Thursday, 21 August 2014

Top Models 2014

Forbes has released its list of the world’s highest paid models of 2014. Here are the top three: Gisele Bundchen from Brazil made a staggering $47m; Dutch model Doutzen Kroes made $8m and another Brazilian Adriana Lima made $8m. The UK's Kate Moss was fourth with $7m (CLICK).

Bestiary at Mall

This morning in Greater London it was cold enough for my central heating to come on. And it's still August! The chill reminded me that two exhibitions will be opening in the Mall Galleries in London on 2 September, both free. The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014 will showcase the wealth of British natural history and the talents of both amateur and professional photographers. Shown is a detail from Austin Thomas's Little Owl. The second opening is The Horse In Art 2014, the 35th Annual Open Exhibition by the Society of Equestrian Artists. This year’s show promotes the Society’s Working From Life programme with a selection of life sketches to buy. Demonstrations by artists take place during the show (CLICK).

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Beyoncé in Park

Beyoncé strolling in London's Regents Park to meet the geese keeping the grass clipped? No, it's Madame Tussauds latest Waxwork of Beyoncé posed in the park as a publicity stunt. That's a microphone in her right hand, by the way. CLICK to see more photos.

Talking Statues

The latest way of bringing statues to life in London and Manchester is Sing London’s Talking Statues. You need a smartphone to avail yourself of this novelty. You place your smartphone on the tab provided and a moment later receive a phone call from the person or animal depicted by the statue. I heard some of them yesterday on a BBC News video. Prunella Scales as Queen Victoria in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens and Nicholas Parsons as Samuel Johnson’s cat Hodge in Gough Square struck me as particularly amusing. Part of the fun is identifying the famous voice. Shown is Sir Eduardo Paolozzi's Statue of Isaac Newton (1995) based on the famous William Blake monoprint of Newton plotting the immensity of the Universe. It sits in the Piazza of the British Library (CLICK). There is a competition to write a monologue for William Shakespeare. CLICK for a list of statues already primed to give your phone a ring.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Bejewelled Creatures

We haven't changed much in 40,000 years. We still like our handcrafted figurines of interesting fauna. We just demand better craftsmanship. Left is a 19th-century diamond, tiger’s eye and ruby spider brooch, its legs set with rose-cut diamonds. Right is a Victorian enamelled brooch with tiger’s eye thorax, rose-cut diamond wings and ruby eyes. They will be offered as separate lots on 21 August by London firm Auction Zero (CLICK).

Ice Age Lion

Archaeologists from the University of Tübingen in southern Germany have found a fragment of the head of this 40,000-years-old Tübingen Ivory Lion Figurine which proves that it was three-dimensional, not a relief sculpture as long thought. The legless lion, carved from mammoth ivory, was found in 1931. The "new" fragment was found during recent digs in the Vogelherd Cave. For those of you who still believe that Biblical tripe about God creating the universe in six days an estimated 2,000 years ago, think again. This artifact dates from the Ice Age, when modern humans displaced the Neanderthals (CLICK).

Indian Parsi

This photo captures the old and the new. An Indian Parsi devotee chats on her mobile phone after praying at a fire temple on the Parsi New Year Navroze, in Mumbai. People accept new technology, but refuse to shed their outmoded faiths. The Parsi are followers of Zoroastrianism. They exist mainly in Mumbai as a small religious community, having fled Muslim persecution in Iran (formerly Persia) during the 7th century. There is nothing new about the recent Islamic atrocities, causing Yazidi and Christians and even non-Sunni Muslims to flee in terror. The sooner the world abandons the insanity of religion the better. Today is World Humanitarian Day 2014. A service in Westminster Abbey will commemorating those hundreds of aid workers who have died while serving humanity (CLICK). Why hold this commemoration in a religious place?

Grand Canyon Stamp

Quality paintings have been thin on the ground this week. I've posted only one other: CLICK. This magnificent painting Grand Canyon (1912) is by Thomas Moran, born in England, who moved to the USA and became one of the Hudson River School artists. This is one of four Hudson River School paintings chosen by the US Postal Service to be featured in the 12th issue of the American Treasures series, on sale from 21 August. CLICK to see a larger picture. To view the original painting, you need to visit The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri (CLICK). Admission is free. N.B. avoid Ferguson en route!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Julian Assange

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has announced at a press conference that he will "soon" end his two-year sojourn in the Ecuadorian embassy (CLICK).

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Napoleonic Cabinet

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has lashed out £534,000, helped by a £150,000 grant from the Art Fund, to buy this Napoleonic Medal Cabinet (CLICK). Very nice too, but what has it got to do with British culture, apart from the fact it was owned by a posh Briton? Now scroll down or CLICK to view Henry Holiday's Stained-glass Windows. These would compliment the V&A's collection of stained glass at a fraction of the cost of the Napoleonic Medal Cabinet. The estimate is £8000–£12000 for those British windows. The medal cabinet is on display in the V&A's Whiteley Silver Galleries until the end of August.

Henry Holiday Glass

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions in Newbury, England, will auction Stained-glass Windows by Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday in a sale on 29 August. These windows were commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and created in 1898. Following an expansion of Chartered Accountants' Hall, the windows were bought by Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and have been in his family ever since (CLICK).

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ferrari Record

On 14 August Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California, sold this Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta (1962) for a record-breaking $38,115,000 (£22,843,633) making it the most expensive car ever sold at auction. Only 36 were built, from 1961 to 1964. The design owes a lot to the E-type Jaguar, but with spaghetti glitz and glamour added (CLICK). Work of art? More than a Picasso.

The House

Flying saucers? Artist Jose Pardo doesn't give anything away. It's called Untitled (2014). I do wish artists would have the gumption to create proper titles. This is one of the exhibits in Faggionato gallery's exhibition The House, which has been extended to 29 August. It's a group show with some big names, such as Richard Hamilton, Jeff Koons and Rachel Whiteread (CLICK).

Alpha Turtle

Large inflatable floating thingies are all the rage since Florentijn Hofmanis' Rubber Duck took the world by storm. Here's the latest: B.J. Price's Alpha Turtle being towed past Sydney Opera House. This five-metre tall, 15-metre long sea turtle is being berthed in Cockle Bay next to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium to publicise the opening of its Undersea Art Exhibition. Whatever next? I won't link you to the SEA LIFE website, because it locked up Internet Explorer and I don't link to dodgy websites.