Tuesday, 30 June 2009

20p Worth £50

Matthew Dent for Royal Mint - All Change 20p coins (2008)Matthew Dent designed the new set of coins for the Royal Mint, called All Change for 2009. (Get the pun? Groan.) They're now in circulation and a whoopsie has been spotted: a batch of 20p coins - between 50,000 and 200,000 - have been minted without a date. The date on the new coins has been moved from the tail to the head and, somewhere along the line at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, an old dateless head on the 20p was given a new dateless tail. Coin collectors reckon they could be worth up to £50, depending on how many were minted and are found (title link). So, start checking new 20p's. Update: one sold on eBay for £5,800!

Monday, 29 June 2009

E-fit Released

E-fit of Serial RapistThe police have released this e-fit of a serial attacker who has raped two women and murdered a third, all in east London. The victims' ages were 35, 46 and 59. So it's safe to assume he has mother issues. (Research among convicted rapists found that half of them had been sexually abused by their mothers when they were boys.) "The suspect is described as of Asian appearance, with dark skin and aged between 30 and 45." That description covers a hefty percentage of the population of east London. Anyway, I thought you'd prefer to see this piece of work than the latest load of tosh at Tate Britain. No? Have it your own way: CLICK.

Artist Flees Turkey

The Evidence, Me Lud (with apologies to Michael Dickinson)It's eight months since I reported that British artist Michael Dickinson had been acquitted of the serious charge of insulting the Turkish Prime Minister (CLICK). A week ago the acquittal was quashed and a new case against Dickinson is pending. He fled back to England, but could be deported if found guilty. The trial is expected to go ahead in absentia with Michael being represented by his lawyer. And Turkey thinks it's fit to join the EU. No way! What the idiotic authorities in Turkey don't seem to realise is that every time Michael is persecuted by the legal process, we all publish his "insulting" collages of the Turkish PM! Yes, folks, for posting the above images I could get 10 years in a Turkish hellhole. Don't even think about visiting that backward country for your holidays. Click the title link for the history of this case on the Stuckism International website.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Conversation Piece

Reproduction of Greek Wrestlers (1st Century BC)I didn't preview The Conversation Piece: Scenes of Fashionable Life, an exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, because it's in Scotland and, as far as I know, I haven't any readers up there. Anyway, the show continues until 20 September (CLICK). My reason for bringing it up now is that art tutor Andrew MacKenzie is offering a Practical Art Course: Creating a Conversation Piece on 9 July, from 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost £35. I know I'm always moaning about prices, but this sounds like a bargain to me. You get to tour the exhibition, take part in a drawing workshop, eat a free lunch and paint your own conversation piece in the Palace gardens with art materials supplied. When you consider that private tutors in London are charging up to £50 an hour to get middle-class kids through their exams, £35 for a day's tuition with freebies is a snip. You must book in advance. Ring 0131 557 2500, email education@royalcollection.org.uk or click the title link for details. What does this have to do with the above reproduction of a 1st Century BC statue of Greek Wrestlers? Paintings by Johann Zoffany form the core of the exhibition, and this statue is in the background of his The Tribuna of the Uffizi (1772). See if you can spot it.

National Gallery Podcasts

The National Gallery Podcasts Logo If you're into those iPod thingies, you might be interested to learn that The National Gallery in London has become the first ever gallery to offer monthly podcasts for you to download. It's a new kind of magazine with news of exhibitions and events, exclusive interviews and special offers. There's also a 200-minute Be Inspired Tour of the gallery - a Pentimento application - which features 250 paintings from the collection. The whole thing is a cooperative venture between the gallery, Antenna Audio and Apple Inc. Click the title link to see what's on offer.

Wuthering Heights Sale

L.S. Lowry - Wuthering HeightsHere's an uncharacteristic painting by L.S. Lowry: Wuthering Heights. Yes, it's the village that inspired Emily Brontë’s romantic novel of the same name. The estimated value of the painting is up to £180,000. It's one of four Lowrys to go under the hammer on 1 July at Bonhams New Bond Street Sale of 20th Century British Art. Click the title link to lash out.

Ask The Art Fund

Lucy Skaer - Leonora (2006-2008) The Art Fund is a mixed blessing. On the one hand it helps to save masterpieces for the nation. On the other hand it wastes money on dire tosh such as this mixed-media installation thingy from Turner Prize nominee Lucy Skaer: Leonora (2006-2008) which cost £35,997, to which The Art Fund contributed £13,000. The parquet flooring is the best bit, and I assume that was supplied by the gallery. Now, for the first time, you can visit The Art Fund website and search its new database Art Saved, which lists all 860,000 works the charity has helped to buy for the nation since its inception in 1903 (title link). Sounds like a lifetime's work. I'll leave it up to you.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Medals of Dishonour

Unknown Artist - A Medal of DishonourWe think of medals as something awarded for bravery or distinguished service, but the British Museum in London has amassed a collection of medals which give their recipients the raspberry. Medals of Dishonour opened yesterday in Room 90 and continues until 27 September, admission free. This is the first exhibition of its kind, exploring 400 years of medals which denounce their targets. "Subjects range from the sombre and the bizarre to the scatological and the humorous...." Sounds like fun. Click the title link for more information.

Wallaby Crop Circles

I couldn't resist illustrating BBC News' story about stoned wallabies making crop circles in Tasmania (title link). Strewth, cobber; they're as high as kites!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Dragon's Den Art

Three Dragons with Guy Portelli (the one trying to look like an artist) 24/6/09BBC London News was at the VIP Cocktail Reception for Guy Portelli's Heart Throb: the golden age of the pop icon, which opens to the public tomorrow at the Mall Galleries in London (title link). Three of the Den's dragons were also there to explain why they backed Guy's project to the tune of £80,000. Lack of other lucrative investments and fun appear to have figured in their thinking. Even dragons need fun! Guy Portelli's sculptures took a back seat to the interviews, so I can't say much about them. His show is supplemented by works from the likes of Sir Peter Blake RA, Terry O’Neill, Albert Watson and Karl Ferris. Admission £2.50, concessions £1.50, ends 3 July. Er....

Milk Plus Correction

Milk Plus Exhibition Advertisement (2009)My apologies to the Fold Gallery in London. It is alive and well at 32 Fortesque Avenue, E8 3QB, where you can find Milk Plus, the first UK-based project curated by Chinese artist Mai-Lin Tan (correct title link). I chanced upon this exhibition on the FAD website (CLICK) which incorrectly linked to the closed Fold Gallery in Cumbria. One of the persons who contacted me about this mistake has visited Milk Plus and recommends it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Banksy Vandalised

Banksy - Stencilled Graffiti in Park Street, Bristol (2006)One of Banksy's most famous works in his home city of Bristol has been defaced with blue paint pellets fired from a paintball gun. I guess his new art exhibition in the City Museum and Art Gallery (CLICK) has caused someone to become jealous. And he's now a big earner in the lucrative art market, with movie stars buying his works and with criminals producing fakes. CLICK to see how this picture used to look in 2006.

Titian Tondo Triumph

Titian - Triumph of Love (c.1545)This tondo by Titian - Triumph of Love (c.1545) - has been acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, thanks to a donation by The Art Fund and the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. It's worth about £600,000. The National Gallery in London cleaned and restored it and has put it on display until 20 September, when it will go to the Ashmolean for permanent display from November. (I assume this photo was taken pre-clean. I've tweaked its brightness, contrast and gamma settings to brighten it.)

Eric Cantona Stolen!

Ed Chapman - Mosaic Portrait of Eric Cantona (2009)Ed Chapman's mosaic portrait of footballer Eric Cantona (2009), worth about £2,000, was stolen in a smash-and-grab raid on the Troubadour Gallery in Chorlton-cum-Hardy early on Sunday 14 June. The Chorley Citizen published this item on Friday 19 June (CLICK). By the wonders of modern technology, the story reached BBC News yesterday 22 June (title link), but without a graphic of the stolen work. So here it is. If you see this mosaic in a car boot sale, telephone Greater Manchester Police on 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. There might be a reward.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Milk Plus

Milk Plus Exhibition Advertisement (2009)For those of you getting excited about the Milk Plus exhibition, which featured the work of six artists from across China and the UK, I have some bad news. According to the Fold Gallery website (title link) the gallery has folded. Another victim of the recession, I guess. Amusing advert too: Milk Plus containing the "Special 'Don't Worry' Chemical". Satire already.

Radical Nature

Tomas Saraceno - Flying Garden (2006) installation detail, Sudeley CastleHere's something you might want to take the kiddies to over the summer holidays. On the other hand, you might not. It depends whether you think installation thingies and a stuffed wolf qualify as art and/or kiddie entertainment. Radical Nature – Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009 opened at the Barbican Art Gallery in London on Friday and continues until 18 October. The graphic shows Tomas Saraceno's Flying Garden (2006) first shown at Sudeley Castle. "Radical Nature draws on ideas that have emerged out of Land Art, environmental activism, experimental architecture and utopianism." If that quote doesn't put you off, nothing will, not even the admission price of £6.00. Looks naff to me, and I'm green.

BP Classified

Damien Hirst - Forms Without Life (1991)Unleashed today and running till 23 August, BP Exhibition: Classified: Contemporary Art at Tate Britain. Before you lose interest, let me tell you that entry is free. Still not tempted? Look at this fantastic shell collection by Moneybags Hirst: Forms Without Life (1991). It looks like a photo to illustrate a pre-feminist Woman's Own article from the 1950's: Ladies, How To Display Your Husband's Shell Collection. Oh forget it. Tate Britain is really going downhill. It's becoming an embarrassment.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

RA Schools Show

Eemyun Kang - HeadThe Royal Academy Schools Show opened on Wednesday and runs until 28 June. The RA offers the only three-year, full time postgraduate course in fine art in the UK. The show consists of the work of 18 of its final-year students. These artists should be la crème de la crème of young British art talent. Should be. The oil painting shown here is by Eemyun Kang. It's called Head. Head of person? Head of bat? Fancy U.S. naval toilet? This is the end result of 6 years' study! Trotters Independent Painters can do better than this, and they are untrained piglets (CLICK). What on earth are they teaching them at the RA? How to evade getting a proper job? Anyway, the show is free, so you might as well trot along to see the tripe.

Time Eater Two

John Taylor - The Time Eater (2008)John Taylor's The Time Eater, a novel clock which I reported on in September (CLICK), has been unveiled at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. BBC News has posted a video of it (title link), and this is a timepiece you must see moving to appreciate. Of course nobody except its inventor understands how to read it! Sounds par for the course for public art: a million quid and we can't tell the time by it. Oh well, at least it looks good, which is more than you can say for most public art.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mary Seacole Statue

Martin Jennings - Scale Model of Mary Seacole Statue (2009)Martin Jennings has won the commission to create a memorial statue of Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole, who became a heroine of the Crimean War. In a poll in 2004 she was voted the greatest Black Briton of all time. The graphic shows Martin's winning model. The finished statue will stand in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital in central London. It is hoped to complete the work by the end of 2010 or early 2011. Click the title link for more information.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum Interior with Kritios Boy (c.480 BC)BBC News has posted a slide show of the new Acropolis Museum, which opened to the public today (title link). The marble statue of a youth on the right is the famous Kritios Boy (c.480 BC) so named because it is attributed to Kritios. This statue is the earliest known example of contrapposto (counterpoise) a term which refers to the off-centre weight shift of a statue to produce a more natural and relaxed pose. (Praxitelles' Apollo Watching a Lizard is a fine example of contrapposto: CLICK). The Kritios Boy was unearthed in Athens in 1865. Despite its monumental appearance, it is less than 4 feet tall.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Jeff Koons in London

Jeff Koons - Acrobat (2003–09)The King of Kitsch, US sculptor Jeff Koons, will be in London for the opening of his first major exhibition in a public gallery in England. Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, including paintings as well as sculptures, opens at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens on 2 July and continues until 13 September (title link). This amusing example, Acrobat, was made from polychromed aluminium, galvanised steel, wood and straw. To coincide with the opening of his show, Jeff will be giving a talk in the Lecture Theatre of the V&A Museum, from 7pm to 8pm. Tickets cost £8 and must be booked through the V&A bookings office: 0207 942 2211.

UK Sculptors Ahoy!

Nigel Hall RA - The Hour of Dusk (2000)UK sculptors are invited to submit proposals for the inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture Prize 2010, a £45,000 commissioning prize for a work that celebrates the cultural heart of Spitalfields. Slab of beef, maybe? Curry? The bad news is that talented representational sculptors need not apply. Spitalfields wants "contemporary" stuff. Oh Gawd! One of the judges is Nigel Hall RA, who churns out elegant but meaningless geometric shapes, example shown The Hour of Dusk (2000). Why are so many fat cats prepared to put up money for contemporary tripe they wrongly think is avant-garde? This stuff was passé decades ago. The Royal Academy of Arts seems to be full of geriatrics stuck in a time warp. Oh, go on, click the title link for an entry form. £45,000 is up for grabs. Submit something abstract, old-fashioned, geometric, meaningless and boring and you might win.

Banksy Forgeries

Bansky - Kate MossJust to prove that Banksy has made it big, three men appeared in City of London Magistrates' Court yesterday, accused of forging Banksy screen prints. One of them is also accused of money laundering, which suggests they made a bob or two. This genuine Banksy of Kate Moss sold for £57,600 in 2006. Tempting. The trio are also accused of manufacturing and selling fake Vivienne Westwood clothing. They will appear before Southwark Crown Court on 18 August.

Wedgwood Wins

The Wedgwood Museum InteriorHere is something amazing: the art establishment and the public actually agree on something! Not only has The Wedgwood Museum won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries 2009, but also it won the People's Choice Award. Wow! It must be good. Click the title link to visit the museum's website.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

BP Portrait Winner

Peter Monkman - Changeling 2The winner of the BP Portrait Award 2009, worth £25,000 plus a £4,000 commission, is Peter Monkman for an oil painting of his 12-year-old daughter Anna: Changeling 2. Unusually, he portrayed the sitter against a starry night sky, which the judges thought gave it a certain "magic". Not my favourite, I'm afraid. You can view this portrait at the National Portrait Gallery from today, one of the exhibits in the BP Portrait Award exhibition which continues until 20 September, admission free.

Rolf's Tennis Champs

Rolf Harris - Montage of The Top 10 Wimbledon Champions (2009)In case you missed it on TV news, here's Rolf Harris's montage of the 10 greatest Wimbledon champions of all time. HSBC - the official banking partner to Wimbledon - asked a panel of great tennis players and other experts to choose the top 10 and commissioned Rolf Harris to paint the montage. I must admit that the only ones I recognize are Venus Williams, Pete Sampras, Billie Jean-King, Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. Sorry, Rolf. Click the title link to view a bigger graphic and to vote for your favourite.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Darwin and Cinema

Raquel Welsh, publicity photo for One Million Years B.C. (1966)Here's something else you can blame on Charles Darwin: Raquel Welsh wearing a ragged animal-skin bikini and sporting a bouffant hairstyle, poised to take on the dinosaurs in Don Chaffey's One Million Years B.C. (1966). Not even special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen could turn this tosh into interesting cinema. But get that title, which would have been virtual blasphemy before Darwin published his On The Origin of Species (1859). According to the religious establishment, the world was created some 2000 to 3000 BC! As I wrote in yesterday's post, Darwin and Art, "Darwin's influence on art was profound".

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Museum of Wildlife Art

Marcus Catesby - Der Americanische Buffel (The American Buffalo) 1735By a strange coincidence, yesterday I chanced upon this fanciful illustration of a bison while browsing ArtDaily news: Marcus Catesby's Der Americanische Buffel (The American Buffalo) from 1735. The artist seems to have been under the impression that the Great Plains were created by bison demolishing trees! The picture belongs to the McCloy Collection, selections from which are currently on show in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming, USA (title link). Now read the Darwin post below and ask: Why on earth don't we have a national museum of wildlife art in the UK?

Darwin and Art

Martin Johnson Heade - Cattleya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds (1871) National Gallery of Art, Washington DCToday, The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge opened a "landmark" exhibition: Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts (title link). I hope you're not becoming bored with all the Darwin celebrations this year to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth, because this show could be the best so far, created in association with the Yale Center for British Art. It explores the impact Darwin had on the 19th Century art world. BBC News has posted a video on the exhibition (CLICK). Switch on the captions and turn off the sound to silence the inappropriate music and trite feminist voiceovers by the curators. They fail to mention that naturalists in Darwin's day needed to be artists too, in order to illustrate their findings. They ignore the boon that Darwin's Theory of Evolution gave to cartoonists. And they totally ignore the impact that Darwin's concept of natural selection had on that pathetic would-be artist with the daft moustache: Adolf Hitler. The brutal notion of purifying the master race by culling degenerates was a perversion of Darwin's theories. From paintings of Stone Age humans to Nazi propaganda, Darwin's influence on art was profound. By limiting itself to the 19th Century, this exhibition doesn't tell the full story, but it's a start.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Ghost Forest

Stump of Fallen Tree in GhanaNo sooner have the first 615 "living statues" been selected to clutter the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square (CLICK) than we get the news that the square is booked for another half-baked non-art "art" project: a Ghost Forest for the week beginning 15 November (title link). Angela Palmer came up with the idea of surrounding Nelson's Column with the stumps of fallen trees from Ghana, with green laser beams shining upward at night. (Pilots beware!) Her motive for this display might be good - she wants to highlight deforestation -, but why waste resources transporting stumps all the way from Africa? Why not use British stumps? And why not use sawn stumps to highlight deforestation? Natural loss isn't the problem. Greedy, irresponsible logging is the problem. Angela hopes to have her stumps on show in Copenhagen for the UN conference on climate change in December. More wasted resources delivering them there! Saving trees isn't a fashion bandwagon. Trees are the planet's lungs. Without them, Earth is lost.

Morris Wallpaper

William Morris - Wallpaper Design: Fruit or Pomegranate (c.1862)The Art Fund contributed £30,000 to the V&A's purchase of two rare designs created and inscribed by William Morris, total cost £60,000. This graphic shows Morris's original design for Fruit wallpaper, sometimes called Pomegranate, painted by the artist around 1862. The second Morris design - both bought at a recent Bonhams auction - was for Poppy or Wreath wallpaper (c. 1880). These are historically important additions to the V&A's major collection of Morris's work. Click the title link for a bigger graphic and more information.

Pixie Lott

Pixie Lott plus Shoe (I.C. combined graphic 2009)How does a top photographer portray the latest teenage pop princess? As a glamour queen? A sex symbol? Or the girl next door? This photo of 18-year-old Pixie Lott from Essex, whose debut single just made No 1 in the pop charts, manages to convey the best of all three aspects. The skimpy outfit shows off her lovely limbs in an innocent way, unconsciously sexy, not raunchy. She certainly looks glamorous, but note the scruffy sneakers. They say "girl next door". The photographer and the entire image-projection team have pressed all the right buttons to make Pixie look appealing to as many people as possible. Brilliant. Can she sing? CLICK to find out. (Note: the video goes for the raunchy look and is a complete bummer. Nice arse; shame about the song.)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Art Gobbledygook

Smiley ProfessorOn Supplement's exhibition of new work by Luke McCreadie:

"The show consists of a diverse and divergent body of work produced in the last year. Although disparate in medium and approach McCreadie's work is linked through enigmatic visual and conceptual associations. The indexical nature of the presentation of the works allows for unexpected connections and links to be made and highlights the heterogeneous, and multifaceted nature of McCreadies' practice."

When I read a load of bull like this, I lose all interest in viewing the artist's work. The blurb tells me it must be tripe. The writer can't even get his one comma in the right place!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Mouth & Foot Painting

The Royal Parks: What's On In The Parks June - August 2009The June - August edition of What's On In The Parks reveals an interesting art event from Friday 31 July to Sunday 2 August: Mouth and Foot Painting In The Park (title link). It will be adjacent to the bandstand in Hyde Park, on the Serpentine Road near QEII Gate. Members of the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, CLICK) will be demonstrating their work as well as exhibiting their paintings. It's free and could be inspirational for arty kids bored with the summer holidays. For further details contact Julia Vockrodt: tel 0208 964 0260 or email julia@vp-pr.com.

Banksy's Gleaners

The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet (1857) and Bansky (2009)Here's Banksy's version of Jean-François Millet's The Gleaners (1857), one of the paintings in his exhibition Banksy v Bristol Museum (next post down or CLICK). Classic French style, classic Banksy visual deception adapted to the interior of an art gallery. Click the title link.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Banksy Is Back

Banksy has returned to his home city of Bristol for his first official indoor exhibition there since 2000. It's a big one with more than 100 of his artworks, 70 of them new pieces. There are slurping sausages, swimming fish fingers and some high-quality sculptures and paintings, all taken into the council-owned City Museum and Art Gallery in secret, but with the agreement of Museum Director Kate Brindley. Click the video for a taster of Banksy v Bristol Museum, which opens to the public tomorrow and continues until 31 August. It's free!

Pastel Society

Roger Dellar PS - Buses and Taxis by Charing Cross StationThe latest exhibition at London's Mall Galleries opened on Wednesday: Pastel Society. This example is Buses and Taxis by Charing Cross Station by Roger Dellar PS. Collector's note: at least two Pastel Society members are exhibiting oil paintings at the RA Summer Exhibition; their pastel paintings are a fraction of the cost of their oil paintings. Admission prices are also a lot cheaper than the RA: £2.50, concessions £1.50. The exhibition continues until 21 June (closes 3pm final day).

Baffled Britons

I.C. - Where is the Heart A, B, C or D? (2009)Research by a team at King's College London has found that Britons are baffled by anatomy. Less than 50% of more than 700 people who took the test - a respectable sample of the population - could correctly place the heart. And so much is waffled about this popular organ! I've animated a graphic by BioMed Central, so you can test yourself. Is the heart located at A, B, C or D? Click the title link to find the answer. If you fail this test, seek medical advice.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Fourth Plinth Go-ahead

A Fourth Plinth ApplicantWestminster City Council today granted planning permission for more than 2,400 pathetic twits to claim their one hour of fame by mounting the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. To call this nonsense "art" is a bald-faced lie. It is merely another aspect of human stupidity. The rumour that London Mayor Bouncy Boris will be riding a unicycle on the plinth is false. He doesn't want to make the Conservative Party look silly.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Design A Shelter

Chad Cornette - Ironwood (2000)Ever fancied designing a shelter? Now's your chance. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has teamed up with Google to launch the Design It: Shelter Competition (title link). Use Google Earth and Google SketchUp to create and submit a design for a virtual 3-D shelter anywhere on Earth. Bus shelter? Nuclear shelter? Mountain rescue shelter? Bird table shelter? Whatever. The competition opened two days ago on Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday and closes on 23 August. Two prizes - a Jury Prize and a People’s Prize - will be awarded on 21 October, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Madonna & Guy Sold!

Peter Howson - Madonna and Guy (2005) detailMcTear's Auctioneers in Glasgow has finally managed to flog Peter Howson's ghastly mess Madonna and Guy (2005), which failed to reach it's reserve price of £15,000 recently (CLICK, CLICK). The buyer, who paid more than £15,000 for it, wishes to remain anonymous. I don't blame him! Just in case you missed it, note the solid erection in the background, as subtle as a thick ear.

Robert Austin RA

Robert Austin RA - Woman of Scanno (1926) © the artist's estateIf you visit the Royal Academy of Arts in London for its J.W. Waterhouse exhibition (CLICK) you might as well take in a freebie as well: Robert Austin RA: Prints and Drawings (title link). This engraving, Woman of Scanno (1926), is one of the exhibits. You'll find it in the Tennant Room until 25 October. If you're burning to know more about Robert Austin RA, there's a free curator's talk on Tuesday 4 August at 3pm in the Tennant Room, no booking required.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

E3 Expo Roundup

In case you didn't view the Project Natal video I linked to on Sunday, here it is again. I wonder what the porn industry will do with motion sensors! Oh, stop being cynical, Coxsoft. Click the title link to view BBC News' video roundup of E3 Expo in Los Angeles. And be prepared to boggle at the artwork!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Lewis Hamilton in Oil

David Macaluso - Lewis Hamilton (2009)Here's a novel way of recycling your old engine oil. New York artist David Macaluso painted this portrait of Lewis Hamilton, using Mobil 1 oil from the Formula One champion's winning McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 engine. And a nice job too: crisp, clean and recognizable. Mobil 1 is giving away a limited edition of 50 prints of this painting to promote National Oil Check Week, which starts Monday 15 June. A worthy cause. It could save your engine. Click the title link to find out how to enter the competition.

RA Summer Twaddle

Cy Twombly - The Rose III (1928)BBC News has posted some pictures from the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, which opened to the public today. True to form, Auntie has selected the works of five Big Names, rather than choosing works for their artistic merit (title link). And what is Cy Twombly's twaddle The Rose III (1928) doing in a contemporary art show? It's passé, if not antiquated.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Project Natal

Project Natal - MiloI can't help wondering who categorizes items on BBC News. Take that junk-fest the Venice Biennale, which opened to the public today. Auntie puts this news under "Arts and Culture" (CLICK). A video demo of the far more artistic Project Natal, starring an interactive animation of an eight-year-old boy named Milo, is placed under "Technology" (it's for the Xbox 360). Click the title link to see Lionhead Studios' Peter Molyneux showing off Milo's amazing capabilities. This is New Culture, New Art. It leaves the Venice Biennale far behind and Auntie scratching her head.

Waterhouse at RA

Detail of RA Banner - J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-RaphaeliteNot all is lost at the Royal Academy of Arts. Last December I reported on an exhibition in the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands, and wondered whether it would be coming to London (CLICK). Yes! J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite opens in the RA's Sackler Wing of Galleries on Saturday 27 June. The adult ticket costs £10.50. Stiff price, but this is a one-off chance to see a major retrospective of one of the world's finest artists, not to be missed. Can anyone lend me a disabled relative in a wheel chair? (The disabled get in for £9; carers get in for free.) I'm not changing nappies at any price, so the incontinent need not apply! Click the title link to learn more and to book tickets.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

RA Summer Exhibition

Interior, RA Summer ExhibitionAnother show which opens on Monday 8 June is the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition, now in its 241st year. This is the largest open-submission contemporary art exhibition in the world. Brenda Emmanus previewed the show for BBC London News earlier in the week and managed to find the most appalling tosh at which to poke the camera. Maybe it's her editor who's to blame. Whatever the cause, the BBC managed to make the show seem a waste of space. Surely not all of the roughly 1000 works selected out of 10,000 submissions are that bad. It will cost you £8.50 to find out. And you don't even get comfortable chairs to sit on, judging by this photo!

Corot to Monet

Richard Parkes Bonington - La Ferté: estuaire dans le Nord de la France (c.1825)On Wednesday 8 July The National Gallery in London opens Corot to Monet, an exhibition which charts the development of French open-air landscape painting in the 19th Century up to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 (title link). The influence of the Barbizon School of "plein air" painters is featured. This impressionistic painting is by English artist Richard Parkes Bonington: La Ferté: estuaire dans le Nord de la France (c.1825). The exhibition looks interesting, and you can't quibble about the price of admission: free.

Michelangelo Christ?

Christ on the Cross attributed to MichelangeloAccording to Duncan Kennedy, BBC News (title link), debate has raged for months in Italy's art world over this 40 cm-high wooden statue of Christ on the Cross, attributed to Michelangelo, for which the Italian government lashed out $4.5m (£2.8m). It was bought on the strength of expert opinion that Michelangelo had sculpted it; but, since the purchase, other art experts have given it the raspberry. The Audit Court of Rome has now launched an official inquiry to try to establish whether the government was fleeced. The Ministry of Culture is "shocked" by this move. Good. It's high time elitist art establishments were challenged on their money-wasting assertions as to the value of works of art. I can see nothing of Michelangelo's emphasis on musculature in this statue, nor his playfulness with perspective. It's a competent crucifix which has lost its cross. There were many Renaissance craftsmen who could have executed this piece. Without proof, any attribution to Michelangelo is wishful thinking.

Friday, 5 June 2009

New William Morris Plan

The William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, WalthamstowAs regular readers will know, Coxsoft Art has been part of the two-year campaign to save the William Morris Gallery from the depredations of Waltham Forest Council. The latest news is that an enterprising group of local residents has formed the William Morris Independent Trust Group with the aim of running the Gallery as an independent trust. You are invited to a public meeting to discuss this proposal - The William Morris Gallery: a Plan for the Future - on Wednesday 10 June at 7:45pm in Harmony Hall, Truro Road, Walthamstow. Click the title link for more information. If this is all new to you, type "William Morris" in my search box for its history.