Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Flora Londonensis

One of the current free displays at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London is Early guides to the plants of London, including Flora Londonensis and the Botanical Magazine (CLICK). English Apothecary William Curtis published Flora Londinensis in parts from 1775 to 1798. He followed this with his Botanical Magazine, which is still published today and is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants. The pictures on display in the Centenary Gallery until 30 November are of species that can be found along the Horniman Nature Trail or in the Gardens. Parents seeking holiday activities for their kids would do well to browse the Horniman website (CLICK).

Monday, 30 July 2012

London Silly Hats

Here's another turkey for the London 2012 Festival: 20 silly hats commissioned by Mayor Bouncy Boris for Hatwalk. Shown is Lock & Co's silly hat for Lord Nelson, complete with Olympic Torch. Some of the other statues decorated in this manner are those of Sir Winston Churchill, General Sir Henry Havelock, King George IV, the 1st Duke of Wellington and Franklin D. Roosevelt (CLICK). Expect complaints from the US Embassy. All the hats will be auctioned off to raise money for the Mayor's Fund. "You've got to take your hats off to London," said Bouncy. Groan!

Godiva Awakes

Believe it or not, I've found a Cultural Olympiad event that might be worth seeing. I suppose even the Arts Council had difficulty finding 12 turkeys to fund. One out of twelve isn't bad for ACE. And here she is: Godiva Awakes, a 19-feet-tall puppet of the fabled lady who rode naked through Coventry as a protest against taxes. She represents the West Midlands at the London 2012 Games. Yesterday, propelled by 50 cyclists on a 50-seat bike called the Cyclopedia, she set out for London. She should have reached Rugby by now. She is due to arrive at Waltham Forest on 5 August (CLICK).

Sunday, 29 July 2012

US Cuts 7/7 Dance

Here is a still from Akram Khan's sensitive ballet about loss, showing the boy's emotional return to his "father". If you're one of the 40.7m Americans who watched NBC's version of the BBC coverage of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, you won't have seen this beautiful dance sequence, which also featured the faces of the 52 people who were murdered in the Islamic terrorist attack in London on 7 July 2005. NBC has given two feeble excuses for this insult. It claims it didn't know the dance referred to 7/7. That is a lie, because a one minute silence was called for. Its anchor man came up with the equally insulting comment that it didn't include the Munich massacre. This was British history, you fathead, not German history or Olympic history, and the 7/7 attack is as important to us as is the 9/11 attack on New York. Akram Khan is upset his tribute to victims of the London bombings wasn't shown in the US (CLICK) and I am disgusted with NBC's dishonesty and cavalier attitude toward London's victims.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Danny Boyle's Britain

I must admit I was dubious of Danny Boyle's idea of showing the UK as a green and pleasant land in the Olympic opening ceremony, but the bucolic idyll was merely a forerunner to the Industrial Revolution (above) in his potted history of Britain. Enter Wallinger swaggering around in a stovepipe hat as Isambard Kingdom Brunel and spouting Shakespeare. Huge smoking chimneys sprouted from the floor. A tree was uprooted for factory workers to emerge from their underground lair. Molten metal flowed into moulds to make fiery Olympic Rings, which rose high into the stadium. Spectacular! And who needs hundreds of Chinese drummers when you have Evelyn Glennie, the world's top virtuoso percussionist despite being profoundly deaf? Boyle's career as an Oscar-winning film director may have set a precedent in Olympic opening ceremonies. He created neat interjections, such as Daniel Craig's James Bond meeting the Queen and her corgis for a helicopter ride and Her Majesty's parachute jump into the stadium! (Skyfall is the next Bond movie.) And David Beckham's dramatic powerboat race along the Thames with the Olympic flame was worthy of another Bond action sequence (below). For those of you wondering why JK Rowling read from JM Barrie while the logo for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children was displayed, it's because Barrie bequeathed all future royalties from Peter Pan to the hospital. Skipping 1960's pop music, Mr Bean and bicycling doves that looked more like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, we arrive at Thomas Heatherwick's brilliant design of a copper flower whose 204 flaming petals rose into the air to form an Olympic cauldron, uniting the 204 countries. Wow! Sir Paul McCartney singing Hey Dude was an anti-climax after that. CLICK for a BBC slide show.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Mitt Romney A Joke

US Republican presidential candidate and Latter Day Saint Mitt Romney hotfooted it to London to prove to the voters back home that he's an international statesman. Big mistake! Apart from being rich and as far right wing as you can get this side of Fascism, his only claim to fame is organising the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. So he shot his mouth off about that and questioned London's readiness to host the Games. London Mayor Bouncy Boris hit back when he addressed a huge crowd in Hyde Park. "I hear there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready," shouted Bouncy. "Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!" (Roars from the crowd: CLICK) A miffed PM David Cameron also riposted on a visit to the Olympic Park, saying it would be easier to host the Games "in the middle of nowhere" (Salt Lake City at a guess). Another of Mitt's gaffes was to address Labour leader Ed Miliband as "Mr Leader", presumably having been briefed that Ed was the leader of the opposition". As an international statesman, Mitt Romney is a joke. So I've given him a red nose for Red Nose Day.

Not A Tinkle Here

BBC News scrolling headline: "LONDON 2012: Bells are ringing around the country to mark the official start of the Olympic Games". I'm glad to say that where I live in Redbridge there hasn't even been a bicycle bell tinkling. All I can hear are car tyres swishing on a wet road, a sound typical in this area. Even the birds are refusing to twitter. So, not everyone has been silly enough to jump on Martin Creed's bandwagon of dinging their bells. He's being paid for it. Nobody else is. The title of his purported artwork is: All the Bells in a Country Rung as Quickly and as Loudly as Possible for Three Minutes (2012). Catchy title, Martin. How much did Arts Council England pay you for this "art"? The painting of Big Ben (the bell, not the clock tower) is by William T. Kimber, the head moulder responsible for casting the bell at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1858. CLICK for the Foundry's website to learn more about Big Ben.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Frieze Projects East

I first mentioned Frieze Projects East back in February (CLICK). Its six dubious "art" projects, one in each of the Olympic host boroughs, were commissioned by the London 2012 Festival and CREATE (CLICK). Above is Gary Webb's finished "sculpture" Squeaky Clean in Charlton Park, tarmacked and fenced off. The Guardian has posted a slide show of the various pieces, including a blow-up Rodin: CLICK. BBC News has posted a slide show of Sarnath Banerjee's illiterate and unfunny cartoons: CLICK. What a waste of taxpayers' money! Arts Council England is clueless.

Memo to LOCOG

Memo to LOCOG: the flag on the left is the South Korean Flag. The flag on the right is the North Korean Flag. What a cock-up confusing them at Glasgow's Hampden Park on the first day of the Olympic Games! And the two countries are mortal foes. The North Korean girlie football team stomped off in fury. Major diplomatic incident! Grovelling apologies (CLICK). Great start, LOCOG. Any more aces up your sleeve?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


The Wellcome Collection in London has recently opened Superhuman: Exploring Human Enhancement from 600BC to 2050 to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (CLICK). With over 100 artworks, artefacts, videos and photos, it covers everything from Icarus to Spiderman and from false noses to knitted breasts. Shown is a still from artist Regina José Galindo's video Recortepor la Linea (Cut Through the Line) made in 2005. She stood naked while a cosmetic surgeon marked her body for the changes he would make to enhance her body. She made the film in Venezuela, the country with the third highest rates of aesthetic procedures per capita. The exhibition continues until 16 October and is free. It runs alongside the Wellcome Image Awards (CLICK), also free. CLICK for a Telegraph slide show.

Hey’Ya: Arab Women

More sport! And another sprinter. This striking photo by Brigitte Lacombe is of Ahamada Feta (2011). It's part of an exhibition at Sotheby’s London, Hey’Ya (Let's Go): Arab Women in Sport, which opened today and runs until 11 August (CLICK). The show was commisioned by Qatar Museums Authority to promote women in sport in the Arab World, where Muslims still treat their women like cattle. That reminds me, Saudi Arabian showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas (CLICK) failed to qualify for the Olympics, due to a minor injury to her horse. Shame. I was rooting for her. As for this photo, if Brigitte insists on using a computer to remove backgrounds from her shots, she should make sure she removes all of it. Look under Ahamada's crotch.

Usain Bolt in Wax

It's impossible to escape the Olympic Games if you live in London, no matter how much you may want to. Here's the latest waxwork at Madame Tussauds in London: Usain Bolt, who's apparently a nifty sprinter from Jamaica. He's billed as the world's fastest man (CLICK). He wasn't around for the unveiling, but a couple of girlie athletes from Jamaica came to ogle their hero. One thing I will say for Madame Tussauds: it's keeping alive high-quality representational sculpture at a time when any inartistic clot with an acetylene torch can cobble together some tripe out of old iron and call it "art".

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Banksy's Missile

Banksy couldn't let the Olympics go by without a comment on Fortress London. Above is the latest picture posted on his website, showing an Olympic javelin thrower hurling a ground-to-air missile (CLICK). Sums up the insanity nicely. Dove of peace? Forget it. That was the old-style Olympic Games.

Royal Mail Welcome

Yesterday at Potters Fields, with Tower Bridge as a backdrop, Royal Mail unveiled enlarged images of stamps in its latest miniature sheet: Welcome to the London 2012 Olympic Games. It must have been at the crack of dawn, because those clouds disappeared rapidly to give us the sunniest day in yonks. The sheet, post cards and first day covers will be released on 27 July (CLICK). Royal Mail intends to drive stamp collectors crazy during the Olympics. It will release a stamp honouring every member of Team GB who wins a gold medal, within 24 hours of the victory.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sir Peter's Show

I can never understand why art galleries fail to update their websites in time for new exhibitions. On Friday The Fine Art Society in New Bond Street, London, opened a new exhibition which shows Sir Peter Blake's favourite artworks from its 19th and 20th centuries British Art collection. Today BBC London posted a video of Brenda Emmanus interviewing Sir Peter about the exhibition (CLICK). Yet The Fine Art Society still has the exhibition as "forthcoming" (CLICK)!

The London Booster

No, it isn't a model, nor a Photoshop job. It's a 1957, six-ton, double-decker London bus with two huge arms that enable it to do push-ups. It also groans with exertion. It's the brainchild of Czech artist David Cerny. He calls it The London Booster (2012). It will be installed near to where the Czech Olympic team will be staying in London. He hopes it will keep exercising throughout the Olympic Games. CLICK to view a BBC video of this novel artwork in action.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


If you were a multi-millionaire, would you waste £500,000 on a barge full of rocks from the Svalbard Archipelago being tugged around the southwestern British coast accompanied on land by a coach carrying propaganda? That's what the Arts Council has done. This floating "sculpture" is another of those insane "art" projects ACE commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad. Nowhereisland (2012) is the fevered brainchild of purported artist Alex Hartley. Amazingly, over 8,000 idiots have already signed up for a piece of Nowhereisland. Its official unveiling is at Weymouth on 25 July (CLICK).

RIBA Shortlist

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released its shortlist of six buildings for this year's Stirling Prize, worth £20,000. Two London buildings have been shortlisted: The London Olympic Stadium (above) and The New Court Rothschild Bank, which also houses the Rothschild art collection. CLICK to view the other buildings in the shortlist.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Nadia Comăneci

What a pleasure to see Nadia Comăneci again, the first Olympic girl gymnast to score a 10. She did so on the uneven bars in the 1976 Summer Olympiad in Montreal. I was entranced by her assured performance. CLICK for a YouTube video. CLICK for her gymnastics record on Wikipedia. What better person could there be to carry the Olympic flame in London? Here she is on top of the North Greenwich Arena with John Amaechi. CLICK for a BBC interview.

Moore Sundial Found

This Henry Moore Sundial (1965), stolen from The Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham on 10 July, has been recovered intact following an appeal by Hertfordshire Police on BBC One's Crimewatch. The police collared three young men, one aged 19 and two aged 22, all from Stanstead, Essex. A bronze plinth was also recovered (CLICK).

Fortress London

The more Lord Coe and our incompetent Home Secretary Theresa May try to reassure us that the Olympic Games will be "safe and secure", the more worried I become. The tragic events in Colorado and Bulgaria this week demonstrate that it takes only one fruitcake to create mayhem. But it's the threat of Islamic lunatics staging a 9/11-style attack on London during Ramadan which seems to worry Government. With Army Rapier missiles ringing the capital, Typhoon jets stationed at RAF Northolt, the Royal Navy's largest warship HMS Ocean docked in the Thames and the RAF threatening to use "lethal force" against any intruder over the Olympic Park, I can't help wondering who's bluffing whom. Any use of weapons such as Rapier missiles in our overcrowded city would cause huge loss of life far beyond that of shooting down a hijacked jumbo jet. It might even cause May and Coe to admit there's a problem! Welcome to Fortress London, foreign Olympians. The sooner you all go back home the better. Forget your sporting ethos. You're here to make a fortune for McDonald's and keep fat British couch potatoes snacking in front of the TV.

Friday, 20 July 2012

More Magic Art

On Monday I linked to a BBC video showing South Korean 3D paintings in The Magic Art Special Exhibition in the Chinese city of Hangzhou (CLICK). Today The Telegraph caught up with the show and posted an online gallery of people interacting with the artworks (CLICK). This little girl is pretending to exclude a Tyrannosaurus rex breaking through a door. No future as an actress, I'm afraid.

Art Cars

Tomorrow the NCP Great Eastern Street Car Park in Shoreditch opens Art Drive! - The BMW Art Car Collection. This is a collection of 16 BMW cars painted by famous artists, such as Jeff Coons, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. It is the first time the collection has come to the UK. Admission is free, but the exhibition runs only to 4 August. If you don't fancy London's gridlock, CLICK for The Telegraph slide show. The BMW 3.0 CSL above was painted by Alexander Calder in 1975 at the request of his friend racing driver Hervé Poulain.

Saatchi 100 Curators

Saatchi Online has launched what it claims is the largest online art exhibition ever: 100 Curators 100 days (CLICK). It asked 100 top curators to select their 10 favourite artworks from over 60,000 artists currently showing work on Saatchi Online. I looked at Tobia Bezzola's selection - he's Curator at Kunsthaus Zurich in Switzerland - and couldn't believe what a load of rubbish he'd chosen. It doesn't bode well for the next 98 days. I gave up.

Kieron Retrospective

Today 9-year-old Kieron Williamson opened his first retrospective exhibition at Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, Norfolk. It may seem insane to hold a retrospective of a schoolboy's four-year art career; but, as you might expect, his work has developed considerably since he was 5 years old. CLICK for a BBC slide show. Above is one of his latest oil paintings: Cley Mill from the Marshes (2012). David Keller of BBC Norfolk went to meet the Mini Monet: CLICK.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Kate at NPG

Back to the National Portrait Gallery. Today, in her capacity as patron of the NPG, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, opened its latest exhibition Road To 2012: Aiming High, which shows 100 photos of Olympic and Paralympic athletes and those working behind the scenes. Kate met Diana Gould, who at 100 will be the oldest person to carry the Olympic flame as it wanders round the UK. The exhibition is free and runs till 23 September (CLICK). The Telegraph has posted a slide show of exhibition photos by Anderson & Low: CLICK.

Rio London Carnival

Here's another London 2012 Festival show, which should keep the punters amused in the London Borough of Hackney. On Saturday 21 July Rio London Carnival will burst upon the scene, the result of a year-long collaboration between UK and Rio carnival artists. This is a free spectacular, but you need to book tickets in advance. CLICK for details.

Kelly Holmes at NPG

Just in time for the London Olympics, the National Portrait Gallery in London has unveiled this portrait of double-gold-winning Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes (2012) painted by Craig Wylie. He won the commission as part of the First Prize BP Portrait Award 2008. It's a sombre, reflective portrait which fails to capture Dame Kelly's vibrant personality. Craig worked from his own photos of her, maybe a mistake. You'll find the portrait in the Lerner Galleries, Room 36. And don't forget the free BP Portrait Award exhibition, one of the handful of London 2012 Festival shows worth visiting (CLICK).

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

British Art Fair

The 25th British Art Fair will take place at the Royal College of Art from 12 – 16 September. This is the only fair which specialises exclusively in Modern British art (CLICK). Above is Dame Elisabeth Frink's Standing Horse (1982) from Beaux Arts London. CLICK for a beautiful photo of a Dame Elisabeth Frink bronze horse stolen for its scrap value in 2009.

Sweet Harmony

Here's another of May Fong Robinson's beautiful digital artworks: Sweet Harmony (2011). It's based on a photo by Manuel Libres Librodo Jr (with his permission). The model is Krystal Vee and the original photo was taken at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai, Thailand. May used Photoshop CS4 and Wacom Intuos to enhance the image. CLICK for a larger picture and to view May's online gallery.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tate Tanks

Welcome to the new look Tate Modern: The Tanks, Art In Action (2012). Two of the huge subterranean oil tanks in the former Bankside Power Station have been converted to house performance thingies and bad "art" films. I guess toffs who enjoy slumming will love it. The King of Crap gave BBC News the spiel: CLICK. Occasionally the camera cuts away to show Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's boring and repetitive Fase. If that doesn't put you off, nothing will.

3D Grand Canyon

Yesterday I posted news of a 3D art exhibition wowing the punters in China. Today, by sheer coincidence, I spotted the latest work by that master of 3D pavement art Kurt Wenner. Here's his Grand Canyon Illusion (2012). The girl is real. The work stands in the courtyard of the National Geographic Visitor Center in Tusayan, Arizona, near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and will be on display until November. It is Wenner's first semi-permanent display in North America, using a computer to print his pastel drawings in sections, so rain or visitors' feet won't spoil them (CLICK).

Monday, 16 July 2012

South Korean 3D Art

BBC News has published a video showing visitors enjoying The Magic Art Special Exhibition in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou (CLICK). Children especially enjoy interacting with the 3D oil paintings, and their parents love photographing them. The photo above, showing a visitor recoiled from a lion, was taken at another 3D exhibition in the Jilin province of China, staged last year.

Extreme Action Heroes

Yesterday the London Festival 2012 kicked off with choreographer Elizabeth Streb and "Extreme Action Heroes" from her New York Streb Action Dance Company. They bungee jumped off the Millennium Bridge, abseiled down City Hall (above), dangled in front of the National Theatre, climbed an apparatus in front of the National Gallery and finally flew around the London Eye at night (CLICK). All this tomfoolery was commissioned by Mayor Bouncy Boris and paid for by Arts Council England, the National Lottery and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

El Mostrador Grunge

Here's a detail from a shock Ogilvy & Mather advert for Chilean newspaper El Mostrador showing the late and lamented Amy Winehouse burying alive the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It's one of three sick ads designed to catch the eye. The slogan is NEWS CHANGES FAST. The other two depict Colonel Gadaffi burying Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek and Apple CEO Steve Jobs burying Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. CLICK to view all three disturbing images. If decent firms boycotted Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency might think twice about creating such appalling ads.

GAvA at Mall

The next exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London is the Guild of Aviation Artists (GAvA) Aviation Paintings of the Year, which opens on 17 July and zooms along until 22 July (CLICK). This is another free show amid all the overpriced rubbish commissioned for the London 2012 Festival, and it's good to know the UK still has top-flight artists making a living creating great art without the need for taxpayer subsidies. Above is A Lot of Hot Air by Roy Huxley GAvA. Terrific. This is the world's largest annual exhibition of aviation art with over 450 original works on display. Dramatic paintings of historic aeroplanes, dogfights from World War I and the latest civil and military subjects will be shown. (CLICK for more GAvA pictures.) During the show there will be daily painting demonstrations by Guild artists. On Thursday 19 July there will be Walkabout Critiques, from noon to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Kieron Williamson Book

Fans of 9-year-old art prodigy Kieron Williamson may like to know that his mother, Michelle Williamson, has published a book about her son's art: Kieron Williamson Coming to Light. There are two versions. The one published by Halstar has 144 pages, mostly showing Kieron's paintings, and retails at £24.99. The second version is a boxed limited edition by Picturecraft Publishing which sells for £125 (CLICK). The book will be launched at Kieron's next exhibition at Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, Norfolk, on 20 July. His paintings sell so fast at high prices that he is expected to become a millionaire by then. The Mail has published a page of Kieron's paintings from his mum's book (CLICK).

New Arts Centre

A new community arts centre has opened next to the Olympic Park (CLICK). It's official name is best forgotten: The Hackney Wick Fish Island Cultural Centre. Its alternative name is The White Building. Even this name could be improved. Why not have a competition to give it a proper name? Arts and education charity SPACE will run the centre (CLICK). Naming competition, SPACE? Something unique that Google can home in on. How about the Gets On My Wick Arts Centre? The bad ones usually do.

Bob Hope Exhibition

Yesterday BBC News released a video to coincide with the opening of Bob Hope: A World of Laughter, which celebrates the life of the British-born Hollywood actor and comedian. The BBC's Katerina Mo interviewed Linda Hope, Bob Hope's daughter, while they toured the exhibition (CLICK). It's an amusing video, but the BBC forgot to mention the exhibition venue! Never fear; Coxsoft Art is here. The exhibition is in the Berkeley Gallery, Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 4DX (CLICK). It was curated by the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum with the support of the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation. It runs until 28 October and admission is free. Ignore all those London 2012 Festival tourist ripoffs. This freebie is an exhibition Londoners can take their kids to and enjoy. Above: Linda Hope at the exhibition. Left: a photo of Bob Hope. In case you're wondering why Bob had an American accent, his family emigrated to America when he was only four years old.

Birthday Boy Klimt

Today Google is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Klimt with a Google Doodle of The Kiss (CLICK). Vienna is going big on the artist's birthday. Ten of the city's museums are showing special exhibitions of his work. The Klimt Collection of the Wien Museum is the biggest and most varied in the world, holding 400 of his drawings as well as some of his finest paintings. It also holds an uncensored lithograph of his scandalous poster for the first Secession Exhibition of 1898. His artwork ranges from classical, through Art Nouveau and Impressionism, to the glittery kitsch for which he has become famous. Above is his Idylle (1884) which was obviously inspired by Renaissance paintings. CLICK for the Wien Museum. CLICK for an excellent virtual museum of Klimt's paintings and drawings.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Tate Blackouts

Will we need to save power during the Olympic Games to avoid the stadium lights going out? Tate Passé seems to think so. Its latest wheeze to bring in punters for the London 2012 Festival is to black out the gallery on Saturday nights and allow up to 500 visitors to prowl round the Surrealist gallery using solar powered torches. They were designed by Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson, who calls them Little Sun (2012). They're produced in China using sweated labour. (Is there any other kind of labour there?) As usual, Tate doesn't give a fig about health and safety (CLICK). This piffle replaces Eliasson's £1m Take A Deep Breath, which the Olympic Lottery Distributor wisely rejected (CLICK).

Captain of 11 Sold

At the end of May I posted news of the forthcoming sale of Captain of the Eleven painted by Philip Hermogenes Calderon RA in 1882. Its estimated value was £100,000 to £150,000 (CLICK). At Bonhams London auction on Wednesday the painting fetched £289,250, a record for the artist. The Blackpool primary school which put the painting up for sale is celebrating this welcome addition to its funds (CLICK). Who bought it? Will it leave the UK? I hope Government is keeping an eye on recent sales.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Art In Ilford

The Redbridge Art Association has organised a summer of art in the Dovecote Gallery, Valentines Mansion & Gardens, Ilford. It began on 1 July, but I've only just found out about it (CLICK). There are 3 exhibitions, the first by the Ilford Art Society, which runs until 29 July. The second is by the St Teresa Art Group and the Monday Morning Fullwell Cross Art Group, which runs from 1 August to 27 August. The third is by The Redbridge Art Group and the Redbridge Marquetry Group, which runs from 29 August to 23 September. Entry is free. The Marquetry Group creates some very fine work. For details of all the events coming up at Valentines Mansion & Gardens over the school holidays CLICK.

Another Moore Stolen

Another bronze sculpture by Henry Moore has been stolen from the grounds of The Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire. The 22-inch-high Sundial (1965) was stolen on Tuesday night and is valued at £500,000 (CLICK). Seven years ago, a bronze statue worth £3m was stolen from the museum. CCTV pictures of the theft showed three men loading the statue on to the back of a Mercedes lorry using a crane. The statue has never been recovered and is presumed to have been melted down for scrap. The Foundation should have learned its lesson then and put in better security. So many bronze statues have been stolen in and around London over the last decade, as well as lengths of railway cable, bronze plaques and lead from churches, it's high time Government cracked down on these criminals.
Update: Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, is introducing a private members' bill designed to reform the scrap metal industry.

Rio Occupy London

As part of the London 2012 Festival arts programme, 30 Brazilian artists have been invited to take part in Rio Occupation London, a project commissioned by Rio de Janeiro's State Culture Secretariat and co-produced by the Battersea Arts Centre (CLICK). Breno Pineschi will be sticking up 10,000 brightly coloured paper bananas around the capital. He says it's, "my way to bring a real feeling of colour and happiness from my city Rio and my country" (CLICK). Brazil, you may recall, is one of those South American country's where police hit squads murder street children to control their numbers (CLICK). Above is Ratao Diniz's beautiful and carefully cropped Photo of a Boy up a Pole. It's not clear whether the boy was merely having fun or trying to escape a Brazilian police murder squad!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wellcome Image Awards

If you're into hi-tech photography, the current exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London is a must. CLICK to view the 16 winning photos in the Wellcome Image Awards 2012. Above is Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy's false-coloured scanning electron micrograph of Caffeine Crystals. Did you know that 90 per cent of adults consume caffeine daily in coffee, tea, soft drinks or energy drinks and that caffeine is a crystalline xanthine alkaloid pesticide produced by some plants to paralyse and kill certain insects feeding on them? Now you do. The show runs until 31 December.


The British Museum is getting excited about its major exhibition Shakespeare: Staging The World, which opens on 19 July and carries on until 25 November as part of the London 2012 Festival. Maps, prints, drawings, paintings, tapestries, arms and armour, books, coins and medals will bring Shakespeare's world to life. For £14 a throw, it can stay dead as far as I'm concerned. Another tourist ripoff. CLICK for more information and a soppy video performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Visit the museum's freebies instead.