Thursday, 30 September 2010

Canaletto & His Rivals

The next major exhibition at The National Gallery in London is Venice: Canaletto And His Rivals, which opens on 13 October and runs until 16 January 2011. About 50 important loans from public and private collections across Europe and North America have been brought together for the first exhibition of its kind to be organised in the UK. Next to each painting by Canaletto will be a painting by one of his rivals: Luca Carlevarijs, Michele Marieschi, Bernardo Bellotto, Francesco Guardi and others. Above is Canaletto's The Entrance to the Grand Canal, looking East, with Santa Maria della Salute (1744), one of 4 paintings on loan from The Royal Collection. The bad news is the admission charges: £12.00 or £11.00 for silver surfers. However, if silver surfers visit on Tuesday from 2.30pm, entrance is only £6.

Brueghel Appeal

This time it's Brueghel The Younger in the news. The Art Fund and National Trust have launched a campaign to raise £2.7m to save The Procession To Calvary (1602) for the nation. The painting will be displayed in The National Gallery in London from 5 October until 9 November. BBC News has posted a slide show of details from this monumental work of art (title link).

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bamforth & Kapoor

I couldn't resist putting these two images together. On the left you have a saucy postcard by Bamforth & Co with the speech bubble IT MUST BE A RECORD! On the right is Anish Kapoor in Kensington Gardens admiring himself in his installation C-Curve 2007, one of four works celebrating the Serpentine Gallery's 40th anniversary. Ian Wallace, a businessman who now owns the rights to more than 50,000 cheeky Bamforth cartoons, has relaunched the brand to mark the 100th anniversary of Bamforth & Co. Its postcards sold in their millions and required no Government subsidy. If only we could say the same of Kapoor's facile tosh, which required no artistic imagination or dexterity. All he had to do was submit his orders to the manufacturer. Click the title link to see his four pointless installations. CLICK to see the Telegraph's slide show of Bamforth's classic smut. Then read my next post down.

Arts Cuts Protest

Here's the latest protest by so-called "artists" worried about losing their incomes as a result of Government funding cuts to the visual arts. This one is by Yinka Shonibare MBE, whose bottled ship is now in residence on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Stop Cutting (2010) squeals Yinka. Ignore him. Stop wasting taxpayers' money on dross that merely claims to be art. Let daft businessmen fund the Brit. Anti-art Movement.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Big Draw

The Campaign for Drawing has organised hundreds of events across the UK for The Big Draw from 1 to 31 October. Venues range from national museums and castles to village halls. Click the title link to find out if there's an event near you.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Vettriano in London

Here's a treat for Londoners: Days of Wine & Roses, the latest exhibition by Britain's most popular artist Jack Vettriano. It opens at the new Heartbreak gallery at 17 Bulstrode Street on 30 September and runs until 31 October. The new paintings on display were inspired by recent visits to Milan and the French Riviera. Sunshine And Champagne II (above) was commissioned by the Monaco Yacht Club. BBC Breakfast interviewed him today and the video has been posted online (title link). To visit his website CLICK.

William Morris: Grant

Regular readers will know that I've supported the campaign to save the William Morris Gallery, which from 1848 to 1856 was the east London home of the father of the Arts And Crafts Movement: William Morris. Three years ago it was faced with closure, because Waltham Forest Council decided it could no longer afford to run what some crass councillors regarded as a luxury. The public outcry was so intense that councillors were forced to rethink their plans. Today comes the great news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to pay £1.5m toward the William Morris Gallery Development Project (CLICK). This project is supported by a more enlightened Waltham Forest Council and by The Friends of the William Morris Gallery (Registered Charity No. 800513, CLICK). To read my posts on the saga of the proposed closure and protests, type "William Morris Gallery" into my search box and scroll to the bottom.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

'New' Bruegel 2

Here's a tweaked version of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's newly discovered The Wine of Saint Martin’s Day (1565-1568), a poor photo of which I posted on Friday (scroll down or CLICK). I've raised the brightness, contrast and gamma settings to improve the clarity. The painting still needs much restoration work. Click the title link to view a larger, untweaked image. Below is a detail from the painting showing a young monk or friar running to grab his share of wine, while a ragged peasant drinks from his own bowl.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Strawberry Hill

Johann Heinrich Müntz's painting of Strawberry Hill shows Horace Walpole's Gothic castle in its heyday. Walpole collaborated with architect Robert Adam to create a revival in Gothic architecture. Its library was the first Gothic Revival library in the world. By 2004 Strawberry Hill had fallen into such extreme disrepair that it was listed by World Monuments Fund as one of the world's 100 most endangered heritage sites. Its two-year restoration cost £9 million, money well spent to bring this gem back to its former glory. (Click the title link to see a Telegraph slide show.) The house is due to be reopened to the public on 2 October. The bad news is the cost of admission: £8 or £7. Pre-booking is essential: call 020 8744 3124.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Ever since serious art was invented some sort of subsidy has been required to protect it from the market," said Sir Christopher Frayling - the former head of Arts Council England - speaking in the debate Public Art, Private Money at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London (title link). Serous art? Does he mean that inartistic tosh which has most of us crying "Rubbish!" and BBC newsreaders smirking? As it's taxpayers money being squandered on this "serious" tripe, the sooner the cuts the better.

Best Fantasy Artist

Our old friend Les Edwards got pipped at the post in the British Fantasy Society Awards 2010 (title link). Vincent Chong won the Best Artist award for his work including covers for The Witnesses Are Gone (shown) and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20. To see my previous posts on Les Edwards, type his name into my Blogger search box. CLICK to visit his website. For anyone who reads fantasy and science-fiction, those books which win one of the Society's awards are worth seeking in your local library. (N.B. Government cuts: use it or lose it.)

Bruegel Discovered

The paintings known to have been signed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder have risen from 40 to 41, thanks to the work of picture restorers in the Prado museum, Madrid. Here is a poor photo of the newly discovered painting: The Wine of St Martin's Day (1565-1568) which depicts a crowd celebrating the first wine of the season. The Spanish culture minister, Angeles Gonzalez Sinde, is hoping to buy the painting for the Prado. Click the title link to read more.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Don't Panic!

Graffiti and street artists are coming in from the cold, according to a BBC London News item I saw today. (Something to do with London boroughs removing grafitti to spruce up the old Metropolis ahead of the 2012 Olympics.) Artists such as Banksy have contributed work to Don't Panic collections, which are to be found in hip venues. Tomorrow Wild Fantasies: A Decade Of Don't Panic Posters opens at the Stolenspace Gallery, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, and continues until 3 November (CLICK). Banky's Forgive Us Our Trespassing caused a stir when it appeared on London Underground.

Drawing Prize

I'm not sure what this embroidered tattoo on a "found image" (an old photo) - Tattoo Face by Julie Cockburn - has to do with drawing other than that it is one of the 70 works shortlisted for this years's Jerwood Drawing Prize. Nearly 3,000 entries were received, with sketchers, doodlers and at least one embroiderer hoping to grab the £6,000 first prize. The exhibition opens on 29 September at Jerwood Space in London and continues until 7 November. The winner will be announced on 28 September.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Monet In Paris

A major exhibition of paintings by Claude Monet opened at the Grand Palais on the Champs Elysées, Paris, today. The Telegraph has posted a slide show of 18 of Monet's paintings. Click the title link to view them. The painting above is Monet's Terrasse à Sainte-Adresse (1867).

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Mark's Reckless

I warned you that peddlers of tripe were threatening to create a new work of protest every week over Government's proposed cuts to art funding: Save Our Tripe (CLICK). Well, here's the first: Reckless (2010) by Mark Wallinger. Don't laugh. It's probably the best work he's ever produced. It's graphic and punchy, if dishonest.

Wallace & Gromit Stamps

As you may or may not know, Royal Mail alternates religious themes with secular themes on its Christmas stamps. After all the insane razzmatazz of the Pope's visit to the UK, thank Goodness for Wallace & Gromit. A sense of humour at last. The Oscar-winning lads are featured on this year's collection of Christmas stamps. They will be available from 2nd November. If you can post a first day cover from the Moon, you'll be quids in.

Monday, 20 September 2010

New Queen's Portrait

The National Portrait Gallery in London has unveiled a new portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, painted by Isobel Peachey, who won the BP Travel Award 2009 (CLICK). At 31, Isobel is the youngest woman to have painted an official portrait of the Queen. The work was commissioned by Cunard, whose latest luxury cruise liner will be named Queen Elizabeth at Southampton on 11 October. The painting will be on display in the ship's Grand Lobby, where the Queen will view it for the first time. There's confidence!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

More On Tapestries

BBC News Magazine has published Lisa Jardine's discerning history of the tapestries from the Sistine Chapel currently being shown at London's V&A Museum (title link). Lisa is one of the trustee's of the V&A and she knows her onions. She knows them so well that she doesn't need to resort to arty bull to try to impress her readers. What a refreshing change! Among the many juicy tit-bits I gleaned from her article is that Pope Leo X, who commissioned the tapestries, was the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, head of the Medici banking firm and ruler of the Florentine Republic. So Leo X learned at Daddy's knee how to use art as propaganda and to intimidate the opposition with ostentatious displays of wealth. As we all know, bankers know how to fleece the punters, and Leo X organised the sale of indulgences to reconstruct St Peter's Basilica. Another juicy tit-bit is that the Flemish firm which made these tapestries - the van der Moeyen firm in Brussels - would have been just as happy to secure commissions from Islam as from Christianity. They sent their chief designer Pieter Coeck van Aelst to the Court of the Ottoman Emperor, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). As Islam and Christianity were at war with each other at the time, this was rather like Saatchi and Saatchi offering to make commercials for the Labour Party as well as for the Tories! Pieter failed to secure a commission, but Sultan Suleiman showered him with gifts and he returned to Europe a rich man. (If you can't make it to the V&A, CLICK to view the Vatican tapestries and Raphael's cartoons.)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

To Pastures New

An exhibition of paintings by the Glasgow Boys has broken the box office record of Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery set in 1948 (title link for video). 105,000 people visited the exhibition. The good news for Londoners is that 90 of the 150 paintings in this popular exhibition will be coming to the Royal Academy of Arts on 30 October: Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 – 1900 (CLICK). The exhibition will run until 23 January 2011. The above oil painting by Sir James Guthrie LLD is To Pastures New (1883) which shows the style of French Realism these young Scottish artists chose to espouse. It is often wrongly referred to as The Goose Girl, a German fairy tale that has given rise to many paintings and illustrations. (Pauline McLean gets it wrong.)

Glass Art

Not all contemporary art is as dire as that which infests the Liverpool Biennial. Some of it is truly beautiful. If you enjoy artistic glass, you might well be interested in BLAST! 2010, which continues at the ZeST Gallery in London until 6th November. This eye-catching Container is an excellent example of blown glass by Bruce Marks. Admission is free and all the work shown is available to buy from ZeST with prices ranging from £10. Click the title link to view more contemporary glass.

Liverpool Biennial

If you require proof that contemporary art doesn't deserve Government funding, you need look no farther than the Liverpool Biennial, which has attracted almost 900 would-be artists from around the globe to parade self-indulgent junk before the populace. Take Do Ho Suh's Korean House (2010) wedged between two dilapidated warehouses. Culture clash or merely another instance of contemporary rubbish labelled "art installation"? Click the title link to read more about the appalling, self-indulgent tripe being dumped on Liverpool in the name of Art. It's head-banging stuff.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Satyajit Ray Ban

The Indian government has lifted its ban - imposed 40 years ago - on a documentary film made by one of world cinema's greatest directors: Satyajit Ray (1921 – 1992). The film Sikkim was commissioned by the Himalayan state's last ruler Palden Thondup Namgyal as a lure to tourists. There are two known copies of the film, one in the British Film Institute, the other in the US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, supplied by UK actor Sir Richard Attenborough in 2003 for preservation and restoration. I wonder if the Indian government knows there are still two copies! CLICK to read my previous post on Ray. CLICK to visit the Satyajit Ray website.

Spectrum Jesus

Members of the Brit. Anti-art Establishment have awarded Keith Coventry's pathetic daub Spectrum Jesus the £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize. And it has been bought by the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, which is currently exhibiting the shortlisted artists. Groan. The Turin Shroud is more artistic than this codswallop (CLICK). One can't help wondering if awarding the prize to Spectrum Jesus at this time was politically motivated by the Pope's visit to the UK. Coventry admits he isn't religious and that he chose the subject matter because it is "very unfashionable". Oh well, if you can't be original, at least be very unfashionable and get your timing right.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sir Keith's New Home

Les Johnson's bronze statue of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park which stood on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was unveiled at its permanent home in Waterloo Place yesterday, near New Zealand House (Sir Keith was a Kiwi). The new unveiling ceremony took place on the 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day, with a fitting flypast by a Hurricane and a Spitfire. Sir Keith's successful strategy for utilizing the limited RAF squadrons under his command was to have Hurricanes attack the Luftwaffe bombers and to have Spitfires protect the Hurricanes (CLICK for video). Sir Keith's family and 14 veterans of the battle attended the ceremony.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Holy Memorabilia

The banned advert (next post down) is tasteful, beautifully photographed and aesthetically pleasing. In short, it is art. Compare it with this tacky junk: a keyring Benedictaphone for recording the Pope's message (title link). BBC News Magazine quotes Stephen Bayley: "the proliferating papal kitsch is astonishing ... evidence of cynical and crass brand extension." And the prices! Would anyone in his or her right mind fork out £18 for an official papal visit T-shirt or £15 for a baseball cap bearing the message "Heart Speaks Unto Heart"? Despite all the criticisms currently being levelled against the Catholic Church, one that everyone has overlooked is its traditional role of ripping off the punters. In medieval times there must have been enough finger bones of Christ being flogged to build a Tyrannosaurus rex. As for bits of the cross on which Christ was crucified, a forest must have been cut down to supply them all. Holy memorabilia, Batman, what a way to make money!

Pregnant Nun Banned

An advertisement for Antonio Federici's ice cream which features a pregnant nun and the message "Immaculately Conceived" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the grounds that it might offend Catholics. But the BBC, which isn't supposed to advertise commercial products, has no qualms about reproducing the advert (title link). A spokeswoman for the UK-based ice cream company stated that it intends to defy the ban and is attempting to secure billboards along the planned route of the Pope's cavalcade around Westminster Cathedral. The state visit of "God's Rottweiler" to the UK is certainly stirring up opposition.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Natural Eye

SWLA: The Natural Eye opens at the Mall Galleries in London on 22 September and runs, hops and flies until 2 October. This is the 47th annual exhibition hosted by the Society of Wildlife Artists. All the paintings, sculptures and original prints are inspired by the natural world. If you like your brushstrokes thick and obvious and to hell with the subject matter, take a look at this House Sparrow by Esther Tyson SWLA. Admission is the usual £2.50 or £1.50 for silver surfers (title link for details).

Crosby Garrett Helmet

Will it or won't it be saved for the nation? The Crosby Garrett Helmet - named after the hamlet in Cumbria where it was found by a metal detecting enthusiast this spring - comes up for sale at Christie's auction house on 7 October, estimated value £300,000 ($463,800). The face of this helmet is virtually intact. It would have been worn in Roman cavalry displays known as hippika gymnasia. The Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, Cumbria, has launched a public appeal to raise funds to buy it. I was surprised to discover that this extremely rare object wasn't designated as treasure trove under The Treasure Act 1996. As far as the law is concerned, it is merely an unimportant piece of base metal: bronze! So the finder can sell it. Click the title link for a BBC video.

Monday, 13 September 2010

World War II Art

If you're not already bored by the plethora of programmes about the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and the Pope's visit, you might dip into BBC Two's Culture Show this evening at 7pm. It's showing a 1-hour special on The Art of World War Two. The Culture Show is an irritatingly trendy programme I usually avoid, but I'll give this special a try. The replica of a MKVb Supermarine Spitfire shown above has been sold ahead of its auction at The Goodwood Revival (CLICK). Hard cheese, if you wanted to bid for it.

Pelican & Phoenix

For one week only - from today to 19 September - these two portraits of Queen Elizabeth I are being shown together for the first time in 25 years at the National Portrait Gallery in London. They are both thought to have been painted by Nicholas Hilliard. Both are named after the jewels the queen is wearing: The Pelican and The Phoenix. They were both painted on wood, and recent scientific research shows that the wood came from the same oak tree. So they may well have been painted in the same studio. By Hilliard?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Lost Corot Update

Remember the unbelievable loss of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's Portrait of a Girl? I predicted that lawyers would have a field day with this one (CLICK). The latest news is that co-owner of the painting Thomas Doyle has been arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described Doyle's alleged fraud as "inartful". The FBI began investigating when investor Kristyn Trudgeon filed a lawsuit against the man who had lost the painting. Click the title link to view Doyle's prison mug shot (if you must) and to read more.

Lord Donates £25m

Conservative peer Lord Sainsbury has donated £25m toward a new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre for the British Museum in London (artist's impression shown). The total cost of the project will be £125m. Camden Council has already granted planning permission. So it should be full steam ahead. Click the title link to read more.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Wow! Factor

This is what I mean by the Wow! factor. Girl with an iPod (iDeath) is an oil painting with acrylic background on canvas by Czech artist Michal Ožibko. It won the Visitors' Choice prize at this year’s BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. As a point of interest arising from my previous blog on technical interaction and art, this is the first year visitors were able to vote on a touchscreen just outside the entrance. The BP Portrait Award continues until 19 September, admission free. Click the title link to see the runners up for Visitors' Choice.

Art News In Briefs

BBC World News has published an interesting video on how Americans are using new media to engage with the arts. A report from the National Endowment for the Arts shows that Americans who participate through electronic media are three times more likely to go to a gallery, theatre or concert than those who never go online (CLICK). Another BBC video reports on the controversy stirred up by Takashi Murakami's tasteless, gaudy, plastic, Manga-style junk being exhibited in the Palace of Versailles (CLICK). The Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture is the current exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London until 18 September, admission £2.50, silver surfers £1.50; there's also a debate on art funding (CLICK).

Save Our Tripe!

I see the usual suspects are moaning about the proposed Government funding cuts of 25% or 30% to the visual arts. Here you have Mark Wallinger, David Shrigley and Jeremy Deller kicking off the campaign with a dishonest placard that confuses the issue with education and freedom. Tripe peddlars Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Moneybags Hirst have added their cries to the campaign. I guess they're all scared of losing funding for the inartistic tosh they produce. They're threatening to take it in turns to produce a new artwork of protest every week until the axe falls. Ho, ho, ho. That should queer their pitch! As I wrote on Wednesday, popular art needs no Government funding, because its popularity makes it commercial (CLICK).

Friday, 10 September 2010

Wanted Thug

British Transport Police (BTS) have released a CCTV image of a man wanted for questioning in connection with four "deeply shocking and distressing" robberies on trains in Kent and south London (title link). The CCTV footage was taken at Strood Station shortly after the third violent robbery on 7 September. The image is overexposed and poorly focused, so I've enhanced it. This thug is violent and should not be approached. If you recognize him, dial 999.

Astronomy Winners

Today the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition opened at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London. This is a must-see exhibition for anyone interested in either astronomy or photography, and admission is free. Many of the images are gobsmacking, example this Deep Space Winner: Orion Deep Wide Field by Rogelio Bernal Andreo (USA). The overall winner was Tom Lowe (USA) for Blazing Bristlecone (title link). Paul Kerley has produced an excellent slideshow of winning entries for BBC News, with a discerning voiceover by one of the judges, who sought what Coxsoft Art is always seeking in an image: the Wow! factor. If you can spare 5 minutes, CLICK.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Poppies Update

Here is that empty frame which held Vincent Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers, also called Vase with Flowers, before the painting was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo (CLICK). Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered a 1m Egyptian pound ($175,300) reward for information leading to its recovery (CLICK). The latest news is that eleven culture officials from Egypt's government have been formally charged with negligence and harming state property. If convicted they could face three years in prison.

Poussin For Sale

Nicolas Poussin's painting Ordination is one of a set of seven works entitled The Sacraments bought by the 4th Duke of Rutland in 1785. Trustees of the stately home Belvoir Castle have put it up for auction to finance restoration of the castle and its estate. It goes under the hammer at Christie's in London on 7 December. Its estimated value is £15m to £20m ($23-31m), a piddling price when compared with the idiotic sums paid for Picasso's tripe at auction. Will the Culture Minister be slapping an export ban on this French treasure?

Moneybags' Plagiarism?

For years gullible folk regarded Moneybags Hirst as a leading innovator in the world of art, despite claims of plagiarism from less successful artists. Recently The Jackdaw published an article by Charles Thomson, co-founder of the Stuckists art group, accusing Moneybags of plagiarism: The Art Damien Hirst Stole (title link). The article includes pictures and dates to support the charge, such as the one I've posted here. A YouTube video of these graphics has now been released (CLICK). Moneybags' press officer has given the article the raspberry. What else would you expect? But the evidence is on show for all to see. Post your reply to London Art News, Moneybags. Just click on "comments".

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Art Is For Everyone

"Art is for everyone" asserts art critic Brian Sewell in the BBC's Daily Politics film Soapbox. He believes the Arts Council should be abolished and replaced with Dragons Den funding bids run directly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Why? Because 75% of the funds handed out by the Arts Council goes to rich institutions, such as the Royal Opera House, and the remaining 25% is spread very thinly among grass-roots arts projects. His contention is a great starting point for debate, but would small arts projects get a fairer crack of the whip if Government were to play Dragons Den? And does visual art require any Government funding at all? A fifth of adults in a recent survey said "No" (CLICK). I tend to agree with that fifth. If art is truly for everyone, it becomes commercial and doesn't require Government handouts. Dan Dare from The Eagle is a good example. In the visual arts, only elitist tripe which repels the general public needs Government funds.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

'Art' On The Tube

Here's a choice item for Londoners who struggled into work during today's strike by Underground workers over the proposed loss of 800 jobs. As part of a series of "artworks" commissioned for the Jubilee Line, Daria Martin surveyed 800 passengers at ten different Jubilee Line stations to discover their daydreams. Her purported aim was to "uncover their susceptibility to 'absorption' i.e. to getting wrapped up in their own inner world or their subjective perceptions" (title link). What a load of bull! Hey, Bouncy Boris, before your minions in Transport for London get rid of 800 useful jobs, why not ditch TfL's money-wasting Art On The Underground programme? How much does this inartistic nonsense cost?

Monday, 6 September 2010

MoCA London Setback

Arts Council England has rebuffed Charles Saatchi's plan to donate the Saatchi Gallery and its collection of junk to the nation. I can't believe ACE has such good taste. It finances all sorts of trendy tripe and is probably one of the main reasons why 66% of people in a recent survey agreed with Government's stance on cutting arts funding (CLICK). Why waste our money on crap? It's probably a technical issue, rather than a sudden rush of artistic acumen to ACE. Perhaps it didn't like the proposed name: MoCA London (Museum of Contemporary Art for London). Many people think Saatchi has been mocking genuine art for far too long.

Jerry Hall Sale

What a way to earn a living: making beautiful women look ugly! And what a contrast to the post below! (Don't try modelling in Iran, Jerry, not without a headscarf.) Lucian Freud's ghastly portrait of Jerry Hall is entitled Eight Months Gone (1997). I'll leave you to figure that one out. It goes under the hammer next month at Sotheby's in London. Yuk! To see just how lovely pregnant women can look in the nude CLICK, CLICK and for bump art CLICK.

Iranian Retaliation

A week ago I posted news that France's First Lady Carla Bruni had been branded a "prostitute" by Iranian gutter rag Kayhan for trying to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani from execution (CLICK). The latest news is that Sakineh has been sentenced to 99 lashes as a reprisal for The Times newspaper publishing a photo purportedly of her without a headscarf. The Times admitted the photo was of a different Iranian woman, but too late to avoid annoying the demonic Islamic brutes who run Iran. This will be the second time she has suffered 99 lashes while in prison. She is still under sentence of death. Click the title link to read The Guardian's history of this appalling case.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

BBC News Cockup

BBC News was even more confused about The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection than I thought. The news story on which I based last Thursday's post (title link) had vanished with a 404 message when I went back to check it. So I emailed BBC News to query its disappearance. Reply today: the item dates from 2003 and was republished in error! As soon as the mistake was spotted, the story was removed. No wonder I couldn't find this exhibition on the RA website!

Raphael Tapestries Here

The four Raphael tapestries I mentioned last August (CLICK) arrived yesterday at the V&A Museum in London. BBC News filmed the tapestries being unrolled and hung (title link). Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel opens on 8 September and runs until 17 October. Admission is free, but timed. You must book tickets in advance.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Lost Corot

I'm still puzzling over the unbelievable loss of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's Portrait of a Girl, which vanished after it was taken to a Manhattan hotel so that a potential buyer from London could appraise it. This part sounds more like an FBI sting than a genuine attempt at a sale, but it gets worse. After the London dealer declined the offer, art courier James Haggerty knocked back a few consoling drinks too many in the hotel bar before leaving. CCTV supposedly shows him carrying the painting out of the hotel. Why wasn't it wrapped to hide it? Despite being sozzled, Haggerty refused a taxi and drove himself home. When he arrived, the painting had vanished! He is now being sued in a New York court for the cost of the lost painting, estimated to be worth £840,000 ($1.3m). But the person suing him owns only a share of the painting! The lawyers will have a field day with this one.