Saturday, 28 February 2009

'New' Da Vinci Found

Leonardo da Vinci - Self-portraitRecognize this famous face? You don't need to be an expert to put a name to it: Leonardo da Vinci. Italian scientific journalist Piero Angela claims to have found a more youthful sketch of Leonardo in a notebook for Leonardo's Codex on the Flight of Birds. Writing had obscured the sketch, which has been painstakingly restored. All will be revealed this evening on Italy's RAI television channel.

Afriosi: Spirit of Africa

Titus Agbara - Self-Reliance (2007) with the artist's permissionThe next exhibition of oil paintings by Titus Agbara opens at the Danz Art Gallery in London on 16 March and continues until 15 April. Titus is joined in Afriosi's The Spirit of Africa by artist Obi Rafael, sculptor Ato Arinze and others. Admission is free. Click the title link for details and for a gallery of the arts and crafts on offer.

Christie's Flogs Loot

Bronze Chinese Zodiac Symbols: Rabbit and RatMr Floppity Bunny and Mr Rat have caused an international incident! (NB BBC: the rabbit is on the left.) These two bronze Chinese zodiac symbols, looted from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 during the Second Opium War, were flogged by Christie's in its recent Yves Saint Laurent auction in France. The People's Republic of China is deeply miffed and threatens reprisals against Christie's, which doesn't seem to care a fig. I'm with China on this one. Looted property should be returned to its rightful owner (Emperor Qianlong) or to its country of origin.

Happy Cloud

Stuart Semple - Happy Cloud Smiley Face (2009)I finally caught up with last Wednesday's silly story about somebody releasing 2,000 pink smiley faces into the air over London. My initial thought was "Not another idiot unleashing balloons that will kill wildlife"! Thankfully, it wasn't. Stuart Semple's Happy Cloud "installation", released at Tate Modern, turned out to comprise helium, soap and vegetable dye. The faces lasted about 30 minutes before dissipating harmlessly. Stuart wanted to cheer us up. Humph! Looks a damned glum smiley to me, more like a porker's snout.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Picasso Illuminations

Picasso Illuminations (2009)Eeek! What a mess! These Picasso Illuminations will despoil the facade of the National Gallery in London, from 6pm to 10pm, until 1 March. What are the twits in charge thinking of? The Blackpool Illuminations look more artistic than this tripe from that old fraud who conned the art world into believing he was a genius. I can't imagine a better way of deterring the punters from visiting Picasso: Challenging the Past (CLICK).

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dreamspace Jury

Maurice Agis inside DreamspaceThe jury in the case of manslaughter against Dreamspace designer Maurice Agis at Newcastle Crown Court was discharged today, having failed to reach a verdict after more than 11 hours of deliberation. On Tuesday, Mr Agis was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety Act. The Crown Prosecution Service will decide whether he must face a retrial on the manslaughter charge.

Male/Female Art

Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz - LandscapeResearchers from the University of California Irvine have demonstrated that men and women perceive art differently. Electrical activity in the brain showed that men used only the right parietal lobe when judging paintings, while women used both parietal lobes. The researchers suggest this difference evolved millions of years ago in hunter-gatherer societies, when men hunted animals and women collected berries and nuts, these tasks requiring different visual perceptions. Anyone who has ever collected blackberries knows that you need to spread your vision as widely as possible to locate the ripe fruits, whereas hunting prey requires the ability to exclude everything but the target. Only 10 men and 10 women were used as subjects, which is a very small sample. So it's early days yet, but a fascinating line of research.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Queen Mother Memorial

Philip Jackson - Queen Mother Memorial (2009)If you visit the Mall Galleries, take a look at Philip Jackson's memorial statue of the Queen Mother, unveiled today by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The memorial stands at the other end of Pall Mall, near Buckingham Palace, under a statue of her husband, King George VI. The Queen Mother is depicted in her younger days, wearing robes of the Order of the Garter. Princes Charles, William and Harry attended the unveiling ceremony, grandson and great-grandsons respectively.

Wrap Party

Arnid Malde - Strong!!!That's Wrap, as in wrap up, not Rap (music for morons). It's at the Mall Galleries in London on Friday 27 February, admission free, to celebrate Originals 09: The Contemporary Printmaking Show, which ends on Saturday. Telephone 020 7930 6844 for details. Saturday is also the final day of Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2008, which I previewed last December (CLICK). Above is Arnid Malde's Strong!!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Brit Oscar Night

Freida Pinto, the love interest in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)Just in case you've been in hibernation today, the Oscars proved a big night for Brits. Slumdog Millionaire scooped up 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. This is the first movie fully financed in the UK to gain Best Picture since Sir Laurence Olivier's Hamlet in 1948. Kate Winslet's Best Actress brought the Brit. score up to 9, and Best Documentary Feature winner Man on Wire made it 10. Of course the one you're all waiting for is Best Animated Feature Film: Wall-E. Click the title link to see the full list of winners.

Shah 'Abbas

Shah 'AbbasLast Thursday the British Museum in London opened Shah 'Abbas The Remaking of Iran. Wasn't it called Persia in those days? Abbas was Shah of Persia from 1587 to 1629 AD. His enlightened rule respected different religions, a far cry from the doctrinaire nutters running modern Iran. This, the first major exhibition to explore his rule and legacy, runs until 14 June (title link). Warning: the Shah 'Abbas web page crashed IE6 with the message: "Adobe Flash Player 9.0 r124 attempted to execute an invalid instruction". When will those dozy webmasters learn?

Art Manifestos

Charles Thomson - A single woman in London is never more than 6 inches away from the nearest ratArt to make you think. Is this social comment or a public information poster? It's Charles Thomson's A single woman in London is never more than 6" away from the nearest rat. I'll plump for the health warning aspect. Yes, potential tourists, Ghetto London is stuffed to bursting with big brown rats which are so bold they stroll around in daylight! Lawrence Pollard, another of the BBC's plethora of arts correspondents, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto with a nod at Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1926) and a dip into the Stuckist Manifesto created by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish in 1999 (CLICK).

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Jumbo Painters

Elephant Art, ThailandIn Saturday's Daily Mail, Desmond Morris pondered jumbo art and failed to arrive at any firm conclusion (title link). Elephants certainly can be trained to paint, as shown by this photo from northern Thailand where their handlers earn money by entertaining tourists. They're following in the footsteps of Hong, another Asian elephant artist (CLICK). The skill with which a jumbo can trunk a paintbrush beats Morgan the sea lion (CLICK) and the piglets of Trotters Independent Painters (CLICK). But all of them beat Mark Rothko hands down (CLICK). Or should that be trunks down, flippers down and trotters down? I wonder, Desmond, do you think those handlers in Thailand could teach Rothko to paint?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Arts Centre Gets The Bird

Mircea Cantor - The Need For Uncertainty (2009)Camden Arts Centre got the bird today ... er ... two, to be precise. Mircea Cantor's new sculptural installation thingy, which "elaborates on the theme of uncertainty", features two live "peacocks" in a golden cage. The uncertainty is that the poor birds don't know when the hell they'll be let out. (Answer: 20 April.) There's also a "flying carpet" suspended on wires. Bird-brain Suzanne Cotter, the pathetic curator, should be sacked for allowing this bird poo into the centre. All readers, please report her to the RSPCA (CLICK). By the way, if you look closely at The Need For Uncertainty you'll see that the caged "peacocks" are one peacock and one peahen. And yes, you guessed it: this nonsense is supported by Arts Council England in collusion with the Romanian Cultural Institute in London and the Ratiu Foundation. A disgrace!

Bump Art

Bump Art is the latest fad. Welsh body painter Erica Norman is currently painting the tummies of pregnant women for free, in order to build up her portfolio of Bump Art before charging for her services. Apparently it's very relaxing for mums-to-be. What about dads-to-be having their bumps painted? I'd go for that. Click the title link to read more.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dulwich Gallery Awards

Murillo - The Flower Girl (1670)One of my favourite galleries in London, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, has received two acclamations for its new website: 1) The Interactive Media Council award for Outstanding Achievement, and 2) inclusion in the Encyclopaedia Britannica iGuide site, a directory of the Web’s best sites. The gallery's education department has also been shortlisted for a Sustainable City Award - winners announced tomorrow at Mansion House - for its Good Times: Art for Older People programme. Back in 2006 I awarded its old website the Coxsoft Art Silver Surfer Friendly Award (CLICK). I've illustrated this post with one of my favourite paintings in the gallery: Murillo's The Flower Girl (1670). Compare it with the stark realism of Doré's Flower Girl I posted yesterday.

Van Dyck at Tate

Sir Anthony van Dyck - Katherine, Lady Stanhope (c.1635-36)Sir Anthony van Dyck is in the news again. This is the third van Dyck painting I've posted in the last week: Katherine, Lady Stanhope (c.1635-36). It's one of 130 works by Van Dyck and British artists influenced by him, from the 17th to 20th centuries, in an exhibition which opened today at Tate Britain: Van Dyck And Britain. It's insanely overpriced at £12.20 full whack, £11.30 over 60s (92%) and £10.30 concessions! There's obviously some sort of class system going on at the Tate: silver surfers on a state pension are priced out. At 92%, this is the worst OAP concession I've ever seen. Government, act now!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Victorians

Gustave Doré - A Flower Girl in Victorian London (c.1870)I was pleasantly surprised by the first of Jeremy Paxman's four-part series The Victorians on BBC One last Sunday evening, Unlike those patronizing professors who inflict their prejudices and poor taste on viewers, Paxman obviously appreciates his subject: Victorian art. He praised one of my favourite painters, John Atkinson Grimshaw, and told me something I didn't know about Gustave Doré: the artist had a photographic memory which he used to good effect when spying on the denizens of the East End. His engravings were published in London: A Pilgrimage (1872) by Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold (CLICK). The Brit. Ant-art Establishment has been giving Victorian art the raspberry for far too long. Jeremy avoided jumping on that stupid bandwagon and gave us the best art programme I've seen in years. Grab it next Sunday on BBC One, 2100 GMT (title link).

Monday, 16 February 2009

Petrobelli Altarpiece

Paolo Veronese - Head of Saint Michael (c.1565)Last week the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London brought together the four known surviving pieces of the Petrobelli Altarpiece, painted by Paolo Veronese for Antonio & Girolamo Petrobelli around 1565. This luminous masterpiece was cut up like a worn-out carpet in the 1780s and sold to different buyers! (It seems to have fallen afoul of a religious purge.) Some pieces are still missing. The body of Saint Michael - head shown - hasn't been located. The exhibition continues until 3 May (title link).

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Worm Reward

WormMicrosoft has offered a reward of $250,000 (£172,000) to anyone who can help it track down the author of the Conficker Worm, also known as Downadup. Here he is, a slippery little devil, but I managed to collar him. Arbor Networks estimates this pesky worm may have infected as many as 12 million computers world wide. To learn more about the pest and how to repel his attacks, click the title link.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Treasure of the Month

Sir Anthony van Dyck: The Shepherd Paris (c.1628)The Wallace Collection's Treasure of the Month is this painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck: The Shepherd Paris (c.1628). He was the handsome lad chosen by the Greek gods to judge the first beauty contest, between Hera, Athene and Aphrodite. Londoners can learn more about the painting and the myth by joining curator Christoph Voghterr on Tuesday 17 February at 1pm in the Great Gallery for a free drop-in talk (title link).

Banksy Donates Flock

Banksy - Go Flock Yourself (2008)I'm afraid Banksy's latest painting Go Flock Yourself (2008) doesn't impress me. Nor does the fact that he's put it up for auction to raise funds for The Prince's Trust. Maybe I'm being cynical, but this strikes me as a ploy to increase the price of an inferior painting and to curry favour with the Royal Family at the same time. Hoping for an MBE, are we, Banksy? This work and others will be on display in three exhibitions in Ultralounge at Selfridges department store, London. The first opened today. All the works will go under the hammer on 26 February. The auction is a first for Selfridges (title link).

Princess Mary Returned

Sir Anthony van Dyck - Princess Mary (1637)A Portrait of Princess Mary by Sir Anthony van Dyck is back in the Royal Collection after more than 360 years and is now on public display at its former home: Hampton Court Palace. When King Charles I did a runner from the Roundheads in 1647, he left orders that this portrait of his eldest daughter be sent to Lady Aubigny. After the King got the chop, Lady Aubigny fled to the Hague with the painting, which appeared in a number of European collections over the next 300 years. In 1967 it was bought in a London sale by Sir Oliver Millar. After he died, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council accepted the painting in lieu of £1.05m inheritance tax. What a bargain! And a vital part of British heritage, unlike that Titian the chumps recently bought for £50m.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

BMW Art Cars

Roy Lichtenstein - Art Car (1977) BMW 320i Group Five Racing VersionWhatever you think of "modern" art, you must admit that Roy Lichtenstein painted a nifty Art Car back in 1977. It's the best BMW I've ever seen (a boring car as far as design goes). This is one of the exhibits in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): an installation of BMW Art Cars designed by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, from 12 February to 24 February. It's in the admission-free BP Grand Entrance. Click the title link for details.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Darwin's Anniversary

DARWIN200 Logo (2009)Thursday 12 February is the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. The Natural History Museum in London will celebrate the day and his legacy with special events, including talks, films and tours (title link). The timing is right for school half-term holidays. If getting to London is a major trek, the excellent graphic shown here - DARWIN200 - is the logo for a UK-wide programme of events to celebrate Charles Darwin's ideas and impact. There might be an event near you (CLICK). Stamp collectors note: Royal Mail will issue a set of 6 new Darwin stamps on his birthday to celebrate his life and work (CLICK to view them).

Monday, 9 February 2009


Amidst all the glitz and glamour of last night's BAFTA Awards 2009 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, and the media excitement over Kate Winslet winning Leading Actress and Slumdog Millionaire winning almost everything else, you may have missed Wallace and Gromit picking up another BAFTA for their latest escapade Wallace And Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, which won Best Short Animation. So here they are with a little help from IC. Scoop! (Actually the award was won by Steve Pegram, Nick Park and Bob Baker, but they're not as cute as W & G.) Click the title link for the full list.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Diehards Ad Campaigns

Quetzalcoatl, one of 2,500 deities Homo twitus has createdThe British Humanist Association's no-god advertising campaign has prompted creationist diehards to hit back, like a bunch of kids shouting "Ya boo, sucks to you". The Christian Party is paying for the following ad to appear on 50 bendy buses: "There definitely is a God; so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life." The Trinitarian Bible Society has spent £35,000 for 100 buses to bear its ad: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." And the Russian Orthodox Church plans ads on 25 buses: "There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life." Quotes like this convince me that humanity should be renamed Homo twitus. How can you enjoy your life when you're worried about offending some sadistic, omnipresent megalomaniac and suffering hellfire and damnation for eternity? And which god might grant you salvation? There are 2,500 of them! The wooden carving above depicts the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. Imagine the dole queue of ex-priests when folk gave Q the bum's rush.

Graffiti Artist Arrested!

T-shirt with Shepard Fairey's portrait of Barack Obama (2008)More copyright problems! It's only a month since I posted Shepard Fairey's portrait of US President-elect - as he was then - Barack Obama (CLICK). Last night in Boston, Fairey was arrested for the 15th time on charges of tagging local property with graffiti based on his Andre the Giant street art campaign. This artwork is based on a copyrighted photo taken in April 2006 by Mannie Garcia on assignment for Associated Press. It's "fair use" claims Fairey's lawyer. Quite right too, but will a court accept this defence? Click the title link to read the full story.

Body Worlds

One of the exhibits in Body Worlds & The Mirror of Time (2008)If you're looking for somewhere to take the cherubs during the school half-term holiday and you're prepared to lash out, you could give them nightmares by taking them to see Dr Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds & The Mirror of Time at London's O2 Arena. The exhibition consists of 200 flayed and partly dissected corpses preserved by a process called Plastination, invented by Dr Gunther von Hagens in 1977. His wife, Dr Angelina Whalley, created displays for this new version of a world-touring exhibition. Its opening passed me by last October, but recently an advert caught my eye and its scientific image struck me as being far more artistic than anything Moneybags Hirst has ever done. Click the title link for more images and information.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Hirst Gets Stroppy

Cartain - 'Graffiti Print' using For the Love of God plus Damien Hirst showing his teeth (both 2008)Moneybags Hirst threw a wobbler when he discovered that 16-year-old artist Cartain was making a few bob selling tarted up "graffiti prints" (whatever they are) of his For the Love of God nonsense. At risk of being labelled the meanest git on Earth, Moneybags demanded the money Cartain had made from these prints (example shown) and all the unsold works, presumably so he could copy anything worth copying. Cartain complied. Moneybags profit? £200. He must be feeling the pinch to bully £200 out of a teenager! I understand he's had to lay off some of those workers who produce his tripe for him. Click the title link for The Independent story. CLICK for homage to the Diamond Geezer. (Note: Coxsoft Art News is a non-profit-making organisation.)

Friday, 6 February 2009

New PC Has Arrived!

Dell™ PCIt's here! Swoon! Coxsoft Art's new Dell™ PC, made in China to my exact specifications, arrived this afternoon, the day it was due! I told the burly delivery man I was amazed it had arrived on time, considering Britain has been shivering in blizzard conditions, schools have closed and half the population couldn't make it to work. He shrugged it all off. "We get through anything." That's the stuff! (It wasn't the GPO.) I daren't open the boxes yet, because I know I won't be able to resist plugging, screwing, unscrewing, screwing some more and powering up, and I've got a lot of files on my old PC that need sorting out first. Abnormal service will be resumed as soon as pos.

Valentine Mansion

Stained-glass Windows, Valentine Mansion, IlfordThere will be an open weekend at Valentine Mansion, Ilford, from 14 to 15 February, 11am to 4pm, admission free. This gives the public a chance to see the results of major restoration work on this fine mansion (built circa 1696) carried out by the London Borough of Redbridge with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Don't expect too much from the Rose Garden at this time of year. Visit the recreated Victorian kitchen and Georgian rooms. View the stained-glass windows and groan at some contemporary art. The top floor of the mansion has been converted to artists' studios. Click the title link for details.

Brit Art News in Pants

British PantsLast September Coxsoft Art News brought you Brit. Art News in Briefs (title link). At present it's too nippy here for that sort of thing, so here's Brit. Art News in Pants. (I promise a thong when it warms up.) Dreamspace creator Maurice Agis has appeared in Newcastle Crown Court to plead not guilty to charges of manslaughter (CLICK). J.M.W. Turner's The Temple of Jupiter Panellenius fetched £9.1 million ($12.9 million) at Sotheby's New York auction (CLICK). Tate Britain has agreed to lend China 80 paintings by J.M.W. Turner for an exhibition at The National Art Museum of China, Beijing, to open in April (CLICK). Polish artist Miroslaw Balka has been commissioned to fill Tate Modern's Turbine Hall with junk for The Unilever Series, from 13 October to 5 April 2010 (CLICK).

NPG Quotes The Times

Gerhard Richter - Ella (2007) NPG Poster (2009)Question: how can London's National Portrait Gallery, which runs the BP Portrait Award, use this quote from The Times about Gerhard Richter: "Arguably the world’s greatest living painter"? All this quote proves is that The Times knows nothing about art. Look at this poster for Gerhard Richter Portraits, which opens on 26 February, and you must see what I mean. Is Ella (2007) slumped in depression or resting her chin on the bonnet of a car? And does it make your eyes go funny staring at her? Read my preview before you invest £8 in this tosh (CLICK).
Note: the closing date for entries to the BP Portrait Award 2009 is Sunday 15 February (CLICK).

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Win Some, Lose Some

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - L'abandon (Les deux amies) 1895The art market continues to be faddy in the teeth of recession. Claude Monet’s Dans la Prairie (1876) sold for £11m at Christie's London auction of Impressionist and Modern art, less than its guide price of £15m. But Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's L'abandon or Les deux amies for the prissy Brit. market (1895) went under the hammer for £6m (nearly $9m), smack in the centre of its estimate of £5m to £7m. Madame Monet looks a right old battle axe despite the flowers, so here's L'abandon. "We're just good friends ... er ... having an innocent roll in the hay". Looks demi-monde to me, girls.

Women War Artists

Olive Mudie-Cooke - In an Ambulance: A VAD lighting a cigarette for a patient (ca 1914-1918)This is what I like to see: good old-fashioned first aid. Believe it or not, prior to the 1960's when the link between smoking and lung cancer was established, the prime act of first aid was to stick a cigarette in the casualty's mouth and light it for him. If he coughed, he was alive. If not, he was dead. And here's the proof: Olive Mudie-Cooke's In an Ambulance: A VAD lighting a cigarette for a patient. This is one of the paintings in a most unusual exhibition which opens next Saturday at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester: Witness: Women War Artists. "This is the first UK exhibition for over 50 years to bring together the works and personal reflections of key female war artists, from the First World War to the Kosovo conflict in 2000" (title link). The exhibition continues until 19 April. For a BBC gallery CLICK.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Little Dancer Update

Edgar Degas - The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans)Edgar Degas' famous sculpture Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years), which was cast in bronze after his death (CLICK) fetched a record £13.3m ($19.2m) at Sotheby's London auction yesterday. I notice BBC News (title link) studiously avoids giving a correct translation into English of the French title, which makes a point of the dancer's age. Auntie merely refers to her as "little" or "young", presumably because she regards the French title as too salacious! ("I say, Carruthers. we can't mention the gel's age like those bloody Froggies do. We'll upset the Aussie PM.")

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Kung Fu Winner

Kung Fu Panda (2008)At the 36th Annie Awards, held in Los Angeles, Kung Fu Panda won the best animated feature. Wallace and Gromit's latest escapade, A Matter of Loaf and Death, won best short animation. Their creator, Nick Park, won a lifetime achievement award. Wall-E, a strong contender with nominations in 8 categories, trundled off without an award. From the clips I've seen, I prefer it to Kung Fu Panda, which has the usual cornball American humour. I've seen too much of that and it's becoming tiresome. We'll see what the Oscars bring.

Tate Triennial

Altermodern Logo (2009)Altermodern, the fourth Tate Triennial which I lambasted a month ago (CLICK), opened at Tate Britain today in a snowbound London. Believe it or not, it has a manifesto. When art needs a manifesto to kid you how wonderful it is, you know it must be tripe. Even the logo is unreadable arty-farty rubbish. And they expect mugs to pay to see this show!

Coxsoft Art Buys PC!

I.C. - Newsflash (2007)Coxsoft Art has ordered a new PC! Gasp! Regular readers will know I'm running Windows 98 SE on a PC built in the days of Windows 95 (it thinks Windows 98 is a Mac!) and I've been dithering over a replacement for more than a year. Wall-to-wall laptops in my local stores and Microsoft's white elephant Vista® on everything bar little electronic notepads have been putting me off. Prices too. But Dell® finally made me an offer I couldn't refuse: a "downgrade" to XP Professional® for £40. As the PC was reduced by £70 and delivery charges of £20 were waived, it's a good deal. Of course they have to give you Vista Business® on CD as part of the deal, so you can "upgrade" when you feel ready. Haw, haw, haw. Fat chance. As well as having all the modern doodads - dual-core processor, USB ports and gigabytes of memory and storage (I doubled both for £20 each) - it has the other thing I needed: a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive! How else could I transfer important files from my Atari ST?

Omens Of Hafez

Iman Maleki: Omens Of Hafez (2003)I can't leave the subject of Islamic art without showing you this beautiful painting by Iman Maleki, whom I featured in 2006 (CLICK). Iman has bravely embraced the western tradition of art, yet expresses his Muslim faith in subtle ways. In 2005 he won both the William Bouguereau Award and the Chairman's Choice Award in the second International ARC Salon™ Competition with this painting: Omens Of Hafez (2003). Click the title link to visit Iman's website and view a much better graphic.

Monday, 2 February 2009

V&A Art Prize

Khosrow Hassanzadeh - Ya Ali Madad (2008)Rabbit's dip into Islamic art reminded me that London's V&A Museum recently announced a new £25,000 art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design: the biennial Jameel Prize (title link). If the name rings a bell, it's because Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel put up the dosh for the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which looked a bummer to me (CLICK). If Khosrow Hassanzadeh's Ya Ali Madad (2008) is anything to go by, the Jameel Prize has nothing to do with art and everything to do with propaganda. The title of the above tripe is a traditional invocation asking the Imam Ali for help. The "artist" certainly needs help of some kind.

Rabbit's Illusions 14

Rabbit - JzloRabbit's Illusions has gone all Islamic this month with The Light Calligraphy of Kaalam. While Kaalam's pictures are pretty, they do nothing for me except demonstrate the tyranny of Islam over art. Muslim artists are so scared of offending the high priests of Allah that many of them create nothing but calligraphy. It's safe. Painting anything else - especially the human body - risks having your head chopped off. So Islamic calligraphy is the art of fear. And what does it say? "Kill all infidels"? I won't risk posting messages I can't read. So here's one of Rabbit's own light paintings, borrowed from the same issue: Jzlo.

£50m Titian 'Secured'

Titian - Diana and Actaeon (ca 1559) detailTitian’s Diana and Actaeon has been "secured for the nation" (National Gallery). BBC News is so excited about this news that it's posted links to the story everywhere, from London to Edinburgh, and the National Gallery emailed me a gloat this morning. The big question is: Did the nation want this overpriced and substandard work by a Venetian artist? The fat cats who control the purse strings thought so. The National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Monument Trust, The Art Fund and Scottish Government all put big helpings of other people's money into the pot. Isn't it time somebody told them the UK is in recession?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Purpose-driven Life Art

Front Cover of The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? by Rick Warren (2002)Here is the front cover of The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? written by Rick Warren (2002). The oak tree with exposed roots is a scraperboard by Michael Halbert. In fact two scraperboards: one showed the tree, the other the roots. Michael combined them to fit the author's concept and, unusually, sold the rights to the combined work so that it could be used in spinoffs planned by the author. The book spent 238 weeks on USA TODAY's best-seller list and became the best selling non-fiction hardback in history. Click the title link to read Michael's account of this unusual and most successful commercial art project.