Monday, 31 May 2010

Romualdo Locatelli

Here's an artist whose work I haven't come across before: Romualdo Locatelli (1905 - 1943). This dusky beauty, Young Balinese Girl with Hibiscus, sold for US$773,000 (£531,849) at a recent Christie's Hong Kong sale of Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, a record price for the artist.

Friends & Foes

To mark the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio's death in July 1610, Whitfield Fine Art in London has opened a major exhibition of paintings by his contemporaries: Caravaggio’s Friends & Foes. This masterly depiction of Saint Sebastian is by his friend Louis Finson. Twenty-six paintings are on display, including works by Prospero Orsi, Gentileschi, Lo Spadarino, Jusepe de Ribera, Pietro Paolini, Bartolomeo Cavarozzi, Angelo Caroselli, Tommaso Salini, Giovanni Baglione, Antiveduto Gramatica and Cavalier d’Arpino. The exhibition continues until 23 July and looks well worth a visit. Click the title link for details.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

What's On

This is the silliest "art" picture I've come across all week and I thought I'd share it with you. It's Bruce Nauman's Five Marching Men (1985) currently installed in the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof (CLICK). For those of you looking for something to do in London on May bank holiday Monday, don't click the title link! It takes you to the BBC's choice of things to do. With the exception of the new Galleries of Modern London in the Museum of London - free - they are wildly overpriced, which makes me wonder if the BBC isn't being paid to advertise them. Instead, visit your favourite art gallery or museum online and look for the most interesting freebies. There are lots. You might also care to take a stroll round the old metropolis spotting elles in Elephant Parade London 2010 (CLICK for a map).

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bronze Treasures

Today The Wallace Collection in London opened the first major exhibition of bronze sculptures in Britain for over thirty years: Beauty and Power: Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Peter Marino Collection. Above are three of the sculptures on display. Admission is free. What are you waiting for? This is a must. Click the title link for details.

Friday, 28 May 2010

ID Cards Scrapped

Yesterday newbie Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the National Identity Card scheme will be abolished within 100 days, when the 15,000 cards already issued at £30 a throw will become invalid. She said "We didn't believe ID cards would work". Homer Simpson, alias Elizabeth Henderson, commented "Aw shucks; they worked for me!"

Monday, 24 May 2010

Ship In A Bottle 2

The statue of RAF hero Sir Keith Park was removed from the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square a few weeks ago (CLICK). Today Mayor Bouncy Boris unveiled its replacement, Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, which Bouncy described as "stunning". It might be if it fell off the plinth and landed on somebody's head. Apart from that eventuality, what's stunning about a boring old ship in a bottle? These things went out of fashion years ago.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Wildlife Artist 2010

On Monday 24 May the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2010 & Three Generations Exhibition opens at the Mall Galleries in London and continues until Saturday 29 May, admission free. This magnificent painting of African wildlife Stormy Skies by David Shepherd CBE FRSA gives you a taste of what to expect. Three generations of the Shepherd family will be exhibiting plus the best artists who entered the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2010 competition. All profits support David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation projects.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Paris Heist

Okay, folks, it's car boot sale time again. Watch out for the above examples of early 20th Century tripe nicked from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris last night. Thumbnails from left to right:
La femme a l'eventail by Amedeo Modigliani
Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso
La pastorale by Henri Matisse
L'olivier pres de l'Estaque by Georges Braque
Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger.
The haul is estimated to be worth around 500m of those euro thingies (£431m; $618m). To see larger graphics COPY each title and artist's name above (the complete line) and PASTE them into Google image search.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Domenichino Saved

This Baroque masterpiece Domenichino's Saint John the Evangelist (1620s) has gone on display at the National Gallery in London. Bought by a foreign buyer in December 2009, its export was blocked to allow time to raise £9.2m to keep it in the UK. An anonymous buyer came up with the readies and will allow the painting to be regularly displayed here. Well worth a gander.

The Wright Bus

Yesterday London Mayor Bouncy Boris unveiled the "new Routemaster" double-decker bus, handsomely designed by UK family firm the Wright Group. It certainly looks the bees knees, but at £8m a bus can Londoners afford it? And will members of the public enjoy falling of it as much as they did the old Routemaster? Oh, those were the days. Hop off, hit the ground running and hope for the best. Wheeeeeeee splat! Health and safety? What health and safety?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Nude Vogue

Today BBC News reported on the the birth of Claudia Schiffer's third child. The delivery took place in London's Portland Hospital on Friday afternoon. One assumes that Dad - British film director Matthew Vaughn - is chuffed. As BBC News was too coy to show more than an angled shot of the June cover of the German edition of Vogue magazine, which shows Claudia in the nuddy demonstrating how good a 39-year-old can look when heavily pregnant, I thought I'd post it here. There's more art in this photo than in Tate Passé. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Vaughn.

Tate Passé is 10

Tate Modern or, as I prefer to call it, Tate Passé celebrated its 10th birthday recently, and BBC News has posted Ten years of Turbine Hall (title link) as a birthday tribute. Passé's policy of deluding the proletariat into believing that fairground attractions are Art has turned it into one of London's top tourist attractions. Oh well ... each to his own.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Portrait Painters

The annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters opened last Thursday at the Mall Galleries in London and continues until 21 May. One of the exhibitors is the young Bulldog Bursary winner David Caldwell. Awards include the £10,000 Ondaatje Prize and the £3,000 De Laszlo Foundation Award. It's a brave artist who paints a portrait of an entire family. The Hayes Family by Toby Wiggins RP is an excellent painting not only of a family, but also of bygone days before idiot boxes and computers. Admission is £2.50, silver surfers £1.50 Coinciding with this exhibition is a debate on representations of childhood on Thursday 13 May at 6.30pm, admission £7, ss £5. Telephone 020 7930 6844 to find out more and book tickets.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Pop Art's Comeback

Just when you think Pop Art is dead and buried, someone resurrects it. This example is Middletown by Brit. artist Stuart Semple. You can find his latest collection, The Happy House, at the Morton Metropolis Gallery in London until 28 May, admission free. Celebrities with more money than artistic sensitivity are queuing up to buy his stuff at vastly inflated prices. Oh well.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Elephant Parade

Bang on schedule, the invasion of London by a herd of baby Indian elephants has begun. Artists have been ... er ... beavering away at these fibreglass jumbos for the past year (CLICK). There are at least 158 elles popping up at London landmarks, including Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Buckingham Palace. Elephant Parade London 2010 is organised by the charity Elephant Family, which hopes to raise £2m to help protect endangered Asian elephants (title link). The fibreglass jumbos will be auctioned on 30 June.

Turner Tosh

The Turner Prize may be dead, but the Brit. Anti-art Establishment refuses to allow it to be cremated. The shortlist has been announced yet again - yawn - and Dexter Dalwood, Angela de la Cruz, Susan Philipsz and The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun) are the laughing stock for 2010. Above left is Dexter Dalwood's Greenham Common (2008) the best of a bad deal. The worst must be Susan Philipsz, who replays recordings of herself singing songs over public address systems. It's headbanging stuff!

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Art of Maps

If you're into cartography, there are two new exhibitions in London to attract your interest. Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art opened at the British Library on Friday and continues until 19 September (title link). Creative Compass opens at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington, on 6 May and runs until 2 July. "Artists Agnes Poitevin-Navarre and Susan Stockwell use maps and mapping to explore a range of issues such as globalisation and identity." Oh yeah? Looks like lousy dressmaking to me. It's funded by Arts Council England (groan and CLICK). Admission to both exhibitions is free.

Scraperboard Videos

I first introduced you to the wonderful scraperboard art of Michael Halbert in November 2006. I also included a brief history of scraperboard in that post (CLICK). This 3-frame animated GIF of Cleopatra wearing a headset was created for US telecommunications firm Southwestern Bell as part of a TV commercial aimed at a young audience (CLICK to see how it was done). Michael's latest innovation is to create YouTube video tutorials showing his recent projects. Many hours of painstaking work are condensed into minutes. Click the title link and take your pick from the top four tutorials.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

SA Landscape

Typical May bank holiday weather: rain and Arctic winds. Cheer yourself up by viewing a delightful audio slideshow produced by Paul Kerley and Tom Feilden (title link). It shows the new South Africa Landscape which has sprouted in front of The British Museum, London, thanks to some nifty trowel-work by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. This new display of colourful plants and trees from South Africa’s Cape region is open until 10 October, admission free. Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of Kew Gardens, is your guide.