Sunday, 30 September 2012

Aussie Queen

Here's a catchy title, cobber: The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2012). This painting by Australian-born, London-based, artist Ralph Heimans was unveiled last Friday at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia, and will remain on display as the highlight of a Diamond Jubilee exhibition until next March. It is the most imaginative and expressive portrait of Her Majesty I've seen. She stands in reflective mood on the exact spot where she swore her Coronation Oath, gazing down at the recently restored Cosmati pavement. Her position to the left of frame with the vista between cheerfully lit choir stalls behind her evokes the 60 years of her reign (CLICK). It makes a welcome change from the usual painted portraits of Her Majesty sitting in a chair looking bored.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Northern Renaissance

Here's a vastly more interesting exhibition from the Royal Collection. The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein opens at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, on 2 November and runs until 14 April 2013. This show brings together over 100 works by the greatest Northern European artists of the period, including prints and drawings by Albrecht Dürer, mythological paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and preparatory drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger shown alongside his finished portraits (CLICK). Above is Jan Gossaert's Adam and Eve (c. 1520). Admission is £9.25 for adults, £8.50 for silver surfers.

Warhol at Windsor

I never thought I'd see the day when the Royal Collection Trust would lash out on tripe by Andy Warhol, but here is the proof: Four Andy Warhol screenprint portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle (CLICK). They're based on Peter Grugeon's formal photo of Her Majesty wearing a tiara and necklace, used during her Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. The "diamond dust" sprinkled Warhol's will glitter on public display for the first time in the exhibition The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch, which opens at Windsor Castle on 23 November and runs until 9 June 2013, bringing together a variety of portraits of The Queen from royal residencies (CLICK). One for the tourists.

Van Dyke Or Not?

This Sunday sees the last episode of the fascinating art series Fake or Fortune? 2 on BBC One at 7pm (CLICK). This week the team investigates one of Philip Mould's purchases, which he believes is a "sleeper" painted by Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The problem is that there has been some later overpainting. This layer needs to be removed before the work can be authenticated by an independent Van Dyke expert. Has the art detective bought a pig in a poke? If you're thinking of betting against him, be warned that two years ago he bought Sir Anthony Van Dyck's Portrait of a Young Girl (left) for the bargain price of £880,000 (CLICK). Top is a photo of Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with his new painting possibly by Van Dyke.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Chinese Jade Update

The gang that broke into the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and stole 18 Chinese works of art, mostly jade, have been sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court (CLICK). Three of the gang were sentenced to six years each, but a 16-year-old youth got away with a four-month detention and training order. None of the 18 artifacts - worth between £5m and £15m - has been recovered. So the gang is still protecting its fence or the criminal who commissioned the crime. With time off for good behaviour, the gang will be out in three years. That is too lenient for a crime of "cultural vandalism". A 20-year sentence if they failed to reveal their criminal co-conspirators would have been closer to the mark. Three years is nothing more than a holiday for criminals like this. CLICK to see all 18 artifacts they stole.

Red Line Cartoon

If I were to give a prize for the silliest visual aid of the year, it would go to whoever designed this cartoon bomb for Israeli PM Netanyahu to brandish at the UN General Assembly yesterday (CLICK). He delivered his patronising lecture well, but that bomb looks like something out of a Pink Panther cartoon. It's an open secret that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb. It could be building wind farms instead of outmoded nuclear reactors, but it wants big bang capability and its obvious first target is Israel. It's also an open secret that Israel has already made efforts to cripple the project. What I can't forget is the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which spread radioactive contamination over much of Western USSR and Europe (CLICK). What I want to see isn't a soppy bomb cartoon to illustrate a patronising lecture, but a map of the estimated spread of nuclear fallout if Israel does hit Iran's nuclear facilities. Mr Netanyahu, over to you.

Renoir Stolen in 1951

Three weeks ago I posted news of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting Paysage Bords de Seine found in a box of assorted goodies bought in a US flea market for $50 (CLICK). The painting was due to be auctioned tomorrow, but The Potomack Company has withdrawn it from sale having discovered that it was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951. Saidie A. May, the last owner of the painting and a major benefactor to the Baltimore Museum of Art, had loaned it to the museum in 1937. The year the painting was stolen was also the year of May's death: 1951 (CLICK). Her 1937 loan of a number of paintings to the Baltimore Museum of Art, including this Renoir, was unearthed by Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira, who notified museum officials. Their internal enquiry revealed a loan record indicating that the Renoir painting was stolen in 1951. There is no known police record of the theft! The FBI is now investigating (CLICK). And what of May's descendants?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

AKA Peace

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London trumpets "Contemporary artists unite for Peace One Day" (CLICK). Using decommissioned AK-47 assault rifles, a number of the UK's worst artists have turned them into works of "art". I hate to write this, but Moneybags Hirst's Spin AK47 for Peace One Day is the prettiest of the bunch. The exhibition limps along until 30 September. The works will be auctioned on 4 October by Phillips de Pury & Co. to raise funds for Peace One Day, a harmless but pointless campaign to gain a worldwide ceasefire. CLICK for a Telegraph slide show.

Not Found Project

We've all encountered that frustrating 404 error message Page Not Found. Now the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children has come up with an idea to utilize those 404 pages by posting details of missing children on them. The subjects are randomized to hit the 404 pages. You might see a child who went missing yesterday or, as in this case, a young man of 25 who went missing in 1999. The 116000 telephone number is the European hotline number reserved by the European Commission for missing children. Neither BBC News (CLICK) nor the Not Found Project website (CLICK) states whether this is a free phone number or not. It might be one of those damned premium rate numbers costing £4 a minute. I've emailed the Not Found Project to find out. I'll update this post if I receive a reply.

Two Mona Lisas?

Here's a suspect painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that is worthy of a Fake or Fortune? investigation. The Mona Lisa Foundation, based in Zurich, has spent 35 years researching this "Isleworth Mona Lisa" and now claims it is an early version of Le Louvre's Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci 10 or 12 years before his famous masterpiece. The sitter certainly looks a decade younger than the famous Lisa del Giocondo, but is it by Leonardo? The backgrounds of the two paintings are different, but the old masters often had their apprentices paint backgrounds for them to save time. This one is painted on canvas, while the famous Mona Lisa is painted on wood. This could be a telling difference (CLICK).

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

AOTY 2012

The Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year is with us again and we get to vote for the winner. The magazine received a record number of over 4,000 entries and has whittled them down to the best 50. There are are 4 categories: Portrait, Landscape, Still Life and Other. CLICK to vote for your favourite in one or all four categories. The general standard is far higher than the Threadneedle competition with its insanely OTT prize for rubbish. I had a hard time casting my votes. Here's one of my choices: Daniel Goldenberg's oil painting Into The Fog under Landscape. Such atmosphere!

Thusha Update

Here's the latest photo of Thusha Kamaleswaran (2012) the youngest victim of gun crime in London. She was only 5 years old when she was shot. I've been following her case because she was gunned down in the London Borough of Redbridge - "A better place to live", claims the Council propaganda - where I also live and at times wish I didn't. Recently BBC London News posted two videos on Thusha's story. The first shows the team of Met. Trident police officers who investigated the case taking on the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for care and equipment Thusha now needs (CLICK). So far they have raised £180,000 for the Thusha Appeal (CLICK). The second video shows Thusha as she is now (CLICK). She spent a year in hospital. It was thought she would be paralysed from the waist down, but she does have some movement in her legs, not enough to walk properly, but there is hope. She is taken to school in a wheelchair.

Threadneedle Prize

Today the Mall Galleries in London opens The Threadneedle Prize 2012, worth an unbelievable £30,000 to the winner, making it the most valuable prize for a single work of art awarded in the UK. The object of this appalling waste of money appears to be to find the world's worst artist. Having viewed all 153 works online (CLICK) I spotted one excellent painting amid the dross: Raoof Haghighi's Vicky (shown). This fine portrait is so outstanding it seems to have wandered into the exhibition by mistake. It certainly didn't make the shortlist of five. The most novel of the favoured five is Ben Hendy's Self Portrait, which is a life-sized lino cut (left). BBC News favours Ben Greener's My Feet (CLICK). Admission to the exhibition is free, but I wouldn't waste my time on it. Vote with your feet and stay away.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Comrade Kim

Here's a novelty worthy of note. The Pyongyang International Film Festival in North Korea screened the country's first romantic comedy co-produced with Western partners. If Hollywood had made Comrade Kim Goes Flying, it would have been a rags-to-riches story. In North Korea it's a coal-miner-to-trapeze-artist story. Han Jong-sim as Comrade Kim is the loveliest coal miner I've ever seen. She's fiesty too. British co-director Nick Bonner reckons the movie's theme is "girl-power" (CLICK). That'll scare the massed ranks of medal-decorated male generals standing behind their newly crowned junior leader.

BBC Badger Update

The BBC (Badger Bashing Corporation) has posted news that a petition against badger culling signed by more than 105,000 people may force a Parliamentary debate on the cull (CLICK). You can almost hear the landowners who run the BBC groaning. If you doubt me, note that the BBC gives no link to the petition at the bottom of its story (its usual practice when trying to show its impartiality). It obviously doesn't want any more people signing the petition. So here is the link: CLICK to read and sign. Queen guitarist Brian May CBE is the author of the petition, but he is backed by an unprecedented coalition of the UK’s leading animal welfare organisations, including David Shepherd Wildlife Trust, Born Free Foundation, The Badger Trust, RSPCA and even Conservatives against the Cull (CLICK). Tory plebs?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Dad's Army Van

A piece of BBC history comes up for grabs in Bonhams auction The Patrick Collection Part III at Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, on 3 December. This is Lance Corporal Jones’ butchers van from the BBC television series Dad's Army, estimated value £20,000 to £30,000. TV aside, it's a 1935 Ford Box Van. The rifle portholes were added for the show (CLICK)!

Genuine Turners

This is JMW Turner's The Beacon Light, one of three Turner oil paintings owned by the National Museum Cardiff and previously thought to be fakes. Thanks to a Fake or Fortune? investigation Turner: A Miscarriage of Justice?, screened on Sunday (CLICK), the paintings have been reassessed as genuine by Turner expert Martin Butlin. All seven Turners bequeathed to Wales by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies are now on show in Cardiff (CLICK).

Sir Peter Lely

Not only was Sir Peter Lely one of our finest artists, but also he amassed one of England’s first great collections of drawings. Today The Courtauld Gallery in London opened Peter Lely: The Draughtsman and his Collection, which runs until 13 January 2013. But wait for it. On 11 October The Courtauld Gallery opens Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision, which runs alongside The Draughtsman until 13 January 2013. This exhibition includes some of his finest paintings borrowed from other collections. His Nymphs by a Fountain (c. 1654) - detail shown - is borrowed from the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Admission costs £7 for adults, £5.50 for silver surfers. At those prices, this is a must (CLICK).

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bloodhound SSC

Here's an artist's impression of the Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) attempting to break the world land speed record at 1,000mph. The British team developing the rocket-powered car has announced that it will fire the hybrid rocket on 3 October at the Aerohub, Newquay Cornwall Airport (CLICK). Donate £10 to the project and your name will be put on the Bloodhound's fin (CLICK). Don't care about land speed records? You should. This is an educational project that will attract many children to the sciences involved, and they are the future of the UK and of the world.

Macmillan Auction

On Tuesday 25th September the Royal College of Art in Kensington Gore, London, will stage the 6th annual Macmillan De'Longhi Art Auction in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Sixty artists have contributed photographs, prints, paintings and sculptures to the auction. They include Antony Gormley, Rankin, Ringo Starr, Gavin Turk, Maggi Hambling CBE, Jack Vettriano, Natasha Law, Sam Taylor-Wood and Gillian Wearing (CLICK). Don't forget your chequebook!

Propaganda Coin

The Argentine Central Bank has issued a new 2 Pesos Coin commemorating the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine troops. The reverse bears the name MALVINAS - Argentina's name for the Falkland Islands - and the date 1833, which is when Great Britain is supposed to have stolen the islands. As one wag put it "You can tell a country is in deep trouble when it commemorates a military defeat". The coin is part of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's dishonest propaganda to claim the Falklands for Argentina. She fancies herself as another Margaret Thatcher, but she's 30 years too late. The Central Bank also issued a 100 pesos bill to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of Eva Duarte de Perón, who is still much loved in Argentina and abroad, thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita. 100 pesos for Eva Peron and 2 pesos for Cristina Kirchner says it all (CLICK).

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Architecture Festival

The Telegraph has posted a slide show of some of the buildings shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival Awards 2012, which is being held in Singapore for the first time to attract entries from Asia and Australasia. The competition attracted more than 500 entries from almost 50 countries, including Australia, Singapore, China, India, Japan and Iran. This is Cloud House by McBride Charles Ryan, Fitzroy North, Australia. CLICK to see more buildings.

Andras Manajlo' at ROA

Some people like their paintings to look like paintings, rather than like photos. If you're one of those, pop along to the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery on Monday to view a Solo Exhibition of works by Andras Manajlo', which runs until 6 October (CLICK). Andra was born in Transcarpathia - wherever that is - and lives in Hungary. As you can see, he likes a lurid paintbrush. I'm still pondering the significance of a Nude Listening To A Sitar. Fantasy harem scene maybe? Cabaret at a naturists holiday camp?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Fake Or Fortune? 2/2

The next episode of Fake Or Fortune? on BBC One Sunday at 7pm is Turner: A Miscarriage of Justice? Three JMW Turner landscapes bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales by Gwendoline Davies are this week's suspects. She and her sister Margaret had spent a fortune collecting European art as a gift to the people of Wales. But these three Turners were branded fakes by world art experts. Art sleuth Philip Mould believes this may be a miscarriage of justice. Can the team establish their authenticity? Shown are Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with the three suspect Turners (CLICK).

Vandal Wants Royalties!

Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian who overpainted and ruined Elias Garcia Martinez's Ecce Homo (Behold The Man) in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja, Spain, is now demanding royalties for her vandalism, because so many tourists are coming to the church to see what she did! She wants to give the money to charity (CLICK). What about the cost of restoring the fresco she ruined?

Pompeii and Herculaneum

The British Museum in London has already begun taking bookings for next year's major exhibition Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, which opens on 28 March (CLICK). My guess is this will prove extremely popular. The burial of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the mummification of their inhabitants by ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 created two fabulous time capsules of life in the Roman Empire. The last exhibition in London was nearly 40 years ago and many of the exhibits have never been displayed outside Italy. Shown is a Portrait of baker Terentius Neo and his wife, who lived in Pompeii (AD 55–79). Admission is £15 for adults and for silver surfers! However, between 12.00 and 16.30 on Mondays, silver surfers can gain entry for £7.50. CLICK for a Telegraph slide show of the cities and some exhibits.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Art by Offenders

London's Southbank Centre is scraping the bottom of the barrel for art exhibitions. Last week the Hayward Gallery opened Someday All the Adults Will Die! Punk Graphics 1971-1984 (CLICK) which I decided wasn't worth posting on an arts blog. Today its Spirit Level opened an exhibition with another catchy title: Art by Offenders, Secure Patients and Detainees (CLICK). This free exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the Koestler Trust. All the artists are anonymous. CLICK for a BBC slide show. This picture caught my eye. It appears to be a mixture of montage and painting. If it is all painting, the artist is brilliant.

Astronomy Winner

Today the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London opened Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012, which runs until February 2013, admission free (CLICK). The best of over 800 entries to this year's competition are on display and they are stunning. Shown is the overall winner, also the winner of the Deep Space category, Martin Pugh's terrific photo of M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy consuming its neighbouring galaxy like some gigantic amoeba. BBC News has posted an excellent video by Paul Kerley with voiceovers by two of the judges (CLICK). All religious nutters who believe in some humanoid god creating the world - especially those lunatics rioting or killing in purported defence of their faith - should be made to watch this video to see how infinitesimally small we are in the vastness of the cosmos.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bristol Pound

Bristol artist Banksy nearly made it on to a £5 note, but not quite. This specimen £5 note from the Bank of Bristol, depicting a tiger scratching graffito O Liberty! on a wall, is clearly inspired by Banksy. Bristol launched its Bristol Pound today, in hope of keeping local wealth in local pockets. Hundreds of independent businesses have already signed up to use the currency (CLICK). Jethro Brice created the beautiful fox-and-magpie design for the £1 note (CLICK).

Open House Update

In its 20th year Open House London has run into another difficulty: Croydon has withdrawn from the event because it can't afford the £4,000 fee Open House charges each borough to take part. The Tory-run council doesn't regard it as worthwhile giving the public free access to its 10 buildings of architectural interest (CLICK). Shame it didn't make up its mind earlier. Open House London takes place this coming weekend (CLICK). The good news is that most of its buildings will be open. Shirley Windmill, one of the last windmills to be built in the UK, will be open (CLICK).

Lear At Ashmolean

Tomorrow the Ashmolean in Oxford opens Happy Birthday Edward Lear: 200 Years of Nature and Nonsense, a celebration to mark the bicentenary of his birth (CLICK). The Ashmolean boasts the largest and most comprehensive collection of his work in the UK. For this major retrospective of Lear's art it has also borrowed important items from the Bodleian Library and from private collections, many of which will go on public display for the first time. One hundred watercolours, oil paintings, sketches, manuscripts, and illustrated books reflect every aspect of his artistic output in chronological order. Shown is Lear's Macrocercus aracanga or Red and Yellow Macaw from "Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae or Parrots" (1830–32). Admission is £4 for adults, £3 for silver surfers.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Public Art

BBC Scotland News has posed itself the question Public art: What is it for? Regardless of the answer, the article includes a photo of this beautiful sculpture by Andy Scott: Heavy Horse (1997). He's currently working on his giant mythical water spirits The Kelpies (CLICK). I find public art falls into three categories: 1) the artistic, 2) the old pigeon perch, 3) the irritating trendy tripe by some clot who was nominated for the Turner Prize. CLICK for Scotland's answer.

Tate Show A Hit

Laughing all the way to the bank! Tate Passé's Damien Hirst retrospective was the most visited solo show and second-most visited show in the gallery's history. The Hirst show recorded 463,087 visitors, only a few thousand less than the Matisse Picasso exhibition in 2002 (CLICK). At £14 a visitor, that is big money, worthy of Moneybags himself. Recession? What recession? There are still thousands of punters in London with more money than sense.

Bharti Kher

The current exhibition at Parasol Unit Foundation For Contemporary Art in London is Bharti Kher, which runs until 11 November (CLICK). She's an Indian, born in London, who now lives and works in New Delhi. This is her first solo exhibition held in a public art institution in London. Her cute snoozing elle entitled The Skin Speaks A Language Not Its Own (2006) is a life-sized fibreglass sculpture covered in bindis. (A bindi is a forehead decoration worn in South Asia).

Monday, 17 September 2012

Badger Butchery Begins

Here's another one PM David Cameron sacked recently: Caroline Spelman, whose tenure at DEFRA saw its reputation go down the plughole. (Remember the forests-selling fiasco?) She also initiated the badger culling insanity, on the PM's behalf it must be said. One of his more idiotic pre-election pledges was to kill badgers. Last week The Badger Trust lost its Court of Appeal challenge to stop Government's pointless butchery of badgers in parts of England. "It hasn't changed the scientific facts at all. The majority of independent scientific opinion says the cull is unlikely to work and most probably will make matters worse," Jeff Hayden of The Badger Trust told BBC News (CLICK). Less than a week later Natural England issues its first licence to shoot badgers in Gloucestershire (CLICK). "Natural England – for people, for places, for nature" claims its blurb (CLICK). That's a lie. Killing badgers has nothing to do with conserving nature. It's just a feeble pretence at doing something about bovine TB. It will cost a fortune and it won't work. Historic badger sets will be destroyed just so Cameron can keep his ignorant pledge. Update: scientific adviser Lord Krebs calls the badger cull "crazy" (CLICK).

Larry Sacked!

PM David Cameron has taken a leaf out of Vince Cable's book and has sacked Larry the No 10 Mouser for sheer incompetence. The crunch came when a mouse ran across the floor of the PM's study while Larry was snoozing. Upon being prodded awake to do his job, Larry merely opened an accusing eye. The PM promptly drafted in Chancellor George Osborne's pussy Freya, which is a street-wise tabby that went missing for three years to do its own thing (CLICK).

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Topless Kate

The British media has been obsessed with photos of the Duchess of Cambridge's bare boobs since Friday, but daren't show them with Lord Justice Leveson pondering his verdict on the gutter press. So I thought I'd take a look to see what all the fuss is about. Easy enough to find through Google UK (CLICK if you must). The photos are pathetic. They were taken with a massive zoom lens from half a mile away! The editor of Closer claimed the couple were "visible from the street". Only if you happened to have a huge telephoto lens for long-distance wildlife photography or paparazzi snooping in your camera bag plus a hefty stand. Here's Kate looking demure for her first visit to a mosque on the day the story broke. Nice photo.

Downton Abbey

That very superior soap opera Downton Abbey returns to ITV1 this evening at 9pm with the addition of Shirley MacLaine. What will the Dowager Countess of Grantham make of her? I must admit I'm hooked. Even the BBC has got excited about it (CLICK)! The Telegraph has posted a slide show of characters and their Series 2 cliffhangers for those of us who can't recall all the convoluted plot lines (CLICK). Here's Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, whose wedding to Matthew is finally in the offing. And what of John Bates, languishing in prison? Will the Roaring Twenties perk him up?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

John Moores Prize

Believe it or not, Sarah Pickstone has won the £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize with this daub entitled Stevie Smith and the Willow, based on an illustration by Stevie Smith to go with her 1957 poem Not Waving But Drowning (CLICK). The judges were a gaggle of Turner Prize nominees plus Alan Yentob and Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick. I wouldn't trust any of them to select a worthwhile painting.

London Design Festival

Yesterday the V&A Museum opened The London Design Festival 2012, which runs until 23 September (CLICK). I assume it's timed to coincide with London Fashion Week. There are a variety of displays throughout the museum, from postage stamps as Art In Miniature to this jumbo Prism by Keiichi Matsuda. It changes its appearance according to data flows. There's a novelty.

Exhibitions at Mall

The Mall Galleries in London opens three worthwhile exhibitions on Monday 17 September, all of which run until 22 September. I've already posted news of the British Wildlife Photography Awards (CLICK). The second exhibition is the best of entries in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, the largest watercolour competition in the UK. Admission to this one is £2.50 for adults, £1.50 for silver surfers. The third exhibition is From East to West, a solo show by photographer Gerassimos Spyridakis. Shown is his photo of Wadi Rum, Jordan (note the tiny figure in the middle to give us an idea of scale). I assume this show is free, as is the wildlife exhibition. You can't grumble at three shows for the price of one (CLICK).

Friday, 14 September 2012

Graduates Photos

Tomorrow The Photographers' Gallery in London opens Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed 2012, its annual exhibition to showcase the shaky camerawork of recent graduates from across the UK. Whether the selectors go for novelty or quality is anyone's guess. CLICK this link tomorrow and you should find an online gallery of graduates' photos on display in the exhibtion. Update: don't bother!

Fake or Fortune? 2

The first series of BBC One's Fake Or Fortune? prompted more comments on my blog than anything else before or since. Series 2 begins on Sunday 16 September at 18:30 hours ... er ... 6.30pm with a dubious Degas: Danseuse Bleue et Contrebasses. The photo shows Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce holding the dodgy Degas (2012). If it's genuine it could be worth £500,000. If not, it's worth £200 (CLICK). It failed to make the catalogue raisonne, so art dealers regard it as a fake. Can the team establish that it is genuine and, if so, can they convince the international art market? Tune in to BBC One this Sunday to find out.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ye Hongxing at Scream

Today Scream in London opened the first UK exhibition of Beijing based artist Ye Hongxing in its new gallery space. Ye Hongxing - The Modern Utopia runs until 20 October (CLICK). She produces incredibly detailed crystal sticker collages on canvas that reflect the complexity of modern Chinese society. Here is a small detail from her Mirage No 2 (2012) showing a European princess in kinky boots sitting on a giant skull. The mind boggles!

World's First Colour Movie

Here's a still from one of the world's first natural colour movies ever made. It shows the inventor's children playing with sunflowers: Alfred, Agnes and Wilfred Turner (c. 1902). It was discovered in the National Media Museum in Bradford with more of the inventor's experimental footage. The RGB movie was invented by Londoner Edward Raymond Turner, who patented his colour process on 22 March 1899. His death in 1903 ended the project. Due to the unusual format of his film, it had to wait for 110 years before a gate was created to recreate it frame by frame, so it could then be digitized (CLICK). Below is a National Media Museum video which explains the technical process.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Boris Island

Here's one of the most beautiful artist's impressions of an architectural project I've seen. It's from Gensler Architects and shows A Floating Airport in the Thames Estuary. This is the London mayoral idea better known as Boris Island. It would be tethered to the seabed and could be expanded to have six runways. Greedy fatcat Willie Walsh has poo-pooed the proposal, because he wants Londoners to suffer a third runway at Heathrow (CLICK). Just to give you a small example of what Londoners already suffer, on Sunday an Angolan stowaway fell from the sky and landed in Portman Avenue, Mortlake, a residential area in south-west London. Initial reports stated his body had exploded like a ripe melon (CLICK). Boris Island is what we need, and the sooner Government backs the plan and gets on with it the better.

V In Embassy Attack

Muslim nutters have attacked two US embassies in hysterical and violent protests over a US-produced film that allegedly insults the Prophet Muhammad. President Obama has confirmed that the US ambassador to Libya and three other US officials were murdered when the US consulate in Benghazi was attacked and set alight (CLICK). The US embassy in Cairo was also attacked. Muslim rioters tore down the US flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the Islamic atrocity of 9/11 (11/9 to us). Above is a detail from a photo of the Cairo attack showing a familiar face amid the masked rabble. Yes, it's V from the 2006 movie V For Vendetta. And no, it isn't a Photoshop job. CLICK for a BBC slide show: "Protests in North Africa over US film".

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Tomorrow Tate Britain in London opens Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, which runs until 13 January 2013 (CLICK). This could be the best exhibition of the year, with over 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography and the applied arts, revealing the Pre-Raphaelites to be advanced in every genre. Shown is Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The Beloved (The Bride) from 1865-6. Admission is £14 for adults, £12.20 for silver surfers. CLICK for a BBC London News video previewing the show.