Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Zombie Harvest

He's got the pip! Last week I featured the pumpkin sculptures of Ray Villafane and Andy Bergholtz of Villafane Studios (CLICK). A few days ago BBC News posted a video of Ray and Andy at work on their latest sculptures, a Zombie Harvest in New York's Botanical Gardens for Halloween (CLICK). Sandy made landfall in New York yesterday and caused untold damage. Let's hope the zombies escaped the storm.

Seduced by Art

Here's a novelty: the National Gallery in London showing an exhibition of photographs intermixed with some of its paintings. Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present opened today in the Sainsbury Wing and runs until 20 January 2013. The idea is to show how photographers have been influenced by artists (CLICK). Its banner features a detail from Richard Learoyd's Man With Octopus Tattoo II (2011). Admission costs £12 or £11 for silver surfers. Forget it.

Tate App

There seems to an app for everything lately, some of them supplied by criminals to steal your personal details. So be warned. The latest app is from Tate: Pocket Art Gallery (CLICK). This enables you to virtually curate your own gallery and position famous artworks from galleries across the UK in your own surroundings. You can photo your art collection and share it on Twitter, Facebook or the Pocket Art Gallery map. It sounds a bit far-fetched to me, but I'm not into smart phones. The app is free.

Rijksmuseum Online

Increasingly the major museums are putting their treasures online, so that art lovers whose travel budgets are limited to the local Tesco can admire great art. The latest to do this is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which boasts a fine collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age (CLICK). Gabriël Metsu's Het Zieke Kind (The Sick Child) from 1663 is a terrific example, depicting a mother caring for her sick daughter. The Rijksmuseum has digitized 125,000 works from its collection and produced high-resolution images which are copyright free. It has also launched Rijks Studio, an attempt to engage the public in creating its own versions of masterpieces and uploading them to the Rijksmuseum website. It tells you "To download this work you need a Rijksstudio account". Untrue. I clicked my right mouse button. One disadvantage: although there is an English translation, the titles of all the paintings I saw are in Dutch.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Sorolla For Sale

This famous painting by Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla is up for grabs in Sotheby’s London auction of 19th Century European Paintings on 20 November. Pescadores Valencianos (1895) depicts fishermen cleaning their nets on the beach at Valencia. It was one of Sorolla's earliest works to be painted in the open air and won a gold medal at the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Berlin in 1896. It was snapped up for Berlin's Nationalgalerie, but deaccessioned - a work of art sold by a museum in order to acquire more works of art - in 1930. Since then it has languished in private hands with occasional loans for major exhibitions. Its estimated price is £1m to £1.5m (CLICK).

Monday, 29 October 2012

Landscape Photo Awards

It must be the season for photo awards. The Take a View: Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012 has also been announced. In comparison with the RHS photo awards, I was disappointed. Too many of the top photos are monochrome. I prefer the added dimension of colour. Jamie Russell's sizzling Evening Storm over Ashey, Isle of Wight, England, merely gained a Commended in the Classic View Category. CLICK for a Telegraph slide show. The exhibition runs at the Lyttelton Exhibition Space, National Theatre in London, from 12 November until 12 January 2013, admission free (CLICK).

RHS Photos

The Royal Horticultural Society has announced the winners of its annual RHS Photographic Competition. There were some stunning entries among the 8,000 submitted. Josie Elias won the £1000 RHS Photographer of the Year 2012 with her photo of tulips surrounding an olive tree. Alex Berryman, aged 15, won the RHS Young Photographer of the Year 2012 with his photo of a fledgling robin in his back garden, for which he receives a digital camera. I've shown Jacky Parker's delicate photo of a Spider, which won first prize in the Wildlife in the Garden Category. The Telegraph's slide show of top entries is easy to use (CLICK), but the RHS website has more information (CLICK). Idiot bankers take note: you don't need to offer £20,000 or £30,000 in prize money to attract submissions, hoping to prove that you're with it. All you actually do is prove that you're without it! Clueless sponsors not needed for this competition.

Kate Perugini

Sir John Everett Millais' Portrait of Kate Perugini, Daughter of Charles Dickens (1880) is up for grabs at Sotheby’s London auction of British & Irish Art on 13 November, estimated value £150,000 - £200,000 (CLICK). The unusual pose was chosen by the sitter herself. The painting was a belated wedding present to Kate on the occasion of her second marriage, to Carlo Eduardo Perugini. It depicts a turning point in her life when she was still ostensibly in mourning for her first husband, brother of the author Wilkie Collins. Kate's portrait has been widely displayed in major exhibitions over the last twenty years and deserves a place in the National Portrait Gallery. Whether NPG can afford it...?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Aw, Weiwei

From fine art (next post down or CLICK) to non-art. Some people will do anything to earn a buck, then complain that the taxman is ripping them off. Behold, Ai Weiwei goes South Korean with "Gangnam Style" plus symbolic handcuffs to make his point. The YouTube video lasts only 4 minutes, but seems interminable. Enough is enough, Weiwei.

Grimm Fairy Tales

Did you know that it's 200 years since Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first scared the hell out of kiddies with their collection of ghastly German fairy tales? The Telegraph does, and it has posted a slide show of illustrations to prove it (CLICK). The illustrations are included in The Annotated Brothers Grimm: The Bicentennial Edition, translated and edited by Maria Tatar, published by W. W. Norton & Co on 2 November 2012, price £23.75. The book includes 150 illustrations, many of them in colour, by top artists such as George Cruikshank, Warwick Goble, Walter Crane and the great Arthur Rackham (his Cinderella (1919) shown above).

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Clocks Back

Clocks go back one hour tonight. Why do we keep this insanity going? Don't tell me it's because of milking cows. It confuses their internal clocks just as it does ours and our pets. Wartime blackout is another fatuous excuse. The war has been over for yonks. Habit is the only answer I can think of. Can't some sensible government break this insane habit? Let's settle for half an hour and leave it at that permanently.

Hollywood Unseen

BBC News has posted a slide show of Hollywood Unseen, a selection of black-and-white photos of the early days of Hollywood from the John Kobal Foundation (CLICK). The example above shows MGM starlet Joan Crawford celebrating the 4th of July in 1927. There are some fascinating images demonstrating how the big Hollywood studios presented their stars and starlets to glamour-hungry film fans. Hollywood Unseen continues at the Getty Images Gallery in London until 3 November (CLICK).

Peploe's Roses

Remember Coxsoft's advice? When in doubt, pose a pretty girl beside it. Here's McTear's Auctioneers' very pretty girl holding Samuel John Peploe's Pink Roses, which fetched £225,000 at auction in Glasgow on Thursday (CLICK). Fifty years ago a bossy Scottish wife sent her husband out to buy a painting of roses. When he returned with the Peploe, she disliked it and consigned it to the spare room. Can't say I blame her. The seller inherited it when his father died.

Skyrim Winner

Bethesda Softworks' role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won three awards at this year's Golden Joystick Awards: Best RPG, Top Gaming Moment for its Throat of the World scene and Ultimate Game of the Year. Its landscapes are atmospheric, its monsters scary. What more could you want? CLICK for the official website and select MEDIA for screenshots from the game. Here are two: top Riften (2011) and below Vampiric Grip (2012). CLICK for other winners.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Papi Sentenced

Poor old "Papi", as his ex-girlfriend Karima El Mahroug alias Ruby the Heartbreaker, referred to media mogul Silvio Berlusconi when he was still Spaghetti Prime Minister. She's since had a baby by another man. Today "Papi" was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud, a sentence that was later reduced to one year because of an amnesty law. He condemned the sentence as "intolerable judicial harassment". He remains free until he has gone through two courts of appeal, a process which could take years (CLICK). In the meantime, more criminal proceedings await "Papi".

Bouguereaus For Sale

Here's a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau I haven't come across before: Jeunes filles de Fouesnant revenant du marché (1869) a rare Breton subject inspired by one of Bouguereau’s summer trips to Brittany, estimated value $500,000-$700,000. This is one of 105 masterpieces for sale in Sotheby’s New York auction of 19th Century European Art on 8 November. Many of these paintings have been in private collections for 50 years, so have been unavailable for the public to view. The preview exhibition opens on 2 November (CLICK). If you live in New York City, this is a must.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Endangered Triptych

Property developers Land Securities is to demolish Allington House, Victoria, central London, with the loss of the Endangered Species Triptych sculpted by Barry Baldwin in the 1980s, Elephant shown (CLICK). London historian and tour guide Peter Berthoud has started a petition to try to save the sculptures (CLICK to sign) and has also made an emergency application to English Heritage to list the sculptures. I suspect the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works might also be applicable to this matter as the sculptor is alive and should be allowed to have a say in the disposal of his art (CLICK). Last year I posted an article about an artist's use of the Berne Convention in the USA (CLICK). It would be a shame to lose these sculptures of animals that are themselves threatened with extinction.

Winner Collection

Film director Michael Winner is selling his collection of original illustrations for children's books, one of the finest in private hands. He has been collecting them for years and has amassed over 100 illustrations plus 50 books. E.H. Shephard's first drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh, Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin, is a prime example, estimated value £70,000-£100,000. The collection includes ink and watercolour drawings by Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson and John Tenniel. It is worth a conservative £1m (CLICK). The auction takes place at Sotheby’s London on 12 December.

Rolf Harris: New Works

Tomorrow Clarendon Fine Art in Dover Street, London, opens Rolf Harris: New Works, a solo exhibition of new original paintings by Rolf Harris CBE, AO. Shown is his Leopard Reclining at Dusk. The exhibition runs until 3 November, admission free (CLICK).

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Natural Eye

From 1 to 11 November the Mall Galleries in London will show The Natural Eye: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition, a mixture of painting, drawing sculpture and printmaking all inspired by the natural world (CLICK). Shown is a detail from Kim Atkinson's Linnets Feeding On Sorrel Seeds. Entry £2.50 or £1.50 for silver surfers.

Cull Postponed

Yesterday Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced in the Commons a last minute stay of execution for badgers in planned cull areas in south-west England (CLICK). The futile cull may now begin next year. It seems there are twice as many badgers in the cull areas than previously thought, too many for NFU marksmen to shoot at this late stage of the year. In fact it looks as though land mines and kalashnikovs will be needed to kill 70% of the many thousands of badgers in the two pilot areas. The BBC has become increasingly schizoid as the cull approached. On the one hand it writes propaganda such as this. "When it comes to a cull of badgers, it seems no amount of science will convince some people that shooting the animals is the right thing to do." This statement of glaring prejudice was subsequently amended to read " amount of science will resolve the arguments" (CLICK). On the other hand BBC News feels obliged to publish the latest scientific opinion that the cull is wrong. The Jimmy Savile scandal has shown that there is a conflict in the BBC between vested interests and its own journalists. It is time those vested interests were removed.

Jim'll Fix It

The BBC TV boast JIM FIXED IT FOR ME has taken on a sinister new meaning in the last few weeks, with hundreds of allegations of sexual predation on children from teenage girls to a then 9-year-old cub scout (CLICK). Jim certainly fixed it for newly appointed BBC Director General George Entwistle to face hostile questioning from the Commons Culture Committee yesterday over the BBC's role in the Jimmy Savile scandal (CLICK). In particular, why did Entwistle as Director of Vision ignore the warning about a Newsnight investigation into Savile and go ahead with his own Christmas celebration of the narcissistic creep? His attempts to blame the Newsnight producer and the general culture at the BBC were pathetic. If he wants to regain public trust in the BBC, the first thing he must do is resign.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Nude Men

The Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria, has created ructions with adverts for its latest exhibition: Nackte Männer (Nude Men) from 1800 to the present day. The adverts featuring three footballers in the buff - Vive La France by Pierre & Gilles - have created such a storm of protest that the museum has been forced to paste strips over the offending bits before enraged mothers defaced them (CLICK). All good publicity, of course. Nobody seems to have complained about Ilse Haider's giant installation Mr Big (2012) which hangs around the stairway at the side of the Leopold Museum. With about 300 exhibits, thanks to loans from all over Europe, the exhibition offers an unprecedented overview of the depiction of male nudes until 28 January 2013 (CLICK). So, it's serious stuff, not to be sneezed at.

Kunsthal Heist Update

Six days ago I posted news of a "break-in" at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam and the theft of seven paintings of dubious artistic merit but considerable financial value (CLICK). The alarm system at the Kunsthal is supposed to be "state of the art". Dutch police have now released a surveillance video of the burglary. It shows two hoodies entering through an unlocked fire escape door, making two quick dashes to steal the paintings and closing the door behind them, all in less than two minutes. They knew the fire escape would be open for them and that the police would soon arrive. Clearly an inside job.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Star Trek London

Trekkies from across the world have been flocking to London's Excel Centre this weekend for Destination Star Trek, the UK's first official Star Trek convention for more than a decade. It brought together all five starship captains - Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Sir Patrick Stewart and William Shatner - for the first time outside the USA and for only the second time ever. It also hosted the UK's first Klingon wedding (CLICK) and broke the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of fans dressed as Star Trek characters. The office boy running the BBC London News website has done nothing all day but post videos of Star Trek fans in costume and interviews with William Shatner, whose most embarrassing moment at the convention was when a fan pulled out her left breast for him to sign (CLICK).

Modern British Childhood

The school half-term holiday is here. As always, the problem is finding something to entertain the cherubs whilst not boring or bankrupting their parents. Try Modern British Childhood at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, east London (CLICK). It explores the huge changes that have taken place in children's lives in the 64 years from the London Olympic Games of 1948 to those of 2012. Kids were still playing on bombsites back in 1948. Now they have mobile phones and far less freedom. So, lots of interest for kids and nostalgia for grown ups and it's free. Wendy Hurrell tours the show in a BBC London video: CLICK. The painting above - Edwin Bale's Waiting For The Skipper - has nothing to do with the show. In fact it's in storage at the Museum of Childhood and needs a clean. I found it while researching this post. It is no romantic vision of childhood. The heavy clouds, breakers beyond a beached boat and seagulls flying inland to escape a storm all imply a worried boy hoping his fisherman father will return safely. The story is timeless.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Pumpkin Sculptures

Tesco was piled high with pumpkins today, which means that the Yankee/Catholic tosh of Halloween is almost upon us. Nobody eats pumpkins. The only reason for buying them is so Dad can be bullied into carving a silly face. Without Halloween, Yankee pumpkin farmers would be forced to plant a more useful crop. Halloween is the vigil for All Hallows Day, an important Catholic feast. How can the English celebrate Halloween on 31 October and burn Guy Fawkes - a traitorous Catholic - less than a week later? Anyway, I thought you might like to see a good Jack O'Lantern for a change: the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers version of Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. They donated it to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City last year. For the bees knees in pumpkin sculptures, see the work of Villafane Studios (Ray Villafane and Andy Bergholtz) below and CLICK for more.


Tim Walker Photos

On Thursday Somerset House in London opened Tim Walker: Story Teller, an exhibition of over 175 flamboyant images, collages and snapshots from Walker’s personal archives, including some of the props used in his wildly imaginative photo shoots for top fashion magazines. He turns fashion shoots into fairy tales (CLICK). Above is a slightly cropped version of his photo of A Giant Doll kicks Lindsey Wixton, Eglingham Hall, Northumberland (2011). The exhibition runs in the East Wing Galleries, East Wing, until 27 January 2013, admission free. CLICK for a BBC News slide show.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Shepard Fairey Show

Tomorrow the Stolenspace Gallery at Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, opens Sound & Vision, Shepard Fairey's first London exhibition in five years. Fairey, you will recall, is the artist who gave Hope to Barack Obama. Here is his portrait of The Lady (2011). The exhibition features a range of new works including mixed media paintings on canvas, works on paper, retired stencils collages, rubylith cuts and serigraphs on wood, metal and paper. Admission is free (CLICK). The exhibition runs until 4 November.
Update: BBC London News has posted a video of Shepard Fairey interviewed by Wendy Hurrell at his show: CLICK.

Malala News

Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by a Taliban thug for promoting girls' education, has been out of bed and standing with assistance. She is writing notes to convey her thoughts. Reports say she ducked when fired upon. The bullet entered her skull above her left eye, passed through her brain, broke her jaw and lodged in her shoulder blade. The bullet was removed in Pakistan. Dr David Rosser, one of the doctors treating her at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, said there are still some concerns about her smooth recovery, one of them being an infection in the tract made by the bullet. She will need a few weeks to rehabilitate before her skull is reconstructed (CLICK).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sylvia Kristel RIP

I must be getting old. I can't believe that Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, had reached 60, let alone that she had cancer, had suffered a stroke in July and died in her sleep last night (CLICK). Here she is, looking the epitome of health and beauty in Emmanuelle. She may not have been the world's greatest actress, but she knew how to use Girl Power. Emmanuelle was one of the first erotic movies to be given a general release and played in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees for 11 years. Mary Poppins, eat your heart out.
Update: CLICK for a Telegraph slide show of Sylvia's life

James Mylne's Bic Art

BBC News has published a Paul Kerley slide show of British artist James Mylne's photorealistic artwork made using Bic biros (CLICK). A voiceover by the artists explains his use of ballpoint pens. He works from photos. Above is one of his portraits of Audrey Hepburn, an obvious favourite. His current show Vintage Vogue at Rook & Raven Gallery in London focuses on the elegance and style of female icons of the 1940s to '60s. The show runs until 31 October (CLICK).

Power 100 2012

The November issue of Art Review has published its Power 100 for 2012. These are the movers and shakers in the art world who bamboozle art pundits into pretending what tripe to admire. Here are the top 10. CLICK for the full list.
1. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
2. Larry Gagosian
3. Ai Weiwei
4. Iwan Wirth
5. David Zwirner
6. Gerhard Richter
7. Beatrix Ruf
8. Nicholas Serota
9. Glenn D. Lowry
10 Hans Ulrich Obrist & Julia Peyton-Jones.

Wildlife Photo 2012

The 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has been won by Canadian Paul Nicklen with this explosive photo Bubble-jetting Emperors, which also won the Underwater Worlds category. He had to snorkel in freezing Antarctic waters as the emperor penguins rocketed toward the edge of the ice to avoid leopard seals hunting them. Releasing the bubbles trapped in their plumage helps them accelerate from 10km/h to 30km/h. (What's that in English money? Fast.) The exhibition of the top 100 photos opens tomorrow at the Natural History Museum in London. This year they will be shown in "a dramatic cinematic setting" (CLICK). Entry costs £10. CLICK for a BBC slide show instead.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chewing Gum Man

In 2010 I posted three items on Ben Wilson, London's chewing gum artist: CLICK, CLICK, CLICK. On 21 October, for one week only, the Julian Hartnoll gallery at 37 Duke Street, St James's, London, will be showing Gum Pics on Brick by Ben Wilson aka Chewing Gum Man, all painted in the last year. These unique miniatures include London landmarks. A brick gummed by Ben will cost you £150. CLICK for a gum gallery.

Imaginary Friends

Tomorrow The Blackall Studios in Shorditch, East London, launches Imaginary Friends, the first solo show of Tom 'inkfetish' Blackford (CLICK). The show, which "explores the mythologies of childhood, transporting celebrated archetypes of youth into a surreal adult world", lasts for four days only. So don't dither. Below is Tom's "teaser vid" for the show.

Tate Vandal Update

Wlodzimierz Umaniec alias Vladimir Umanets, the Polish twerp who vandalised a Mark Rothko daub in Tate Passé, has remembered his address in Victoria Road, Worthing, West Sussex. Having an address allowed him to get bail. Yesterday at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court he pleaded guilty to criminal damage of property valued at over £5,000 and was released on conditional bail. He must live and sleep at his address, report to his local police station three times a week and must not visit Tate Modern. His passport is retained. Later he will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court (CLICK).

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Verity Erected

She has her good side and her bad side. If you like your pregnant women part flayed and part dissected with a foetus exposed to public gaze, then hotfoot it down to Ilfracombe in Devon to gawk at Moneybags Hirst's Verity (2012) which was erected today (CLICK). For those who don't like their women in this condition, the 25-tonne monstrosity is outrageous, immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, grotesque, of no artistic merit, demeaning to women and frightening for children. The big question is: Will it bring the tourists back to Ilfracombe and make money for the local economy? Moneybags' fish and chip shop hopes so.

Kunsthal Heist

Lucian Freud's Woman with Eyes Closed is one of seven paintings stolen from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The break-in took place early this morning at around 03:00am (02:00 BST). The Kunsthal is showing the Triton Foundation collection of more than 150 works by avant-garde artists, most of it junk but expensive junk worth many millions. This is the first time the entire collection has been on public display! Dutch police say the Kunsthal's alarm system is supposed to be state of the art, but the thieves got in and out before the police arrived (CLICK). The Telegraph has posted a slide show of the stolen paintings. Brace yourself to view overpriced tripe: CLICK.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Justin Mortimer

British artist Justin Mortimer likes his balloons. He paints them in weird apocalyptic scenes, as here in Kraal (2012) with figures in survival suits checking out a corpse with a frostbitten dick. The Haunch of Venison gallery in London has opened Justin's first solo exhibition Resort, which displays his 10 latest visions of paranoia until 24 November (CLICK).

Malala Update

Last Thursday I posted an item on Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by a Muslim Fundamentalist gunman for advocating girls' rights to education (CLICK). The thug also shot two of her schoolmates in the same school bus, but not injuring them so seriously. Malala was his target. The latest news is that she is being flown to the UK in an air ambulance provided by United Arab Emirates. Her doctors in a military hospital in Rawalpindi believe her condition is stable enough for her to travel. She will receive treatment in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, an NHS hospital with a specialist major trauma centre (CLICK). The Taliban still intend to kill her. Let's hope there aren't too many Taliban sympathisers in Birmingham's large Muslim community. But first she needs to be healed. Fingers crossed she makes a full recovery.

Ladies of Kenwood

Yesterday, by chance, I discovered that Kenwood House (top) has closed for repairs and refurbishment until Autumn 2013. What revealed this to me was the opening of Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin, USA (CLICK). What the hell is the Iveagh Bequest doing in Milwaukee? I wondered. The answer was provided by British Heritage, which led me to the Quadriga Gallery in Wellington Arch, where the exhibition Ladies of Kenwood runs until 28 October. This exhibition explores the stories of the Ladies of Kenwood through the sculpture, paintings, furniture and jewellery associated with them. Left are The Finch Sisters (CLICK). The grounds of Kenwood House and its café are still open to the public while the work continues. If you live in Milwaukee, grab your chance to view the Iveagh Bequest while you can. It probably won't come your way for at least another century.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

RIBA 2012 Winner

The Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Stirling Prize 2012 has been awarded to the Sainsbury Laboratory, an £82m research centre for doing clever things with plants at the University of Cambridge, Botanical Gardens (CLICK). The building was designed by Stanton Williams Architects (CLICK) and financed by Lord Sainsbury's Gatsby Charitable Foundation (CLICK). The Stirling Prize judges praised the Sainsbury Laboratory for its "stimulating working environment", designed to attract world-class scientists, and its use of natural light. The designers win £20,000 (CLICK).


For two days only, Friday 19 and Saturday 20 October, the Royal Geographical Society in London is hosting WildPhotos: the power of nature photography (CLICK). The aim is to promote nature conservation through photography, but the admission prices are prohibitive; they start at £95! Mark Hamblin's Wren (2012) shows you the fine quality of the photos. CLICK for a Telegraph slide show.

Living Artist Record

Believe it or not, this abstract daub by 80-year-old German artist Gerhard Richter has broken the auction record for a work by a living artist (CLICK). Abstraktes Bild (1994) fetched £21m ($34m) at Sotheby's in London this week. Not that Richter gets paid that. The lion's share goes to Cream guitarist Eric Clapton, worth an estimated £140m, making him the 17th richest British musician. There is something very wrong with our taxation system that allows a rock guitarist to amass such a vast fortune. As for the art market...!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mall Galleries Shows

Now that the Threadneedle Prize junk fest is grinding to a halt, real art can return to the Mall Galleries in London. On 16 October the Royal Society Of Miniature Painters, Sculptors And Gravers opens its annual show with around 700 works on display. This is the world's foremost showcase for contemporary miniature art. Prices start at around £120. The following day sees the opening of the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition. Entry costs £2.50 for adults, £1.50 for silver surfers. Shown is a detail from Richard Dack's Woodbridge. Both exhibitions run until 28 October, closing at 1pm on the final day (CLICK).

Pomona Cleaned

The Wallace Collection in London has unveiled its newly conserved An Allegory of Fruitfulness (1620-1629) by Flemish master Jacob Jordaens. The conservation work was paid for by the philanthropic arm of Masterpiece London. The central figure with bare breasts and an arm round a jumbo cornucopia of fruit and veg is Pomona, goddess of gardens and orchards and protector of the ripening harvest. Somebody must have upset her this year, judging by the poor global harvests. You'll find Pomona in the recently refurbished East Drawing Room (CLICK). Admission to The Wallace Collection is free (CLICK).