at Olympia in Greece today. Nice tableau; shame about the message. Two pro-Tibet activists managed to break through a cordon of 1,000 police officers to wave a flag at China's envoy, but were swiftly removed. Jacques Rogge - President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) - told Associated Press news agency that he was engaged on a daily basis in "silent diplomacy" with Beijing on Tibet and other human rights issues. That's political speak for keeping one's mouth shut. Hi, Jacques. Keep it up. You could win the Coxsoft Art Twit of the Year Award.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

No 1 Lady Detectives

Anika Noni Rose as Mma Makutsi & Jill Scott as Precious RamotsweGiven his talent, fame and recent untimely death, Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella deserves top billing for his last completed work: The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, to be given its première this evening on BBC1 at 9pm. Does he get even a mention in the BBC trailers? No. The novels by Alexander McCall Smith have me completely addicted, and I can hardly wait to see what Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis have done with this modern classic, filmed entirely on location in Botswana. Coming up....

Spam Warning

Spam Viagra Pill GraphicIsn't spam a pill? What makes it worse is when you notice that one of the spams was sent from your own e-mail address! Panic! Is my PC a spammer's slave? I checked. No. This is how it appears to have happened. I belong to a number of social networking sites. I don't like them and don't bother with them unless somebody sends me a message. Two months ago I received a friendship request from a pretty girl in a stetson. I accepted. Her name is Erica. I became suspicious when two more requests from girls named Erica turned up, one of them in a raunchy pose in knickers. Life isn't that good to me! On visiting the website, I found a message warning me against accepting X as a friend, because X sends everyone in your social network spam. My Coxsoft Art e-mail address isn't compromised, only my private address. Be warned: social networking sites aren't secure. Set up different e-mail addresses for different sites. Then you'll spot the one using your own e-mail address to send spam.

Burne-Jones' Tapestry

Sir Edward Burne-Jones - The AttainmentHere's another story I skipped. This Pre-Raphaelite tapestry The Attainment, designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and woven at William Morris's workshop, shows a scene from the legend of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail. Bids at Sotheby’s London auction on Thursday failed to meet its reserve price of £1m. That's greed for you. It was bought for £40,000 30 years ago and was recently valued at between £60,000 and £80,000. Why not donate it to the William Morris Gallery (with safeguards)? You can't take it with you when you go, Jimmy. For recent BBC News coverage of the protests against council mismanagement of the William Morris Gallery, click the title link.

Vista® News: SP1

Two hopefuls scanning the horizon for Windows Vista® in 2006This morning's Easter blizzard in Greater London allowed me to catch up on a news story I skipped during the week: the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista® Service Pack 1. Get this. If you download SP1, it's 65Mb. If you wait for the automatic update in mid-April, it'll be a gargantuan 434Mb! Sounds like a complete rewrite. But don't all rush at once for SP1. Before you download it, you need to install patches for what Microsoft calls "problematic" drivers. These include some security software and The New York Times Reader. So, incompatibility issues still aren't resolved. It looks as though our best bet would be to wait for Windows Panorama 2010. (That's a panorama in the Microsoft advertisement, not a vista.) So why are all the computer manufacturers pushing Vista®? It makes you wonder if there aren't some sneaky deals going on to promote Microsoft's white elephant. Click the title link for a BBC review of the Vista® saga plus pertinent links.

Fabergé Easter Eggs

Karl Fabergé - Chanticleer Clock Egg (1903)What would Easter be without a Fabergé egg? This is the Chanticleer Clock Egg (1903) named after Geoffrey Chaucer's cocky cockerel in The Canterbury Tales. The cockerel pops out of its egg, flaps its wings and crows to mark the hour. Anything to keep the missus amused, if you're a wealthy industrialist. Click the title link to see more of Viktor Vekselberg's collection, which is on display at the Kremlin Museum in Moscow. Last November, another of Karl Fabergé's fabulous Easter eggs with clock and pop-up cockerel automaton fetched a world record of £8.9m at Christie's London auction, despite its croak (CLICK).

Friday, 21 March 2008

Dr Who Exhibition

Dr Who Exhibition Poster (2008)Here's the one most children will want to see over the Easter school holidays. The Dr Who Exhibition in Museum Hall, below Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, London, opened yesterday. The Tardis, K9, Daleks, Cybermen and many monsters from the TV show will be on display. Warning: there will also be strobe lighting, smoke and loud sound effects. So if you or yours suffer from epilepsy, give it a miss. You need to book in advance. Entry is timed. It looks as though it's a walk-through one-hour show, with tickets costing £9.75 for adults and £7.75 for kids aged 4 to 16 (CLICK). The exhibition continues until September.

Roughneck Rabbit

Kal Spannuth - Roughneck Rabbit's Fight ClubWhile pottering around the Internet seeking a Goth Easter bunny, I chanced upon Roughneck Rabbit's Fight Club (CLICK). This is the blog of German graphic artist Kal Spannuth, who specializes in tongue-in-cheek horror in the American vein. The detailed graphics on his website - Digital Paint Industries, Berlin - take ages to load, but are worth the wait. If you enjoy Weird, click the title link.

Goth Easter Bunny

Final Fantasy XII graphic adaptation (I.C. 2008)Happy Easter, folks. I thought I'd say it with a Goth Easter Bunny, one that Andrew Gosden could e-mail home to his mum (Wednesday's post or click the title link). There aren't many Goth bunnies around, so here's an adaptation of the cutest I could find: a chocolate-coloured bunny from Final Fantasy XII. Yes, it's a computer graphic, not a photo, and it puts a new slant on our pagan festival of fertility and seasonal regeneration. What twerp decided to hold Easter in the middle of winter this year?

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Design Award Winner

Variations of One Laptop Per ChildThe Brit Insurance Design Award 2008 went to One Laptop Per Child, designed by Yves Béhar of Fuseproject for OLPC and Quanta Computer Inc. This design also won the Brit Insurance Product Award. I can't wait to get my hands on the hand-cranked version. I assume the faster you wind it the faster those YouTube videos run. Dogs on skateboards: crank, crank. Have you seen the girl dancing with a walrus yet? What a cutie (the walrus)! For the full list of winners click the title link.

Bought A Fake Lately?

Fake Miro (photo: Catalan police)Would you pay £25,000 for this tripe, even if it were a genuine Miro? And would you expect to buy the real thing on eBay? Hundreds did! It appears that US and Spanish police mounted a joint operation to collar a gang of international fraudsters doing a roaring trade in fake Miros, Picassos, Dalis and Chagalls, some of them sold on eBay, others sold in galleries and at art shows. The forgeries - mostly copies of original limited-edition prints plus forged signatures and fake certificates of authenticity - were sold between July 1999 and October 2007. The US prosecutor claims that 2,500 counterfeit Alexander Calder prints were sold and that the gang raked in $5m. (A conservative estimate, I suspect.) Three of the seven charged are US art dealers. Hint from Coxsoft Art: you'll notice the gang didn't sell any fake Caravaggios. That's because even the most gormless art buyer might twig that Caravaggio didn't sign limited-edition prints! So stick with the old masters and avoid modern tripe.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Andrew Gosden, Goth

Andrew Gosden (I.C. enhanced)Here's another missing youngster: Andrew Gosden missing from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, since 14 September 2007 (CLICK). I published his photo because he was thought to have travelled to London and might visit museums here. His family has released a little more information about him. He's a budding Goth. So by now he might have dyed his hair that horrible sooty black which Goths like and have a ring through his nose and studs all over his face. But come on, it will still be this young face. Click the title link if you spot him. Andrew, if you read this, send your parents an Easter card - Goth Easter bunny in chains if you like - to let them know you're alive and well.

Madeleine Apology

Daily Express Front Page (10/9/07)Congratulations to Kate and Jerry McCann for forcing the Daily Express and The Star to publish front-page apologies and cough up £550.000 toward the Find Madeleine Campaign. Back in September I objected to a Daily Express headline: "We can prove parents did it" quoting a foul Portuguese police lie (CLICK). I objected so strongly that I complained to the Press Complaints Commission (CLICK). Staff were very helpful, but the Commissioner failed to uphold my complaint. This proved to me that the Press Complaints Commission is a waste of time and taxpayers' money. Had my complaint been upheld at that time, it would have fired a warning shot across the bows of the Daily Express and might have saved the McCanns a great deal of additional and unnecessary anguish.

China Warriors Protest

I.C. - Free Tibet (2008)"Eco warrior" Martin Wyness has been at it again. Last October he put face masks on two of the Chinese Terracotta Warriors on display at the British Museum in London to highlight China's CO2 emissions (CLICK). He was banned from the Museum for life, but yesterday he got back in and he and Mark Trepte hung placards on two of the warriors, such as:
Not very artistic, so here's my placard for the cause: Free Tibet. Stick it on your website, Martin, if you have one. As for the placard "Boycott the Chinese Olympics", why pick on China? Let's all boycott the Olympic Games permanently. Their main purpose is to make fat cats richer by grabbing the burger concession or whatever. And let's not forget that Adolf Hitler was so miffed by the poor showing of his "master race" at the 1936 Berlin Olympics that he began World War II.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Currency Gallery Wins

Silver Surfer Friendly Award avatar © Coxsoft Art 2006An unusual art gallery has just won the Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award: the Arvind Agarwal & Son World Paper Currency Gallery. This is an attractive and valuable online resource for anyone interested in paper money. Loading times on some pages are slower than I would normally expect, but the quality is excellent. Click the title link to go to my Winners page and scroll down.

LIGCA: Children’s Art

Unknown Young Artist - Magical Buildings from Istanbul (2007)For those of you too prudish to take your kids to see neoclassical sculpture (next post down) how about the London International Gallery of Children’s Art (LIGCA)? It's free and dedicated to art by children. So it won't give your budding Rembrandt an inferiority complex. Its website hasn't been updated, but I can tell you it is currently showing works from previous exhibitions. (The illustration I've used comes from last year's Magical Buildings From Istanbul.) The Gallery's opening times are unusual, so contact LIGCA before visiting (title link).

Monday, 17 March 2008

Neoclassical Sculpture

Thomas Banks - The Falling Titan (1786) detail enhancedIf you're still seeking exhibitions for the kiddies over the Easter hols, here are two excellent freebies at Tate Britain. Forget fluffy bunnies and immerse yourself in The Return of the Gods: Neoclassical Sculpture in Britain, which continues until 8 June. It includes Thomas Banks' The Falling Titan and Canova’s The Three Graces. (Canova British? By adoption maybe.) Also at Tate Britain is William Blake: 'I still go on / Till the Heavens and Earth are gone', a special display to mark the 250th anniversary of Blake's birth, until 1 June (CLICK).

Alison Watt: Phantom

Alison Watt - Phantom (2007)Hands up everyone who thinks this artist - Alison Watt - has breached the Fleshy Knickers Convention of Western European art. Ostensibly it's a subtle oil painting of folds in fabric. Either we're projecting or the artist is sublimating. She's been Associate Artist at the National Gallery for the last two years. Looks like a waste of time to me. Alison Watt: Phantom opened last week and continues until 22 June. It's in the Sunley Room, admission free.

Wildlife Photo Reminder

Anup Shah - Zebra Crossing (2007)Reminder from the Natural History Museum: this is your last chance to enter the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2008 or the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008. There's £10,000 for the outright winner, plus other prizes. But look at what you're up against: Anup Shah's Zebra Crossing (2007). It looks almost as dangerous as the zebra crossings in Ilford!
Closing date for postal entries: Monday 24 March.
Closing date for online entries: Monday 31 March.
Click the title link for details in 6 languages.

4's Big 4 Competition

Channel 4's Big 4 Competition LogoAre you an artist who graduated from a UK art school or university in 2006 or 2007? If so, click the title link for details of Channel 4's Big 4 Competition for Saatchi Online Stuart artists. You need to be able to tart up the Channel 4 logo in some innovative way. Elephant dung, maybe? No, that's already been done. Naked girls? No. Feminists won't approve. Heck! You're the arts graduate. You figure it out.

MOD's Art Collection

Eric Ravilious - Dangerous Work at Low Tide (MOD4144)Did you know that the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) keeps and maintains an art collection which contains over 1.500 items of fine art and antiques: paintings, drawings, engravings, photographs, clocks and furniture? All these treasures are owned by the taxpayer. The collection was began in the early 19th century by successive First Lords of the Admiralty and Admiralty Secretaries donating or bequeathing artworks to the Admiralty Collection. So the Royal Navy is well represented. Curators note: MOD is keen to have works in its collection put on public display (with safeguards). Click the title link.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

William Morris Campaign

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, LondonThe campaign against budget cuts and reduced opening hours which threaten the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum continues with two important events this month. On Thursday 20 March a petition with 11,000 signatures will be presented to a full council meeting at Walthamstow Town Hall. Meet at 6.30pm for the 7.30pm presentation. On Monday 24 March there will be a William Morris birthday party in Lloyd Park, from noon to 1pm. The Gallery will be closed, but the Changing Room Gallery and Café in the centre of Lloyds Park will be open. For the latest on Waltham Forest Council cock-ups, click the title link. To download a graphic with which to link to the William Morris Gallery CLICK.

Bad Bear!

European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos)I couldn't resist this story, art news or not. A court in the Republic of Macedonia has convicted a bear - presumably the European brown bear Ursus arctos arctus - of theft and criminal damage after it repeatedly raided a beekeeper's hives for honey. The bear now has a criminal record, but as a protected species cannot be jailed. It can't pay the fine either! So the court ordered the state to pay for the damage to the hives: around 2,238 euro thingies (£1,750 or $3,500).

London Free For Kids

Free Stuff For Kids (2002) CoverAs the Easter holidays are looming, the perennial problem of what to do with the brats crops up again. And so does the cost! Click the title link for Coxsoft Art's summer list of websites that suggest places for kids to visit for free. Since writing that post, I've found a reader's review on of the book Free Stuff For Kids (cover shown) which states: "all the addresses are in the USA or Canada and require US coins or dollar bills to cover postage". So, useless for Brits, which may explain why the latest edition I can find for sale here is 2002.

RIP Watercolours

Frances Francis - The FishermenThe next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London opens on Friday 20 March - the 196th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours - and continues until Saturday 5 April. "The exhibition includes works ranging from figurative to abstract and traditional to experimental." Frances Francis' The Fishermen is too experimental for me. Looks like Picasso on a bad day.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

UK Broadband ISPs

I.C. - Er.... (2008)Thinking of changing your ISP? Broadband Choices surveyed 4,000 broadband households in the UK to test customer satisfaction on 6 points: 1) quality and reliability, 2) download time, 3) clarity of billing and pricing, 4) after sales support, 5) value for money and 6) speed of service activation. PlusNet came top, Tesco and Orange at the bottom.
Sky Broadband
Tiscali UK
Virgin Media
AOL Broadband
BT Broadband
Talk Talk

Of course it isn't as simple as this. To find the best deal for you, click the title link and enter your post code.

Mozart Portrait Found

Attributed to Joseph Hickel - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (ca 1783)After a year of research, Professor Cliff Eisen of King's College, London, has authenticated this painting as a genuine portrait of composer and child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, probably by Austrian artist Joseph Hickel around 1783. As there are only three other authenticated portraits of Mozart painted during his "Vienna years" (1781 to his death at 35 in 1791), this is a significant find. The work is owned by a US collector who bought it in 2005, probably with a catalogue title of "Portrait of a Gentleman", which is the usual title when a posh male sitter is unknown. It is now worth millions.

'Bedpan' Wins Award

I.C. - Bedpanarama (2007)Beijing National Stadium - "The Bedpan" - by Herzog & De Meuron wins the international Brit Insurance Design of The Year 2008 award for architecture. This is one of 7 award categories. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition wins the graphics category. Meyra-Ortopedia’s Mex-x wheelchair for children wins the transport award. The overall winner will be announced on 18 March. The exhibition of 100 contenders continues at London's Design Museum until April 27 (title link). Shame the museum is clueless about website design. Blocks of upper case letters: wrong. Pink and green text on a glaring white screen: lousy contrast. Tiny fonts: yuk. Irritating Adobe Flash Player 9 nonsense; safe, though. Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award? Not a chance!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Shaun Wins BAAs

I.C. - BAA, BAA, BAA, BAA (2008)At yesterday evening's British Animation Awards ceremony, Aardman Animations won four prizes. Shaun The Sheep: Still Life won best children's series and the children's choice award. The Pearce Sisters won best craft award. The Peculiar Adventures of Hector won best commissioned new media animation. Other winners include Suzie Templeton for Peter and the Wolf and Animate Projects for Yours Truly and Magnetic Movie.

Manhunt 2 For Sale

Manhunt 2, Axe-slaying SceneRockstar Games has finally given The British Board of Film Classification the chop. Its revised version of video nasty Manhunt 2 is to be released with an 18 certificate and will no doubt be played by every 7-year-old in the ghettos as soon as older brother steals a copy. Any bets that axe murders will be the new in-thing among teenagers? This anti-social result proves yet again that Profit is all that matters. We see it in the criminally irresponsible drive for biofuels, for unwanted runways at airports and in the worldwide destruction of species and habitats. Manhunt 2 is just "one small step for Mankind". Electronic Arts is now bidding for Take Two Games to get its hands on another of Rockstar's developments: Grand Theft Auto IV, due for release on 29 April, with anticipated sales of 10 million copies (CLICK).

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Birth of Blindness

GR Iranna - The Dead Smile (2007)Bored with garden gnomes? Want to impress your neighbours? How about this as a feature on your lawn? The Dead Smile (2007) by Indian artist G.R. Iranna is one of two major installations to be displayed at the Aicon Gallery in Mayfair, London, from tomorrow until 23 April. The second installation - another group of fibreglass male nudes - gives the exhibition its name: The Birth of Blindness. Paintings and other sculptures will also be shown. Click the title link for an online gallery.