Thursday, 30 June 2011

Judith Kerr

Today's strike by teachers, which I'm sure brought happiness to their pupils, is a reminder that the school summer holidays are not far off. So why not treat kids to the V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green? Its summer show is a retrospective of author and illustrator Judith Kerr: From The Tiger Who Came to Tea to Mog and Pink Rabbit (title link). Admission is free and there's plenty more to see.


STUDIO 75 in east London opened its first solo show today: Consignment by Glenn Ibbitson, an ongoing project of painting, print and film on the theme of human trafficking. The above painting certainly captures the claustrophobia of trafficking. This exhibition is for three days only (title link). CLICK for Glenn's website.

Masters of Style

If the dental beautification of a Mayan princess doesn't appeal to you (next post down or CLICK) there's always the Italian fashion scene to fall back on. To mark the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification, Somerset House in London presents Masters of Style: Celebrating the Stories behind Italian Fashion, which features six of Italy’s top fashion houses: Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Gucci, Missoni and Prada (title link). Their archives hold a wealth of glamour photos, such as the one above from Gucci with a girl in charge of a luxury speedboat. Girl power! Admission is less than the RA's Eyewitness show (CLICK) at £6 adults and £5 silver surfers, and this promises to be much more interesting. The show runs from 1 July to 14 August.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Mayan Beauty

Ladies, you may think you suffer to try to look beautiful, but take a close look at the dental work on this skull. One semi-precious stone remains. The holes drilled to hold these aids to beauty are clearly visible. The skull was unearthed in Comalcalco in the Mexican state of Tabasco, where 116 tombs more than 1,000 years old have been found in what is believed to be a prehispanic Mayan cemetery. This jaw must have belonged to a member of the elite (title link).

Athens Mutt Riots

The Arab Spring has arrived in Greece with a vengeance. They're not protesting against military dictatorship, but against the financial dictatorship of the International Monetary Fund. Same difference, you might think. Fat cats grab the dosh and workers lose their jobs. One prominent protester is a stray dog called Loukanikos or Sausage. In mid June, BBC's Newsnight posted a compilation video of her adventures in the front line of Athens protests. I've spotted her since, although not in today's footage. Maybe the stun grenades frightened her off. Click the title link for a doggy protest.


As if its Summer Exhibition weren't enough, tomorrow the Royal Academy of Arts opens Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century, which celebrates the Hungarian Presidency of the EU 2011. Politics! The exhibition displays about 200 photos by Hungarian photographers who made their mark on the international scene between 1914 and 1989 (title link). This example of boys running into Lake Tanganyika was taken by Martin Munkacsi in 1930. The show certainly isn't worth £10.00 adults, £8.00 silver surfers, plus a £1.50 booking fee. Don't these clots know there's a recession?

Early Tennis Painting

It can't possibly have escaped your notice that we're in Week Two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and that today Andy Murray takes on Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals. So what better time for Bonhams to promote its London auction of a Lucas Gassel oil painting depicting a Renaissance palace with a game of tennis being played (detail shown)? Its estimated value is £70,000 to £100,000, a lot less than Wimbledon prize money. Click the title link to view the full painting and to read about the early history of tennis.
Good luck, Andy.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Weiwei's Tax Bill

Ai Weiwei has received his tax bill from the Chinese authorities: more than 12m yuan (£1.2m, $1.9m) in unpaid taxes and fines (title link). And it turns out that Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, the firm at the centre of the allegations, is controlled by his wife Lu Qing (CLICK). Ah! I guess Anish Kapoor will hold a whip-round for the old boy.

Billy the Kid

Anyone who has dipped into pictorial American history will have come across a reproduction of this tintype of Billy the Kid taken in 1879 or 1880 in Fort Sumner. It's one of the iconic images of the Wild West. Billy gave the tintype to a friend, Dan Dedrick, and it has been owned by his descendants, the Upham family, ever since. Last Saturday it came up for sale at the Old West Show and Auction in Denver and fetched $2.6 million. Interesting note: tintypes - an early form of photography that used metal plates - reversed the image. This mistakenly led to the movie The Left Handed Gun (1958) which starred a glamorous Paul Newman as the scruffy psychopath above!

Romance to Rifles

Last Sunday's Fake or Fortune on BBC1 certainly stirred up some interest in that great American artist Winslow Homer. By a strange coincidence, three days ago The Dayton Art Institute in Ohio, USA, opened From Romance to Rifles: Winslow Homer's Illustrations of 19th-Century America, which continues until 2 October (title link). This exhibition concentrates on Homer's early career as a freelance illustrator, selling wood engravings mainly to Harper's Weekly. He is considered one of America's finest wood engravers. The picture shown here is The Army of the Potomac, A Sharpshooter on Picket Duty (1862). CLICK for a much larger graphic of another of his engravings.

Formula 1 Campaign

Here's a neat example of animated graphic design: simple, elegant, punchy. Were you one of the 500,000 people who joined the Avaaz campaign to stop the Formula 1 race going ahead in Bahrain? If not, click the title link to learn more.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Serpentine Pavilion

BBC News has posted a slide show of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, which will be open to the public from 1 July to 16 October (title link). Number 11 is the best pavilion so far: nothing wacky. Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, it features a central garden by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, a room for contemplation.

Glamour of the Gods

The next big photo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London is Glamour of the Gods: Hollwood Portraits, a celebration of Hollywood portraiture from the industry’s golden age 1920 to 1960. The 70 photos from the John Kobal Foundation include Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe and show how glamour photos helped build their careers. Shown here is George Hurrell's 1934 portrait of Joan Crawford (cropped). This looks a great show for nostalgia. Shame about the price: £6 adults, £5.50 silver surfers. Not one for the kids. The show runs from 7 July to 23 October (title link).

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Twombly and Poussin

On 29 June the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London opens Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters, a unique exhibition which will look at these two artists side by side for the first time (title link). What on earth has Cy Twombly's twaddle got to do with Nicolas Poussin's art? At £9 adults and £8 silver surfers - more if you book online -, I'm not going to bother to learn more. This is despite the exhibition including five of the remaining paintings of Poussin’s first series of the Seven Sacraments (1637-1642). Shown above is Poussin's Rinaldo and Armida (c. 1630). Did Rinaldo faint when Armida's breasts flopped out of her blouse? Or was it the sight of that dagger in her hand? CLICK to find out.


Today is a day of rest for Wimbledon tennis stars and their exhausted fans. So, in case you're missing it, here's an image of one of the most useful computer-aided animations ever invented: Hawk-Eye. It has stopped countless wobblers being thrown over dodgy line decisions. Its British inventor, Paul Hawkins, has recently sold his Winchester-based firm to electronics giant Sony. He said the takeover by Sony created "immense opportunities for the sports industry" (title link). And even bigger profits for Sony.

Hidden Paintings

Two BBC1 art programmes in one day! First Fake or Fortune at 7pm (next post down), then Hidden Paintings at 10.25pm (title link). The latter is a regional show, so if you live in one of the 10 regions outside the London TV area CLICK to find out what Hidden Paintings will be shown in your area. North East has the best of it with Ian Lavender learning more about the Home Guard and life in the war through lost paintings. Londoners get irritating extrovert Hardeep Singh Kohli - the one with the oversized turban to fit his ego -, who gawks at paintings of sailors, slaves and scholars. William Hoare's portrait of ex-slave Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1733) is one of the paintings that amaze Kohli. I suppose we can tolerate him for 30 minutes. The purpose of these regional programmes is to advertise Auntie's partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation, which I reviewed on Friday (CLICK).

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Winslow Homer Fake?

Tomorrow's episode of Fake or Fortune features this painting by Winslow Homer: Three Children Under A Palm. It was found dumped by a rubbish tip with some other paintings. Fifteen years later its finder, Tony, took these paintings to BBC1's Antiques Roadshow, where Philip Mould recognized this one as an unknown Winslow Homer worth £30,000. As Homer is one of the greats of American art, it could be worth $250,000 in a US auction. But is it genuine and who really owns it? Another fascinating detective story with Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould in Fake or Fortune on BBC1 at 7pm (title link).

Olympic Posters

Living in Greater London, I'm subjected to BBC London News' interminable updates on Olympic doings: moans and groans about ticket allocations, legacy quibbles, funding of sporting facilities and so and so forth ad nauseam. I'm paying for it and I'm sick of it. However, The Telegraph has published a critical survey of Olympic poster designs which I found interesting (title link). Olle Hjortsberg created the first Olympics poster in 1912 for the Stockholm Summer Olympiad. It featured a male nude with ribbons tied round his thingy and was banned in some places. Jean Droit’s poster for the Paris Summer Olympiad 1924 took the Greco-Roman ideal of male beauty a step too far with a chorus line of male gays delivering Nazi salutes! I'm afraid the 1936 Berlin Olympics poster is still my favourite with its golden warrior towering above the horse-drawn chariot atop Carl Gotthard's Brandenburg Gate. Walter Herz’s design for the 1948 London Olympics comes second with its classic discus thrower against Big Ben. The Telegraph disapproves of Primo Angeli's poster for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but this is the first poster to feature what must be a female athlete, judging by the small waist and curvaceous bottom (note the classic Greek profile, which is asexual). Not since the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris (CLICK) has a female athlete been featured. As the only events I'm likely to view are Ladies Gymnastics and Ice Skating, both of which exhibit great artistry, I think it is high time a woman was shown on the next Olympics poster (CLICK).

Madonna Comic

The latest addition to Canadian publisher Bluewater Productions' Female Force comic book series is pop singer Madonna. The 32-page publication charts her rise from a little known pop singer. Writer C.W. Cooke seems to have skipped the part when she was a nude model before she became a little known pop singer (CLICK). That must have cramped Michael Johnson's drawings. Shame. I guess US goddesses must be sanitized for US readers. The comic hits the shops in August at a price of $3.99 (title link). Order a copy from your library.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Gov Paintings Online

Yesterday the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and the BBC launched Your Paintings and Your Paintings Tagger, a project to create an online catalogue of every oil painting in the Government Art collection (CLICK) on a dedicated website for us common folk to gawk at (CLICK). No acrylics? It has already put 63,000 paintings online out of the collection of 200,000. The BBC has added videos of celebrities giving you guided tours (CLICK). Here's Thomas Phillips' Portrait of Lord Byron dressed in traditional Albanian costume (1814) © Government Art Collection. Note the copyright message. To call these "Your Paintings" is patronising codswallop. Government owns the copyright, not us. Still, we will be allowed to view 'em and tag 'em (title link).

Pandora Galaxy

Here's another of those science-beating-art-at-its-own-game images which show Heaven in its immense violence and beauty. There's a lot of hi-tech jiggery-pokery behind this image, as you can tell by its credits: NASA /ESA /ESO /CXC /D COE /J MERTEN. It depicts a cosmic collision in the Pandora Galaxy Cluster - officially known as Abell 2744 - which has been ongoing for 350 million years! (Creationists take note.) The artificial colours engulfing these scattered galaxies are red for hot gases and blue for dark matter. Caught at the right moment, such images help scientists figure out what dark matter is and what it's doing (title link).

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Treasures of Heaven

Today the British Museum opened Treasures of Heaven: saints, relics and devotion in medieval Europe, which runs until the 9 October. This reliquary bust of a cynical-looking female saint (c. 1520–1530) gives you an idea of what to expect. Henry VIII sacked the monasteries to destroy this sort of thing: fake relics to gull the punters, bits of Christ's cross, thorns from Christ's crown. Why on earth bring it back, especially to London? What a bummer! Even worse is the price £12 (title link). Unless you're a religious nutter, forget it.

Watts Gallery

The Watts Gallery in the village of Compton near Guildford has reopened after an £11m restoration. On Tuesday I saw a BBC London News tour of the gallery, but for some reason best known to the BBC this video is no longer available. So the title link takes you to the gallery's website, which is pretty but still a bit confused about whether it has reopened or not. It has. The gallery was originally created by George Frederick Watts and his wife, Mary, to house many of his paintings in the days when he was known as "England's Michelangelo". Above is one of his most evocative paintings: Hope (1886).

The Queen and Philip

The National Portrait Gallery in London has unveiled a new photo portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip (title link). The photo marks the Duke's 90th birthday as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year. This is the first time NPG has commissioned a portrait of the Queen and Prince Phillip together, and it raised some problems of royal etiquette which the photographer - Thomas Struth - has resolved at the cost of artistic balance. I've introduced a white line to indicate a balanced portrait of the royal couple. The imbalanced photo gives the Queen almost a central position to indicate her importance, which leaves a lot of boring, unfocused room on the right-hand side of the picture. This photo is part of NPG's Touring Exhibition The Queen: Art and Image, which opens in Edinburgh on 25 June, then goes to Northern Ireland and Cardiff before coming to London on 17 May 2012 (CLICK). It shows an iconic painting or photo for every year of the Queen's reign, including Chris Levine's holographic stereogram Lightness of Being from 2008 (CLICK).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Badger News

The new Labour-run Welsh Government has put a hold on idiotic plans to cull badgers in Wales, so that an independent panel of experts can examine the science involved. Labour promised a "science-led" approach towards bovine TB in its manifesto for the recent assembly elections (title link). This must be good news.

Ai Weiwei Bailed

Ai Weiwei has been released on bail, having pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion. He has offered to repay the taxes and was instructed not to give interviews to the media. He is seen here with a media scrum on his doorstep. He says he is in good health, although Chinese authorities cite a chronic health problem as one of the reasons for his release. Police allege that Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd has evaded a huge amount of tax and destroyed accounting documents (title link). Its address in China is 258 FAKE (CLICK).

A 'New' Caravaggio

A thick layer of filthy varnish obscured this painting of St Augustine by Caravaggio. Once cleaned, another "lost" masterpiece was revealed. Infrared reflectography, X-rays, a 19th century label and Vincenzo Giustiniani's 1638 inventory all support expert opinion that this is the real deal (title link). The painting is "quiet" for Caravaggio, but the detail is clearly the work of a master. Note the 3D illusion of a book poking out of the canvas.

Picasso Sale

This ghastly daub Jeune Fille Endormie (1935) by Pablo Picasso fetched over £13m at Christie's auction house in London. Once an artist has established himself as a Big Name, nobody in the art establishment has the guts to reassess his work and say "Cobblers". At least it went for a good cause: scientific research at the University of Sydney (title link).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Recognize him? Yes, it's Vladimir Putin to the rescue in the Russian comic book Superputin, A Man Like Any Other. No comment. Click the title link.

Cultural Olympiad

What is it about Tracey Emin that attracts the BBC? Is it one of those casting couch things? Look at this BBC headline: Tracey Emin to design 2012 Olympic posters (title link). It turns out that she's just one of the useless deadbeats the British Anti-art Establishment has chosen to design posters for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. Others commissioned to design Games posters include Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Howard Hodgkin, Bridget Riley, Sarah Morris, and Bob and Roberta Smith. This is pathetic. I'm sure real artists could have been found. Here is my thought for a poster: a very feminine contestant in the Rhythmic Gymnastics. How about having her twirl her thingy around Big Ben?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sir Martin Evans

Today the National Portrait Gallery in London unveiled this painting of Nobel winner Sir Martin Evans (2011) by David Cobley. Sir Martin was the first scientist to isolate and identify embryonic stem cells, back in 1980. The artist posed his subject looking at cultures in a petri dish, against a background of writing from Sir Martin's notebook, to recreate that eureka moment of discovery. Sir Martin won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007.
Update: I've posted a better graphic of this painting.

Adam Fuss

This striking image is Invocation (1992), a Cibachrome photogram by London-born photographer Adam Fuss. He currently has an exhibition of 50 photos at the Museum Huis Voor Fotografie Marseille in Amsterdam (CLICK). The show continues until 4 September, if you happen to be pedalling in that direction....

British Library News

The British Library has reached a deal with Google to put thousands of pages from one of the world's biggest collections of historic books online for browsing. It will take time, of course. Click the title link to watch a BBC News video. In the meantime, don't forget that the library's current big exhibition is Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it, which continues until 25 September and is perfect for a kids summer holiday visit (CLICK). Admission is free.

Women Artists

The Society of Women Artists opens its 150th Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London on Thursday 30 June. There will be almost 500 new artworks in all media, including sculpture. The example above is Ascot Ladies by Mo Lancaster SWA. In addition there will be a retrospective of prominent former members, such as Dame Laura Knight, Dod Proctor and Sylvia Gosse. Admission is £2.50. The show closes on 9 July at 1pm.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Father's Day

London Art News tends to stay aloof from the mucky world of politics, but when I read PM David Cameron's bigoted, arrogant, pig-ignorant diatribe against absent fathers on Father's Day, I can't help thinking that we need an Arab Spring in the UK to sweep loud-mouthed ex-public schoolboys from political office.

I wasted an entire decade of my life trying to gain my two sons their human right of access to me. Every inch of the way I was beset by feminists whose only interest was the rights of the mother and to hell with the needs of the child. I succeeded in sacking three female lawyers and winning some piddling compensation from each of them. The case ended in a two-day trial in the Family Division of the High Court, during which the judge and I were the only ones who didn't commit perjury!

There are many cases like mine. A court welfare officer told one father who was undergoing a divorce that he should let things calm down before he tried to see his children (advice many solicitors will also dish out). When the case was heard, the court welfare officer told the court that dad hadn't made any effort to see his children and clearly wasn't interested in them!

What happens if the court does grant access to Dad? He gets to meet his child once a fortnight in McDonald's for a burger and learns that Mum is poisoning the child's mind against him. He has no say in how his child is being raised. So he realises he is no longer Dad, but ex-Dad. After a few months of this torture, perhaps a year at most, he abandons his ex-child. Stigmatize that runaway dad, screams Cameron, ignoring the fact that getting rid of dad is what the ex-wife had been working for all along, because she wants him completely out of her life.

What about maintenance? Hound the father if he isn't paying, cry the politicians. So the state chases ex-dads for their money. Some countries have a far more enlightened approach: the children are cared for by the breadwinner irrespective of gender. That gives the children security, cuts out legal battles over maintenance and helps lower the benefits bill. But Britain can't go down that road, because it might be unfair to women!

The legal system in this country is pro-women, anti-men and most appallingly anti-child. You'll discover that for yourself, Cameron, when your children are denied access to you. It hurts. You owe a lot of ex-dads an apology, but you lack the wisdom and acumen to perceive that fact. You're a donkey braying at the moon.

Jarrett's Castle

Yesterday I was stopped from completing my trilogy on BIG art by Blogger throwing a wobbler. It's working now. Ed Jarrett from Connecticut, USA, has recently built the world's tallest sandcastle: Jarrett's Castle. It took 1,500 volunteers, 720 tonnes of sand and water, 2,500 person hours and Ed a fortnight to carve the castle. He did it to raise money for charity (title link).

Fake or Fortune?

Hold the presses! There might actually be an interesting programme on BBC1 today! Fake or Fortune? is a new series in which fine art expert Philip Mould escorts the delectable Fiona Bruce - without her much criticized new spectacles - into the dodgy world of art dealings. (Philip Mould Fine Paintings in Dover Street is currently showing Finding Van Dyck until 13 July, entry free, CLICK). Their first mission is to establish the worth of a mediocre painting bearing Claude Monet's signature: Bords de la Seine a Argenteuil. If it's genuine, it's worth a fortune. My feeling is that the painting is so boring, it must be genuine; but then I'm more interested in its worth as art than in its value to the art market. The programme starts today at 19:00 hours ... er ... 7pm. Click the title link for a video trailer.
I seem to have scooped the BBC on its own story: CLICK.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Thinking of BIG reminded me of Aussie artist Andrew Rogers, who has been engaged in the largest contemporary land art project in the world: Rhythms of Life. With the help of over 6,700 people, he's built a chain of 47 massive stone sculptures - he calls them geoglyphs - in 13 countries across seven continents. This is one of his smaller efforts Ancient Language in the Atacama Desert, Chile (2004) a mere 262ft long and nearly 10ft high. Looks like a dead dragon to me. If you're trekking through the Atacama Desert, keep an eye open for it. But be warned; that is the driest desert in the world.

Slag Goddess

It's amazing what you can do with a coal-mining slag heap. This is US landscape architect Charles Jencks's Northumberlandia, "Goddess of the North", which is already taking shape in - you guessed it - Northumberland. When completed, it will be the largest sculpture of a human body on the planet, nearly half a mile long. A four-mile pathway will allow visitors to follow the curves of her body. It will cost around £2m ($3m), none of which will come from public funds. The cost will be borne by the Banks Group, which runs the Shotten mine, and the Blagdon Estate, owned by Viscount Ridley. The goddess will be the centrepiece for a new public park near Cramlington (title link). Nice one.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Desert Rose

Today more demonstrations in Syria followed Friday prayers. At least 18 protesters are reported killed by security forces. The UN estimates more than 1,100 people have died so far in president Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on the Arab Spring in his country (title link). Meanwhile, the dictator's wife, British-born Asma al-Assad is rumoured to have brought her children to England (CLICK). American Vogue described her as "A Rose In The Desert" for a grovelling article which caused uproar in the USA and has since been removed from Vogue's website (CLICK). The Rose is keeping shtoom.
Update: the Foreign Office warns Britons to leave Syria immediately. CLICK for more information.

Green Ring Nebula

One of those science-outdoing-art pictures popped up recently. Above is a photo from the Spitzer space telescope showing the RCW 120 nebula, nicknamed the Green Ring Nebula. This is a vast cloud of gas and dust about 4,300 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. Stars have recently formed there (title link). From birth to death. Below is an artist's impression of Event Sw 1644+57, a star being sucked into a black hole, detected by the NASA Swift spacecraft's Burst Alert Telescope (CLICK). The star's death sent a burst of radiation towards Earth. Researchers at the University of Warwick believe a passing star was sucked in (CLICK).

Pleasure Principle

BBC T°DAY has posted a slide show of 11 René Magritte paintings taken from Tate Liverpool's René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, which chuffs along from 24 June to 16 October. It gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite Magritte paintings Time Transfixed. The exhibition is far too expensive to bother with, even if it were in London: £11 adults, £9 silver surfers. Borrow a book from your local library. Use it or lose it.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mel Ramos Nude

No, this isn't the latest Coca-Cola ad. It's US artist Mel Ramos doing his cheesecake thing with The Pause that Refreshes (2006). You can bid online for it at Artnet Auctions, if you have an estimated US $150,000 - $200,000 to spare. Bidding ends on Tuesday 21 June at 1:37pm, time zone unknown. Click the title link to view a larger graphic of this painting. It's an edition of 8.

St Paul's Restored

It's taken 15 years and £40m to spruce up Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece St Paul's Cathedral for its 300th birthday, which is this year. The scaffolding has finally been removed. This once-begrimed Stone Cherub has emerged from its London filth. (Prior to the Clean Air Act 1968, killer smogs in London had become so bad that bus conductors had to walk in front of their buses holding flares!) Never before has a comprehensive restoration of both the interior and exterior of the cathedral been undertaken. Click the title link for a BBC News slide show of the painstaking work involved. CLICK for video.

British Art Sale

Part 1 of Sotheby's three-part sale of the Evill/Frost Collection, unassumingly described by Sotheby's as the greatest collection of 20th Century British art ever to come to the market, broke records left, right and centre and took more than double what pre-sale estimates had predicted. Stanley Spencer's Sunflower and Dog Worship from 1937 went under the hammer for a record £5.4m (CLICK). Lucian Freud's Boy on a Sofa (1944) sold for £1.5m. This work has an interesting story attached to it. Freud allegedly caught this boy, Billy Lumley, breaking into his flat and persuaded him to sit for this portrait (title link). The auction continues today.

Cartoons Update

Update on yesterday's post (scroll down or CLICK): Sir Paul McCartney's lawyers descended on Dominic Winter auctioneers and demanded they withdraw Sir Paul's cartoons from sale, claiming they should have been returned to him 40 years ago. The current "owner", Maggie Thornton, believes they had belonged to her father, animator Eric Wylam, who died in 1997. I'm sure this situation could have been resolved amicably without Sir Paul dragging in his expensive legal heavy mob. The auctioneer tried to contact him, but received no reply (title link).

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Museum of the Year

At a ceremony held at Tate Britain this evening, the Arts Fund named The British Museum as Museum of the Year, an award worth £100,000. The success of the museum's project History of the World in 100 objects greatly impressed the judges (title link). CLICK to visit the museum's website and see what is currently on show.

Paul McCartney Cartoons

This is one of a number of drawings made by Sir Paul McCartney for an unreleased animated film The Bruce McMouse Show in the early 1970s (title link for more sketches). They were mostly drawn on Wings or Curtain Bluff Hotel letter paper. The hotel drawings are from a holiday in 1973. They come up for sale tomorrow at Dominic Winter's auction in Gloucestershire, estimated value about £25,000 (CLICK).

Shark Protest

Here's a woman who takes her performance art seriously and with a good cause in mind: Alice Newstead. Yesterday in Hong Kong she had herself suspended in front of the press by means of two shark fishing hooks. The one in her back is piercing her flesh (inset). Alice's courageous stunt publicized the opening of a week-long art exhibition dedicated to shark conservation. Hong Kong is the centre of that disgusting and barbaric custom of stripping live sharks of their fins for soup. I've posted a number of Fizza Abdulrasul's protest paintings against shark fin soup (CLICK). For more of her paintings, type Fizza into my Blogger search box. She's currently awaiting a serious operation. Get well soon, Fizza. and restart painting. We miss your art.