Saturday, 31 August 2013

Man Of Steel

Ed Miliband, Man of Steel.
I think Ed Miliband came out of Thursday's vote looking worse than PM David Cameron. At first he supported the PM's gung-ho stance, then he changed his mind and ordered his MP's to vote against the government. Since then the Man of Steel has been trying to rationalise his treachery. I did the "right thing by the British people" he claims. "I don't think the conduct of British foreign policy is about saying we always do what the United States thinks we should do" (CLICK). The clueless clot has missed the point entirely. Rightly or wrongly, Cameron has been pushing President Obama to act on Syria. As soon as Cameron succeeded, Miliband pulled the rug from under Cameron's feet. Nice one for the "special relationship", Ed. The Yanks will love you, if you ever get into No. 10. Dr Rola from Hand In Hand For Syria, the doctor who treated children burned with napalm when a playground was bombed by a Syrian jet fighter, has invited Ed Miliband to come to Syria to learn what the Syrian people are suffering (CLICK). Go on, Ed. You're not doing anything useful here.

St Paul's Donkeys

St Paul's Cathedral has been invaded by 25 life-sized fibreglass donkeys from Egypt, sculpted by Reda Abdel Rahman and painted by Christian and Muslim artists. The CARAVAN Festival of the Arts is some interfaith nonsense based on the fact that the donkey symbolises peace in both Christianity and Islam (CLICK). Shown is Ashraf Reda's Painted Donkey. If you believe in the false hope of interfaith dialogue, just look at what's going on in Syria, where a barbaric religious war between different branches of Islam is spreading over the whole region. To add hypocrisy to lunacy, the exhibition is sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland, a land that is besieged by immigrants and has acted accordingly. However, the donkeys look good in their magnificent setting and they'll be auctioned by Sotheby’s in aid of charities in Egypt that serve the poor. We can't argue against that. Entry to the Cathedral costs £16.00.

Friday, 30 August 2013

British Wildlife Photos

On 2 September the Mall Galleries in London opens two free exhibitions: 1) Blue & Yellow: Swift Transitions of Self, which is a pretentious title for a show of Chinese art, and 2) The British Wildlife Photography Awards, showcasing the best shots of British wildlife by photographers practising in Britain. Shown is a detail from Gerald Robinson's photo of a Mute Swan (CLICK).

Malala Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by a Taliban thug for having the temerity to campaign for girls' education in her backward country, is to receive the International Children's Peace Prize. She will be presented with the prize by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman in The Hague, Holland, on 6 September (CLICK). A well deserved award for a brave girl.

Napalm On Kids!

Bashir al-Assad seems determined to cock a snoot at international condemnation of his use of sarin gas against a rebel-held area of Damascus. Yesterday, while MPs were debating whether to unleash PM David Cameron on Syria - they decided not to -, a BBC Panorama team filmed the terrible aftermath of a Syrian fighter jet dropping an incendiary bomb on a school playground in the north of the country. Napalm sticks like glue to human skin and inflicts an agonising death. The attack left scores of children with burns over their bodies (CLICK for grisly video). "International law does not prohibit the use of napalm or other incendiaries against military targets, but use against civilian populations was banned by the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in 1980" (CLICK). So, another war crime committed by Bashir's brutes, this one unequivocal. (Note: the Vietnam War ended in 1975.)

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sunday Times Prize

Congratulations to Edinburgh-based artist David Forster for winning the £10,000 First Prize in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013. He has two paintings selected for the exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, running from 16 to 21 September (CLICK). This one is In The Winter (not his winning entry). Over eight hundred entries were submitted to the competition, out of which 83 works by 79 artists have been selected for the exhibition. With a total of £18,000 up for grabs by artists who demonstrate a high level of skill and creativity, this is the largest and most prestigious watercolour competition in the UK. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wildlife Photos 2013

The BBC has released a preview of nature photos entered into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, which it jointly owns with the Natural History Museum in London (CLICK). Shown is Agorastos Papatsanis's magical Parasol Mushrooms in Greece. This year's competition brought in nearly 43,000 entries from 98 countries. The overall winner will be announced in October. Admission to the exhibition will cost £12. CLICK for the BBC slide show.

Best of Both Worlds

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough has published a free e-book on the future of museums: Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age (2013). To cut a long story (75 pages) short, Clough explains how museums can respond to the digital age by digitising appropriate material, such as 3D graphics, and helping users to locate it online. It should be top of any curator's reading list, providing it isn't too verbose. CLICK for the Smithsonian website, view the video and download your free e-book.

Badgers and Gas

Having sorted out bovine TB to his own satisfaction and that of his landed chums, UK PM David Cameron is all set to sort out the murderous activities of Islamic lunatics engaged in an internal faith war. He'll accept a little help from US President Barack Obama, if push comes to shove. The UK will put a resolution to the UN Security Council later today (CLICK).

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Badger Cull Starts

The oft-postponed badger cull began today and the landowners who run the BBC behind the scenes made sure it broadcast its usual propaganda, showing a sinister badger creeping round a cow in near darkness and interviewing farmers convinced that badger culling is vital. The BBC News website bears the headline "Badger cull begins in Somerset in attempt to tackle TB" (CLICK). Sky News took a different tack. Its headline reads "First Badger Cull Under Way Amid Protests". Both websites quote the shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh: "The Government's divisive badger cull will cost more than it saves and will spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disturbed by shooting. We need a science-led policy to manage cattle movements better and a vaccine to tackle TB in cattle. Ministers should listen to the scientists and drop this cull which is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers and bad for wildlife" (CLICK). What nobody has mentioned is that Northern Ireland tests its cattle for bovine TB more often than England does. That's the key. Culling 5000 badgers, whether they have TB or not, is a brutal waste of time.


The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair will open in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, on 25 September and will run until 29 September (CLICK). You can tell it's a posh affair, because the bouncers on the door are wearing top hats. Entry is £15 per person. Experts in portraiture Philip Mould & Co will be exhibiting a fine selection of portrait miniatures and small paintings, including over fifty works from an important private collection.

Little Mermaid 100

In case it had escaped your notice, Copenhagen's iconic bronze statue The Little Mermaid (1913) turned 100 last Friday. Local officials and the Danish public were out in force to celebrate her centenary. One hundred young women jumped into the water from the boat shown in the photo and formed the number 100. CLICK for a BBC video. Carl Jacobsen - son of the founder of brewery Carlsberg - commissioned sculptor Edward Eriksen to create the statue in 1909. Ballerina Ellen Price agreed to model for the head, but refused to pose in the nude. So Eriksen's wife Eline posed for the body. How much of Ellen Price is left is anyone's guess, because the statue has been decapitated a number of times (CLICK).

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bob Dylan Art

Bob Dylan fans might like to known that the National Portrait Gallery in London is showing 12 new pastel portraits by the singer, created specifically for the gallery. This one is Nina Felix (2013). The free exhibition is called Face Value. You'll find it in Room 40 until 5 January (CLICK). Curator Sarah Howgate shows her favourites in a BBC video (CLICK).

Banksy For Sale

Here's the latest Banksy mural to head for auction: Flower Girl. It measures 9x8 feet and was originally on the wall of a service station in Los Angeles, California. The owner decided to cut out the wall and put it up for auction. It's currently in the warehouse of Julien's Auctions and will headline its Street Art auction in Beverly Hills in December (CLICK).

Woodland Trust Photos

The Woodland Trust - the UK's leading woodland conservation charity - has announced the winners of its annual photography competition, now in its second year (CLICK). The overall winner was Ashley Chaplin with his photo of a Log Cabin in Embley Woods, Hampshire, when the bluebells were flowering. More than 10,000 entries were submitted to the competition and there are some stunners. I don't envy Simon King the task of selecting the winner. Sadly, there is no exhibition. The photos will be used on The Woodland Trust website to show the natural treasures of British woodlands. CLICK for its home page and think about becoming a member. CLICK for a BBC slide show of category winners and highly commended shots.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Children's Day

BBC News has posted a video of the Notting Hill Carnival, Children's Day: CLICK. It gives you a fleeting glimpse of Europe's biggest street festival. CLICK for slide show.

Notting Hill Update

Following my post on the Notting Hill Carnival 2013 (CLICK) this morning I received an email asking how to get from Birmingham to Notting Hill. There are two pieces of good news. Firstly, BBC London News has finally caught up with the strike, which began at 00.01 BST this morning, and has posted some helpful links (CLICK). Secondly, the guards' strike is limited to London Overground trains. So trains from Birmingham shouldn't be effected until they reach London. The bad news is that the strike covers both days of the festival. A police sergeant warns that your mobile phone is most likely to be snatched as you leave a railway station. London Ambulance tweets about sensible shoes for carnival: "We treat loads of people for cuts & injuries to their feet". A million toe-treading visitors are expected to attend carnival over its two days.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Threadneedle Prize

The six "artists" shortlisted for The Threadneedle Prize for Painting & Sculpture, worth £30,000 to the winner, have been announced. It's dreadful stuff, as usual. The only one in the shortlist that looks vaguely interesting is Seamus Moran's Urban Burka, made out of training shoes; but the price tag of £3,000 must be a joke. As for the long list, I waded through it online (CLICK) and most of the entries look as though they were painted by half-witted children. I found a handful of worthy paintings, including Raoof Haghighi's Surrender. The exhibition opens at the Mall Galleries in October. Don't bother.


Today the London Canal Museum opened a subterranean installation thingy by Lyndall Phelps called Covariance (2013), the first of a planned series called Superposition (CLICK). The UK Institute of Physics commissioned Lyndall to create something arty to promote underground particle detectors to the public. She discussed the idea with physicist Dr Ben Still to gain an insight into the process. The resultant artworks were then installed in two vast brick-lined wells built in the 19th century to store ice. They lie beneath the museum. To descend into the depths you need to be fit, wear sensible shoes and a hard hat (latter provided), be aged 11 or over, have both hands free, book in advance and be prepared to get dirty! The ice wells will be open at weekends and Thursday afternoons until 20 October. I'm not sure I'd fancy paying £4 to view a glorified Christmas tree underground, but each to his own. CLICK for a BBC video.

Lego Modern Hero

This photo shows 10-year-old Jack Covill-Lowndes and his statue (2013) made from 35,000 Lego bricks. Let's be honest, as portraiture goes it sucks. It looks like something made for The Threadneedle Prize. But that's not the point. Legoland in Windsor, Berkshire, wanted to immortalise a "real-life, everyday hero" in Lego. Jack's aunt and guardian nominated him for the competition because he has raised thousands of pounds for St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice, which cared for his mother until she died of cancer in 2006. Jack is chuffed with his Lego statue and thinks it "awesome". It will be on show at Legoland until the end of September, then will be given to Jack to keep. He wants it in his bedroom (CLICK).

Friday, 23 August 2013

Notting Hill Carnival

Overground train guards will be on strike this weekend - any excuse to hold passengers to ransom - and there will also be station closures and bus diversions due to the Notting Hill Carnival. So check the Transport for London website before you make a move: CLICK. You'll find the route for the carnival on the carnival website: CLICK. The adult day is Monday, the kiddie day Sunday. Police have already arrested 200 potential trouble makers, but warn that pickpockets and mobile phone snatchers will be out in force. St Katharine Docks, near Tower Bridge, is the place to visit if you're interested in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. You can view the yachts and go aboard (CLICK).

Antiques at Mall

From 28 - 31 August the Mall Galleries in London will be holding its first Antiques and Fine Art Fair for 30 years. "There will be 25 specialist dealers bringing their finest examples of mainly British Art and Artifacts for sale, all of which will have been vetted by experts to ensure authenticity and quality as well as correct descriptive labels." The fair is organised by Penman Antiques Fairs (CLICK for more information). Admission will cost £3. Shown is Chrysanthemums, artist unknown.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

London Zoo Weigh-in

The weigh-in has begun for London Zoo's animal residents, more than 19,000 of them! This African Bullfrog seems to be taking it in his stride. The annual weigh-in is an essential check on health. The animals are also measured. CLICK for a BBC slide show. CLICK for ZSL London Zoo.

Virtual Receptionist

Meet Shanice, a virtual receptionist who began working for Brent Council in London yesterday. She is projected on to a screen behind a Civic Hall desk and answers a limited number of questions, which visitors can key in using a touch screen function. Her detractors have labelled her a "gimmick" and a waste of money, but her one-off cost of £12,000 is much cheaper than paying a real person a salary of £30,000 a year (CLICK). She's also a lot prettier than the security guards who act as receptionists in my local Town Hall.

Ecology Photos

The British Ecological Society is celebrating its centenary this year (CLICK). Shown is the overall winner of its annual photography award: Zoe Davis's photo of Black-browed Albatrosses greeting each other. (CLICK for a BBC slide show.) All the images are on display until tomorrow at INTECOL, which is being hosted at ExCel in London.

Wing Walkers

Congratulations to Flame Brewer and Rose Powell, two London schoolgirls who have become the youngest ever wing walkers to fly in formation at age 9 (CLICK). Flame's older brother Tiger became the youngest solo wing walker in 2009 at the age of 8 (CLICK). Their grandfather Vic Norman owns and leads Breitling Wingwalkers. The top photo shows the girls on his Boeing Stearman biplanes. The cousins had been pestering him to let them perform the stunt to help their friend six-year-old Eli Crossley, who suffers from the fatal genetic disorder Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Sufferers are severely disabled and die young. The Duchenne Children's Trust raises money to find a cure (CLICK).

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

First UK Guinea Pig?

In preparation for its autumn exhibition Elizabeth I and Her People, the National Portrait Gallery in London borrowed this painting of Three unknown Elizabethan children (c. 1580) from a private collection. The girl in the centre is holding what could be the earliest depiction of a South American guinea pig in Europe (CLICK). An emergent middle class embraced portraiture and exotic pets during the forty years of Queen Elizabth I's reign. The exhibition with over 100 objects - accessories, artefacts, costumes, coins, jewellery and crafts as well as portraits - opens in the Wolfson Gallery on 10 October (CLICK).

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Elmore Leonard RIP

US writer Elmore Leonard died at his home today "surrounded by his loving family". He was 87 years old (CLICK). He began his career writing westerns, such as Hombre and Valdez Is Coming. His story 3:10 to Yuma (1957) has twice been filmed. Delmer Daves directed the original, one of the most tense westerns ever made. As cowboy novels went out of fashion, Elmore turned to character-driven crime fiction such as Get Shorty and Maximum Bob. For those of you already feeling bereft of Elmore's terse, punchy style, don't despair. His son Peter Leonard has donned Dad's mantle and has begun to fill his own share of car trunks (CLICK).

Red House Find

The National Trust has discovered a Pre-Raphaelite wall painting measuring 6ft by 8ft in a bedroom at Red House in Bexleyheath, Kent, where William Morris lived between 1860 and 1865 (CLICK). It had been hidden behind a fitted wardrobe and covered with wallpaper, leaving only two indistinct figures visible. Morris and his wife Jane were regularly visited by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Siddal, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown. They helped decorate the Morris's new home. Experts think they all contributed to the wall painting, which is in a poor state of repair.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Oscar Bail Hearing

Oscar Pretorius was back in court today for the second day of his bail hearing (CLICK). What clever dick arranged to have this court appearance on the day that would have been his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's 30th birthday if he hadn't shot her to death? He admits killing Reeva, but denies premeditated murder, claiming he thought she was an intruder. I ask you, who breaks into somebody's apartment just to use the bathroom? And does he or she deserve to be shot for such an unlikely intrusion?

Cardboard Cathedral

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake which hit New Zealand in 2011 devastated Christchurch, toppled its neo-Gothic cathedral and killed 185 people. On Thursday evening the new Anglican Cathedral of New Zealand, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, received its official dedication service. It's been nicknamed the "Cardboard Cathedral", because it is made from 24-inch diameter cardboard tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants. It has a design life of 50 years, giving plenty of time for the Anglican Church to design and build a permanent replacement for its old cathedral. Shigeru Ban has a reputation for using low-cost, easily available materials to build structures in disaster zones (CLICK).

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sports Diet

According to the BBC, "More people in the UK visit art galleries and museums than attend Premier League football matches..." (CLICK). So why does Auntie give us so few programmes about art galleries and museums and a constant diet of boring sports programmes? No sooner does the Athletics World Championships fizzle out than Match Of The Day pops up. The empty seats in the the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow summed up my interest in athletics. The only thing worth seeing was Russian pole vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva leaping into a mascot's arms like a girl and doing celebratory backflips (CLICK). Sport on TV does little more than give couch potatoes something to gawk at while they're slurping their beer and crunching crisps.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


It's good to see that cheesecake is still doing well in the USA, despite being frowned upon in the UK. This is Gil Elvgren's Bare Essentials, a 1957 Brown & Bigelow calendar painting, which sold for $137,000 in its auction debut at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on 31 July. The $1.3m auction was led by a bevy of pinup images. Love that scarlet macaw.

Richard III Review

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave has granted the Plantagenet Alliance a judicial review of the Ministry of Justice decision to allow King Richard III's remains to be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral, but he warned the parties to avoid an "unseemly, undignified and unedifying" legal tussle ... a legal Wars of the Roses part 2" (CLICK). The Plantagenet Alliance wants the king buried in York Minster. More than 27,000 people have signed a petition for the King to go to York, while more than 8,000 signed a petition wanting his remains to stay in Leicester, where they were unearthed. Graphic: on the left is Dundee University's Plastic facial reconstruction of King Richard III plus the king's portrait. No portraits of the king made during his reign survive. Shakespeare used the historian Holinshed as a source for his portrayal of the king: "little of stature, ill-featured of limbs, crook-backed, the left shoulder much higher than the right, hard favoured of visage". The king's skeleton is severely "crook-backed", but it seems he wasn't a hunchback.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Welsh Dragon in France

To complete my trio of animal posts today, here's a puzzle. What is this magnificent statue of a Welsh Dragon doing in Mametz, northern France? It's a monument to the thousands of men of the 38th (Welsh) Division who died on the Somme in 1916. In particular it marks the battle of Mametz Wood, which alone resulted in 4,000 Welsh casualties. Next year is the centenary of the start of WW1 (CLICK).

The Burrowers

It's a red letter day when you find something interesting to watch on TV. Here's my choice for today: The Burrowers: Animals Underground, Episode 1 on BBC Two at 21:00 hours ... er ... 9pm. The BBC has built underground homes for three iconic British animals, badgers, water voles and rabbits, allowing Chris Packham and us to peek at their underground lives as never before. The series follows bunnies from birth in winter to their emergence from their warren in summer (CLICK).

The Olinguito

Yesterday the Smithsonian Institution announced the discovery of the Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), the first new carnivorous mammal species discovered in the American continents in 35 years. It took a decade of research by zoologist Kristofer Helgen to establish that "Ollie" was a separate species. It's the smallest member of the racoon family, nocturnal, tree dwelling and eating mostly fruit and insects. Field trips found that it is alive and well and living in the cloud forests of the northern Andes in Ecuador and Colombia, at high elevations (CLICK).

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Laura Knight II

I previewed Laura Knight Portraits at the beginning of July (CLICK). The exhibition runs until 13 October. Here are two of her portraits of children, found on the Internet, rather than in the exhibition. She painted children as she saw them, not as little cuties. Top is The Piccaninny (1927). I guess that's no longer a politically correct term, but what the hell! It's the title Dame Laura gave to the painting. The girl's name was Juanita and she was convalescing. The portrait below is Susie And The Wash-Basin, probably a gypsy child. She comes across as a real young person. CLICK for the National Portrait Gallery exhibition.

Dame Laura Knight RA - Susie And The Wash-Basin

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Simeon Solomon

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Simeon Solomon, the Pre-Raphaelite artist whose career was cut short by scandal. He died in St Giles's Workhouse, Endell Street, London, on August 14 1905. In 1873 he was arrested in a public urinal at Stratford Place Mews and charged with attempting to commit sodomy. He was fined £100. He fared even worse in Paris the following year, when he was sentenced to three months in prison. Shamed, rejected not only by the Art Establishment, but also by his own Jewish community, he became an alcoholic, which eventually caused his death in the workhouse. He was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Willesden (CLICK). Shown is his Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (1863).

Roo Update

Back in February I posted news that culture tsar Ed Vaizey had slapped a temporary export ban on two oil paintings by George Stubbs, one showing a kangaroo (The Kongouro From New Holland), the other a dingo (CLICK). Yesterday the National Maritime Museum in London announced it had secured £3.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £200,000 from the Art Fund, toward the cost of the paintings (CLICK). They were commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks following his participation in Captain James Cook’s first Pacific voyage of discovery (1768–71) aboard HMS Endeavour. So they are of considerable historic importance. To find out more and/or to donate, CLICK.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Torbryan Screen Theft

A thief has hacked out two priceless oak panels from the 15th century Torbryan Screen in Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, Devon. The stolen panels show St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret (right of the photo). A third panel with a picture of a female saint was damaged. The screen is one of the few to survive the Reformation and one of the finest left in Britain (CLICK).

Romanian Trial

The trial of six Romanians accused of the "theft of the century" was opened and adjourned in Bucharest today. The next hearing will be on 10 September (CLICK). The mother of one of the accused originally admitted burning the paintings in her stove to destroy evidence against her son. She then retracted her confession. Above are a few of the remains found in ashes in her stove, typical of burnt oil paintings. One of the accused has promised to return five of the seven missing paintings if he gets a deal. Another of the accused is on the run. And still no arrest in Holland! The thieves must have had inside help. What a shambles!

Monday, 12 August 2013

UK Art Exports

The value of art and cultural artifacts being exported from the UK shot up by a third in 2012, hitting its highest level since the financial crisis in 2008. Foreign punters lashed out almost £2 billion on art and cultural goodies in the year up to May 2012. The Artist's Resale Rights Directive, which gives artists or their heirs the right to 4% of resale values, came into effect at the start of 2012. The export figures suggest it hasn't done London any harm as an art sale centre in comparison with New York and Hong Kong, neither of which apply the art resale levy. Bruno Boesch, co-editor of The Art Collecting Legal Handbook, puts it in capitalist speak: "Art is an increasingly important trophy asset for international high net-worth individuals" (CLICK). In other words foreign punters with sacks of dollars under the bed are seeking investments that promise a good return, not the piddling .5% offered by banks. The photo shows Christie's staff posing with Modigliani's Jeanne Hebuterne, which went under the hammer in London earlier this year.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Princes in the Tower

I gave up on Phillippa Gregory's historical hokum The White Queen after Episode 2. According to Gregory, the Wars of the Roses were instigated by three crackpot bitches who bamboozled their daft husbands and male relatives into battle to decide who would become queen bitch. Too much of a feminist rewrite of history for my taste (CLICK). However, while browsing my TV guide today I noticed that Episode 9 raises the mystery of Elizabeth Woodville's two sons Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, aged 12 and 9 years old when they vanished. Sir John Everett Millais' The Princes in the Tower (1878) powerfully evokes the sinister incarceration, with the two princes fearfully holding hands while trying to be brave.
Update: BBC History has posted a page of info on The Princes in the Tower (CLICK).

Eat and be eaten

This is the most awesome graffito I've seen. I don't know who the artist is, but the German title Fresson & Gefressen Werden roughly translates to "Eat and be eaten". The fearsome predators are devouring one another, but out pops a bespectacled man wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, the worst predator of them all. Evolution? The painting is on the "5 Pointz" building, Long Island, Queens, New York City. The owner of the property wants to demolish it to build high-rise flats, but the 5 Pointz graffiti community is petitioning the government to make it a protected cultural landmark.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Bigger Bertie

I posted news of Christie's Out of the Ordinary exhibition and sale a week ago: CLICK. Here's another of its unusual items for auction: Bigger Bertie, thought to be the largest hand-carved rocking horse in the world. It was made in Britain for the World Skills Show 2011. It rocked into a London street for a photo call recently. Riva Lemanski, aged 6, poses on the monster to convey its scale. Yours for between £25,000 - £40,000 ($38,344 - $61,351). What the hell would you do with something this big?

Art Everywhere

Sir Peter Blake has launched the world's largest open-air art show: Art Everywhere. From a list of 100 British artworks, the public chose 57 to appear on 22,000 billboards, bus stops and other sites in cities, towns and villages across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The idea was conceived by Richard Reed, who founded the Art Everywhere website to poll public views. The public's favourite painting is John William Waterhouse's brilliantly evocative The Lady of Shalott (1888). (CLICK for a larger graphic.) The exhibition runs between 12-25 August (CLICK).

Friday, 9 August 2013

Go Home Van

Last year the London Borough of Redbridge bragged it was the most popular destination in England for foreigners coming to see the Olympic Games. That gave the more sensitive souls living in this benighted ghetto a good laugh! Last month Redbridge was one of six London boroughs in which the Home Office trialed its Illegals Go Home Van (2013). Today the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced it had launched an investigation into the Home Office campaign, following 60 complaints (CLICK). These range from nit-pickers quibbling about the claim "106 arrests in your area last week" to half-wit liberals playing the race card and claiming the campaign could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities. Cobblers. My complaint against this campaign is that it targets English speakers only. Many legal immigrants don't speak English, which is the reason Redbridge needs to publish its important notices in more than a dozen languages. So, how many illegal immigrants can read the Illegals Go Home message? This is Home Office propaganda desperately trying to kid potential UKIP voters that it is doing something about the immigration problem.