Marc Quinn’s blood portrait

Each portrait is made with 10 pints of the artist’s blood. Quinn says he will continue to make a new version every five years

Each portrait is made with 10 pints of the artist’s blood. Quinn says he will continue to make a new version every five years

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is hoping to buy Marc Quinn’s Self, a frozen sculpture of the artist’s head, made out of his own blood. Quinn produces a new version every five years. The most recent, dating from 2006, is being offered to the NPG by the artist’s gallery White Cube for £350,000. Its open market value is said to be over £1m.


First show of Arab contemporary art in Israeli musem

The L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, which is supported by a Jewish endowment fund, run by Jewish staff, and located in a Jewish neighbourhood, is showing work by 13 Arab artists—the first group exhibition of local Arab works in an Israeli museum. The show is also the first contemporary art exhibition in an Israeli museum organised by an Arab curator.

The museum was founded in 1974 with an endowment from the late English philanthropist Vera Frances Bryce Salomons and named after a Jewish professor of Middle Eastern art and architecture she had admired at Hebrew University. Until now it has primarily exhibited antiquities and ethnographic works.

“Arab artists live in the state here with us, and their neighbours should know them; know who they are and what occupies them in their work,” says the museum director, Rachel Hasson. “I hope it will be the first of more shows.”

Ms Hasson invited artist Farid Abu Shakra from Northern Israel to be guest curator. He selected Arab Muslim, Christian, Bedouin and Druze artists to show work addressing a range of subjects from women’s rights to superstition.

The theme of correspondence is a reflection on the Arab artist in dialogue with diverse cultures: within Arab society, the art world, and in the Jewish Israeli world. “It is unusually fun to have each foot in another culture,” says Abu Shakra. “I’m an Arab artist and a citizen of Israel. But I’m not ‘Israeli’.”

Farid Abu Shakra is the brother of Said Abu Shakra, founder of the Umm El Fahim Gallery, a commercial space in Umm el Fahim, an Arab city in northern Israel. Said is working to build Israel’s first Arab contemporary art museum .

Farid has distanced himself from this scheme to pursue his own projects. “There are not many doors open to local Arab artists; there are no galleries in [Israel’s] Arab sector,” he says.

Jerusalem also has an Islamic antiquities museum run by the Islamic Waqf (religious endowment), and a satellite antiquities museum of the Israel Museum—the Rocke­feller Mus­eum—headed by Arab curator Fariz Ibrahim. There is only one functioning Arab (Palestinian) modern art gallery in east Jerusalem, but it identifies itself as Palestinian, not Israeli.

Funds for Arab arts projects in Israel can prove difficult to find. The Israeli-run Museum for Islamic Art has had trouble raising money from Jewish, Muslim or Arab communities. “For Arabs,” said Rachel Hasson, “we are not Arab enough and for Jews, we are not Jewish enough.”
From The Art Newspaper

Awesome Exhibitions at The Tate Modern

I have just become aware of these two exhibitions in London, mainly because I don’t visit that often.  I know that if I had checked it out earlier I would have been commuting to see these rather than go to work.  I would rather do that and probably be a lot happier but there you go.

Cy Twombly

Tate Modern presents a major exhibition of works by Cy Twombly, one of the most highly regarded painters working today and a foremost figure among the generation of American artists that includes Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. Twombly rose to prominence through a distinctive style characterised by scribbles and vibrantly daubed paint. This is his first solo retrospective in fifteen years, and provides an overview of his work from the 1950s to now.

Twombly emerged as a painter at the height of Abstract Expressionism, then in 1957 he left America for Italy, where he drew inspiration from European literature and classical culture. At the heart of the exhibition is Twombly’s work exploring the cycles associated with seasons, nature and the passing of time. Several key groups are brought together for the first time, such as Tate’s Four Seasons 1993–4 with those from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition also explores how Twombly is influenced by antiquity, myth and the Mediterranean, for example the violent red swirls in the Bacchus 2005 paintings which bring to mind the drunken god of wine.

Mark Rothko

26 September – 1st February 2009

Mark Rothko Mural for End Wall (Untitled) [Seagram Mural] 1959 National Gallery of Art, Washington Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation Inc.

Mark Rothko Mural for End Wall (Untitled) [Seagram Mural] 1959 National Gallery of Art, Washington Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation Inc.

This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see the full range of Twombly’s long and influential career from a fresh perspective.

Tate Modern presents an exhibition by one of the world’s most famous and best-loved artists, Mark Rothko. This is the first significant exhibition of his work to be held in the UK for over 20 years.

Tate Modern’s iconic ‘Rothko Room’ works are reunited for the first time with works from Japan. The Seagram Murals were originally commissioned for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building New York.

Rothko’s iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour, are among the most enduring and mysterious created by an artist in modern times. In the exhibition his paintings glow meditatively from the walls in deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks, and greys.

The exhibition will also focus on other work in series, such as the Black-Form paintings, his large-scale Brown and Grey works on paper, and his last series of Black on Grey paintings, created in the final decade of his life from 1958-1970.

Rothko is the must-see exhibition of the year – book your tickets now to avoid missing out.

Tate Modern Again

I went to the Tate Modern yesterday, with someone very dear to me. I hadn’t met her for quite a few years so it was quite a reunion. We had a great time, I got to see Pollock again, and the Rothko room. There was Picabia but unfortunately you needed to pay to go in.

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Nude Descending a Staircase II, Marcel DuChamp, 1912

I have written about him before so I don’t need to say any more, except it is a pity I couldn’t go in to see the works.

I must draw everyone’s attention to this though:

Jackson Pollock, Number 14, 1951

Jackson Pollock 1912-1956

Number 14 1951

Enamel on canvas
support: 1465 x 2695 mm frame: 1493 x 2721 x 63 mm

Purchased with assistance from the American Fellows of the Tate Gallery Foundation 1988

By 1951, Pollock had achieved considerable success with his dripped and poured abstract painting, and was widely regarded as the leading young American artist. Perhaps fearing that he was reaching an impasse in his work, he embarked on a series of black and white paintings in which figures emerge, as they had in his early works. After rolling the canvas out on the floor, he would apply the paint – usually industrial enamel paint – with sticks and basting syringes, which he wielded ‘like a giant fountain pen’, according to his wife, Lee Krasner.

‘Awesome’ Rock on Jackson

Harvard gets Barnett Newman cache

The Centre for the Technical Study of Modern Art, a research division of the Harvard University Art Museums, has been given Barnett Newman’s studio materials and related ephemera.

The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation donated the materials to assist scholars in the collection, study and conservation of Newman’s paintings. The gift complements the University’s existing archive of Newman’s correspondence and works of art previously donated by his wife Annalee.

A leading member of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Newman’s monochromatic paintings, marked by single vertical bands which he called “zips”, have proven difficult to restore. In 1977 a team of conservators investigated Newman’s materials and painting techniques after a visitor to the Stedelijk Museum made five large slashes in the canvas of Cathedra (1951).

The gift, which includes discarded paint trials, notes, unpublished sketches, and cardboard models of his best-known sculpture, Broken Obelisk (1963), gives researchers technical information about the artist’s studio practice.

Damien Hirst, go away!

Last night I switched on my TV to a programme called Imagine. A programme about contemporary art, and how it is selling for more than some of the masters these days. Well, rubbish is what I said, the show presenter, Alan Yentob, proceeded to by a piece of wood painted red for £3,500, and it was literally a piece of wood painted red. Hell, there was a doorway which looked like part of the exhibition space because it was an open doorway. on sale for £5,000.

How the hell I am ever going to make a living from art when I just can`t come up with ideas like that? I might as well just crap on the canvas and call it something. That’s been done though. 🙂 Damien Hirst, he is another one, how can you sell something for millions of pounds which looks like a high school project, aaargh, it makes, me so angry. I am struggling away and trying to get people to notice me and it just doesn’t happen. I think I need to do something really meaningless and just say “hey, it’s art”.

Anyway, it is my plan to start a new art movement called “The Painters of the 21st Century, Who Paint” Anyone want to join, drop me a comment.

Nathan Coley

I did some research on Nathan Coley, shortlisted for this years Turner Prize, but couldn’t find very much about him except long lists of where he has had exhibitions. So here is a short and sweet biography of the artist. You can see more of him and his works if you click: Doggerfisher

Camouflage Church

Nathan Coley’s work explores the interaction between architecture and society. He is interested in the way that urban architecture and public space reflect our needs and aspirations. His work often uses architecture to raise social and political questions. Coley’s practice is driven by research, involving site visits, photographs, interviews and archival research. Coley became known for his public sculpture but he produces works in a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, drawing, video and installations. Born in Glasgow, Coley studied at Glasgow School of Art.

There Will Be No Miracles Here