Saturday, 25 October 2014

Information Age

What better person to open the new Information Age gallery in London's Science Museum than HM Queen Elizabeth II? The baldies were out in force to show her around. Here we see her examining a model of the aerial tuning coil from Rugby Radio Station, once part of the most powerful radio transmitter in the world. The new gallery puts 200 years of communication and information technology under the spotlight. Her Majesty also made history by sending her first ever tweet, signed Elizabeth R. Admission is free (CLICK).

Giovanni Moroni at RA

Today the Royal Academy of Arts in London opened Giovanni Battista Moroni, the first comprehensive survey of this unsung genius of late Renaissance portraiture to be held in the UK. Over 40 of his works have been brought together, including a number of altarpieces from the churches of the Diocese of Bergamo, northern Italy, to represent his religious art. Shown is a detail from his portrait of a Young Lady (c.1560-65) who has the eyes of cold command. Entry costs £12 adults, £11 silver surfers (CLICK). Note: the RA's flashy new website demands a modern browser. I had to use Google Chrome to view it.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Who Are You?

Tomorrow the National Portrait Gallery in London opens Grayson Perry: Who Are You? a display based on his forthcoming Channel 4 TV series of the same name (Episode 1: Wednesday 29 October at 10.05pm). Perry explores identity, creating 14 portraits in tapestries, sculptures and pots of diverse individuals who are all trying to define who they are. The works are spread around Floor 1 in the 19th and 20th century rooms, admission free (CLICK).

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Life Story

This evening the latest wildlife series presented by Sir David Attenborough is screened on BBC One at 21:00 hours ... er ... 9pm. Life Story took the BBC's award-winning Natural History Unit more than four years to film. The series is in six parts, each concerned with a different aspect of the life cycle. Shown is a group of African elephant matriarchs protecting a calf (CLICK).

Bambi Art Stolen

Islington police are appealing to the public for help tracking down five 6ft x 4ft wooden panels with sharks and flower shapes stencilled by the street artist Bambi. They were installed on an Islington building site prior to being auctioned for the charity Art Against Knives. Police say they were stolen between 18:30 on 8 October and 09:30 on 9 October. Why wait so long before making this appeal? Get the news out fast. Anyone who can help is asked to phone Islington police on 101 and quote reference CRIS 2723485/14 (CLICK).

Sir Nick No 1

Here's depressing news: Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota has been named the most powerful figure in the art world. For the first time he's topped ArtReview magazine's annual Power 100 list, the first leader of a public museum to do so. He's been in the Top 10 from the start of the Power 100 list in 2002. Tate Passé ... er ... Modern is the most visited contemporary art museum in the world. It "consistently deployed an international - rather than a national - perspective on art production" explained ArtReview. "Tate has come to epitomise almost all the elements of the current 'global' art world, where the distribution of art is arguably now more important than its production" (CLICK). So much for art and the modern art market! It's all about fooling the punters that tripe is art. Shown is Charles Thomson's Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision (2000) (CLICK).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

WPY Award '14

The Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide are celebrating 50 years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) Award. The winner this year is Michael "Nick" Nichols' shot of a pride of lions snoozing in the Serengeti. The photo goes from foreground to horizon without a break, which is technically clever; but why use black-and-white film in this century? For me, the magic of that shot is lost without colour. My favourite is the winner of the Birds category: Bence Máté's eerie Herons in time and space, Lake Csaj, Kiskunság National Park, Hungary, which is so technically advanced he had to create two timing devices for his camera to take the single exposure. The exhibition opens in London on 24 October, entry £12.60 for adults, £6.30 for silver surfers (CLICK). Half price!

Leighton House

Leighton House in London will be transformed by hanging 50 exceptional paintings from the largest Victorian private art collection outside Great Britain, many shown for the first time. A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón Collection opens on 14 November and runs until 29 March 2015. These paintings return to the house in which they were painted, There are also works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. So this is Victorian art par excellence. Shown is a detail from Frederic Lord Leighton's Crenaia the nymph of the Dargle (c.1880). Entry costs £10 for adults, £6 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Land Girls

Today sculptress Denise Dutton's £85,000 bronze statue to honour women who served in the Land Army and Women’s Timber Corps (Lumber Jills) during World War Two was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. BBC News was there to video the unveiling and interview some of the windswept veteran Land Girls who attended the ceremony (CLICK). I couldn't find a good image of the finished sculpture, so here's a photo of the maquette held by artist Denise Dutton.

Banksy Vandalized

The latest Banksy Girl with a Pierced Eardrum appeared yesterday in Bristol and by today some jealous dickhead had sprayed it with dark paint (CLICK). Banksy's take on Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring incorporates an alarm box as the girl's earring. Noisy things.

Blade Runner 5 Years

South African Judge Thokozile Masipa has sentenced "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp plus a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge. She considers her sentence "fair and just, both to society and to the accused", whom she praised for his charity work and for changing the public perception of disability (CLICK).

Monday, 20 October 2014

Giant Genitals Art

Here's an "art" concept even sillier than Paul McCarthy's anal-plug Tree in Paris. Claudio Ahlers has taken over a former public toilet in Bristol and installed 7ft tall male and female genitals covered in black velvet. Visitors are invited to interact with the jumbo genitals and have their photos taken. These photos are affixed to the walls to form his Portraits of Private Perception (2014). Participants must be aged over 18. This nonsense limps along from 20 – 25 October (CLICK). Don't all rush at once!

Snake Jug

Here's a warning applicable to today's drunken teenagers. It's a Very Important Anna Pottery 1876 Snake Jug crafted by Wallace and Cornwall Kilpatric for the temperance movement. The photo on the left shows the legs of someone entering the jug, inscribed beneath with the message "Nice Young Man Just Going In". The photo on the right shows his head emerging from the jug surrounded by snake heads. This rare piece of American folk sculpture is Lot 20 in a Crocker Farm auction on 25 October through LiveAuctioneers (CLICK).