Captain of the Eleven
London Art News previews art exhibitions in London and reports on anything of special interest in the visual arts worldwide, from ice sculpture to body painting.
CLICK). American Figurative is a collective exhibition of outstanding American figurative paintings by Paul Oxborough, Cesar Santos, Michael De Brito, Daniel Greene, Steve Huston, Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso and Zach Zdrale. The example shown above is First Night by Cesar Santos.
CLICK). This year's organiser Tess Jaray has had the walls of the Wohl Central Hall painted a lurid shade of lipstick, presumably because she wanted to distract visitors from the ghastly daubs hung there. (See above.) Or maybe it's just a girlie thing to tart up the old place. The Telegraph had a sneak preview (CLICK for photos). That coathanger sculptor is back again: David Mach's Silver Streak was the hit of the 2010 Summer Exhibition (CLICK). This year it's a cheetah called Spike. Nicely done, but it looks like a health and safety issue to me. One trip and your eyes are impaled. Admission is £11.50 for adults, £9.50 for silver surfers.
CLICK). Shown here is the state of it after it was vandalised by ANC supporters. The Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg has now agreed with the ANC that it won't display the painting again - How could it in this condition? - and it will remove the unsullied digital image from its website (CLICK). So much for the South African constitution, which guarantees freedom of artistic expression. Not when a bigwig of the ANC is exposed for what he is: a man rich enough to support four wives and 22 children (at least) while most of his countrymen live in poverty with their skinny children. The thrust of Murray's exhibition is not about sex, but about corruption in the new South African regime. Point made, I suspect.
CLICK). He won and will now have a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after his novel (CLICK). (I assume this has something to do with the Empress of Blandings, who features in the Blandings Castle series.) Congratulations, Sir Terry. I'm reading Snuff at the moment, having waited weeks for others library users in the queue to finish reading the only two copies of Snuff in Redbridge! It's rather good.
CLICK). This example by Helen Marshall is a mosaic of more than 5,000 photos sent in by viewers/listeners to BBC South East Today and the local BBC radio stations of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. It's the size of a double-decker bus. Some of the artworks use cake, cheese, cupcakes and other foods. I wish they'd stop wasting food when kids in Africa are starving. It is so damned heartless.
CLICK). The beasts to be sculpted included a life-sized elephant! Her work has been nominated for the 2012 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture, sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust and administered by the UK Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA). The prize is a piddling £1,750, but the prestige of winning this award is enormous (CLICK). Above is a glimpse of her Male Lion and Stalking Lioness at the Tower. The winner will be announced later this year.
CLICK). There will be new works as well as a comprehensive selection of works spanning his career. The example shown is his silkscreen print on paper American Trilogy. Admission is free. So is entry to a second exhibition Hidden Places, Hidden Spaces by SCOPE, which opens on Tuesday and runs until 2 June. Two free exhibitions can't be bad when many galleries and museums in London are jacking up their prices to rip off tourists coming here for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.
CLICK). She also won the Endangered Wildlife category, worth £6,500, in addition to the top prize of £10,000. The Rothschild giraffe is an endangered subspecies on the Red List with only a few hundred left in the wild in western Kenya and eastern Uganda. Painting them as a mirage brings home just how fragile their existence is. Blink and they're gone.
CLICK for a larger graphic. CLICK for Bonhams.
CLICK to buy tickets. If you subscribe to the Open House newsletter, there is a 15% discount on all tickets booked online before 31 May.
CLICK) followed by her Crystal Liu playing a pipa in April (CLICK). May now has a sophisticated new website and recently posted her Blushing Red (2011) on it. She used Photoshop and a Wacom tablet to create this digital painting. Her new website offers a variety of ways to buy her art, from greetings cards at $4.45 and unframed prints at $22. Shipping is within two to three business days with a 30-day money back guarantee. CLICK to view a fantastic array of beautiful images. Note her Anne Hathaway.
CLICK). A worthy target for lampooning, you might think. The latest news is that Zuma has gone to the High Court, claiming that his privates ... er ... privacy and dignity were being violated by the painting. The defence argues that the artwork is a legitimate exercise of freedom of artistic expression. This has become a major test of South Africa's constitution and has made headlines around the world. (CLICK).
CLICK to visit the Shizaru website.
CLICK for a larger graphic). They are legal tender in the whole of the UK, which is bound to cause confusion at the tills. Certain serial numbers have been reserved for auction by Scottish charities. Customers outside Scotland can order up to 20 of these banknotes at the face value plus £5.90 p&p. The Royal Bank of Scotland was the first to put the monarch's head on a banknote in 1727. Excellent portrait of Her Majesty.
CLICK). This is a Diamond Jubilee celebration focusing on two breeds: the Arabian and the Thoroughbred, selectively bred from Arabians. The exhibition covers 5,000 years of horsey history. Exhibits include horses in stone reliefs, gold and clay models, horse tack, trophies, rosettes and paintings by George Stubbs. The above painting of Flying Childers is by James Seymour (1702-1752). It's in Room 35 and free, perfect for kids' holidays. (CLICK for a slide show.)
CLICK). These Masquerade Masks certainly look familiar, though I can't place the original artist. It's a fitting subject for the Krays, because they wined and dined celebrities on the proceeds of crime. Reggie painted 37 of the pieces, Ronnie 5 (CLICK).
CLICK). At 230ft in length, Richard Wilson's Slipstream will be the longest permanent sculpture in Europe. It's supposed to represent the thrill of an air show, but to me it looks like a giant screw. Its unintended message to victims of the UK's Border Agency appears to be "Screw you". Green thought!
CLICK). This is a retrospective of Britain's most innovative and talented sculptor, featuring 20 of his works. Above is his huge and impeccably balanced Planet (2008). I don't suppose this news will interest petrol heads visiting the Grand Prix. Unless it roars like a lion, stinks of fuel, flashes past in a blur of speed and occasionally crashes in flames, they're not fussed. One visit to Brands Hatch as a teenager was enough for me. I found it all rather boring.
CLICK). He was 62. British born, he and his brothers, Maurice and Barry, began their singing careers in Australia when Robin was only eight years old (CLICK for BBC video). They returned to the UK as the Bee Gees. Who can forget Robin's haunting performance of Massachusetts (CLICK for YouTube video)? Saturday Night Fever helped the Bee Gees to become one of the biggest selling pop groups of all time. Robin and Barry received their CBE's in 2004 (CLICK for slide show).
CLICK). To the right is one of the 20 new varieties shortlisted for Plant of the Year 2012: Streptocarpus "Harlequin Lace". What I need is a robot to pick up all the dog poo in my garden, ideally one like the Japanese robot on the left. I wouldn't mind if it ... er ... she mows the lawn as well, after the poo is all bagged up!
CLICK). The database is slow, so you need to click on a portrait and wait until something happens! This fine example is Richard Cosway's Portrait of Mary Frances (Fanny) Swinburne (c.1786) watercolour on ivory with a gold and enamel frame set with split pearls, size 2¾" x 2¼".
CLICK). Admission is free. All profits from the sale of paintings will support David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation projects in the field. Above is a detail from Oxpecker Ride by Claire Harkness.
CLICK) and The Wall. The latter is a unique space for screen media and digital images. Its inaugural display celebrates the animated GIF, created in 1987, which brought the illusion of movement to previously static images. Back in those days I was having fun creating palette-cycling images on my Atari ST using Degas Elite. Sadly, the graphic shown here isn't a GIF, but a static JPG. CLICK for an animated GIF library with over 5000 free images. Occasionally I use Microsoft GIF Animator, a freebie still kicking around today. Google for it and have fun.
CLICK to read more about Sir Lawrence and his young sitter on the gallery's website. CLICK for a larger picture. Note: I've tweaked the gamma and contrast settings on this image to "clean" it.
CLICK). I mentioned this touring exhibition earlier this month and showed the most original portrait in the show (CLICK). The painting here is Lucian Freud's Queen Elizabeth II (2001), which must be the worst portrait in the show. It's amazing that once an artist has established a reputation his work can degenerate into the most appalling rubbish without anyone daring to say so. The Anti-art Establishment raises him above criticism and any tripe he creates is a work of genius. Not in my book.
CLICK). A complimentary exhibition runs alongside it: Making the Renaissance Sword, also free (CLICK). The painting shows a Swordsmith at work. Also to compliment the exhibition, there are special events on Saturday 26 May, including sword fighting demonstrations, also free and fit for boys of all ages. If you ever wanted to know what spreszzatura means, now is your chance (CLICK).
CLICK)! I checked Banksy's website, and it hasn't appeared there (CLICK). Yet. I'll stick with Gromit for sewing bunting (CLICK).
CLICK for The Telegraph slide show.
CLICK). It is high time we found a judging panel that knows something about art.
Watts Gallery in the village of Compton, near Guildford, Surrey, has made it on to the shortlist for the 10th annual Art Fund Prize, worth £100.000 (CLICK). The gallery, which is dedicated to the art of Victorian painter George Frederic Watts, reopened last year after a £10m restoration. The others shortlisted are the Hepworth Wakefield, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery. The winner will be announced on 19 June. Tip: the day to visit Watts Gallery is a Tuesday, when entry is only £2, instead of £6.50 (CLICK).
CLICK). Why would anyone want to body cast an olympian? For a start, he or she should represent the peak of physical fitness and musculature. Louise creates metal sculptures from the casts. Here is her Beth Tweddle Rear View from her Olympian Series II. She donates the proceeds from these olympian sculptures to the Headfirst charity. Sculptures and drawings from her new Meta-Human Series will also be shown. Entry is free. CLICK to visit her website.
CLICK if you must).
CLICK). Gormley reminds me of Lady Bracknell's response to Jack's admission that he smokes, "That is well. A man should always have an occupation" (Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895).
This evening I watched the semi final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012. An hour an a half swept past like an express train. What talent, what performances, from all five teenagers! However, only one of them made me want to rush out and buy a CD: 15-year-old Charlotte Barbour-Condini playing that common and maligned instrument the recorder. Watch the YouTube video (bottom right corner to expand). The final is on BBC Two on Sunday at 6pm (CLICK).
CLICK). I wasn't aware of it, but Lear was a very talented young artist, being paid for his work by the age of 16. He was employed by the Zoological Society of London as an ornithological artist. Above is his superb painting of an Eagle Owl. He was still only 19 when he published his first book: Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae (Parrots). For 4 years he worked for the Earl of Derby, painting the Earl's menagerie (CLICK).
When I first saw this artist's impression of the ArcelorMittal Orbit I hoped it was an April Fool's gag, but no. It was officially "unveiled" to the media today (CLICK). The BBC reporter took great pains to emphasize that this monstrosity is a work of art, because it was designed by that Royal Academician Anish Kapoor, but more honest commentators described it as "a cheese grater", "an obnoxious statement", "a catastrophic collision between two cranes" and "the Eiffel Tower after a nuclear attack". I'm sure east enders will simply call it "The Arse". £15 to ascend this thing! No way.
CLICK). The dig at Xultun was financed by National Geographic (CLICK for a photo tour).
The National Portrait Gallery in London has issued a call for entries to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012. The competition is open to anyone aged 18 and over from around the world. Applications must be received in advance, either online or by post, by 23.59 on Monday 9 July. Above is last year's winning photo by Jooney Woodward, showing 13-year-old Harriet Power holding her cavy Gentleman Jack in the guinea pig judging area at the Royal Welsh Show. CLICK to visit the NPG Photo Prize website and watch out for two more of my favourites: Tatiana and Belene by Yann Gross (2011), which shows a rare flash of humour, and Keira Knightley by Michael Birt (2010).
CLICK). This is Sir Terry's fourth nomination; he missed out thrice. Just to keep you bedazzled with statistics, Snuff is the third fastest selling novel in the UK since records began; it sold over 55,000 hardback copies in the first three days. As usual, the cover artwork is by Paul Kidby, who perfectly captures the madcap, tongue-in-cheek world of the Disc. Upon the winning book is bestowed the honour of having a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after it. Snuff the pig? The paperback comes out on 7 June.
CLICK for more photos). Seems to be a freebie.
CLICK). It looks like an ice-skating rink on top of a cafeteria to me. Boring. Weiwei fans might be interested to learn that his design firm, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, has filed a lawsuit against the No. 2 Inspection Squad of the Beijing tax bureau for violating Chinese laws (CLICK).
CLICK). Nice one, Walters.