Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ship In A Bottle 3

How many times are we expected to pay for Yinka Shonibare's old-fashioned Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, a 1:29 scale replica of HMS Victory, commissioned by London Mayor Bouncy Boris for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square? Presumably Bouncy paid for it then. Now the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich wants it. The Art Fund has put up £50,000 toward the £362,500 studio asking price and is appealing to punters to donate to its cause (title link). Forget it. Has Boris lost his receipt?

Weiwei's Dog Mobile

Tuesday wasn't a good day for Ai Weiwei. His wife and business partner Lu Qing was interrogated for three hours by Chinese police (CLICK) and his latest load of tosh failed to attract a single bidder at Est-Ouest Auctions in Hong Kong (CLICK). The 2005 Mercedes Benz G-class van painted with outlines of an Irish wolfhound entitled The Dog Mobile: A car for Francis Bacon was expected to fetch HK$1.5m to HK$2.3m. The paint job took place in Japan, where the car was bought (title link for the full story in the South China Morning Post). And the latest police investigation into Weiwei's doings is over pornography (CLICK).

Designer Prize

This year's Prince Philip Designers Prize has been won by illustrator Quentin Blake, who received his prize from Prince Philip in London today (title link). The prize was initiated more than 50 years ago to help promote excellence in design (CLICK). Above is Quentin's famous illustration for Roald Dahl's The BFG (1982).

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Picasso Etchings

Thanks to a generous £1m donation by City fund manager Hamish Parker, the British Museum has acquired a complete set of Picasso's etchings in what is called the Vollard Suite (1930-1937) after the Paris art dealer and publisher who commissioned them. Not being a Picasso fan, I was surprised by the delicate quality of the example shown. The museum will put the etchings on display next year, from 3 May to 2 September. Click the title link for more information.

Bercow Portrait

Parliament UK has unveiled Brendan Kelly's portrait of Commons Speaker John Bercow in action in the Commons chamber (detail shown). It cost £22,000 plus £15,000 for framing an heraldic painting designed for Mr Bercow (CLICK). The Taxpayers' Alliance is furious that our money has been wasted on boosting John Bercow's ego. The Speaker's boring job is to try to stop ex-public schoolboys in the Commons from yelling "Ya boo, sucks to you!" at one another. His irrepressible wife Sally is far more entertaining and her cheesy photo portrait by the Daily Sludge didn't cost taxpayers a penny. So I've combined the two images to compare them. Brendan Kelly's excellent painting is atmospheric and a good likeness, but £22,000 is a bit steep (title link). By the way, BBC, those "knives" on Bercow's coat of arms aren't knives. They are scimitars (Middle Eastern curved sabres) taken from the Essex coat of arms.
Update: I complained to the BBC News website about the word "knives" and it has been changed to "scimitars".

Monday, 28 November 2011

Urinal Games

British firm Captive Media has installed urinal-mounted, urine-controlled games consoles in the Gents loo of The Exhibit bar in Balham, south London. You can play a pub quiz in there or Heroes Of The Piste, a game in which you attempt to knock down penguins with left or right movements of your ... er ... joystick. The console unit has a 12 inch LCD screen behind toughened glass, so it can withstand splashback. Stickers in the bowl read "Start", "Left" and "Right" and mean what they say. Once started, penguins come sliding toward you. An infra-red sensor detects your direction of flow and you knock down a penguin or miss, according to the accuracy of your aim. BBC News tried it out, but cheated. Click the title link for its video. Of course this isn't designed merely to keep men entertained. Advertisers want to shove ads into every corner of our lives. The average pee lasts 55 seconds: plenty of time to sell you a Volvo. Commercials while I tinkle? No thanks.

Russian Sale

Vasily Vereshchagin's monumental Crucifixion by the Romans fetched £1,721,250 ($2,659,331) in Christie's auction of Russian Art in London today. I hope everyone is noticing that the big auction houses are following Coxsoft Art's golden rule for photographing works of art: When in doubt, put a pretty girl in front of it. In this case, she does give scale to the painting (title link).

Vlad at Erarta

Today the Erarta Galleries London at 8 Berkeley Street opened Vladimir Ovchinnikov: New & Recent Work, which runs until 7 January. This Surrealist painter is hailed as "one of the most significant artists to emerge from St. Petersburg during the Soviet era". He looks like the poor man's Beryl Cook to me. One of his claims to fame is that an exhibition he co-organized at the Hermitage Museum in 1964 was closed down by the KGB. A nonconformist! Above is his The Illusionist (2011). Click the title link for more information.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Oil Painters Show

Running alongside the Brian Dewbury show at the Mall Galleries, but opening a day later and closing a day later, is the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition. This is the only major national art society that is devoted exclusively to oil painting. Above is Chris Bennett's Orrery (a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the Solar System in a heliocentric model: CLICK). A number of prizes will be awarded during the show, including the Phyllis Roberts Award of £2,000 for a promising young painter and the Winsor & Newton Under-35 Oil Painting Awards. Admission is £2.50 for adults or £1.50 for silver surfers. Click the title link for more information.

New Ceramics

The next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London is Brian Dewbury: An Exhibition of New Ceramics, which runs from 6 to 17 December. His two previous shows at the Mall were very successful, attracting international interest. He researches glazes for his bottles and bowls and combines traditional forms with contemporary styles. The example shown is his Red Shimu. I assume this is a selling exhibition. Admission is free. So why not pop in?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Turnip Prize

Nominees for this year's antidote to the Turner Prize for bad art have been announced by Turnip Prize HQ: New Inn in Wedmore, Somerset. They include a sweaty-looking slab of Swiss cheese cut into the shape of an E to make CheeseE and an Action Man with a strategically placed postage stamp entitled First Class Mail. May the worst pun win. Money raised from the competition goes to childhood bereavement charity Winston's Wish. The winner will be revealed on 5 December, the same day as the Turner Prize is announced (title link). Banksy doesn't stand a chance; too much effort and no awful pun.

Raymond Chandler Sale

Why am I posting a picture of Richard Chopping's front cover for Ian Fleming's Goldfinger (1959) under the title "Raymond Chandler Sale"?
1) It is one of the finest front covers for any of the many editions of the James Bond novels. Note the golden discs in the skull's eye sockets and the background of pine wood for a cheap coffin.
2) A first edition of Goldfinger inscribed “To Ray / with much affection / from / Ian” is in Sotheby's New York sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts on 13 December, estimated value $60,000-$80,000.
3) Raymond Chandler's blurb that Fleming was the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England today persuaded me to buy my first James Bond novel.
The main thrust of the Sotherby's sale is The Jean-Vounder Davis Collection of the Raymond Chandler Library, which boasts many fascinating examples of Chandler's work, including his film scripts. Alfred Hitchcock sacked Chandler when writing Strangers on a Train (1951) after he overheard Chandler refer to him as a "fat bastard"! Chandler was credited as lead writer. Click the title link for more.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tagger Jailed

At Leeds Crown Court today idiotic tagger Joseph Binney was jailed for three months for a 14-month spree of criminal damage, spray painting trains across England with his Orgie and Aids tags (title link). He will serve that term concurrently with a two-year prison sentence for violent disorder after the Trades Union Congress protest march in London last March (CLICK). With this plonker out of circulation for a while, railway companies will save thousands of pounds. He isn't a graffiti artist, merely a thick tagger. Artists like Banksy enhance a neighbourhood. Taggers just make a mess, which is often gang related and a warning not to trespass.

The Riding Crop

This unusual statue in green and gilt patinated bronze, The Riding Crop (c.1930) by Bruno Zach, went under the hammer at Bonhams recent Design from 1860 auction in London and fetched a world record price for the artist of £97,250. Dominatrix meets 1930s chic. It reminds me of a dentist I used to have some years ago. She went riding in the mornings and occasionally turned up at the surgery in jodhpurs and riding boots under her white coat. I often wondered if I'd get a whack across the thighs with her riding crop if I didn't open wide enough.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Daydream Stolen

Metal thieves in London have struck again. The bench where this bronze statue of Dr Alfred Salter MP sat is now empty, and Bermondsey residents are furious (title link). The sculpture commemorated a respected local doctor, politician, reformer and peace campaigner, a poignant three piece work entitled Daydream, with Dr Salter waving to his daughter Joyce, who died of scarlet fever, and her pet cat lying on a wall. The local council has put the other two pieces in safekeeping and has offered a £1,000 reward for the safe return of the statue. Metal theft is endemic in England and it's high time Government cracked down on scrap metal yards that knowingly receive stolen goods.

Anne McCaffrey RIP

US-born Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern series of fantasy novels, has died at her home in Ireland at the age of 85. She was the first woman to break into the all-male preserve of sci-fi and fantasy writing. Her Pern novella Weyr Search (1967) won a Hugo award and Dragonflight (1968) won a Nebula award. She broke into the New York Times bestseller list with The White Dragon (1978). The picture shows the cover of her latest Pern novel, co-written with her son Todd, Dragon's Time (2011), painted by award-winning British fantasy artist Les Edwards (CLICK).

Ashmolean Museum

Next Saturday 26 November the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford opens six new galleries to house its collection of mummies, coffins and artifacts from Ancient Egypt and Nubia (now Sudan). Many of these objects have been in storage for decades, awaiting the second phase of the museum's redevelopment. CLICK for The Telegraph slide show. If ancient mummies aren't your bag, there is plenty more to see, including Ancient Greek statues and paintings by Turner and Claude Lorrain (title link).

St Cecilia Restored

Did you know that 22 November is the feast day of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians? Neither did I, but somebody at the Dulwich Picture Gallery did. It chose that day to unveil its repaired and restored 17th century painting of Saint Cecilia, which hasn't been on public display for more than a century, due to its dilapidated condition (CLICK). The work was original thought to be by Annibale Carracci, but has since been de-attributed. It is now attributed to the Bolognese School and is finally back on display in the London gallery (title link).

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Leonardo Resale Ban

The National Gallery's winter blockbuster Leonardo: Painter at the Court of Milan is so heavily booked that £16 tickets are being sold on eBay and Viagogo for up to £400. (Don't say I didn't give you plenty of time to order tickets.) The gallery has warned that resold tickets will be cancelled without refund and holders refused admission, in accordance with the conditions on its website. It is also contacting various firms and websites to request that they stop reselling its tickets (title link). At £400, this isn't simply punters trying to resell tickets they can't use. It's naked profiteering. Not by London Art News readers, I hope.

Lynx Ads Banned

Now here's a sunny advert for Lynx shower gels that is guaranteed to dispel SAD. The full length poster shows a woman in a bikini under a shower at a beach with the headline: "The cleaner you are the dirtier you get." Sadly the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned this poster and five other Lynx ads for being sexually suggestive and demeaning to women (title link). ASA received 113 complaints, mainly from feminists I assume, but some from mums with young children. Nobody seems to have told Boots; I found this banner ad on its website today (CLICK). I wonder what ASA will make of the latest Specsavers TV advert (CLICK).

Evol in Shoreditch

If you haven't already got SAD, Evol is likely to give it to you. His depressing cityscapes of East Berlin - "slumscapes" would be a better word - made out of cardboard stencilled with lots of tiny windows, opens at the Pictures On Walls gallery, Shoreditch, east London, on 1 December (title link). This is his first UK exhibition. BBC News is so excited it has posted a slide show: CLICK. An "epic installation" with a "full supporting cast of artists" is promised.

Anti-SAD Art

Here on the Essex side of Greater London, the sun has finally broken through the Autumn fog. Time to think about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Yankee artist James Yamada thinks he might have solved the problem with his latest art installation thingy The Summer Shelter Retreats Darkly Among The Trees (2011) which opened yesterday at Parasol Unit foundation for contemporary art in Wharf Road, London (title link). The aluminium shelter has light elements at 10,000 lux, the light intensity commonly used in therapy to treat SAD. BBC News sent the thickest reporter it could find to ask the artist daft questions like "Is it art or therapy?" and to remark "I have to say I'm feeling better already" (after a 2-second test with his eyes shut). Hopelessly unscientific, BBC (CLICK for video). You should have sent Brenda Emmanus. The whites of her eyes flashing in the gloom would have cheered me up. The question is: Can TfL afford to install 10,000 lux strip lights in all its bus shelters to cure Londoners of SAD? Think of the electricity bill!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Rotten's Graffiti

Don't laugh. The December issue of Antiquity - a quarterly review of world archaeology - contains an article by Paul Graves-Brown and John Schofield: The filth and the fury: 6 Denmark Street (London) and the Sex Pistols (title link). Catchy title. The authors put forward the notion that graffiti by Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten in 1975 makes the flat the group stayed in an important historical and archaeological site. They claim this is "a direct and powerful representation of a radical and dramatic movement of rebellion". I'll stick with cave art, thanks; it's more sophisticated, more artistic and more interesting. The graffito above shows Rotten's rotten tooth. His real name was John Lydon.

Xmas E-Crime

As part of its pre-Christmas festivities, the Metropolitan Police E-Crime Unit at New Scotland Yard, London, has taken down more than 2,000 fraudulent websites which either sent counterfeit goods or nothing at all. Many of the sites were set up by cyber thieves to harvest credit card and banking details (title link). I'm sure this 2,000 is the tip of a very big iceberg. Generally, if the price offered on goods purportedly from expensive brands, such as Nike or Tiffany, seems too good to be true, it is. And the next targets of cyber crime will be punters wanting Olympic tickets (CLICK). Be warned, these criminal websites are very convincing.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Moneybags at Tate

If there's one thing more pathetic than punters paying £500 to download an image of Moneybags Hirst's For the Love of God to their mobile phones (CLICK) it's Tate Passé putting on a retrospective of Moneybags' cobblers in its Turbine Hall next year (title link). Above is my version of his pickled shark - The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. commissioned by Charles Saatchi - which began his lucrative career. CLICK to see it grin. Tate, this is old hat. Move on.
Update: the show will run from 4 April to 24 June 2012 as part of the London 2012 arts festival (CLICK).

Cuspicephalus scarfi

This could be a first. I can't think of another artist who has had his name given to a species new to science. A 13 inch long prehistoric flying reptile - a pterosaur - discovered in Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, has been named Cuspicephalus scarfi after political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe CBE, because its nose reminded scientists of Scarfe's caricatures of Margaret Thatcher. He is reportedly chuffed with the news (title link).

Sorolla in London

If you're passing Sotheby's auction house in London, it would be worth popping in to view Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida's Children in the Sea, Valencia Beach (1908) before it disappears into some fat cat's vault. It goes under the hammer tomorrow in the Spanish part of Sotheby's sale of European paintings, Lot 70, valued at £2m-£3m ($3m-$4.7m). Click the title link for details. Sorolla has caught the moment when the naked boy in the foreground shades his eyes from the sun to give the artist a hard stare. "Here, what's your game, mister?" If you can't afford £3m, check out Sorolla's Bacchante, Lot 86 in the same auction, a snip at £35,000 to £45,000.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Rubbish Arch

I can assert without the slightest fear of contradiction that the above artwork is rubbish. Artist Miguel Romo made his rubbish replica of Marble Arch from 120 bags of litter collected by Westminster Council from Oxford Street, Regent's Street and Bond Street in one day! It stands in front of John Nash's original Marble Arch and will stay for 10 days to remind the public to dispose of litter responsibly. Westminster Council spends about £14m every year on cleaning its streets, and that is £14m too much at a time of savage council cuts.

New London Park

Tomorrow Londoners get their first chance to peruse the shortlisted designs for the new public space south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. CLICK to see the five images released by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC). Above is Team S4's effort. Sadly Anish Kapoor's cretinous £19.1m ArcelorMittal Orbit dominates all the views (CLICK). The free show will be staged at The Centre for London's Built Environment (CLICK).

New English Art

The next show at the Mall Galleries in London is the New English Art Club: 125th Annual Exhibition, which opens on 25 November and runs till 4 December, admission £2.50 adults, £1.50 silver surfers. Work by some of the UK's leading figurative artists will be on display, example Bridge Street by Toby Ward. This is a show which also includes work by selected non-members. If you're an artist, it is worth visiting the Mall Galleries website (title link) to find out how you can submit work online for inclusion in such shows. You will need to register. I haven't linked to the registration page, because the website checks ID. It wants your ID, not mine.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Hamburg Ice Magic

Here's a Presse Foto from the inaugural Hamburger Eis-Zauber. Nothing to do with junk food. In English it reads Hamburg Ice Magic (title link). The next time David Cameron visits Mrs Merkel in Germany to argue the toss over the euro crisis, he should pay it a visit to learn something about art. The show opens on 26 November and runs ... er ... holds at a steady eight degrees Celsius until 29 January 2012. Teams of ice sculptors from the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia and elsewhere have been beavering away at more than 400 tons of ice to create the show. It amazes me that real artists choose to work in this impermanent medium, leaving art galleries to be filled with junk. Take a look at Gesamtkunstwerk to see what I mean: CLICK. Why can't we have a major ice sculpting festival in London? We have ice rinks.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Lock Up II

A group exhibition of contemporary urban art opened today at Red Bull Studios, 155-171 Tooley Street, London: The Lock Up II. Pam Glew's portrait of Scarlett Johansson on a US flag is one of the interesting works on display. Dan Baldwin, Goldie, Mau Mau, K-Guy and David Whittaker are other artists in the show, which runs until 27 November. Click the title link for a BBC slide show.

Latest Art Fad

The latest fad is limited edition contemporary art for mobile phones, designed by some of the UK's worst artists. The s[edition] website was launched yesterday and, believe it or not, 18 plonkers have already lashed out £500 each on digital versions of Damien Hirst's For Heaven's Sake, the most expensive of the lousy pieces on offer (title link). You get to store your purchase in your own online vault, from where you can download it to your computer, ipad or mobile phone. If you're a half-wit with money to burn on trendy tripe, CLICK to visit s[edition]. Somebody sent me this pirated version of Diamond Geezer. You can have it for free.

Benetton Miffs Pope

The Vatican has thrown a wobbler over the latest United Colors of Benetton advert, which shows Pope Benedict XVI snogging Egyptian imam Ahmed el Tayyeb - a Photoshop job -, and has threatened legal action. Benetton swiftly withdrew the advert. The aim of this silly ad campaign is supposedly to "battle the culture of hate". Tell that to the Vatican. It's probably paranoid about male snogging, due to all the child abuse scandals concerning Catholic priests and monks in recent years. The former abbot of Ealing Abbey in London jumped bail to evade his trial on child sexual abuse charges and is currently on the run in Italy (CLICK). That Britain doesn't have an extradition treaty with the Vatican is a lot more shocking than one silly advert from an unfamiliar brand. (It's an Italian clothing firm: title link.) If Father Laurence Soper makes it to Vatican City, he can't be extradited.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Arthur Christmas

I thought Aardman Animations had abandoned computer generated animation after Flushed Away (2006). Maybe Sony made them an offer they couldn't refuse. Their new film is Arthur Christmas (2011) in 3D. The bad news is that Sony Pictures Animation wrote the script, so it lacks the British humour of Wallace and Gromit as well as the stop-frame animation which Aardman does so brilliantly. Will it give us a Christmas giggle? Try the trailer. It doesn't look very promising. Click the title link for a BBC News video.

RCA Secret 2011

The Royal College of Art (RCA) Secret sale of original works of art for £45 celebrates its 18th birthday this week. The works are postcard-sized art made by professional artists, designers illustrators and current postgraduate students at the RCA. The punter lashes out on a work and finds out later who created it. With bad taste on your side, you might choose a Tracey Emin (vomit, vomit). The exhibition opens on 18 November at 11am. Sale day is Saturday 26 November, starting at 8am (title link).

Animated Drawing

Here's the flyer for Animated Drawing, an exhibition which opened today at the Centre for Recent Drawing at 2-4 Highbury Station Road, London. The Centre is a registered charity that promotes new drawings. This exhibition shows the work of three artists: Alexander Schellow, Miranda Whall and Kristian De La Riva. The flyer features Miranda Whall's Samuel and I, a watercolour wash of the artist doing her thing with a pair of gigantic blue tits on her feet. Don't ask me which one Samuel is. The blurb sums it up: "Animated Drawing is a collection of works that in contrast to the happy innocence of childhood, explores drawing to show the place of failed desires, mechanical sexuality and dead space" (title link). Not one for the kiddies, I assume.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Title Art Prize

Blank Media Collective has announced the winner of its inaugural The Title Art Prize for contemporary art: Joe Doldon. He wins £500, not a lot; but the publicity is worth far more. CLICK for a BBC slide show. The shortlisted entries were mostly dire. This portrait of Sir Anthony Hopkins by David Sargerson was, I thought, the best of a bad deal. David used 220 painted boards, which he hopes to sell separately as small works of art. Click the title link for the Blank Media Collective website.

Bull for E-cop?

An illiterate e-cop (e-mail) from Cambridgeshire Police has been nominated for the Plain English Campaign Golden Bull award for gobbledygook. The e-cop begins "Dear residents leaving [living] in the Castle Ward." [full stop wrong]. Click the title link to read the full e-cop. I was trained by the Plain English Campaign for the London Borough of Redbridge, which was too politically correct to use the word "English" and changed it to "Language". (You can't have all our immigrant voters thinking we put English above Punjabi, Polish or whatever!) CLICK to visit the Plain English Campaign website. It has some mind-blowing examples of gobbledygook.

Romero Britto Pop

Today the Imitate Modern contemporary art gallery in London opened Romero Britto Modern Icons, an exhibition by the Brazilian-born pop artist who works in the USA. The show includes his Royal Portrait Series featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Shown is Our Princess (2011). He seems to like Mickey and Minnie Mouse too. Limited edition prints are available (title link). The show runs until 7 December.
Update: since I posted this item this morning, BBC News has posted a slide show (CLICK).

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


The next exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London is Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art From Germany, which opens on 18 November and limps along till 30 April 2012. This is some of the most appalling rubbish I've seen in a long time. Take Georg Herold's Untitled (2011) as an example. I guess it's a purple nude. It's one of the best works in the exhibition! CLICK for The Telegraph slide show if you don't believe me. The one redeeming feature of this dreadful mess is the entry price: free.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Missiles For Olympics!

I.C. - Olympic Games 2012 Carbon Footprint (2007)In answer to a question by former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, the new Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has told Parliament that he is prepared to deploy ground-to-air missiles to protect the 2012 Olympic Games in London! That will add a hell of a lot to the Games carbon footprint. And the Yanks want to send 500 FBI agents to protect their team alone (title link). This is insane. Is there time to cancel the damned thing?

Larry Won't Budge

IFO Over London

Here's the next daft installation thingy destined to loom over London, Kings Cross to be precise. This is IFO (Identified Flying Object) by French artist and architect Jacques Rival, a jumbo golden bird cage big enough for people to enter. By night it will be illuminated and once a month it will be hoisted by a giant crane into the night sky. This is the first instalment of RELAY, an "art" project inspired by the carrying of the Olympic flame round the UK (title link). Groan!

Miss World 2

Yesterday BBC News finally admitted that Ivian Sarcos, Miss Venezuela, was crowned Miss World 2011 in London! The one week's delay in reporting this politically incorrect item seems to have been caused by Auntie's needing to commission a feminist professor - Mary Beard - to write an essay on the evils of beauty pageants for BBC News Magazine (title link). Her Point of View is consigned to Radio 4, to make sure no naughty male TV producer tries to show video clips from the "cattle market". For a prof. Mary is very subjective and unscientific about the whole thing, but she did manage to sit through the show ("a peek") - streamed live online - and didn't feel as angry as she used to. Nice to know. As for the poor TV licence payers, I suppose we must resign ourselves to living in a feminist totalitarian regime guarded by the BBC Thought Police. Big Auntie is watching us!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Honour And Glory

Street artist Andrew Nurse has painted this graffito on a wall in Scarborough: Honour And Glory. To the left of the Flanders poppy you see biplanes and a machine gun from World War I, to the right a soldier aiming a modern rifle. What better picture for Remembrance Sunday? The Chairman of the local branch of The Royal British Legion agrees (title link). And it's free and easy to view, unlike Ted Harrison's poppy portraits in St Paul's Cathedral (scroll down or CLICK). How much did they cost?

Monument to Mammon

In the days when I used to rubber-neck around London, St Paul's Cathedral was a place of worship you could freely enter. No more! While researching my post on Ted Harrison's poppy portraits (next post down or CLICK) I was appalled to find out that St Paul's has become a monument to Mammon. Prices at the gate are £14.50 for adults, £13.50 for silver surfers, £5.50 for children and £34.50 for families. There are currently savings of up to £2 on each ticket to be made if you book online for "fast track" entry. Currently you need to book one month in advance! No wonder anti-capitalism protesters are camping outside St Paul's: they can't afford to get in! The illustration I chose for this post is Evelyn De Morgan's The Worship of Mammon (1909). Church of England capitalist fat cats take note.

St Paul's Poppies

On Armistice Day artist Ted Harrison "unveiled" his poppy portraits of child soldiers under the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. From ground level, it looks like a random fall of remembrance poppies, but from the Whispering Gallery you can see their portraits. On the left is a boy soldier from World War I. At the top is a modern girl soldier (Harrison points out that a third of child soldiers are girls). On the right is an African boy soldier. The work seems unnamed, but Harrison emphasized "Innocence Betrayed" in his video on St Paul's website (CLICK) and I can't think of a better title. The small figure is Harrison posing to give scale to his work. Click the title link for a magnificent photo by Paul Hackett.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Tat-Ta, Silvio

Spaghetti PM Silvio Berlusconi has resigned! His exit wasn't quite as heroic as this anonymous Milan street artist foretold. The graffito shows Silvio as Emperor Napoleon dragging a cartload of doxies wearing Minnie Mouse masks. The reality? Crowds booed and jeered as his convoy passed by and shouted "Buffoon!" (in Italian) as he entered the presidential palace. He was reportedly a bit miffed. The question is: What will Italian political cartoonists do without "Papi" and his orgies ... er ... parties and all his glamorous young women in their teens?