BgArt News Blog
Friday, September 29, 2006
  Rent a Saatchi
The advertising man and art collector Charles Saatchi is renting out a selection of 600 works from his collection. Works by contemporary artists like the Chapman Brothers, Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Stella Vine, Tom Hunter, Gary Hume, and Gavin Turk are among the rentals.

Charles Saatchi rents out his art
An accompanying brochure sets out the charges. These range from £7,000 a year for five works to £20,000 for 20 works. Loans are also offered as part of sponsorship packages—20 works for an Exhibition Sponsor (£100,000), ten for Corporate Patrons (£20,000) and one for Corporate Associates (£5,000). ArtNewspaper
>> General Art News
Thursday, September 28, 2006
  Hitler Paintings Auction
hitler paintings soldPeople came from all over to get a piece of morbid history at a recent art auction that sold 21 works "attributed" to the German dictator Adolf Hitler. Bidders came from as far away as Russia and Estonia to the Jefferys auctioneer's premises in the quiet town of Cornwall.

The Hitler paintings were found in a Belgian attic in 1985. They more than doubled the expected estimate, selling for 118,000 pounds or $223,000 USD.

Protesters invade Hitler art sale
"Aaron Barschak, a comedian who gate-crashed Prince William's 21st birthday party, and a man dressed as Hitler were ejected from the auction.
They disrupted the bidding, offering "six million because the painting was a Mussolini" in a "comical protest".
>> Art Auction, Art Controversy
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
  Thomas Kinkade to Paint Elvis Presley Mansion
thomas kinkade paints elvis gracelandThe painter of pretty cottages, patriotism, and religion has turned his hand and paintbrushes toward the American icon of ELVIS. Thomas Kinkade, or the Painter of Light™ has painted a sketch of Graceland and now plans to do a finished studio work in time for an upcoming anniversary of Elvis Presley.

It will be a commemorative work to be released next year, around the time of the 50th Anniversary of Elvis buying Graceland and the 25th year of Graceland being open for public tours.

Artist Thomas Kinkade paints Elvis home
"Kinkade said his sister was an Elvis fan and that he seemed destined to paint the famous home: "When I was growing up, I had Elvis music in the house all the time."
The artist told the newspaper that in the final work he envisions "a likeness of Elvis somewhere in the painting and Elvis' Cadillac." SeattlePI
>> Thomas Kinkade News
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
  Jeff Koons Egg
jeff koons blue eggJeff Koons will be showing twenty new sculptures and sixteen paintings at the Gagosian gallery in London. The new works are meant to celebrate things like birthdays and holidays.

A Gagosian press release describes the cracked blue egg pictured to the left, in this way.. "With its impressive scale, pure lines and flawless, highly reflective surface Cracked Egg (Blue) resonates with iconic significance."

And here's a quote by Jeff Koons that relates to the new new Celebration works by the artist..

"When I was about five years old, I would go after school to this little building, like a little shelter. In the afternoons we'd make things out of Popsicle sticks. We'd work with Play-Doh. And this experience gave me my foundation. That's what I hold on to in the world. And whatever I made at that time, I know is equivalent to what I'm doing now. And that was, for me, really art." Jeff Koons
>> Art Exhibitions, Famous Artists
Monday, September 25, 2006
  Drawing on Drugs
drawing on drugs Don't try this at home kids. The experiment was done by the US government in the 1950s in a controlled environment. They were testing the effects of LSD on the artist.

The artist did nine drawings over a period of several hours. This is the first drawing in the series. It looks pretty normal, but that's because the LSD hasn't kicked in yet.

On drawing number three, the artist says "Outlines seem normal, but very vivid.. everything is changing color. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my consciousness is situated in the part of my body that's now active - my hand, my elbow.. my tongue."

See the whole series of acid drawings at cowboybooks or the post where I found the story at Neatorama.

>> Strange Art News
Sunday, September 24, 2006
  Doodles of Presidents
presidential doodlesThe image to the left is a presidential doodle by Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893). If you see doodles as a peek into the mind of the doodler, surely President Harrison had some strange things going on inside his head.

According to the authors of a book called "Presidential Doodles", this doodle is a "drawing of a jack-o’-lantern-style face and an ostrich-like bird surely ranks as one of the greatest doodles in presidential history. It suggests a zany, mischievous streak in Harrison, as well as a capacity for conveying a surprising degree of human emotion."

There's a small gallery of doodles by American presidents over at their website too. I would be more interested in politics if leaders were required to publish their doodles on a regular basis.
>> Books
Friday, September 22, 2006
  Dirty Car Art
dirty car art
For those that live on a dirt road and are tired of washing your car, why not take advantage of the situation and make art out of your dirty windscreens?
That's what the artist Scott Wade did. He evolved from writing things like "wash me", to smiley faces, to intricately detailed portraits and copies of famous paintings.

The artist has his own website here and has plans to publish a book when he gets enough pictures together. There's also a video of the artist at work on a Mazda 3 owned by his wife.
>> Strange Art News
Thursday, September 21, 2006
  Turkish Author Elif Shafak's Charges Dropped
turkish novelist elif shafakThe popular Turkish novelist Elif Shafak has had charges of "insulting Turkish identity" dropped. It was decided that the evidence was lacking and the prosecutor dropped the charges.

She was quoted as saying "The verdict is very pleasing in terms of Turkey’s test of democracy and freedom of expression, but incomplete as long as Article 301 remains as it is, open to manipulation."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he was also pleased with the decision. He also said that he had phoned Shafik to congratulate her on the recent birth of her child and to discuss the controversial trial.
I wonder if the British artist Michael Dickinson got a call from the PM too?

Erdogan Welcomes Shafak's Acquittal, Signals Amendment on Article 301
"Erdogan also signaled an amendment on the much debated Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, under which many well-known Turkish writers and authors had been tried or sued. In response to a question on whether the government thought of an amendment on the controversial article, Erdogan pointed out that it would be possible provided that the ruling and opposition parties reach an agreement." Zaman
>> Turkish News, Books, Controversies, Previous Elif Shafak Post
  The Painting Process and the Still Life
still life paintingKarl Zipser has added a new section to his art blog called Follow the Painting, where he and the artist Hanneke van Oosterhout go through the different stages of creating a painting.

The tagline for the blog is "artwork that takes more than a day to make" which sounds like a dig at all the painting a day websites popping up (but I could be wrong of course.. maybe I should of asked first!). I was also going to mention a site that brought together a bunch of artists that are producing a painting a day to sell online, but I lost the link.
Update: Here's that painting a day website, thanks to R. Chunn.

Anyway, Follow the Painting is a good place to see how a still life artist goes from choosing the subject, to the finished painting, and all the struggles in between. If a painting isn't working or it works really well, you can also give feedback to the artist and Karl.

I love the art of still life painting too. It often gets looked upon as just a learning experience that you go through before you move onto more noble subjects like the nude or the landscape, but I think a good still life is equal to any nude, portrait, or landscape painting. Giorgio Morandi and Paul Cezanne are two artists that did a lot for still life painting.
>> Being an Artist, Painting, Art Blogs
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
  Elif Shafak on Trial in Turkey
The Turkish novelist Elif Shafak will face charges of "insulting the Turkish identity" this week in Istanbul. Just a week ago the British artist Michael Dickinson was charged with "insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister", so it's probably not a good time to be saying or doing anything too radical in the country at the moment.

In her novel "The Bastard of Istanbul", a character refers to the Armenian deaths in 1915 as a "genocide". The Nobel prize winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk faced similar charges not so long ago.

Elif Shafak was quoted as saying "Article 301 has been used by ultranationalists as a weapon to silence political voices in Turkey. In that sense, my case is not unusual. But for the first time, they are trying to bring a novel into court. The way they are trying to penetrate the domain of art and literature is quite new, and quite disturbing."

Novelist on trial in Turkey over words of fictional character
"The case is being watched closely in Europe. Turkey has pledged to revamp its laws to bring them in line with European standards of human rights. But section 301 of the penal code, which makes it an offence to insult Turkish identity, remains and is being used in more than 60 cases against Turkish writers and journalists." CBC
>> Turkish News, Books, Controversies
Sunday, September 17, 2006
  Caroline Magerl Interview - Painter and Illustrator
Australian painter and illustratorRecently I asked the Australian painter and illustrator Caroline Magerl a few questions about her art. She's an artist that seems to benefit from the two arts (illustrating and painting), rather than one distracting or detracting from the other.

Her quirky little characters are brooding and self reflective on canvas, yet become whimsical and joyous in her many children's books.

1) If you had to choose between illustrating books or painting on canvas, what would you choose and why?

The trouble with illustrating is that you must find common ground with someone else's story. It means you must walk down their road and not your own. Not to say I don't enjoy the stroll, but in the long run, it means my own ends are not being met. So I have to say, I prefer to paint.

2) Your paintings seem very intimate, like they could be pages of your diary. Are they real or imagined?

Funny you ask, because I've kept dairies for 5 years and from the drawing and writing I do daily in these books come my final paintings. Very perceptive of you! Like the Elvis Costello song 'Everyday I write the book!'

3) Have you had much success from starting your website? Any tips for artists that currently don't have a website?

The website is a point of contact, to people interested in art. I made a decision at the beginning of my journey into fine art, not to sell directly. I leave all that side to my galleries, so the website doesn't necessarily amount directly to sales. It does however give me the opportunity to talk with potential buyers, other artists, etc about my work and art in general, without any sales to speak on my part. Who can afford not to have contact with people? My advise would be get a website and a nerdy husband to update it for you.

4) What are you working on at the moment? And where are you exhibiting next?

I have just opened in a mixed show at Milton House gallery in Mackay. Next, I'm writing my own picture book, which Allen and Unwin will publish next year. I will also show next year at Impressions on Paper in Canberra. I think I'm at the end of a phase in my work, and have a fair idea of where to go next. The diaries map out the emotional ground, and navigation made more possible.

See Caroline's paintings and illustrations at her website here, or visit the Milton House gallery website to see more about her current exhibition.
>> Artist Interviews, Australian, Illustration
Friday, September 15, 2006
  Pablo Picasso Portrait for Auction
pablo picasso portraitA painting of Angel Fernandez de Soto by his friend Pablo Picasso will soon go up for auction at Christies. It is expected to reach $60 million. The proceeds of the sale will go to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

I often get excited when I see new works by an artist that I've admired for a long time. Just when you think you've seen all their paintings, along comes another one. And it doesn't even have to be a good quality painting for me to get excited about it. If it's new to me (like this 1903 portrait), I'm excited.

The good thing about Picasso is that he was very prolific and lived quite a long life, so it would be impossible for anyone to say they have seen all the works by the little Spanish master.

The head of Christies Impressionist and Modern Art, Guy Bennett said "We are thrilled to offer a work of such stature by Picasso in our evening sale this November. The dramatic and intense friendship of the artist and his subject makes this one of the most personal and powerful works from the Blue Period."

There's a small review of the painting over at the BBC too.
>> Pablo Picasso, Art Auctions
  Wacom Artist Profile of Leith O'Malley
Australian artistFellow Australian artist Leith O'Malley has been profiled on the Asian Wacom community website this month. Leith does a good job of blurring the line between paint and pixels.

Here's an introduction taken from the profile..
"Leith O'Malley is a South Australian visual artist who works in both traditional and digital mediums, and though he hasn't completely retired the pens, pencils, charcoal and brushes just yet, his latest weapon of choice is his large Wacom Intuos3." Wacom Featured Artist

More paintings and illustration by Leith can be seen at his artist website or his illustration blog that isn't updated enough :-P

>> Contemporary Artists, Australian
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
  Artist Charged in Turkey
turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip ErdoganThe British born artist Michael Dickinson may face up to three years in prison for displaying a collage of the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a dog.

The work is called "Best in Show" and was confiscated by police and the artist has been detained. It shows President Bush awarding the Turkish Prime Minister with a ribbon at a dog show.

Michael Dickinson has been charged with "insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister" after he refused to take the work down.

The artist has said "It's such an Alice in Wonderland feeling. The law is so absurd.. This law exists in Turkey about insulting ‘Turkishness’ or the State. You’re not allowed to state your opinion."

I think freedom is relative. Perhaps I take freedom for granted, or maybe I just don't like poking sticks at hornet's nests, but if I was an artist working in Turkey, I would be the least political or controversial artist alive! I also don't like mixing art and politics anyway, so it wouldn't be much of a compromise.

Michael Dickinson probably hasn't seen the movie Midnight Express. (I know it was made in the seventies and it is just a movie, but it's still pretty scary).

I do feel for the guy though, and think it's sad that such a thing could still happen. I'm sure it can't help with Turkey's attempts to join the European Union.

Here's plenty more information about the issue with links to ther source over at the Stuckism website or the Times or the Guardian. Here's some cool Turkish Artists that I mentioned previously.

>> Art Controversies
Monday, September 11, 2006
  Andy Warhol Animals
andy warhol animalsMy interests in art and the environment don't often collide, so I was surprised to see Andy Warhol mentioned on ENN (the environmentally friendly CNN). He's the last person I would of expected to see on the Environmental News Network.
Even more surprisingly, they're talking about an exhibition of Warhol's called "Silent Spring: Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species and Vanishing Animals", showing at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Wyoming.

Andy Warhol and endangered animals? I would expect Andy Warhol to paint famous animals like Lassie and Flipper or even Skippy, but who would have thought he was also painting endangered species?!

Here's an excerpt from the exhibition notes at the Wildlife Museum..
"The Endangered Species portfolio was commissioned from Warhol by the art dealers Ronald and Frayda Feldman. The idea for the portfolio was born after conversations with Warhol about ecological issues, including beach erosion. Warhol owned beachfront property on Long Island, and undeveloped acreage in Colorado. Today, the loss of habitat and biodiversity are urgent topics as the impact of development reaches critical thresholds.
While Warhol is best known for his pop art and films, his interest in nature was lifelong. As a child he drew animals in science class at Holmes School, kept a flower garden in the family’s yard, and drew in parks and conservatories in and around Pittsburgh. Later in his life Warhol created his Cow and Fish Wallpaper, the film Sunset, and hundreds of paintings, prints, and drawings of flowers."

>> Andy Warhol, Art Museums Exhibitions
Sunday, September 10, 2006
  The New Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
luis gispert's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
The American photographer Luis Gispert has reinterpreted Pablo Picasso's ground breaking work, the Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

There are similarities apart from the positions taken by the models too. Picasso painted prostitutes from a French brothel, and Gispert hired his models from a popular soft porn website (

The photographer says "I think if you go to the website it's much more shocking. Picasso did a painting of a brothel that he visited and abstracted the women and made them pretty ugly. In a sense websites are virtual brothels. That was the connection that I saw. It was making that leap; these virtual sex rooms are similar to what was happening a century ago."

The version above is just a detail of Luis Gispert's version of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Senoritas Suicidio). See the full version at the Saatchi Gallery website.

Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon It's part of a new exhibition by the British collector and gallery owner Charles Saatchi. It also shows a change in the type of artists that he now collects.

Not so long ago Saatchi was one of the largest supporters of young British artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The British collector now seems to be looking abroad for interesting new art.

In an article published in the Guardian, Saatchi said, "The era of Damien, the Chapmans and Sarah Lucas has had its golden age. I used to buy lots, but in the past five years I haven't. This year I've bought one artist out of Goldsmiths, nothing from Chelsea. America is now as exciting as Britain was in the early Nineties." Charles Saatchi

Other new artists in the upcoming "USA Today" exhibition can also be seen on the Saatchi Gallery website. USA Today will open on the 6th of October at the Royal Academy of Arts in Britain.
>> Art Exhibitions, Pablo Picasso, Photography
Thursday, September 07, 2006
  Vladimir Tretchikoff Dies at 92
Vladimir Tretchikoff - Chinese GirlThe artist that painted the best selling art print of all time recently passed away. I hadn't noticed it until a reader (Irv) pointed out an article in the New York Times.
Vladimir Tretchikoff painted the popular "Chinese Girl", also known as the "Green Lady" or the "Blue Lady" in 1950. Throughout the 1960s and 70s his prints hung in many living rooms worldwide.

The Green Lady made the "king of kitsch" (a nickname he hated) a commercial hit, allowing him to travel the world during his life time, but art critics never took him seriously.

"The Russian-born South African artist Tretchikoff toured the world on the back of his painting's popularity. He generated controversy in interviews, exhibited his work in department stores and became one of the first artists to target the "ordinary" public as the true audience for his work." BBC

The article in the NY Times says..
"If sales are a yardstick, then Mr. Tretchikoff was a Leonardo, and his most popular painting was, as Ms. Mercorio (his daughter) often says, his Mona Lisa."

Popularity can make an artist like Andy Warhol seem cool, or it can make an artist like Thomas Kinkade seem very uncool. It makes me think about branding and how a brand is marketed.
If art museums started throwing out their Warhols and replaced them with works by Vladimir Tretchikoff, would it change the way people think about the artists?

Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff
December 13, 1913 - August 26, 2006

>> Famous Artists, Artist Deaths
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
  FAQ For Artists
The Art Life blog has come up with a few frequently asked questions by artists and has tried to answer them. The first one is probably one of the most asked questions by those just starting out; Should I go to art school?
It's a hard question to answer, with good and bad points for going or not going to an art school. But I would lean towards going to an art school.
It's not essential and there are many great artists that have never stepped foot in an art school, but I personally think it's a positive growing experience as an artist.
Some of my fondest memories of art school were discovering new artists in the amazing libraries! The artist to artist contact is also a growing experience that you wont find in your studio by yourself.

Here's the Art World questions for artists that the Art Life asked and answered..

They're answered from an Australian perspective, but artists face the same challenges all over the world. See them answered here.
>> Being an Artist

Tuesday, September 05, 2006
  Jackson Pollock at the Guggenheim
jackson pollock funAn update on the last post about the Jackson Pollock site online. I mentioned that there were no colors to choose from, but there is. You just have to click your mouse and the color will change.
So, here's my work in color (yes, it says "art")

Irv also mentioned the Jackson Pollock exhibition of works on paper at the Guggenheim in New York.
"Both drippers and anti-drippers who are serious about 20th century art will find the exhibition of works on paper by Pollock rewarding viewing at the Guggenheim in NYC. There is something of a family relationship with the painter since Peggy supported him for a time in his worst days in return for which the museum can now boast of adequate coverage of his career in this medium." Irv

>> Jackson Pollock, Websites, Exhibitions
  Jackson Pollock Fun
Jackson Pollock OrgI found an interesting distraction over at the cartoon site, Gaping Void. It's called and lets you create your own Pollock-ish works online.

It's one of them websites that have no use, other than wasting your time. But it's a fun waste of time!
I would have liked some settings to play with too, like changing colors or slowing down the blob output.

Here's a couple of the many works that I created.

Jackson Pollock Org

>> Website Reviews, Jackson Pollock News
Monday, September 04, 2006
  Louvre Museum in the United Arab Emirates
The Art Newspaper has reported that the Louvre museum is in talks with Abu Dhabi officials in regards to opening a museum in the United Arab Emirates.
I wonder if the UAE Louvre will also have no nudes like the planned Abu Dhabi Guggenheim?

Will the Louvre follow the Guggenheim to Abu Dhabi?
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and other officials from the emirate traveled to Paris in July where they met with Louvre director Henri Loyrette. We understand they held preliminary discussions about the possibility of the French museum collaborating on cultural development in the United Arab Emirates capital. Art Newspaper
>> Art Museums
Friday, September 01, 2006
  Why Do You Do What You Do?
Why do you do what you do?I came across an interesting site that asks people why they do what they do? It's called Why Do You Do What You Do? or just WDYDWYD?.

People are photographed (or drawn) while holding their answer on a card in front of them and they're published on the website.

It kind of reminds me of the Post Secret website, in the way that it is driven by people and our interest in people. Everyone has a confession to make and everyone has an opinion about what they do in life, so there are a lot of people wanting to be heard and a lot of people submitting their 2 cents worth.

Why do I do What I do? Because I love doing what I do! (and I dislike working for others!)

It all started when the owner of the site received a phone call from a student..

"I was in my office late one night not wanting to be bothered. The phone rang, and I wanted to ignore it. But, I felt compelled to answer. Before I could start, a child's voice blurted, "Why do you do what you do?"
It was the last thing I had expected to hear.
The kid was simply on assignment from his school teacher to interview someone from a community service agency. He looked in the Yellow Pages and landed on my name."
Tony Deifell of Why do you do what you do?

So, why do YOU do what you do?

>> Website Reviews
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