Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Art of Propaganda

North Korean PosterDavid Heather collects and sells North Korean Posters, which he buys from a studio complex in Pyongyang, where 1,000 or so artists churn out North Korean propaganda. His book has recently been published: North Korean Posters: The David Heather Collection by Koen De Ceuster and David Heather (CLICK for The BBC has posted a number of examples of his collection on its website (title link). Have you noticed that when we publish propaganda it's called "public information"? Enemy or communist art is given its real name: propaganda.

Fluorescence Mapping

Vincent van Gogh - Portrait Under Patch of Grass (1887)This portrait of an unknown woman by Vincent van Gogh was revealed when scientists applied a new technique to investigate the pigments under his painting Patch of Grass (1887). The scientists - Joris Dik, Koen Janssens et al - bombarded the painting with X-rays from a particle accelerator to cause its pigments to emit their own x-ray chemical signatures, enabling a colour map of the hidden work to be produced, presumably by computer. Either that or it's another Worth1000 Photoshop jest! For the technically minded, click the title link to read their paper: Visualization of a Lost Painting by Vincent van Gogh Using Synchrotron Radiation Based X-ray Fluorescence Elemental Mapping (2008). For laypeople, the two important things to grasp are: 1) this is a non-destructive method, so the painting is safe, and 2) it produces a far better X-ray image than anything ever seen before. Well done, lads. Now why not investigate some quality paintings by good artists?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Robby the Robot

Terrence - Robby Robot (2006)The ray-gun from Forbidden Planet (next post down) reminded me of Robby the Robot created for the same movie. This version is a PhotoShop redesign by Terrence for a Worth1000 competition: Robby as he might have been painted by William Bouguereau, the master of the fluttering cherub. (The Aussie PM would throw a wobbler if he saw this.) If you haven't visited the Worth1000 website, you're in for a treat. There are regular competitions with all sorts of themes and a huge gallery of past winners (title link). Don't miss Forbidden Planet when it's next shown on TV. It has one of the scariest climaxes I've even seen: "monsters of the Id".

Movie Memorabilia Sale

MGM Lolita Lobby Card (1962) and Ray-gun from Forbidden Planet (1956)A major online auction of movie memorabilia begins at 11am PT on Friday 1 August at (CLICK). It includes this 1962 MGM Lolita lobby card featuring Sue Lyon as Lolita at an estimated $200 to $300 (Lot 647) and a ray-gun (inset) from the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, the forerunner of Star Trek. BBC Newsbeat has put together an online gallery of 10 of the most interesting and potentially expensive props (title link). For those of you into old Hollywood poster art, visit

RA Exhibit Smashed!

I.C. - Four Sculptures by Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez surrounding Tracey Emin's Cowgirl Boots (2008)Last Saturday afternoon, a clumsy visitor to the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2008 fell into a cordoned-off area containing these ceramic sculptures by Costa Rican artist Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, completely smashing the 9ft tall one entitled Christina, worth £6000. Oh, hard cheese. I must admit I've seen more exciting bedposts. This smashing news reached the BBC yesterday (only three days to travel across London: the wonders of modern technology). Coxsoft Art News may be even later bringing you this story, but here you get a unique pre-crash graphic. Scoop! The cowgirl boots in the centre of the display belong to Tracey Emin. (If she calls them art, they are art.)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Virgin Figurehead

Have you noticed the ships figurehead painted on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic White Knight Two carrier aircraft? It seems ironic that in the space age we're still using these superstitious devices, which certainly go as far back as ancient Egypt when pairs of eyes were painted on the prows of ships, presumably to help them "see" their way. (Note the blue iris surrounding the word Virgin.) Gods, goddesses, lions and mythical monsters have all been used to confront the waves and safeguard mariners. Eve must be the first figurehead to wear a space helmet. She's named after Richard's Mum.

Moneybags' Auction

Damien Hirst -'s is getting excited about its auction of Moneybags Hirst's latest load of piffle. Here's an example, complete with butterflies. Yawn. The auction, pretentiously entitled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, takes place in London in September. Click the title link to read the list of Moneybags' tripe which Sotheby's will be peddling. I wish somebody would tell him that butterflies need our protection. Killing creatures for "art" is crass.

Buenos Aires Heist

Antonio Berni - The Great Temptation (1962)They always seem to be stealing paintings in South America, and usually those in the worst possible taste. Here's the latest. A truck carrying paintings by Argentinean Antonio Berni was hijacked by two armed thugs dressed as police officers. They gave the truck company employees $165 each to keep calm and stole 15 of Antonio's daubs. No great loss, you might think, but they're worth $2.2 million. Inside job? Berni's The Great Temptation (1962) isn't one of the stolen works as far as I know, but it gives you an idea of what to look out for in a car boot sale.

Beatrix Google Doodle

Dennis Hwang - Google (UK) Doodle to mark Beatrix Potter's birthday (2008)I hope you all saw Dennis Hwang's excellent Google (UK) doodle to mark the birthday of Beatrix Potter yesterday. If not, here it is, with that naughty Peter Rabbit having a narrow squeak from the wrathful farmer, whose carrots Peter has been stealing. Good to see a British illustrator receiving the recognition she deserves. Click the title link to view a gallery of Dennis Hwang's Google doodles, and test yourself on your knowledge of art by trying to name all the artists represented.

The Wave Gets Chopped

Djuro Siroglavic - A piece of The Wave (2007)"Never mind the quality; feel the width." Okay, mathematicians, work this one out. The world's largest painting was four miles long, seven feet high and covered 13,000 square meters of canvas. You see what I mean about those blasted Euro thingies. They get in everywhere. So, 4 miles x 7' = 13,000 square meters. Got that? Sure? Anyway it doesn't matter now because the stupid thing is being cut up and sold in pieces. Croatian Djuro Siroglavic got fed up with tripping over his monstrous, 6-tonne The Wave, which took him and two assistants five months to paint, so he decided to give it the chop to raise money for children's charities. Worthy conclusion, daft concept.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Blue Pig Made It

The Blue Pig (2008)The Blue Pig did indeed make it to Richmond Park yesterday with a little help from Gordon McKirdy and Steve Hunt. Together they raised £10,000 for Cancer Research UK. The blue piggy bank proved so popular that Gordon and Steve will be taking it on other outings, but maybe a shorter trip next time. They have saddle sores. The porker looks smug. All he needs are his tyres pumped up.

Top 1000+ Sculptures

Unknown Artist - Unknown StatueCan you name this statue and its sculptor? I've been viewing My Top 1000+ Sculptures Of All Time, Robert Mileham's online collection of favourites (title link) and found a request for information on this delightful bronze statue. Despite the Ionic capital, which suggests ancient Greece, I suspect it's relatively modern, because the sculptor has made no attempt to glamorize his model in neoclassical style. She's slumped in a natural, unflattering pose with tummy folds showing. Any ideas? Please post a comment if you recognize it.

Grand Pier Blaze

Fire at Weston-super-Mare (28/7/08) photo: Penny BroomhallA little over a fortnight ago I previewed the Weston-super-Mare Sand Sculpture Festival 2008 (CLICK). Early this morning a fire broke out on the Grand Pier, recently renovated by new owners. Avon Fire and Rescue Service has at least six fire engines and 30 firefighters tackling the blaze, but it has taken hold and is destroying the century-old pier. A plume of black smoke can be seen as far away as Wales. Not a good day to visit the Sand Sculpture Festival!

The Blue Pig

Gordon McKirdy, Steve Hunt and The Blue Pig (2008)What Coxsoft Art wants to know is: Did the Blue Pig make it? Gordon McKirdy and Steve Hunt left Glasgow on 6 July riding their tandem bicycle with the Blue Pig in tow, hoping to raise £60,000 for Cancer Research UK. They were due to arrive in Richmond Park, London, at noon on Sunday; but no update came from BBC News on its day of rest! The carbon fibre pig seems to have lost weight during its epic journey. It reportedly weighed 40 kilos in Glasgow, but nearing London had shrunk to 35 kilos. That's the trouble with those Euro thingies: nobody this side of the English Channel knows what they mean. Maybe the Scots use different conversion tables to us: 10ths of a caber?

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Summer Madness

An Artist Thinking About Clearing His StudioIt's almost that time of year again when artists belonging to eight of the leading societies in the Federation of British Artists clear out their studios and bring their work to the Mall Galleries in London for the big clearance sale: Summer Madness. It runs from Wednesday 30 July to Wednesday 6 August. Grab your chance to buy a work of art by a leading British artist at a bargain price. All work sold can be taken away the same day. Admission is free.

World Bodypainting '08

Mist Stockholm (Sponsor) - Artist: Kris Bülow, Model: Sindy Freund, Photo: Thomas Paul (2008)The website of the World Bodypainting Festival 2008 in Seeboden, Austria, has finally posted its page of winners, which is well worth viewing (title link). There is terrific artwork in all categories. Watch out for Nick Wolfe's 2nd place in the Facepainting Category; his model wore coloured contact lenses to compliment the paint colours. Another New Zealand lizard crawled around the floor, the only showing of the Union Jack. No Brit. winners for 2008. This graphic is from sponsor Mist Stockholm, artist Kris Bülow, model Sindy Freund, photo Thomas Paul. Note: 1st World Bodypainting Festival® ASIA, World Cup Stadium, Daegu, South Korea, 25 to 31 August 2008 (CLICK). If the BBC covered this exciting event as it does the boring old Olympics, I'd be glued to the TV.

Baltic Faces Prosecution

Terence Koh - Statue of ChristThe Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead is in the news again. Last year Nan Goldin's alleged child porn photo was seized by Northumbria Police (CLICK). This time it's Terence Koh's statue of Christ - shown earlier this year - which is causing a rumpus. The bulge between Christ's knees is supposed to be an erection. (Koh's grasp of anatomy is as lousy as his art.) Emily Mapfuwa, an NHS administrator from Essex, has launched a private prosecution against the Baltic Centre, alleging the gallery offended public decency and breached Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 by exhibiting Koh's tripe. This promises to be a landmark case. The first hearing is set for September.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ronnie Makes £16,000

Ronnie Kray - Country CottageA collection of Ronnie Kray's daubs sold for a total of £16,000 at Mander Auctioneers today. When I first reported this sale, seven were up for grabs (CLICK). BBC Suffolk now reports that eight were sold (title link). They hit the top end of their pre-sale estimates of £1500 to £2000. So who bought them? Sir Nick for Tate Modern? The publican of The Blind Beggar? Vladimir Putin as a pressie for Andrei Lugovoi? Or Sir Ian Blair as a nostalgic reminder of simpler days for the Met. Police?

Friday, 25 July 2008

Turner Contemporary

Imaging Atelier - Impression of Turner ContemporaryThis is Imaging Atelier's impression of the new Turner Contemporary gallery, designed by David Chipperfield, as it will look on Margate’s windswept seafront. It'll give the pensioners somewhere novel to shelter when rain deluges the promenade, but at what cost: more than £17 million! £8.1m will be provided by Arts Council England (ACE) and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). I guess they wouldn't fund a more alluring complex comprising a bingo hall, arcade games, Internet cafés, fish-and-chip shops and whelk stalls. No imagination. So they build a shrine to contemporary rubbish instead. Will it drag the punters back to Margate? I doubt it, but time will tell.

John Moores Prize

Julian Brain - Special RelativityThe shortlist of 40 entries - out of 3,222 - for the £25,000 John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize has been announced. Julian Brain is one of the finalists with his detailed, somewhat eerie painting Special Relativity (note the armchairs in the painting on the wall). The winner will be announced on 20 September to coincide with the opening of an exhibition of the 40 shortlisted paintings at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Click the title link for a larger graphic and the list of 40 artists.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Art of the Nude

Sir Gerald Kelly - D.D.5a (1924)When it comes to depictions of love (see below), I think the Welsh have got the better end of the deal. The Newport Museum and Art Gallery in South Wales recently opened Art of the Nude - Artists explore the human form, which continues until 20 September, perfect timing for the school summer holidays! The cherubs will love this collection of nudes by artists such as Sir Gerald Kelly, Sir William Russell Flint, Sir Edward J. Poynter, Auguste Rodin, William Blake and Angelica Kauffman.

Love at National Gallery

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Banquet of Cleopatra (1740s)Today the National Gallery in London opened a touring exhibition which has already been seen in Bristol and Newcastle upon Tyne. It's simply called Love. You'll find it in the Sunley Room until 5 October, admission free. It looks something of a cobbled-together mess. What has Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's The Banquet of Cleopatra (1740s) got to do with love? And why include modern rubbish such as David Hockney's We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961)? Still, the price is right. Worth a look.

Shark-Gone-Bad Art

I.C. - Haw, haw, haw... (2006)Now here's a stuffed shark which is art, even though I say it myself. It's my Mickey-take of Moneybags' rotting carcass, first posted on Coxsoft Art News two years ago (CLICK). To see my animated GIF of the shark-gone-bad laughing, click the title link.

A Dead Shark Isn't Art

Eddie Saunders' Stuffed SharkA dead shark isn't art? That's fighting talk if you're a brainwashed moron! The Stuckism website has posted the saga of Eddie Saunders' stuffed shark, the forerunner ... er ... foreswimmer of Moneybags Hirst's rotting carcass. (At least, it was rotting the last I heard of it.) The shark's tale is published in The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson, Aurum Press Ltd 2008. Click the title link to read more on the economics of shark stuffing.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Antinous Mandragone

Unknown Artist - Antinous MandragoneI previewed Hadrian: Empire and Conflict last Friday (CLICK). It opens at the British Museum in London tomorrow, and Brenda Emmanus did a piece on it for BBC London News. While Brenda was beguiling the camera, I noticed this superb head in the background. It's from the Louvre in Paris and is one of the major works of art borrowed for the exhibition. What a doll, you might think. Well ... er ... here's what Brenda couldn't tell you before the watershed: this head is of Antinous Mandragone, Emperor Hadrian's boyfriend. Renowned for his beauty, Antinous was deified - proclaimed a god - after he drowned himself in the Nile in 130 AD.

Amy Winehouse in Wax

Madame Tussauds - Amy Winehouse Waxwork (2008)The tabloids will be full of this tomorrow, so you might as well get a preview from Coxsoft Art News. Amy Winehouse is the latest celebrity to be given the Madame Tussauds treatment. Mum and Dad unveiled the waxwork in London today in front of a gang of press photographers. It is a superb likeness, complete with fully detailed tattoos. It makes you wonder how so-called "contemporary artists" can have the cheek to present cardboard boxes or rusty scrap metal as art. And mugs buy it! This is the real thing.

Graffiti in Berlin

Walter Hock - Jeune AllemagneBerlin has discovered Contemporary Urban Art and Street Art and is now claiming to be "the global epicenter of this international art movement". On what grounds? we might ask. London has Banksy, an "epicenter" all of his own, plus Tate Modern is currently showing Street Art (CLICK). The answer is that The Friedrichshoehe has invited 42 artists from 9 countries to daub its interior walls for Urban Affairs, a graffiti festival. Dates are fuzzy, but I think it runs from July 26 to 3 August. As the art hasn't been created yet, here's an example of German art from another era - Walter Hock's Jeune Allemagne - when Berlin was the "epicenter" for something a lot nastier than graffiti and pretentious blurbs.

Richard Kidd R.I.P.

Richard Kidd - Talisker BayBelated news: Brit. artist and children's author Richard Kidd was swept to his death while swimming below Bataan's Dunsulan Falls last Saturday. According to local police, he was in the Philippines to paint a luxury ship. Ironically, I found this sad item in today's ArtDaily (CLICK) and needed to search the BBC website to confirm the news, which is under BBC Tyne headlined "Tourist dies at island waterfall" (title link). My condolences to his two teenaged daughters, Rachel and Daisy.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Google Tops UK

Claire Rammelkamp - My Future, Doodle 4 Google Winner 2007Google has become the UK's top brand for the first time. The Superbrands Council compiled a list of more than 1,000 brands and this was then passed to 2,200 consumers to rate. They must have been very posh consumers, because I doubt whether many denizens of Ghetto London have even heard of Royal Doulton!
1. Google
2. Microsoft
3. Mercedes-Benz
4. BBC
5. British Airways
6. Royal Doulton
7. BMW
8. Bosch
9. Nike
10 Sony.
I've illustrated this post with last year's winning Doodle 4 Google entry by Claire Rammelkamp of Bristol Brunel Academy (theme: "My Future"). Youngsters, you have only 3 days left to enter Doodle 4 Google 2008 (CLICK).

Serp. Pavilion Open

Frank Gehry - Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008, designed by Frank Gehry, opened yesterday in the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens and will remain an eyesore until 19 October; then, thankfully, it will be demolished. Give it a sneer on your way to the Peter Pan statue (CLICK). If you fancy a time-lapse video of this mess being built, click the title link.

Beck's Canvas

Beck's Art Labels (2008)Four young artists from the Royal College of Art have been selected to have their art showcased on the labels of over 27 million bottles of beer. From left to right, the winners of Beck's Canvas 2008 are: Tom Price, Charlotte Bracegirdle, Simon Cunningham and Riitta Ikonen. Their artwork will appear on Beck's bottles from 1 August. Having had a friend die of alcoholism, I believe that anything which makes booze more attractive is a bad idea. Brits are presenting with liver damage at much younger ages than ever before, and this now includes young women. Anti-social behaviour fueled by alcohol is rife. Shame on you, RCA.

Looking at Leaves

Amanda Means - Peacock PlantThe notion that black-and-white photography has an added dimension called "art" has always passed me by. To me it lacks a dimension: colour. But New York photographer Amanda Means could convert me with images such as this leaf from a Peacock Plant. She's used leaves as negatives to create dramatic, detailed blow-ups which emphasize Nature's architecture. Looking at Leaves is currently on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and continues until 8 February 2009. There's also a fascinating exhibition of sea creatures made of glass (title link).

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Stolen Picasso Found

Pablo Picasso - The Painter and the ModelPicasso's engraving The Painter and the Model, stolen from the Estacao Pinacoteca Gallery in Sao Paulo last month (CLICK), has been retrieved by Brazilian police. Having arrested a man on suspicion of trying to steal a cash machine, the police were led to an attic where they found the Picasso wrapped in a plastic bag. Best place for it.

World Bodypainting Fest

World Bodypainting Festival Graphic (2008)Today is the final day of the World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria. It's too early for a list of winners, but there are literally thousands of photos online at the official website (title link). So, if you have nothing better to do, dip into the snapshots and select your favourites. And let's hope for better quality photos of the winners!

Official Olympic Cheer

Manga-style Chinese Cheerleaders Instructions (2008)Right, girls; it's time to limber up for the Beijing Olympics. This graphic is the official manga-comic-style instruction set for the Olympic Cheer, devised jointly by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Party Office of Spiritual Civilization Development and Guidance (otherwise known as C.R.A.P.). To cries of "Olympics", "Let's go!" and "China", the cheerleaders 1) clap their hands twice, 2) give a thumbs-up sign, 3) clap twice again and 4) make a double-fisted Black Panther salute. Got that? Now I really feel at one with the Chinese people, because it took two government departments to come up with something this banal, just as it does in Britain. Yes, Chinese folks, Brits know all about having too many overpaid chiefs telling us what to do.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The Beano at 70

Dennis The Menace has finally made it to university, Dundee University to be precise. At 70, he must be one of the oldest mature students in Scotland. Happy Birthday Beano! The Official 70th Anniversary Exhibition opened in the Lamb Gallery yesterday and runs until 20 September. The material on loan from D. C. Thomson includes work by comic artists Dudley D. Watkins, David Law, Leo Baxendale and David Sutherland. By a strange coincidence, BBC2 has just started a repeat showing of Comics Britannia, originally shown on BBC4.

Nudes at The Mall

Nick Hope - NudeThe following week at the Mall Galleries sees the 78th annual show of the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society, London's largest life drawing society. If you don't know what life drawing is, take a look at Nick Hope's Nude. Yes, folks, it means naked models. The models won't be there, but their images will be. Big parental decision: to take the cherubs or not to take the cherubs. I wouldn't hesitate. I'm sure my 21-year-old could handle it. And the younger the cherub, the less likely he or she is to feel embarrassed. Admission is free. The exhibition runs from Tuesday 29 July to Saturday 2 August (closing at 1pm last day).

Aviation Art

John Dimond GAvA - 21 On the RidgeNext Tuesday 22 July the Guild of Aviation Artists 38th Annual Exhibition opens to the public at the Mall Galleries in London and continues until 27 July. This is the world’s biggest aviation art exhibition and includes work by award-winning international artists as well as by talented amateurs. Up to 400 works will be on display. Subjects range from pioneering biplanes to the latest jet aircraft. This glider - 21 On the Ridge by John Dimond GAvA - is a fine example of what to expect. Admission is free, so this exhibition is a must for a family visit at the start of the school summer holidays. Don't dither; it flies for only six days. To visit the GAvA website CLICK.

Lichtensteins Nicked!

Roy Lichtenstein - Crak!ArtDaily reports that two Warhols and three Lichtensteins, including Crak! (above), were stolen from the Abergs Museum in Sweden early yesterday morning. Burglars broke through a door, grabbed what they wanted and dashed off. It looks like theft-to-order yet again. Andy Warhol's Mickey Mouse is another of the stolen works (title link).

Tate Extension Mk 2

Artist's Impression of the Mark 2 Tate Modern Extension (2008)For some reason the chiefs in charge of Tate Modern have abandoned the original design of a glass ziggurat for its £215m extension and have now adopted a pyramidal design with a cladding of perforated brick. Maybe they thought all that glass would make the elephant dung steam. The new design looks better than that ugly jumble of greenhouses to which most of us gave the raspberry (CLICK), but I'm still not impressed. I think London deserves truly gobsmacking architectural elegance for £215m.

Friday, 18 July 2008

The World of Chardin

Jean-Simeon Chardin - A Lady Taking Tea (1735)Last Tuesday I mentioned the Boucher and Chardin exhibition at The Wallace Collection in London (CLICK). You might be interested to know that on Tuesday 22 July at 1pm there will be a special lecture: The Intimate World of Chardin, an illustrated talk by lecturer Marie-Claude Elliot. It's free and there is no need to book.

Emperor Hadrian

Hadrian: Empire and Conflict Exhibition Graphic (2008)Next Saturday 26 July the British Museum in London opens a major new exhibition Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, which continues until 26 October. This morning I received a rave preview from somebody invited to an advanced viewing to test visitor flow. (Yes, they take this sort of thing seriously at the Brit. Museum.) And this evening I caught a BBC TV dip into the treasures on display, showing some excellent Roman statues. The exhibition explores the life of Emperor Hadrian (117 to 138AD) of Hadrian's Wall fame and his consolidation of the Roman Empire. The bad news is the cost of admission: £12.00 for adults and no concession at all for silver surfers! Click the title link for a video taster.

Beatrix Potter Record

Beatrix Potter - The Rabbits' Christmas Party (1890s) detailAt Sotheby's London auction, Beatrix Potter's watercolour The Rabbits' Christmas Party (1890s) set a new record by becoming the most expensive book illustration ever sold at auction. It went under the hammer for £289,250 to a private British collector. It's pre-sale estimated value was between £40,000 and £60,000. Book and magazine illustrations have long been ignored by the Brit. Anti-art Establishment, which promotes its favoured purveyors of pretentious tripe, so it's good to see prices of illustrations moving in the right direction. Love or loath Beatrix Potter's anthropomorphism, you must admit she was a fine artist.

A Sorolla Spinoza?

A Portrait of SpinozaThis Portrait of Spinoza by an unknown artist has now been attributed to Joaquín Sorolla by Spanish experts. I would like to know how they came to this conclusion, apart from wishful thinking. I can't see anything of Sorolla in this painting. It's flat, dull, lifeless and mediocre. Where is Sorolla's mastery of light and shadow? The painting has been recently cleaned, so it can't be that dirt is obscuring his art. Sorry, experts. I don't believe you. Where's your proof?

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Myron Shanghaied

Myron - The Discus Thrower (ca 450 BC)Now here is a world famous sculpture of undeniable quality: Myron's The Discus Thrower (ca 450 BC). The British Museum in London has lent it to Shanghai, together with more than a hundred sculptures and pots from ancient Greece, to give Chinese folks a taste of the origins of the Olympic Games. The boy is asking the usual question.
"Mum, why's he got a leaf on his..."
"Don't point, Chang. It's rude."
For two more views of The Discus Thrower CLICK.

Caro Donates Junk

Sir Anthony Caro - Table Piece CLXXXV (1974)The cheek of some people! If I'd cobbled together something as awful as this, I'd bury it in the back garden rather than donate it to the Courtauld Gallery in London, where people might see it. But that's what Sir Anthony Caro has done with his Table Piece CLXXXV (1974). I guess he can get his car into the garage now.

Earliest Oil Paintings 2

Wall-painting in Bamiyan Caves, AfghanistanBBC News seems to have forgotten its own headline in April of this year: "Oil painting 'originated in East'". I covered its story of 7th-century Buddhist oil-painted murals in the caves of Bamiyan (CLICK). Now it's discovered this story all over again (title link). This time it's more tentative: "Bamiyan's Buddhist art - the world's oldest oil paintings?" Why rehash this story? Auntie now has a video. Pity it's two months late. You can't get the camels nowadays.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tate Online Art Course

JMW Turner - Venice: Looking across the Lagoon at Sunset (1840)The Tate has gone all hi-tech with the start of online art courses. The first of these is Artists' Techniques and Methods. The cost is £20 and the payments page isn't working yet, so don't all rush at once. For your money you'll receive a log-in code which will allow you access to:
Gaudier-Brzeska's Drawing Techniques
Collage Techniques
Turner and Watercolour
Pre-Raphaelite Composition and Symbolism
Whistler's Oil Techniques
Richard Hamilton and Mixed Media
The technical requirements aren't too demanding: PC or Mac, Internet Explorer 5 and above or Mozilla Firefox 1 and above and Flash player 8 plus; but, as the course contains a lot of animation and video, you must have a fast broadband connection or die of boredom. If anyone takes this course, please let me know how you get on. Click the title link for more information.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Matchstick Tower Bridge

Michael Williams - Matchstick Model of Tower Bridge (2008)How's this for an all-consuming hobby? It took Michael Williams 10 years and 1.6m matches to make this scale model of Tower Bridge, complete with ship passing through. It lights up inside and out with bulbs he hopes will last for 100,000 hours. Click the title link to make your bid. And watch out for those dancing flames which follow your cursor. Nice one.

Ronnie Kray, Artist!

Ronnie Kray - Country Cottage (ca 1970)Seven daubs by gangster Ronnie Kray, painted while doing porridge in Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, are up for grabs at Mander Auctions in Suffolk on 26 July, starting 11am. Their estimated value is £1,500 to £2,000 each. It wouldn't surprise me if they make more. Despite being vicious criminals, the Krays still have admirers in the East End of London who see them as local lads made good! And so English-sounding: Reggie and Ronnie. Most of today's criminals that hit the headlines in the UK have unpronounceable foreign names.