Sunday, 30 June 2013

Artist Sues Cameron

British artist Roger Dean is suing Hollywood director James Cameron for $50m (£43m) over claims he copied ideas for the 3D blockbuster Avatar, which Cameron wrote, produced and directed (CLICK). In 40 years of creating science-fiction artwork, Dean has made the notion of islands floating in the sky his own. The similarities between his floating islands and the landscapes of Avatar have been commented on by fans of sci-fi art. It will be interesting to see how this case pans out. Cameron has already won two separate cases brought against him by scriptwriters. Avatar has made more than $2.8bn and is the highest-grossing film of all time. Shown is Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar (2009) ... er ... actually its Zoe Saldana's movements filmed by motion-capture cameras and morphed into a cute blue alien. What red-blooded, all-American paraplegic could resist those golden eyes and that swishing tail?

Pencil Art

I found this terrific drawing on Leodor Selenier's Google+ page and tried to share it on Google+, but without success. Leodor posts pictures by different artists and is well worth following (CLICK). The artist who drew Hiyu is Brian Scott. I do mean "drew". Brian - a UK artist - draws his pictures using coloured pencils! Unbelievable. CLICK to see more of Brian's drawings.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

3D Tiger

Those fun-loving South Korean artists who have been wowing them in China with 3D paintings that seem to come alive have made it to Europe. The exhibition "Du bist die Kunst!" (You are the Art!) has opened in the Augustusburg Palace in Augustusburg, near Chemnitz, in eastern Germany (CLICK). Here we see Justin petting a 3D Tiger (2013). Children love posing with these interactive artworks for snap-happy parents. CLICK for a BBC video of one of last year's shows in China. CLICK for The Magic Art Special Exhibition. Of course there's nothing new about artists trying to deceive the eye. The French call it "trompe-l’œil". CLICK to see Pere Borell del Caso's Escaping Criticism (1874).

Hay Wain Update

Fathers4Justice released this photo of yesterday's "attack" on John Constable's The Hay Wain (1821). The photo shows a lovely little boy with the word HELP written on it twice. His father is identified as Paul Manning, who said a custody battle with his former partner had forced him to take "drastic action" (CLICK). Posting photos of children denied access to Father is the new tactic for Fathers4Justice. It makes a lot more sense than scaling Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman or pelting PM Tony Blair with flour. Daft stunts like this merely annoy people. The Children's Act (various) was supposed to put the child's interests first, but when you fill the courts with feminist judges, feminist barristers, feminist solicitors, feminist court welfare officers and feminist social workers the rights of the child go straight out the window. The rights of Mum are all they care about. Mr Manning has been charged with criminal damage (CLICK).

Friday, 28 June 2013

LS Lowry Nudes

If you didn't already know the answer, you'd never guess who drew these two Life Studies (c.1916). LS Lowry. He drew them on a sketchpad during evening classes in Manchester around 1916, the year before he began his famous matchstick-men paintings. A man from Great Yarmouth bought them in 1989 for £3,800. At Durrants auctioneers in Suffolk they fetched £18,100 (CLICK).

Mandela Stolen

The criminal underworld must have taken seriously the BBC's claim that "African art is the next big thing". This ghastly portrait of Nelson Mandela by South African-born Conor Mccreedy has been stolen from a New York art gallery. The thieves blew a hole in the gallery wall and escaped with artworks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including Mccreedy's daub. The New York Police Department, Interpol and private investigators are all trying to track down the criminals (CLICK).

Hay Wain Attacked

John Constable's famous masterpiece The Hay Wain (1821) was attacked in The National Gallery in London today. A man thought to be a Fathers4Justice protester glued a photo of a young boy to the painting. Staff quickly intervened and the man was arrested by police. The painting was briefly removed from display, so conservation staff could examine it. No damage was done and the painting is now back on display (CLICK). The denial of a child's right of access to Father causes deep psychological harm, but attacking works of art is no way to get this point across. CLICK for a larger graphic of The Hay Wain.

Gromit Unleashed

Back in April I showed you these first four completed Gromit statues, hand-painted by Sir Paul Smith, Cath Kidston, Simon Tofield and Richard Williams (CLICK). All 80 giant Gromits are now ready to be distributed around Bristol this weekend for the Gromit Unleashed fundraising appeal for Bristol Children's Hospital. Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, whose Aardman Animations studio is based in Bristol, came up with the idea to raise funds. Gromit painters include Sir Quentin Blake, Gerald Scarfe and the team at The Beano. One of the Gromits has travelled all the way from Hollywood: a Buzz Lightyear Gromit with plastic helmet. This you must see. Jon Kay was given a sneak preview (CLICK).

London Art Week

Today sees the opening of London Art Week (CLICK), which incorporates Master Paintings Week (CLICK) and Master Drawings and Sculpture Week (CLICK). Confused? Just think Mayfair and St James, where some of the most prestigious art galleries and auction houses hang out. This week-long event gives participating galleries the opportunity to stage exhibitions of recent discoveries. Philip Mould & Co is showing previously unseen works by Sir Peter Lely, including this beautiful Study of Two Children (c.1650) at 29 Dover Street, W1S 4NA (CLICK). Those of you hooked on BBC One's Fake Or Fortune? and Antiques Roadshow will recognize Philip Mould as a leading expert on portraiture.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

African Art

BBC News has posted an article entitled Why African art is the next big thing (CLICK). The true answer, I suspect, is that the Anti-art Establishment is running out of ideas about what tosh to promote next. We already have Ghanaian-born sculptor El Anatsui's bottle-top bling TSIATSIA (2013) draped over the façade of Burlington House for the Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition (CLICK). The next African show opens at Tate Passé on 3 July: Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (CLICK). Ibrahim is a sort of poor man's Picasso. Shown is his A Vision of the Tomb (1965). Tate Passé wants to charge adults at least £10 to view this tripe, £8.60 for silver surfers. Forget it. There are much better African artists waiting in the wings.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Imagining Islands

This ghastly daub, Max Pechstein's Woman by the Sea (1919), is an exhibit in Imagining Islands: Artists and Escape, which students on the Courtauld Institute MA course Curating the Art Museum have curated in response to the Gallery's summer showcase Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the ‘20s (CLICK). The students drew their exhibits from the Arts Council Collection and The Courtauld Gallery. The show limps along until 21 July. I assume admission is free (CLICK).

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Margaret Desenfans

Today Sir Mervyn King revealed that Jane Austen is "waiting in the wings" to feature on our next £10 note (CLICK). Why Jane Austen? I was forced to read one of her novels for my "A" Level in English Literature. Boring girlie fiction, high-class Mills & Boon. (I did pass.) Shown is an unsung heroine worthy of banknote fame: Margaret Desenfans painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The daughter of a wealthy Welsh entrepreneur, she married the paintings collector and dealer Noël Desenfans in 1776 and used her fortune to bankroll his art collecting. The paintings they bought formed the core of the Dulwich Picture Gallery's Permanent Collection. She also plugged a shortfall of funds to enable architect Sir John Soane to build Britain’s first ever purpose-built public art gallery. What an achievement! The Dulwich Picture Gallery is marking the 200th anniversary of its benefactor's death with the display Margaret Desenfans (1731 – 1813): The Woman behind the Gallery (CLICK). It has borrowed this painting from a private collector for the display.

3D by Leandro Erlich

Here's the latest art-installation-thingy in London: Leandro Erlich: Dalston House (2013), a recreation of a Victorian terraced house at 1–7 Ashwin Street, Dalston. This 3D illusion was commissioned by the Barbican as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2013 (CLICK). Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is famous for such illusions. Today is press day and reporters took their brats along to crawl all over the thing. Great fun. Tim Muffett joined the crawlers for BBC News and interviewed the artist. Auntie's video demonstrates the illusion clearly: CLICK. It opens to the public tomorrow and crawls along until 4 August, admission free.

Nude Vandal Update

I wrote in yesterday's post that London is full of undesirable aliens. Here's another of them: Ukrainian national Dan Motrescu, now 30, who mounted the bronze statue of the Duke of Cambridge in Whitehall last November, stripped naked, vandalised the statue and waved its sword around (CLICK). Westminster Magistrates' Court sentenced him to 12 weeks in prison for possession of an offensive weapon (the sword) and three weeks for criminal damage, to run concurrently. Police collected all the bits broken from the statue and today the repairs began. The conservators hope to complete their work by Sunday (CLICK).

Monday, 24 June 2013

On Yer Bike

Remember this fathead who interrupted the 158th Oxford and Cambridge boat race in April last year? Australian Trenton Oldfield told Isleworth Crown Court that he had been protesting against elitism and inequality. What a damning excuse to give to an English judge! They embody elitism and inequality. Oldfield was found guilty of causing a public nuisance and jailed for six months. The Home Office has now denied him leave to stay in the UK, despite the fact that his wife lives here (CLICK). Don't Australians have human rights? London is full of undesirable aliens, from Roma gypsies shitting in Westminster doorways to mad mullahs preaching jihad. It seems the one unpardonable crime in England is to interrupt that bastion of elitism and inequality the Oxford and Cambridge boat race!

Vermeer and Music

On 26 June The National Gallery in London opens Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure in the Sainsbury Wing (CLICK). The Gallery owns only two paintings by the Dutch master (out of 34 known worldwide) and has borrowed Vermeer's The Guitar Player (1672) from the Iveagh Bequest at Kenwood House, one of my favourite paintings. Note her silk dress, pearls and ermine trim. This is one very rich lady. I wonder who she was. To this core of three Vermeers it has added other Dutch artists from the same period plus the rare musical instruments they depicted in their paintings. The Academy of Ancient Music will play period music for 20 minutes on the hour on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission costs £7. Silver surfers can gain entry for £3.50 on Tuesdays, 2.30 - 6pm. CLICK for a slide show.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

War Artist Shot

A week ago UK artist Graeme Lothian was shot in the left hand by a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan. On Friday he underwent a third operation since being shot, to put a plate on to broken bones in his hand. He is left-handed and his wife fears he may never be able to paint again (CLICK). Shown is his portrait of his wife Dr Sameena Shakoor, Consultatant Paediatatrician, which was one of the 51 paintings selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition in 2009 (CLICK). Dr Shakoor specialises in neurodisability. So her fears cannot be dismissed as groundless. However, Graeme is a former paratrooper and a tough cookie who is receiving the best of care in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This was his fourth tour in Afghanistan as an official war artist. Let's hope he makes a full recovery. We wish him and his wife well.

The Kingmaker

This farcical painting by Henry Tresham The Earl of Warwick's Vow Previous to the Battle of Towton (1797) depicts "Kingmaker" Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, as a Marvel Comics superhero about to sacrifice a white horse to cement his vow (CLICK). The Battle of Towton was fought in 1461 and put Edward of York on the throne. This painting is in Manchester Art Gallery.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The White Queen

What did you think of BBC One's new 10-part historical hokum The White Queen, starring Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville? The production values are good and Rebecca with dyed honey-blonde hair is suitably beautiful, but I could have done without the daft premonitions and soppy witchcraft with a crown-shaped ring pulled from a magic thread. Despite this nonsense, Janet McTeer stole the first episode as the dominant Jacquetta Woodville, pushy mother and queen-maker. Will Mum brush aside the powerful men in Philippa Gregory's feminist version of The Wars of The Roses? I can't wait to see the girls in shining armour going to war, swinging their maces and battle-axes. Yes, it is going to get sillier. Americans will love it. If you missed Episode 1, CLICK for BBC iPlayer and brace yourself for Episode 2 tomorrow at 9pm.
Update: the BBC tells Elizabeth Woodville's life story through Your Paintings: CLICK.


The latest exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London is simply called Paper (CLICK). It includes the work of 44 international artists who challenge our preconceptions of what can be done with this basic material, from drawing to sculpture. As you might expect from Saatchi, most of the exhibits are tripe. But the work of one artist stopped me from giving this show the raspberry. Annie Kevans does subtle oil-on-paper sketches of the boyhood faces of 20th Century despots. Shown are her portraits of Benito Mussolini, Italy (2004) and Saddam Hussein, Iraq (2004). What cherubs! No girlie despots, Annie?

Sickert From Life

Students of British art history would do well to visit the recently opened exhibition Sickert From Life at The Fine Art Society, New Bond Street, London (CLICK). Fifty paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints from all periods of Walter Sickert's career are on display. Shown is his The Façade of St Jacques (1902). Homework: explain how such a bad artist become so influential in British art?

Friday, 21 June 2013

Goodbye, Brit Art

It looks as though it's time to wave goodbye to more masterpieces of British art. On 11 July Christie’s at King Street, London, will hold its auction of Important Victorian & British Impressionist Art (CLICK). Up for grabs are Sir John Everett Millais' delightful Portrait of Lady Campbell, née Nina Lehmann (1884) and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones' sumptuous Love among the Ruins (1873). The latter is estimated at £3 million to £5 million. CLICK for a larger image. These are just two of the masterpieces in this sale, Why do I think they will be lost to the nation? 1) British public galleries are skint. 2) Government cutbacks. 3) The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA) has proved itself more interested in works of art sold by British aristocrats than in British art. So, why not pop along to Christie's just before the sale and see what we're going to lose?

Mystery Painting

A friend has inherited this substantial, impressionistic painting showing a Victorian or Edwardian lady with a parasol in an unpaved village street. Or is that a stream running through it? The signature is impossible to read. Only the initials B.P. are clear. It is undated. The heavy frame - screwed to the wall - is a style from around 1900, but the picture could have been inserted much later. Does anyone recognize this painting or the artist's style? If, so, please leave a comment.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Picasso's Vase

Picasso should have been a potter. His partly glazed terracotta vase Oiseaux et Poissons, conceived in 1955, is far more attractive than any of his paintings. It fetched £109,875 at Christie's London auction on 18 June, much higher than its pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £40,000. It was issued as a limited edition of 25. So, something to look out for in the next car boot sale.

Gay Porn at ICA

The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London is so desperate to attract punters that yesterday it opened Keep Your Timber Limber (Works on Paper). The exhibition brings together the work of eight artists: Judith Bernstein, Tom of Finland, George Grosz, Margaret Harrison, Mike Kuchar, Cary Kwok, Antonio Lopez and Marlene McCarty. It's mainly a mixture of gay and feminist art with some protest art from pre-Nazi Germany thrown in. Shown is the late Antonio Lopez's Gianni Versace Campaign (1984), one of the more commercial images, presumably in the Lower Galleries. ICA warns art lovers "Please be aware that this exhibition contains material visitors may find challenging. Some of the works in the Upper Galleries contain sexually explicit imagery" (CLICK). On its home page, ICA asserts "Your support is essential in encouraging emerging art and artists". I fail to see how this retrospective exhibition of deviant art helps any emerging artist.

RCA Graduate Shows

Today the Royal College of Art opened its annual Graduates Shows, running simultaneously across both the Battersea and Kensington sites. Its website is currently overloaded, but try it: CLICK. The Dyson Building in Battersea is showing painting and sculpture among a dozen disciplines. I keep moaning about the tripe taught in art schools, but I rather like Freya Douglas-Morris's Dance of the Shadows. It has symmetry. Did RCA teach her symmetry or did it come naturally?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


The Victoria and Albert Museum in London claims it is "The world’s greatest museum of art and design" (CLICK). So why should it belittle itself by allowing German Expressionist junk peddler Georg Baselitz to install Untitled (2013) in its John Madejski Garden for the summer? This 3.5 metres-thingy-high monstrosity allegedly based on Antonio Canova's The Three Graces lets down the whole tone of the place. Baselitz seemed blissfully unaware of the ghastliness of his "sculpture" as he unveiled it for a press photo call. He is hailed as one of the greats of modern art! Give me strength.

Paul Delvaux II

Surrealism anybody? Yesterday the Blain|Di Donna gallery at 6 Hill Street, London, opened Paul Delvaux in collaboration with the Paul Delvaux Foundation in Belgium. Over 20 oil paintings and watercolours on paper that date from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s are on display (CLICK). This is the artist's first solo exhibition in Great Britain. Shown is Paul Delvaux's Bathing Nymphs (1938).

BP Portrait Winner

Back in April I posted these two paintings shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2013 (CLICK). So it's just a matter of who won first and who came second. South-African born Susanne du Toit won the top prize of £30,000 for her portrait of her 35-year-old son Pieter. John Devane won the second prize of £10,000 for his painting The Uncertain Time, which portrays his three children: Lucy, Laura and Louis. Owen Normand won the £7,000 Young Artist Award (CLICK). The BP Portrait Award exhibition of 55 best entries opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London on 20 June, admission free (CLICK).

Royal Paintbox II

Anyone who saw Margy Kinmouth's fascinating film shown on ITV last April (CLICK) will know what to expect from Royal Paintbox: Royal Artists Past and Present, which opens at Windsor Castle on 22 June. For those of you who missed the film, this new exhibition features artworks by members of the Royal family over the last 350 years: King George III and his children, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their children, King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. Shown is Prince Charles' watercolour View of Beinn a'Bhuird, Cairngorms (1991). Admission to the exhibition is included in a ticket to Windsor Castle (CLICK).

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Take A View

Entries for the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2013 are now open. The top prize is £10,000. The idea is to promote Great Britain with top-quality photos in a number of different categories. There is an under-17 award and, for the first time, there is an award for the best photo taken by an entrant living outside Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Foreign tourists, this is your chance. CLICK for details. CLICK for The Telegraph slide show of previous entries. David Speight's Losehill Pike and the Great Ridge from Mam Tor, Derbyshire is a beautiful example of what you're up against!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Putin Arms Dealer

Syria chasm kicks off G8 summit (CLICK). Why should Vladimir Putin stop selling arms to his favourite despot? So long as Bashar al-Assad is destroying his own country with Russian firepower, Putin is a happy bunny. Only 93,000 dead so far. Stalin killed more than that.

Adult Workshops

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is offering adult drawing workshops for £5 per workshop. These sell out rapidly. Places are limited to 15 and booking for each session opens on the first day of that month. The next workshop is Friday 19 July from 10:15 to 12:00. Places will be confirmed on receipt of payment (CLICK). Telephone 01223 332904 or email

Discovery of Paris

On 20 June the Wallace Collection in London opens The Discovery of Paris: Watercolours by Early Nineteenth-Century British Artists (CLICK). The exhibition features 70 watercolours, preparatory drawings and associated prints borrowed from the V&A, The British Museum, Tate and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, as well as from private collectors. Works by Turner, Girtin, Bonington and William Callow will be displayed. Shown is Thomas Shotter Boys' The Pavillon de Flore, Tuileries.

Harry Potter Props

Today The Coningsby Gallery in London opened The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter™ Films (CLICK). This exhibition shows the incredible detail Warner Bros invested in the Harry Potter movies. Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima spent ten years creating these graphic design props: adverts for Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, complete editions of The Daily Prophet, a Quidditch World Cup poster, Undesirable No 1 poster and this Dark Arts Defence Basics for Beginners from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). The show flies until 28 June. CLICK for a BBC video. CLICK for The Telegraph slide show.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Madeleine McCann

Following a two-year review of documents concerning the abduction of Madeleine McCann from Praia da Luz in 2007, the Metropolitan Police are poised to take on the investigation. They have identified "a number of persons of interest" (CLICK). The original investigation by Portuguese police was a complete cock-up, whether through incompetence or the need to protect a high-level Portuguese paedophile ring is open to question. The first picture is Teri Blythe's computer-generated image of how Madeleine McCann might look at the age of 9, issued last year by Scotland Yard. The other graphic shows Madeleine's eyes with her distinctive right pupil - our left - shaped like a tadpole (2007). Let's hope for success.

NPG Taster Sessions

The National Portrait Gallery in London is offering free Taster Sessions for young people aged 14-19 in its BP Portrait Award: Next Generation scheme. They can try out a range of portrait techniques in the Gallery spaces and meet artists. The dates are Sunday 23 June: 10.30 – 13.30 or 14.30 – 17.30, Saturday 13 July 11.30 – 14.30 and Sunday 21 July, 11.30 – 14.30. Booking is essential (CLICK). Applications for the three-day Summer Schools open on 20 June.

French Portrait Drawings

Yesterday The Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House, London, opened French Portrait Drawings 1600-1850, a free display in Room 12 (CLICK). The centrepiece is Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s portrait of his friend and pupil Alphonse Hennet de Goutel, on loan to the Gallery. Drawings from the Courtauld collection trace the development and changing role of portraiture in France from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century, executed in a variety of media on paper. The display runs until 2 September.

Whistler's Thames

I wasn't aware that American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler had made The Thames Set etchings whilst in London. Here is his etching of Limehouse (1859). CLICK for a larger graphic. This is one of the exhibits in Dürer, Rembrandt & Whistler: Prints from the Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly, which opened today in the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA (CLICK). If you live in the area, this is a must-see exhibition. It includes prints by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Tiepolo and Goya. Do we have a copy of The Thames Set in a museum in London? I wonder.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Pastel Society Show

The annual exhibition of the Pastel Society opened at the Mall Galleries in London on Tuesday and runs until 22 June (CLICK). It promises "an eclectic mix of both figurative and abstract work in pastels and other dry media". Admission costs £3 for adults, £2.50 for silver surfers. Shown is a detail from John Tookey's Eggleston, Teesdale. I assume this is the same John Tookey who sold watercolours and pen and wash drawings at art shows in Ilford. I've always liked his work. I hold a copy of his East Anglia, text by Paul Jennings, published by Gordon Fraser Gallery Ltd in 1986.

Lowry at Tate

For those of you into L.S. Lowry, Tate Britain in London will show Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life from 26 June until 20 October (CLICK). Tate is expecting a mad rush for this show and strongly recommends booking in advance. Not being one for matchstick men and dour northern cityscapes, I'm not joining the rush, especially as ticket prices are OTT: £15 for adults and £13.10 for silver surfers. And Tate wants you to add gift aid donations to these prices!

Outsider Art

Would you like to save £11? Yes? Then don't visit the Hayward Gallery's latest exhibition: Alternative Guide to the Universe (CLICK). It revels in "outsider art", such as Yulu Wu's Yao Kong Chuan Yi Xiao La Che (Remote Controlled Cart with Clothing), which trundles around the exhibition. Brenda Emmanus visited the show for London Art News (CLICK). Sadly, the BBC cut out the best bit where Brenda races Yulu Wu's daft whatsit. If you want to know more about "outsider art", Will Gompertz is your man to explain it (CLICK). Personally I think the Hayward Gallery has run out of ideas on what insider tripe to promote. Why on earth does Arts Council England keep funding the place? It's a complete waste of public money.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Queen's Portrait Defaced

Breaking news: Ralph Heimans' 9ft x 11ft painting The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which I favourably reviewed last year (CLICK), was sprayed with turquoise paint at lunchtime this afternoon. It has been on display in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey since May. Security staff collared the vandal, who was arrested by police and taken to a central London police station (CLICK). The 41-year-old man is reportedly a member of Fathers 4 Justice, which campaigns against the sexism of allowing children to be cut off from their fathers, who are treated as nothing more useful than meal tickets under English law. Half of ex-husbands lose all contact with their children within two years of divorce, due to vengeful, child-abusive ex-wives. And this Sunday is Father's Day!

Breakdancing Jesus

Why would anyone want a giant Breakdancing Jesus (2013)? Somebody did, because the Canteen diner in Stokes Croft, Bristol, commissioned artist Cosmo Sarson to paint its 8.5 metre-thingy-high wall. He used a kilo-thingy of glitter to paint the background. I think the traditional gold halo would have been quite enough. The painting was inspired by a real event: in 2004 breakdancers performed at the Vatican for an enthusiastic Pope John Paul II (CLICK). In loin cloths?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Royal Beano

In sharp contrast to Turkey, Great Britain has the freedom to enjoy a good lampoon of folk higher up the social scale than a piddling prime minister. If you haven't grabbed your copy of this week's Beano, prepare for a royal edition featuring the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. They visit Bash Street School, where Camilla opens a new library and Charles advocates an allotment for the kids. This edition arose from a visit by the royal couple to publisher DC Thomson's Dundee head office, where they were greeted by Dennis the Menace (CLICK). There have been so many ropy royal portraits recently, it makes a change to see a good likeness. Well done, that cartoonist.

Turkish Tribulations

What is the link between a Turkish police gun blazing in Taksim Square, Istanbul, yesterday and the pictures below of British artist Michael Dickinson's satirical collages Best In Show and Good Boy (2006)?

The answer is Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Under Turkish law, it is illegal to lampoon the prime minister. Michael - the "veteran provocateur" as he was called - faced interminable legal hassles with the threat of three years in a Turkish prison hanging over his head. In a country that puts people in jail for lampooning the prime minister, how can democracy function? It can't. So, when PM Erdogan starts talking and behaving like Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad, you know the reason why. Turkey is totally unfit to join the EU. CLICK for the latest.