Friday, 30 September 2011

Ig Nobel Prizes

Science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research held its annual awards ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre yesterday. Among the winners was the mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania, Arturas Zuokas, who won the Peace Prize for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars could be solved by squashing them with an armoured tank. A Japanese team won the Chemistry Prize for working out how to use pungent horseradish in a fire alarm system. And Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz won the Biology Prize for discovering that an Australian beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle until it falls off, exhausted. Click the title link to see the full list of winners.

New £50 Banknote

Here's the Bank of England's new £50 banknote, which will be issued starting 2 November. The two grim-faced capitalists depicted on the note are Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who pioneered the use of steam engines in textile manufacturing. This is the first time two portraits appear on the reverse of a Bank of England banknote. It will also be the first in circulation to be signed by Chris Salmon, the new Executive Director of Banking Services and Chief Cashier, appointed in April 2011 (title link). I must admit I can't see the purpose of such large denomination banknotes. Surely the only people who use them nowadays are criminals.

German Romanticism

Why waste £10 to £15 visiting one of those autumn biggies in London galleries and museums when you can view a top-notch exhibition for free? Yesterday The British Museum opened Landscape, heroes and folktales: German Romantic prints and drawings in Room 90. It displays over 100 18th–19th-century prints and drawings inspired by German Romanticism, a movement that was influential across the whole of Europe. The example shown is a detail from Carl Wilhelm Kolbe's etching I too was in Arcadia (1801). Looks good. This free exhibition runs until 1 April 2012 (title link).

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Vermeer's Women

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge will host the first ever loan to the UK of Johannes Vermeer's The Lacemaker (c.1669-70). This gem usually hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris and is rarely lent to other museums. It will take pride of place in The Fitzwilliam's exhibition Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence in the Mellon Gallery from 5 October until 15 January. Other paintings by Vermeer will be on loan for the exhibition, which will also include works by his 17th-century contemporaries: Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes and Jan Steen. Click the title link for more information. CLICK to see the painting in scale.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


On Sunday the historic Roman town of Colchester in Essex officially opened a new international centre for the visual arts designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects: firstsite (title link). More than 3,000 punters flocked into the building to gawk at the inaugural exhibition Camulodunum, which runs until 22 January 2012. Sadly, it's full of "contemporary" junk by the usual suspects: Ai Weiwei, Subodh Gupta, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol and so on and so forth (CLICK). It all seems so outmoded, inartistic and pointless.

Flanagan: Early Works

If you're into the history of bad British sculpture, this is the exhibition for you: Barry Flanagan: Early Works 1965-1982. It opened yesterday at Tate Britain in London and drags on until 2 January 2012 (title link). Above is his Leaping Hare (1980), which is about as good as it gets. Bugs Bunny is more artistic. Entry £10? Forget it.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Harvard Hack

The usually boring home page of the Harvard University website was livened up on Monday morning by a hacking group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army, a group purporting to support President Bashar al-Assad (title link). Would a "sophisticated" hacker group really be gullible enough to believe all the propaganda being dished out by the murderous Syrian regime? And a message containing terror threats against the USA seems more likely to be the work of a crank than a sane member of the ruling elite. Perhaps a student. Was it rag day in Harvard? Jolly japes to annoy the professors?

New Contemporaries

Cornelia Baltes' Bird is unlikely to win a wildlife photo of the year award, but at least it's quietly elegant and well composed, which is more than can be said for most of the tripe in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011 exhibition, which showcases work by recent art graduates and final-year undergraduates in the UK (title link). The show is currently at Sheffield, but turns up at the ICA in London from 25 November until 15 January 2012. It displays the "best" 40 of 1,400 entries. Groan!

Monday, 26 September 2011

BWPA Winners

The overall winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2011 is Richard Shucksmith with this Jellyfish in the Blue Sea off Sula Sgeir (Gannet Rock) an uninhabited Scottish island 41 miles north of Lewis. The winning photos and commended entries will be shown around the UK in a touring exhibition over the next year. It opens at the WildlifeXpo in Alexandra Palace, London, on 14 October and runs until 28 October. Click the title link to see the full list of venues and view more winning photos.

Welsh Graffiti

Here's one of the most artistic examples of graffiti I've seen. It's by Best (Bryce Davies) and adorns a legal graffiti wall at Llandaff North in Cardiff, one of a handful of legal graffiti walls in Wales (title link). The group of red-breasted robins is unrealistic. They are aggressively territorial. A robin attacked me in my back garden, because I was wearing a red T-shirt. I felt the needle-sharp claws dig into my back when weeding and I jerked upright to see the robin flit to the fence, spin round and glare at me. He/she is peaceful when I'm not in red.


The UK has a new quango ... er ... regulatory body for premium rate telephone numbers: Phonepayplus. I've long complained about premium rate telephone numbers. They are a gift to criminals. Back in the days when most of us were on dial-up for the Web, criminals used malware to hijack computers and divert their calls to a premium rate number. The user knew nothing about this until an enormous telephone bill arrived. I know a couple of colleagues this happened to, and BT insisted the bill was paid. Apps are the latest method. Phonepayplus has already shut down one app that sent and received text messages which could cost the unsuspecting user £4.50 each (CLICK). All firms using premium rate numbers should have registered with Phonepayplus by 1 September. If you find something dodgy on your telephone bill, you can now visit Phonepayplus and lodge a complaint (title link). The photo shows a happy mobile phone user. Note she can't afford furniture!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Threadneedle Prize

Before visiting The Threadneedle Prize exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, click the title link for an online gallery and see if you can find anything worth viewing. This is a show for trendy twerps who know nothing about art. And the winner will receive £25,000 for his or her tripe! Appalling.

Ford Madox Brown

BBC News has gone overboard on Ford Madox Brown, due to a major exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery which opens today and runs till 29 January 2012: Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer. CLICK for a BBC slide show of Brown's most famous paintings. CLICK for an excellent BBC slide show of Brown's murals in Manchester Town Hall, in which he created a mythology for Manchester. And CLICK for a BBC video which tours the show and the Town Hall. Above is Brown's Self Portrait (1850) made when he was 29. Bearing in mind this is the first major exhibition of his art since 1964 and brings together 140 of his works from public and private collections, admission is reasonable at £8 adults or £6 silver surfers. Entry is free for under 18s. Click the title link for details and to order tickets. I assume entry to the Town Hall is free for everyone, a plus for the show.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Stabbing Memorial

The London Borough of Redbridge - a better place to die ... er ... live - is believed to be the first place in Britain to raise a memorial to a victim of knife crime. Artist Gary Drostle designed the 10ft-high Redbridge Peace Monument (2011) as a memorial to Kashif Mahmood, who was knifed to death in Ilford at the age of 16. His killer was 17. The photo shows his parents, Parveen and Arshad Mahmood, viewing the monument. Local businessman Wilson Chowdhry helped fund-raise the £10,000 needed to create the memorial (title link). Tomorrow the monument will be officially inaugurated at the Redbridge Peace Concert, held in the High Road, which will run from noon to 6pm (CLICK).

Carousel Wins Enel

Remember Carsten Höler's stupid helter-skelter Test Site (2006) in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall (CLICK)? The frustrated fairground designer strikes again with Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes (2011). Like his helter-skelter, the punters can take a ride. This nonsense has won the Enel Contemporanea Award 2011, a prize for an original artwork on the theme of energy. It goes on display at MACRO, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, in December. Believe it or not, Höler is an Agronomy graduate specializing in plant pathology and with a Masters thesis on olfactory communication between insects (title link). He may know his pheromones, but obviously he knows nothing about art!

Seikou Yamaoka

If you have 5 minutes to spare, click the title link to watch a YouTube time-lapse video of Japanese artist Seikou Yamaoka finger-painting this digital portrait on his iPod Touch, using the £1.99 app ArtStudio. If not, CLICK for a Telegraph gallery of his pictures. He aims to make his images look more like watercolour paintings than digital artworks. He has certainly succeeded.

By the way, some URLs are becoming so long that Blogger can't cope with them. So I've starting using TinyURL!™ on the longest. CLICK to try it.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

GREAT Britain

David Cameron has launched an advertising campaign in New York that aims to put the GREAT back in Britain (title link). Here are four of the posters, showing Henry VIII, a bionic hand, Wallace and Gromit and Sir Richard Branson. Is he the one who invented the pickle? Oh come on, this collection of cliches is pathetic. It won't wipe out the images of rioting, looting and burning last August and it fails to be eye-catching. What about a poster of cage-fighting kids (CLICK)?

Goya X-rayed

When the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam bombarded Francisco de Goya's portrait of Don Ramon Satue with X-rays it discovered it had two portraits for the price of one. The portrait beneath is of a French general, possibly Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Joseph, who was King Of Spain from 1808-1813. With Ferdinand VII restored to the Spanish throne, Goya was lumbered with an unfinished and politically incorrect painting. Covering it up with a Spaniard was the smart thing to do (title link).


John Martin's newly restored The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, damaged in the Tate flood of 1928, is on public display for the first time in almost a century in Tate Britain's autumn biggy John Martin: Apocalypse (title link). This is the largest exhibition of his art since 1822. It opened yesterday and runs till 15 January 2012. Entry is overpriced at £14 or £12 for silver surfers. That £500,000 which Arts Council England wasted on Nowhere Island could have been used to bring silver surfers' tickets down to 50% of the adult price.

Extraordinary Folly

The Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon Geoffrey Cox has criticized a £500,000 Arts Council project for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad as an "extraordinary folly" (title link). Quite right too. But what he should be asking his colleagues at Westminster is: "What half-wit gave this quango a budget to create inartistic tosh for the Cultural Olympiad?" The Arts Council is long on bullshit and short on artistic merit. For years it has wasted public money on daft projects it claims are "art". Nowhere Island is merely the latest folly in a long line of follies. The rationale for this tosh is to open up a debate on global warming. (Too late!) A retreating glacier on the Svalbard peninsula in Norway has exposed an island previously covered in ice. The project leader and volunteers sailed off on a schooner to nick six tonnes of material from this island. You can see it bagged up in the photo above. This will be used to create Nowhere Island - a "remarkable visual sculpture" claims Arts Council England - which will be floated along the South West coast next year for punters to sneer at (CLICK). How to waste money without really trying!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Somali Rock Art

Somali culture seems to consist of Islamic lunacy, AK-47 rifles and begging bowls. Andulus radio, run by Somalia's murderous al-Shabab nutter group, has recently awarded AK-47 rifles and hand grenades to children as young as 10 years old as prizes in its Koran-reciting and general knowledge contest. The children were urged to use their weapons to defend Islam (CLICK). Long before the invention of Islam, people in Somalia were creating rock art. Sada Mire (above) escaped Somalia when she was 14 years old. She studied to become an archaeologist and gained a fellowship in the department of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. In Somaliland, she has discovered a wealth of ancient rock art. The photo shows her examining some of the rock art she discovered in Dhambalin (title link).

Freud Olympiad Show

The National Portrait Gallery in London has announced that it will put on a major exhibition of Lucian Freud's portraits as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Lucian Freud Portraits will include over 100 paintings and works on paper loaned from museums and private collections throughout the world. It opens on 9 February and runs till 27 May 2012 (title link). The cost is prohibitive, of course: adults £14, silver surfers £13 or £12 every Wednesday during the show. This example is Freud's Girl with a White Dog (1950-1). CLICK to view a BBC slide show of six of the paintings that will be on display.

HM's Poppy Portrait

Another new portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II has been unveiled, this time at Westminster Abbey following a service to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. The Legion commissioned artist Darren Baker from Moreton-in-Marsh to paint the portrait, which took him 400 hours. Note the spray of five poppies worn by the Queen, who has been patron of The Royal British Legion since 1953. The detail of the oil painting is such that the Queen's wristwatch is set at 11:00 to represent the time of Remembrance (title link).

Keep Smiling

It's been an embarrassing week for media mogul and spaghetti PM Silvio Berlusconi. First came the release of transcripts of phone calls about bunga bunga orgies ... er ... parties in which he boasts he has 11 women queuing for his favours, but can't do more than eight (CLICK). Next came the news that Standard & Poor's has downgraded Italy's credit rating from A+ to A (CLICK). On top of that came the news that BBC Worldwide - Auntie's commercial wing - is suing Berlusconi's television network over infringement of copyright for Strictly Come Dancing (title link for The Telegraph story with saucy photo). But the gallant Latin keeps smiling through. I'm not sure whether his two-finger sign with stained fingers is aimed at the BBC or one of his girlfriends.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Elephant Art

Meet Karishma, a 13-year old female Asian elephant and Whipsnade Zoo's resident artist. She enjoys taking time off from looking after her 17-month-old baby George and showing how delicately she can use her trunk to wield a paintbrush. Her paintings will be on display at the zoo's Elephant Appreciation Weekend, 24 and 25 September, fundraising for the Zoological Society of London's worldwide elephant conservation projects (title link).

Monday, 19 September 2011

Paralympic Medals

The London Paralympic Medals 2012 were unveiled at the British Museum today with BBC camera crews at the ready (title link). They were designed by Lin Cheung, who won the competition over 99 other entrants. She lectures at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London. So she can spout the bull.

Chapel Bunker

What on earth is this monstrosity? A Gaddafi bunker? A Dale Farm barracade? A hover tank? No, it's the Chapel of Saint Olav in Covarrubias, Burgos Province, central Spain, inaugurated yesterday. Blame Princess Kristina's cultural foundation and Covarrubias town council for this eyesore. It's supposed to strengthen ties between Norway and Spain, but it looks more like a declaration of war. Click the title link to read the story of Princess Kristina.

De Morgan Centre

The De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth, London, has re-opened after a major refurbishment (title link). The De Morgan Foundation owns over 1000 ceramics and 500 paintings and drawings by the De Morgans, husband and wife. William De Morgan was a leading light in the Arts and Crafts Movement. His wife, Evelyn De Morgan, was the famous Pre-Raphaelite artist who was accepted into the Brotherhood. Shown is her allegorical painting Night and Sleep (1879). The Wandsworth Museum opened last year in the same building as the De Morgan Centre. Fingers crossed its security is now up to scratch (CLICK).

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Brothers in Arms

On Wednesday evening the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Poland opened the latest exhibition at the RAF Museum in London: Brothers in Arms (title link). We tend to forget that during the Battle of Britain one fifth of Fighter Command’s aircrews came from overseas, many from Nazi occupied Europe. Using drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos and archive film footage, this exhibition explores the contribution of pilots from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The portrait of Squadron Leader Wojciech Kolaczkowski DFC (1941) is by Eric Kennington. The exhibition continues until 4 March 2012.

Dutch Colonialism

There is always somebody who wants to airbrush out history. Nicolaas van der Waay's painting Homage of the Colonies (detail shown) decorates one side of the Golden Carriage given to Queen Wilhelmina by the people of Amsterdam as a gift in 1898. The painting celebrates Amsterdam's Golden Age as the wealthy hub of a 17th-century naval empire; but dark, semi-naked colonials lay treasures at the feet of an enthroned queen, including ivory. Racist! cry detractors. Slavery! They want the painting removed. A spokesperson for the Dutch royal family gave the idea the bum's rush: "We are not going to rewrite history by destroying the Golden Carriage" (title link). Quite right. Let the art remain.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Visitors' Choice

No, it isn't a photo, but an oil painting by Prague artist Jan Makulka of Czech documentary film-maker Jakub Wagner. It gained the most votes from visitors to the National Portrait Gallery's BP Portrait Award 2011 exhibition, which closes tomorrow. The show then goes on tour to Wolverhampton and Aberdeen. Over 300,000 people visited the exhibition in London; a record 28,532 cast votes between 16 June and 4 September and 2,280 voted for Makulka's painting.

Urban Art Sale

Shephard Fairey's Duality of Humanity is one of the paintings up for grabs at Bonhams' auction of Urban Art in London on Wednesday 21 September. It's estimated value is £20,000. There are also works by Banksy and a rather nice Geisha by Jef Aerosol for £5,000 to £7,000. Why not pop along to New Bond Street to view them before the sale? Click the title link for the online catalogue.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Wow! Gorillas

As if Open House London, the London Design Festival and London Fashion Week weren't enough, Bristol Zoo has sent 20 of its hand-painted gorillas to show off their stuff outside City Hall on the south bank of the Thames. Wow! Gorillas is part of a campaign to raise public awareness about the loss of gorilla habitat. It might raise some money too. The gorillas will be auctioned on 29 September at a charity event organised by Bristol Zoo (CLICK). Click the title link for a Telegraph slide show.

Open House London

Open House London weekend begins tomorrow. Over 700 buildings of all kinds open their doors to everyone for free. It isn't just the architecture; it's the treasures inside too. If you missed your chance to grab a free guide at your local library, you still have time to download a mapguide from the Open House website (title link). You'll find mapguides to the City, Covent Garden, Euston, Hyde Park, Islington & Hackney and the Lea Valley.

Jerwood Prize

Essex artist Gary Lawrence has won First Prize in the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011 with his Homage to Anonymous (2011) a large-scale imitation engraving executed in ballpoint pen (one very small detail shown). He dedicated it to "all the anonymous artists through history who made work but are unrecognised". I'll vote for that. The exhibition of 60 selected entries out of 3,500 submitted this year opened on Wednesday at Jerwood Visual Arts in London and runs till 30 October. Click the title link for details and the list of 60 artists.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Taylor Wessing Prize

The National Portrait Gallery in London has announced the shortlist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. This year there are five nominees instead of the usual four. My favourite is Jooney Woodward's photo of 13-year-old Harriet Power, a steward at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, taken in natural light; but Jasper Clark's portrait of artist Wen in her live-in studio strikes me as conveying most about the subject (above). The winner will be announced on 8 November. The exhibition of 60 best entries (out of 6,000 submitted) opens on 10 November. Click the title link to view all five photos.

London Design Fest

The Pylon Design Competition (next post down or CLICK) is part of the London Design Festival, of which the V&A Museum is the hub. A variety of designs and installation thingies, most of them rather silly, are popping up from 17 to 25 September. BBC News has posted a slide show of the silliest it could find: CLICK. The example above is a Noma Bar, whatever that is, on the official website (title link). Note Perspectives in St Paul's Cathedral.

Future Pylons

I hate to tell you this, but yesterday you missed Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne wittering on about electricity pylons at the V&A Museum in London. Aw, shame. But don't despair. BBC News had a camera crew there to video the six finalists in the Pylon Design Competition organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for DECC and the National Grid (title link). A prize of £10,000 will be given to the winner. I know electricity pylons aren't the most arty things, but those ugly old monsters dominate much of our countryside. An elegant modern solution is long overdue.

Bangladesh Day

On Saturday 17 September the British Museum celebrates the 40th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh with a free, drop-in day of family activities - talks, storytelling, musical performances and crafts workshops - from 11am to 5pm. For those of you who are clueless about history, Eastern Pakistan won the Bangladesh Liberation War against Western Pakistan in 1971, with help from India. Apart from that victory, it has little to celebrate. Its begging bowl is out again, due to devastating monsoon floods which appear to be getting worse year by year, caused by global warming and rising sea levels. The rural poor rely on crops from the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, but have no defences against 20ft-high floods. The photo shows detail of a Painted Tin Rickshaw Panel from Dhaka, Bangladesh (late 20th Century). Click the title link for more information.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Atkinson Grimshaw

Here's a treat for lovers of genuine art. On 19 September a major new exhibition opens at the Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre in London: Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight. This is the first major show of the self-taught artist's work for over 30 years and brings together more than 60 of his paintings, as well as drawings, manuscripts and photographs on loan from public and private collections and descendants of the artist. The show ranges from his earliest Pre-Raphaelite-inspired landscapes to the Impressionist-style seascapes of his later years. Cost? £5 adults or £3 silver surfers (title link). Above is one of my favourites: Liverpool from Wapping (1875). CLICK for a Telegraph slide show of some his most famous paintings. CLICK for the Illusions Gallery online collection of prints. You can gain a sneak preview on the Open House weekend 17 and 18 September (check first). The show runs until 15/1/12.

Burningham at 75

Two exhibitions have opened in London to celebrate the 75th birthday of Scottish artist John Burningham, famous for his children's books and illustrations. He began his career with a commission to design 10 posters for London Transport. Journeys of the Imagination: The travel posters of artist and illustrator John Burningham runs at the London Transport Museum until 1 December. Shown is his recent poster Children's London, which completes the series. There is a book signing on Saturday 1 November, between 2pm and 4pm, and also a competition (title link). Yesterday The Fleming Collection, which specializes in Scottish art, opened John Burningham: An Illustrated Journey, which runs until 22 December. This retrospective shows illustrations, working drawings and previously unseen archive material, including a model for Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (CLICK).

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Richard Hamilton RIP

The Gagosian Gallery has announced the death of British artist Richard Hamilton at the age of 89, following a short illness. His 1956 collage Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? earned him the nickname "Father of Pop". Consumerism was one of his targets. This more modern example of his work is Shock and Awe (2007-08) featuring gunslinger Tony Blair. Hamilton was awarded the Japanese Praemium Imperiale 2008. Until recently he was working on a major retrospective of his work. CLICK for Will Gompertz' BBC video on Hamilton's influence.

Freud: Boy's Head

Legend has it that Charlie Lumley, the subject of Lucian Freud's Boy's Head (1952), was a young cat burglar whom Freud caught raiding his property in Delamere Terrace, London, and blackmailed him into sitting for him. According to Charlie, he and his brother Billy were neighbours who had no keys to their home. So they used to climb up a pole next to a pillar to gain access to a big Victorian balcony and enter through the front window. Another neighbour, a retired greengrocer, used to comment “Bloody cat burglar!” whenever he saw Charlie returning by this unusual route. That's how Charlie and Billy met "Lu" Freud, became his sitters and made friends with him. Boy's Head comes up for auction at Sotheby’s in London on 13 October, estimated value £3-4 million (title link). Despite the auctioneer's rave blurb, this is no masterpiece; Charlie's larger-than-life eyes point in different directions. CLICK to view Billy Lumley.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Jameel Prize Won

Here's another example of a rich twerp willing to fork out £25,000 for inartistic tripe: the Jameel Prize. The V&A museum in London has announced the winner as Algerian-born Rachid Koraichi for his series of embroidered banners inscribed with Arabic symbols and ciphers, a tribute to 14 mystic personalities from the Islamic world: Les Maitres Invisibles (The Invisible Masters). Martin Roth, chairman of the judging panel and director of the V&A stupidly claims "Rachid's work stood out because his banners have a universal appeal" (title link). Universal appeal? If you read Arabic and know nothing about art!

Flourescent Pussies

Oo-er, it's a flourescent pussy. Work of art? No, it's science. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA, inserted into cats a jellyfish gene that produces a fluorescent protein called GFP. They also inserted an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque that helps cats resist the feline form of AIDS. So the pussy is both protected and marked, which aids research assert the boffins (title link). Aw come on, guys, this is just an excuse to create a pussy that glows in the dark.

Degas and Ballet

The autumn biggy at the Royal Academy of Arts in London is Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, which opens on 17 September and pirouettes until 11 December (title link). This "landmark" exhibition traces the development of Degas' ballet imagery throughout his career in parallel with advances in photography and early film. The bad news is the price: £14 or £13 silver surfers. Above is Degas' Two Dancers on the Stage (1874). CLICK for a BBC video preview by Brenda Emmanus.

Operation Charm

One of the many facts Visit London won't tell you is that the old metropolis is a major centre for the trade in illegal products derived from endangered species, a deadly global trade worth £5bn-£6bn. Since 1995 the Metropolitan Police specialist unit has seized more than 30,000 items derived from endangered species: leopard skin coats, crocodile skin handbags, ivory shaving brushes, even "bush meat". According to BBC News, an exhibition by the Met's Operation Charm initiative opened today in the Elephant House of London Zoo and continues for one month (title link). Unfortunately neither the Met. nor London Zoo has updated its website! So, if you're interested, email the Operation Charm website (CLICK) or telephone the Metropolitan Police Service, Wildlife Crime Unit, Publications & Exhibitions at 020 7722 3333. The photo shows a display of illegal tiger products, mostly from China.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Met Seek Thug

Metropolitan police have issued this CCTV image of a thug ... er young female who allegedly knocked a 75-year-old woman to the ground and broke her hip during the riots in Clarence Road, Hackney, on 8 August. The elderly woman is still critically ill in hospital a month after the attack (title link). If you recognize this suspect, contact New Scotland Yard (CLICK).

Marking 9/11

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 British artist Ben Turnbull has created a new set of collages: Supermen - An Exhibition of Heroes. Using superhero comic books for his collages, he has commemorated real-life heroes of that terrible day. Shown is Hero II (2010). His exhibition opens on 16 September at Eleven Fine Art gallery, 11 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX, and runs until 22 October (title link). CLICK for a Telegraph slide show.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Watercolour Comp

The next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London is the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, which runs from Monday 12 to 18 September. Sponsored by Smith & Williamson and The Sunday Times, this prestigious competition aims to encourage the use of watercolour and water-based media painting among both amateur and professional artists. This year Random House will introduce the Vintage Classics Prize for Cover Art. The above painting by Marie Robinson Order, Order! (2010) is technically brilliant, although why such a talented artist would want to paint this mundane subject is beyond me.