Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wildlife Art at Mall

The next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London runs from 7 to 11 June: Wildlife Artist of the Year 2011 & Wildlife Art Exhibition. All profits from the sale of paintings will support David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation projects in the field. Above is Adam Binder's Sinking Feeling, a reminder of the plight of the polar bear due to global warming. If you're into wildlife art, this show is a must. No doubt David Shepherd will be exhibiting. Admission is free. Click the title link.

View of Matlock

This evocative landscape looks like a scene from foreign parts, but it is a View of Matlock, Derbyshire (c 1780) by William Marlow, showing Matlock Bath and the River Derwent flowing past the Old Bath Hotel. Not only is this a fine oil painting, but also it is of historic significance as it shows Matlock in the days when it was a famous spa-resort. Buxton Museum and Art Gallery managed to buy the work at a Sotheby’s auction with financial help: £6,666 from The Art Fund, another £6,666 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5,333 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. Click the title link for a larger graphic. CLICK for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bunker Busters

Cartoonists in Benghazi are having fun lampooning Colonel Gaddafi. This one shows a ring of hostages tied round his hat. I've combined it with a photo of one of the 2,000lb Enhanced Paveway III "bunker busting" bombs with which the RAF is being equipped to attack command and control centres in Libya (title link).

Riot in Jam Jar

The next exhibition at the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop in Clerkenwell, London, is A Riot in a Jam Jar. It features tiny sculptures in jam jars, showing real or imagined scenes of violent clashes between protesters, innocent bystanders and UK police. Above is a scene showing police kettling youngsters. All these sculptures, known as Small World Re-Enactments, have been made with incredible patience by anarchist rocker James Cauty. The show runs from Wednesday 1 June to 3 July (title link). Take a magnifying glass with you!
Update: CLICK for a Telegraph slide show.

Bug Fixed

I don't know if visitors to my blog experienced the same problems I did over the weekend, but I kept getting secure-connection warnings. The command line at the top of my blog also vanished, taking the search facility with it. By stint of a little mouse work on the blank space where the command line should have been, I discovered that Blogger had confused my blog with its own home page. Hence the security warning. Don't ask! I finally got through to Terminator 2 (Blogger Help) and the bug was fixed soon afterwards.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

FIFA Debacle

Would you buy a second-hand car from either of these men?
Today's meeting of FIFA's ethics committee provisionally suspended executive committee members Mohamed Bin Hammam (right) and Jack Warner, but found that FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left) had no case to answer! What about all those bribery and corruption scandals which happened on his watch? If he didn't know what was going on, he is totally incompetent. It's time FIFA's gravy train hit the buffers and a new engine built.

The Young Archer

Govaert Flinck's painting of A Young Archer (see posts below) reminded me of this combined graphic I made of the statue The Young Archer, which is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Velez Blanco Patio. It used to be named The Marble Boy when it stood in the Fifth Avenue mansion that houses the Cultural Services office of the French Embassy in New York. Then somebody attributed it to a teenage Michelangelo (title link). I'm not getting into that debate. As far as I know, statues made from marble cannot be carbon-dated to establish when they were carved.

A Young Archer

Here's a better graphic of Govaert Flinck's A Young Archer (ca 1640) than the one posted below. I've tweaked the gamma setting just enough to show that this painting is an oval in an oblong frame. It needs cleaning.

Wallace Collection

As it's Sunday, you might have some spare time to view The Wallace Collection's e-magazine What's On June - August 2011. If so, click the title link. I must admit I find e-mags a complete pain to read, and this one trips on the first hurdle: it doesn't give the names of the artist and painting on its front cover, taken from The Wallace Collection. So I searched the Internet for it and found an excellent page by art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon on his website (CLICK). The painting A Young Archer (ca 1640) is by Dutch artist Govaert Flinck. The sitter was probably a slave dressed up as a fearsome Nubian archer.

The latest e-mail from The Wallace Collection mentions an intriguing free, drop-in Family Public Tour on Saturday 11 June at 2.30pm. The guides for this tour will be young curators from St Vincent's Primary School. What better guides could there be to show youngsters around the Collection? I wonder if other art galleries and museums have taken note of this novel idea.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Finds up 36%

The British Museum reports that archaeological finds by the public in 2010 were 36% higher than in 2009 (CLICK). This massive increase is attributed to the new Portable Antiquities Scheme website. This includes a major database of archaeological finds which the public can explore to identify discovered items (title link). The PAS website has been shortlisted for the 2010 British Archaeological Awards (CLICK). The extremely rare Roman erotic knife handle (AD c.43-c.410) pictured here was found by David Barker in Syston, Lincolnshire, and has been acquired by The Collection, Lincoln. It shows two men and a woman, together with a severed head, doing something rude, but rather obscure!

Van Gogh Living Wall

If you've been in Trafalgar Square this past week, you might have wondered what was happening on the western facade of the National Gallery. There's been a lot of planting going on. It appears somebody has been overcome by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and has decided to bring Van Gogh's painting A Wheatfield with Cypresses to life as a "living wall". General Electric has forked out the readies to pay specialist horticulture and design company ANS to use over 8,000 plants of more than 26 different varieties to "paint" the picture. It will grow throughout the summer and autumn until the end of October. I suppose it's a way of appearing to be green, but CLICK for the National Gallery's real way.

Royal Fabergé

For six successive generations the British Royal Family has been amassing the world's finest collection of works by that great Russian jeweller and goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé. From 23 July to 3 October Buckingham Palace will be showing 100 of his works in a special exhibition: Royal Fabergé. The opening date marks the summer opening of Buckingham Palace. Shown is Mosaic Egg (1914) by Albert Holmström, one of the artists employed by Fabergé. This magnificent Easter egg is covered with pearls and jewels and was bought by King George V for Queen Mary. Click the title link for tickets and more information.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Landscapes at NG

The next exhibition at the National Gallery in London must be a contender for the Longest Title Award: Forests, Rocks, Torrents: Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection. It opens on 22 June in the Sunley Room and runs till 18 September, admission free. Above is a detail from Johan Christian Dahl's The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss (1827). Click the title link to find out more.

Football Matches

The news that L.S. Lowry's The Football Match (1949) fetched a record price of £5.6m at Christie's London auction made me check my files. There are at least two paintings by Lowry called The Football Match. The one on the right went under the hammer four years ago (CLICK). The more dramatic one on the left made the new record price for the artist at auction (title link).

Figure It Out

Yesterday saw the opening of the inaugural exhibition of the new Store Street Gallery in London's sunny Bloomsbury: Figure It Out (title link). The varied works of 20 artists are on display, including painting, drawing and sculpture. I particularly like the figurative paintings of Michael Lukasiewicz - Apprehension shown above - and Cherylene Dyer, whose Hidden is an unusual nude. The exhibition continues until 23 July. Well worth a visit.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sir Winston's Beach

Three names that are bound to get the BBC excited are Tracey Emin, L.S. Lowry and Sir Winston Churchill. So Auntie bounds to give us news that Sir Winston Churchill's The Beach at Walmer (1938) fetched £313,250 at Christie's London sale of 20th Century British and Irish Art. I'm more interested in what happened to Sir Edward John Poynter's Andromeda (1869) (CLICK).

Saatchi Show

If you're into colourful, here's one for you: David Bachelor's Brick Lane Remix (2003) made of shelving units and light boxes. Sculpture? Not in my book. This is one of the new displays by 20 "international artists" in the Saatchi Gallery's latest show: The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture (title link). It opens tomorrow and staggers along till 16 October. BBC News hails it as the Saatchi Gallery's first exhibition devoted entirely to three-dimensional works (CLICK). Isn't sculpture supposed to be 3D? I guess "3D" is the BBC's latest buzz word. Admission is free, so if you're passing and it's raining....

Weiwei's Salute

Despite his being in Chinese choky and the firm that produces his artworks - Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd - being under investigation for dodgy accounting, Ai Weiwei's thingies keep popping up all over the place. This marble sculpture politely but inaccurately entitled Marble Arm appeared in last weekend's ART HK 11 art fair in Hong Kong. I'm not sure whether the middle-finger salute is aimed at the Chinese government or at all those daft curators who are lining up to pay vast sums of money for his tosh.

BALTIC in London

A touring exhibition from the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art opened yesterday at the South London Gallery: George Shaw: The Sly and Unseen Day (title link). This is a solo exhibition showing Shaw's paintings of the last 15 years of his childhood home on the Tile Hill Estate in Coventry. They're painted from photographs using Humbrol model-making enamels. It's fair to assume this is the exhibition which gained Shaw a nomination for the Turner Prize 2011. I wasn't impressed by the painting shown in the shortlist, but the above work is better: Scenes from The Passion: The Cop Shop (1999-2000). What a title! At least this is representational art; the Stuckists can't grumble about that. The exhibition continues until 3 July.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Brazil Leads Destruction

You may not have noticed news of the murder of Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo, near the city of Maraba in Brazil (title link). Even if you did, you might not regard the crime as having much importance amid all the fighting and killing going on around the world. But Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva was a leading Brazilian conservationist. It is surely no coincidence that his murder took place shortly before Brazil's Chamber of Deputies voted to overhaul the Forest Code, easing restrictions on the amount of land farmers must preserve as forest and opening the way to more logging (CLICK). The above photo by Alberto Cesar for Greenpeace shows a small part of the damage already done to the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Recent satellite images show deforestation is getting worse (CLICK). Being green in Brazil is dangerous. Chico Mendes was murdered by ranchers in 1988, and nun Dorothy Stang from the USA was shot dead in 2005. The Cerrado savannah in Brazil is also being destroyed, so that soya can be grown in huge quantities. Feeling powerless? The WWF has organised an e-mail you can send to the major UK supermarkets asking them to buy only responsibly sourced soya (CLICK). It's worth trying.

Johnny Morant 2

It's almost exactly two years since I reported on Johnny Morant's first solo exhibition at The Tryon Galleries at 7 Bury Street, London (CLICK). He's back with his second solo show at Tryon (title link). Above is a panorama combining two of his paintings - Duke Street and Abandoned Bicycle - to show how he brilliantly captures fleeting light and reflections with oil paints. This is what Impressionism was supposed to be about. Johnny was recently awarded the Green & Stone Prize For Best Oil Painting at the Chelsea Art Society Annual Exhibition. He is now based in London and his latest paintings show both interiors and exteriors of the capital. Below is A Light Shower, Covent Garden, one of fifty of his paintings in the show. Johnny Morant - A Closer Look runs from 7 to 17 June. The current show at Tryon, which runs till 3 June, is also well worth visiting: Recent Acquisitions (CLICK). I noticed African Studies by Mandy Shepherd.

Chelsea Flower Show

Apart from the odd mermaid looking too much like tin foil for a gold medal, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 has produced some terrific designs. I always find this mixture of art, architecture and horticulture fascinating. It's a shame President Obama and Michelle missed VIP Day. The medals were handed out early on Tuesday morning. Click the title link for all the winners. You'll also find a photo of Anemone "Wild Swan", shown by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, which is the RHS Chelsea 2011 Plant of the Year. CLICK for a disappointing BBC audio slideshow by Paul Kerley, not one of his best.

Monday, 23 May 2011

China Art Boom

Although this painting of an eagle on a pine tree by Qi Baishi looks both traditional and ancient, it was painted in the 1940s for the then leader of China Chiang Kai-shek as a gift for his 60th birthday. It went under the hammer at auction house China Guardian in Beijing for 425.5m yuan (£40m, $65m), the second-highest price paid for a work of art at auction in China. The Chinese economy is now the second largest in the world and its fat cats are making fortunes. Money for art. The value of its art market has already knocked the UK into third place and at least one estimate reckons it has overtaken the USA art market.

Women Make Sculpture

Pangolin London is currently showing Women Make Sculpture, a title which hints that the female of the species isn't getting her fair crack of the whip when it comes to recognition of sculpting skills (apart from silly hats, of course). The exhibition asks: What can women offer sculpture? It answers its own question by displaying mainly modern junk. A painted Yellow sculpture looks like a discarded bra and a Mountain of ejaculations depicts a penis being fired like a gun: fair female comment, I suppose. Dorothy Cross's Finger Crab in sterling silver is the best I could find. And yes, it does strike me as showing a female perspective, although I'm still trying to figure out why! Male finger? Crabs? Er....

Silly Hat Sold

Here's the other news you've all be waiting for with bated breath: Princess Beatrice's silly hat has been sold to an anonymous bidder on eBay for £81,100 ($131,648). My guess is that a Palace adviser suggested the royal bimbo flog the hat for charity to counter its negative publicity. Did the ploy work? I wonder.


I'm losing track of all the BAFTA award evenings they keep organising. Any excuse for a booze up, I suppose. Anyway, here's the news you've all been waiting for: Wallace and Gromit won the New Media Award for Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention, production team Aardman Digital / BBC. Well done, lads; another BAFTA to add to your collection. Click the title link for the official list of winners and nominations for the 2011 Philips British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs).

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Judgement Day

In case you hadn't noticed, today is Judgement Day, and I'm not referring to English football. The cataclysm was supposed to happen around dinner time, according to evangelist fruitcake Harold Camping. The first major earthquake would see Jesus Christ return to earth to "rapture" true believers and take them up to Heaven. The rest of us would be dead by October. Whoops! True believers who didn't get enraptured are now convinced God is testing them (title link).

Call For Entries

This Call For Entries poster is self-explanatory, except for the small print. Click the title link for the Brighton Art Fair. CLICK for the Palace Art Fair in London. CLICK for Made 11. The Brighton Art Fair is the largest art exhibition on the South Coast. It takes about 130 exhibitors and can pick and choose out of the many applications it receives. So don't dither.

Chinese Trompe-l’œil

This painting of a lion leaping through a Chinese doorway, to the amusement of a visitor posing for her photo to be taken, is one of the eye-deceiving artworks in an exhibition of contemporary art in the Jilin province of China. The Mail calls it 4D art, which is rubbish; but whatever you call it, this exhibition is a hit with the punters (title link). The art isn't brilliant; nor is this sort of 3D illusion original - painters since Renaissance times have been tricking the eye with illusions -; but it is fun, which is more than can be said for old-fashioned British "contemporary" art (see below). For better examples of what the French call "trompe-l’œil", CLICK for Pere Borell del Caso, CLICK for Banksy, CLICK for Edgar Müller, CLICK for Julian Beever, CLICK for Kurt Weiner, CLICK for Eric Grohe. N.B. some old links have broken.

Hepworth Wakefield

The big art news story in the UK this weekend is the opening of yet another monstrous contemporary art gallery: The Hepworth Wakefield in west Yorkshire, named after British sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth who lived in the city until she was 18. Designed by Sir David Chipperfield, it cost £35m and is the biggest art gallery to be built in the UK since the Hayward on London's South Bank in 1968. Locals have described the exterior as a "concrete bunker". The above photo sums it up for me: a well-lit empty space with nothing much worth seeing inside it. The photo below shows some of the Hepworths in the gallery: elegant, feminine, but ultimately nothing more than a collection of barren holes. They are no longer contemporary. They are bygones from the last century's obsession with abstract forms. It was an artistic cul-de-sac. It's time to backtrack and move on.

I'll leave the last word to Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor. Click the title link for his two videos on The Hepworth Wakefield. "Some say that modern art galleries have partially taken on the role of churches by providing a place to congregate and contemplate. Maybe they are alike. After all, there are many who think that modern art also requires a leap of faith."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Weiwei & FAKE

The latest on the Weiwei saga is that Chinese news agency Xinhua has cited anonymous police officers claiming he has evaded a "huge amount" of taxes through a company he controls: Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. Its address 258 FAKE poetically sums up my view of Weiwei's purported art, but whether the "economic crimes" alleged against him are true or false remain to be proven. His sister denies he is in control of Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, whose manager and accountant were arrested around the time Weiwei was detained. The police claim accounting documents were destroyed (title link).

Pope Statue 'Sin'

This is Oliviero Rainaldi's horrible bronze statue of Pope John Paul II, which was unveiled in the Piazza dei Cinquecento, outside Rome's main railway station, a few days ago. Both the Vatican and the public have given this monstrosity the raspberry. The Vatican comments that the statue's open cloak - yes, that's what it's supposed to be - makes it look like a sentry box and uses the word "sin" to describe the lack of resemblance to the Pope. The head reminds many Romans of the hated Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. When a newspaper ran an online questionnaire to gauge public opinion, 90% of respondents disliked the statue. Pressure is mounting on the mayor to give it the bum's rush. Let's hope this Roman rebellion against bad contemporary art catches on.

Berliner Luft

The next exhibition at The Residence in the east end of London (229 Victoria Park Road, E9 7HD, to be precise) is Berliner Luft, which means "The air of Berlin" (title link). This is the work of two young German photographers, Benjamin Tafel and Dennis Ore, who take a fresh and unusual look at Berlin. That bearskin rug must be a Photoshop job, surely. No health & safety officer in his right mind would allow a bearskin rug in a public lounge. If those teeth caught your brogues, you'd come a prize purler. Pop along and ask. The exhibition opens on 4 June and ... er ... trips along until 26 June.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Lowry's Coronation St

L.S. Lowry's painting of the real Coronation Street (1957) in Salford comes up for sale in Christie's London auction of 20th Century British & Irish Art at King Street next Thursday 26 May. Lowry painted it only three years before Granada took the name for its interminable soap opera. Christie's estimates its value at between £300,000 and £500,000 ($484,500 and $807,500). There are at least 10 other Lowry works in the same sale, including The Football Match, valued at £3.5m to £4.5m.

L.A. Noire

Today sees the launch of Rockstar Games' latest video game L.A. Noire, which uses some fancy new tech kit called MotionScan. It's cost tens of millions of pounds and taken hundreds of people years to develop it. The system uses 32 HD cameras arranged like a birdcage around an actor to capture 3D images at 1,000 frames per second. Rockstar claims this makes characters' faces and emotions so lifelike that you can interrogate them as might a 1940s detective questioning a suspect. MotionScan will supposedly allow the video games industry to compete with movies and TV for realism. I have my doubts, but the artwork is excellent. CLICK for a slide show of screenshots from the game.

Nir Hod's Prodigies

A rather strange exhibition opened at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York yesterday: Genius. The title doesn't refer to the artist Nir Hod, but to the 48 purported prodigies whose portraits he has painted. My guess is that Hod was badly effected by seeing The Omen (1976) when younger. His demonic cherubs, many with smouldering rolled-up cigarettes in their small hands to symbolize their precocity, are a toffee-nosed tribe of Damiens. Maybe Hod just hates rich brats. Or the American "Mom". The portraits vary in quality. Salvador (2010) is one of the best. The show runs until 18 June. Click the title link to see more of Hod's portraits.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Olympic Flames

One of the drawbacks of living in Greater London is that BBC London News keeps inflicting daily Olympic reports on you. The last 2 days have been all about the torch relay: where it's going and how will the police protect it? How many of those getting excited about this torch-bearing nonsense realise that it was begun by the Nazis? Claire Heald has dipped into the murky past of the torch for BBC News Magazine (title link). The Nazis loved their intimidating torchlit processions. The first Olympic torch (shown) was designed by sculptor Walter Lemcke and manufactured by armaments giant Freidrich Krupp. The flame was lit in Olympia, using the rays of the sun intensified by a parabolic mirror. From Greece - the home of the first great Aryan civilization from the Nazi point of view - the torch was carried through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia, a symbolic rehearsal for invasion. It reached Berlin to light the giant Olympic flame in a stadium draped in swastikas. Only three years later, flame and fire began to sweep across Europe at Hitler's command. Blitzkrieg, death-camp incinerators, doodlebugs and V2 rockets. Why on earth did Britain rekindle the Nazi torch for the 1948 Summer Olympiad? And why are people still cheering it?


In case you haven't come across a homunculus before, here is one: a somatosensory homunculus, derived from the researches into brain activity of neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield (title link). From his cortical mapping came the above homunculus (Latin for "little man"), a representation of the varying degrees of sensitivity of our bodies. The hands, the face, the mouth, the lips and the tongue are shown as hugely important. Our manual dexterity is down to strong cortical connections. Even if you're ham-fisted, you were born to be a tool-maker and an artist, slavering over your berries and meat pie.

Egon Schiele

Today Richard Nagy’s new gallery on Old Bond Street opened Egon Schiele: Women, an exhibition of more than 45 of the Austrian artist's works which runs until 30 June (title link). You don't often get the chance to see Schiele's art in London, because his depictions of the fair sex are considered rather rude. Here is Woman with Homunculus (1910) as an example. I can tell you one thing about Schiele: he didn't have a clue what a sensory homunculus should look like. His is just a "little man".

Hide For Stirling?

The list of 97 contenders for the Royal Institute of British Architects' Stirling Prize 2011 has been announced and BBC Magazine has posted a slide show of a select handful (title link). This most unusual design caught my eye. Believe it or not, it's a bird hide for twitchers! The RSPB and Custom Made Wooden Buildings conceived of the hide cum reception centre to replace the old hide at RSPB's Nature Reserve at Titchwell in Norfolk. Hansom Ward Miller Architects created the award-winning design (CLICK) which puts it into contention for the Stirling Prize, to be announced on 1 October. The new hide was opened to the public in 2009, looking out on a fresh water lagoon on one side and a saltwater marsh on the other. It's aspect will have changed since this photo was shot, due to a living green roof of local wild plants.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Aardman's Pirates

What with this morning's post on pirates and Jumping Jack Sparrow popping up everywhere, I was reminded of a snippet of news that had slipped my mind. Aardman Animations is making The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. Hugh Grant will do the voiceover for the above Pirate Captain, whose ambition is to win the Pirate Of The Year Award. Aardman is producing this new stop-motion, 3D, animated film for Sony Pictures Animation, to be distributed by Columbia Pictures and released in the UK on 30 March 2012. If you want cutting-edge contemporary art, that cutlass looks the biz.

Ray Harryhausen

Remember these dragon's teeth skeletons in Jason And The Argonauts (1963) brought to cinematic life by the imaginative stop-motion special effects of Ray Harryhausen? These models are part of Ray's extensive collection of 20,000 models, armatures, moulds, miniatures, equipment, stills, negatives, sketches and concept drawings, all of which he has donated to the National Media Museum in Bradford (CLICK). What a treasure trove! This decision was made after Ray and his Foundation considered a number of other facilities and museums around the world (CLICK). BBC News has posted a slide show of some of these items (title link). Note Ray's superb concept drawings, better than movie clips.

Silly Hat Update

Bids on eBay for Princess Beatrice's silly hat, which she wore to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, have risen above £18,000 ($29,500). The proceeds of the auction will go to charities Unicef and Children in Crisis. Aw, that's nice. Even royal bimbos have hearts. I came across one blog which likened Philip Treacy's daft design to female reproductive organs. Fancy wearing those on your head! The auction ends on 22 May.


Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, me hearties. Pirates: The Captain Kidd Story opens at Museum of London Docklands on 20 May and breezes along over the school summer holidays until 30 October. Avast, captain mums; ye museum curators are after ye gold (title link). A little known fact about London is that it was the place of execution for captured pirates. So there is a wealth of documents, paintings, maps and engravings to illustrate this major exhibition, as well as interactive displays. Above is a heavily cropped and recoloured version of Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris's The Capture of the Pirate Blackbeard, which depicts the battle between Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Lieutenant Maynard in Ocracoke Bay in 1718. CLICK for a BBC slide show.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rough Games

Health & Safety officers avert your eyes now! The Butler Institute of American Art has acquired this genre painting by James Longacre Wood Mumble the Peg (1892) which shows barefooted boys playing this once-popular game, tossing a jack knife so that its blade stuck firmly in the ground. The painting will be hung in the Butler’s Cushwa Gallery, near another classic of the era: Winslow Homer’s Snap the Whip (CLICK). Not only are these genre paintings valuable historical records as well being fine art, but also they are clear precursors to that great American illustrator Norman Rockwell.

The Lost Collection

Here's a first: The Lost Collection. KK Outlet in Hoxton Square, east London, gained access to Transport for London's Lost Property Office to look for works of art left on trains, buses and black cabs. Sixty unclaimed items were selected to go on show from 3 June to 30 June (title link). Above is an example from the collection, artist unknown. CLICK for a BBC slide show.

Pyramids in London

I often wonder about the sanity of people who run art colleges. Many of them are so obsessed with the "cutting edge" that they've lost touch with both art and society. Here's a case in point, one of two pyramids covered in scrawled names of living billionaires with their life expectancy. It's by Robert Brown BA, who is currently doing an MA Fine Art. His pyramids were installed yesterday at Chelsea College of Art and Design in its Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, London. The College actually commissioned this eyesore! What is cutting edge about it? Pyramids were old hat more than 2000 years ago and the warning about death coming to us all was an obsession during the Middle Ages, due to the Black Death. What a waste of money! Click the title link.

Monday, 16 May 2011

London Bomb Threat

Streets around the Mall were closed for five hours this morning amid a major security alert, following a coded warning from Irish terrorists yesterday. A break-in at Carlton Gardens sparked the security clampdown. A suspect bag was destroyed by a controlled explosion in the vicinity of Northumberland Avenue. All the closed roads have since reopened. The police want Londoners to remain vigilant, but have not raised the threat level (title link). This is the first bomb threat against London from republican terrorists for 10 years and is almost certainly a response to the Queen's ill-advised visit to the Republic of Ireland, which begins tomorrow (CLICK).