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).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Battersea Art Fair

The Affordable Art Fair Battersea runs from 23 – 26 October, promising 1,100 artists and 112 galleries with prices ranging from £100 to £5,000. Admission costs from £8 to £15 (CLICK). Shown is part of Maria Rivans' featured collage. Love that startled grey squirrel emerging from the pineapple ice bucket. His nuts must be frozen.


The Flowers Gallery at 82 Kingsland Road, London, is celebration the 75th birthday of Patrick Hughes with an exhibition of his New Reverspectives. If you enjoy the impossibly endless perspectives of M.C. Escher, you will be bowled over by the reverse perspectives of Hughes' meticulous panoramic paintings, which shift as the viewer changes position. Shown is a detail from one of his panoramas. The Flowers website is a clever-dick pain with light grey text on white "paper". So I can't give you details. The show boggles until 22 November (CLICK).

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sidney Paget

Yesterday the Museum of London opened Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die, an evocation of Victorian London as the backdrop to the great fictional detective (CLICK). Originally published in the Strand Magazine, which reached a weekly audience of half a million people, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories benefited enormously from more than 300 illustrations by Sidney Paget. Shown is Paget's "Holmes gave me a sketch of the events." It was Paget who created Holmes' angular features and it was Paget who introduced the deerstalker hat (CLICK). Admission to the exhibition costs £10.90 for adults or £9 for silver surfers.

Anal Plug Deflated

It went up on Thursday and was deflated on Friday night. US artist Paul McCarthy's 80ft high inflatable Tree, which he admitted was partly inspired by a butt-plug sex toy, has infuriated Paris residents, who called it a "provocation". It was erected in the Place Vendome as part of the FIAC international art festival. When McCarthy viewed it on Thursday, he had his face slapped three times. Then on Friday night this insult to Paris was deflated. FIAC says the monster will be repaired and reflated (CLICK).

Ben Kustow

Mead Carney Fine Art at 45 Dover Street, London, has opened the first solo exhibition of new paintings and photography by Ben Kustow: Gentle On My Mind (CLICK). The exhibition runs until 25 October. so you haven't got long if you want to see it. Shown is Ben Kustow's How Do You Like Your Blueeyed Boy Mister Death (2014). it isn't all Calgary Stampede, but Ben certainly likes his cowboys and bucking broncos.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bus Sculptures

Twenty-eight new Routemaster bus sculptures were unveiled in Trafalgar Square today. Wendy Hurrell took a BBC video team along to view the painted sculptures, a sample of 60 commissioned by Transport for London for its Year of the Bus in association with Wild in Art (CLICK). They will be spread along 3 London trails, around Westminster, the Thames and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Shown is artist Thomas W. Dowdeswell beside his painted bus entitled Come Rain or Come Shine. In the background is Oliver Dean's Busby bus. All the buses will be auctioned for 3 charities in 2015: Kids Company, Transaid and the London Transport Museum (CLICK).

Welsh Daub Stolen

This pathetic daub Landscape At Llanaelhaearn (1947) by Welsh artist Sir Kyffin Williams has been stolen from London's Southbank Centre, where it was on loan from the Arts Council Collection. A member of staff found the broken picture frame hidden in a toilet cubicle in Royal Festival Hall. It is thought the painting was stolen at the end of September (CLICK). It is now 17 October! This gives us an idea how often paintings on display at the Southbank Centre are checked and how often the Royal Festival Hall loos are cleaned! If you spot this daub in a car boot sale, contact Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Unit.

Abram Games OBE

On 8 September the Jewish Museum in Raymond Burton House, London, opens Designing the 20th Century: Life and Work of Abram Games to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Abram Games was one of the 20th Century's most influential graphic designers, creating hundreds of works that strongly influenced British culture, including the logo for the 1951 Festival of Britain. This exhibition explores his Russian immigrant roots, his Jewish background and his enormous contribution to British design (CLICK). BBC News has posted a Paul Kerley video in which his daughter Naomi tells the stories behind some of his images: CLICK.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

RIBA Winner

The RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 has been won by the Liverpool Everyman Theatre, which was demolished brick by brick so the bricks could be reused in the new building by Haworth Tompkins, thus retaining the atmosphere of the old building while creating a new structure that is "sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre" (Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director). It beat strong competition (CLICK).

Blood Swept Lands

The Tower of London art installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and theatre stage designer Tom Piper to mark the centenary of World War I has proved a hit with the public and royals alike. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red in August to plant poppies. Today the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the moat to lay a wreath among the poppies. Each poppy represents a British or Colonial fatality in the Great War. The last poppy of 888,246 will be planted on Armistice Day. They will then be removed by thousands of volunteers and sold for charity (CLICK).

More Frieze

Here's Giulio Paolini's Casa di Lucrezio at the Frieze Masters show on 14 October. At £50 a throw, this is for movers and shakers only. If you're near Regent’s Park, you might like to visit Frieze Sculpture Park, which offers free public access to huge works in the English Gardens (CLICK).

Winter of Discontent

Remember the Winter of Discontent, due to PM James Callaghan's Labour government attempting to reduce galloping inflation down to 5 per cent? It looks as though we're heading that way again. National Gallery staff went on strike yesterday in protest against low pay and privatization of museum services. Rembrandt: The Late Works in the Sainsbury Wing managed to stay open, but most rooms were closed (CLICK).