BgArt News Blog
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
  Art Initials Paintings
art initials paintingsIn the manner of the money series by Anthony White and the One Thousand paintings by Sala, comes the Art Initials series by the artist Mart in Switzerland.

Here's the details of Art Initial paintings..

Each letter-pair exists only once – its portrait is a one-ofa-kind. Mart paints a letter pair from AA to ZZ on 676 30-by-30-centimeter, white-primed canvases – all in the same font and size. Internet users can order their selected letter pair in the colors, navy blue, midnight black, or Kashmir beige.

The prices for the pictures are not fixed; they develop dynamically. The more pictures sold and the more popular the letters, the higher the price. If a picture is sold, all other available pictures increase in price by EUR 1, and pictures with the same first or second letter increase by EUR 5 each. The currently least expensive letter pair costs 41 euros.

When all pictures are sold, the website is to continue as a community: the buyers of the pictures around the globe can then compare notes with other “initials” owners and tell why they chose their specific letter pair. It is not mandatory to select one’s own initials. A quick check with a search engine delivers a vast array of meaning for each letter pair these days. The one-of-a-kind therefore becomes an even more personal commodity.

To see more about the Art Initials series of paintings, see the Website here.
>> Internet, General Arts
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
  Interpreting Art - Artist or Critic?
Ana Finel Honigman has asked an interesting question over at the Guardian blog. She asks, Is an artist's idea of what their work means more important than the viewer's interpretation, or are they both valid?

I like the idea of a work of art doing its own talking. If it needs an explanation by the artist, he/she has probably made the work too complicated. An artist and an art critic should be two very different people. One creates art and the other talks about art.

I would still rather listen to an artist talk about art, rather than a critic talking about art though.

Here's what Ana Finel Honigman says..
"..many academics or critics exploit art's "messages" for self-interested methodological or political ends. But many excellent artists leave themselves defenseless against such hijacking because they cannot articulate persuasively why they do what they do. And further complicating these relationships is that many artists who can explain their work are more articulate verbally than visually, which is why much of bad art is not really art but is rather merely illustrations of ideas.." Guardian Blog
>> General Arts
Saturday, January 27, 2007
  Rembrandt's Apostle James Makes $25 Million
rembrandt paintingA rare Rembrandt painting from the later part of his life recently sold for $25.8 million USD at Sotheby's in New York. The previous record for the artist was $28.7 million back in 2000.

From the catalogue at Sotheby's
"Alongside his last self-portraits, Rembrandt's late religious pictures, of which this is the only example left in private hands, are the artist's most significant body of work from the final decade of his life. They bear all the hallmarks of his late style; monumentality, thickly constructed layers of paint, use of colour to create tone, and above all a depth of psychological penetration that far exceeds his earlier work, and which remained unmatched in Western art for at least another two hundred years."

Update: Here's a larger view of the Rembrandt painting.

REMBRANDT 1606 - 1669
Estimate 18,000,000—25,000,000 USD
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 25,800,000 USD
Measurements note 36 1/4 by 29 1/2 in.; 92.1 by 74.9 cm
Signed and dated lower right Rembrandt f. 1661 - oil on canvas
>> Art Auctions, Art Collecting
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
  Al Pacino to Play Salvador Dali
salvador dali movieIt has been reported that Al Pacino will play the role of Salvador Dali in an upcoming film called "Dali & I: The Surreal Story". Andrew Niccol will direct the Dali movie and filming is set to start in June this year.

I just don't see it working, but I'm skeptical about most movies about artists. The Modigliani movie was fine, Frida was OK too, but my favorite art movie is still Basquiat by the artist Julian Schnabel. Perhaps being an artist is the secret to making a good movie about artists? Movie makers have a habit of exaggerating the life of artists to create unbelievable characters.
>> Movies, Famous Artists
Monday, January 22, 2007
  Enamel Paint Safety
Most artists don't usually take health and safety issues seriously until they get sick from being in the studio, so here's a post from Hazel Dooney about enamel paint and turpentine.

"Enamel paint sets slowly as the chemical drying and hardening agents evaporate, creating a brittle, glossy finish. These toxic agents are inhaled, absorbed by clothing and settle on skin which, of course, also absorbs them. I use a respirator with chemical filter pads but it can't scrub the air completely." Read the rest of her post here.

I remember when I first discovered oil paints I used them in my bedroom, which is probably not recommended. I'm now much more cautious and aware, but I'm also comfortable with the health risks that come with using the materials we use to create art. A walk through most major cities around the world is probably a lot more dangerous than walking through an artist's studio.
>> Painting
Friday, January 19, 2007
  Monet on Paper
claude monet on paperThe Royal Academy of Arts in London will be showing an exhibition of Claude Monet from the 17th of March through to the 10th of June. They will be showing his pastels and drawings on paper, and possibly contradicting some of the myths of Monet.

"This exhibition is the first devoted to Monet’s drawings and pastels. It offers a ground-breaking exploration of the role of draughtsmanship throughout the artist’s long career, overturning the conventional notion that Monet painted his impressions of nature directly onto the canvas." Royal Academy of Arts

The New York Times also has a piece on the exhibition with several pictures from it.
"He never meant for the public to see them," Mr. Kendall said, adding: "It all comes back to marketing. His public image was important to him, and drawings complicated that picture. In fact, they even contradicted it." NY Times (requires free registration)
>> Famous Artists, Art Exhibitions
Thursday, January 18, 2007
  Female Sydney Artist Wanted
If you're female, an artist, and live close to Sydney, the Motion Picture Company might have a job for you. They're looking for a female artist to appear in a music video and paint a mural. It could be a chance to get your 3 or 4 minutes of fame, depending on how long the song is.

Here's the details of it all if you're interested..
$1,000 for Female Artist / Lead Talent in Upcoming Music Video
We need a female artist for an upcoming music video shoot. Anthony Snape is a young Sydney musician and the music video for his latest single "Daylight" requires a talented female artist in the lead role.

We are looking for submissions from all interested female artists (various styles or mediums) to create a wall piece.

More Info

Casting: Casting will take place in late January & early February 2007 in Sydney.
Shoot: You will be required for the shoot approximately 2 days in February 2007 so we need to know your availability during this period.
Fee: $1,000 for your services and release
Submissions: If interested please email info at with your contact details, examples of your work and a photograph of yourself by Friday 2nd February 2007.
>> Australia
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
  Steve Wynn's Insurance Claim for Elbowed Picasso
Towards the end of last year the casino mogul Steve Wynn elbowed his Picasso, which put a hole in the work, and lost him a deal that could have put $139 million in his pocket. Well, now the Las Vegas collector is looking to make an insurance claim worth $54 million.

Wynn paid more than $48 million for the Pablo Picasso painting of Marie-Therese Walter back in 1997, and hopes to claim $54 million for a "thumb-sized" rip in the painting.

The repair bill for the damage was $90,000 and it is said to be flawed under black light.

If the painting was valued at $139 million before the damage, and the flaw devalued the painting by $54 million, that must mean it is now worth $85 million. A thumb sized flap that can now only be seen under black light, caused $54 million in damages?!

I wonder how the insurance company (Lloyd's of London) would feel if they make the payment, then Wynn goes on to sell the painting for $140 million?

Wynn vs. insurers over punctured Picasso
"They've started to negotiate," he said before quickly adding that the talks aren't going the way he'd like. "Their offer is ridiculous," he said, though he declined to give specifics.
He attacked the insurance industry as a whole, saying they play "dirty tricks" and it was standard practice for insurance companies to delay responding to claims in the hopes of wearing down those making claims and getting them to settle for much less than what they are owed.
Yahoo News
>> Art Collecting
Friday, January 12, 2007
  Dr Dave Frank - Artist Scammer
Most artists know to avoid these emails, but I still get some people asking if I think the email is legitimate. So I thought I would post the latest request to purchase some of my paintings.

They vary slightly, with names, places, emails, and painting titles, but they're usually pretty easy to spot.

Basically, if they look anything like this email below, just delete it.

My name is Dr Dave Frank from North Carolina ,I am interested in buying some of your art work, they are all beautiful. I want to use them as a decoratives in our new house in the South Africa. I am interested in buying these Art works from you.

t: fishing coop d: 2003 m: oil canvas board s: 35x25
t: beach houses d: 2002 m: oil canvas board s: 20x25 (private collection - australia)
t: ship coming in d: 2003 m: oil canvas s: 57x117cm (private collection - australia)

Kindly get back with the total price of the selected Title Art workS excluding shipping cost,I have informed a shipping company that will be shipping some of our other house decors.

I will be glad to pay you with a Travellers cheque or international Postal money order
I am looking forward to hearing from you on how to proceed.
Best Regards,
Dr Dave Frank

I also mentioned similar art scams here, art scams here, and art scams here.
>> Scams and Fraud News
Thursday, January 11, 2007
  Jasper Johns Interview
The Art Newspaper has interviewed the (super) famous American painter Jasper Johns. Johns has even appeared in an episode of the Simpsons cartoon, where he went to an exhibition by Homer. How impressive would that be to have on the resume?!

Works by Jasper Johns will be exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in an exhibition called "An Allegory of Painting".

Here's a few quotes from the interview at the Art Newspaper.
>> Famous Artists
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  Possible Art Fraud
I don't know how trustworthy the source is for this post, but with so much money looking for a new home in the art world, I'm sure similar things are happening. The person left an anonymous comment on this eBay Art Fraud post. Here's their comment..

Note: I took the post down as I couldn't back it up. The comment is still online, but it's not worthy of a post as it could have easily been made by a disgruntled employee. If I hear anymore I will post it.

>> Controversy, Fraud
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
  Search Terms at BgArt News Blog
Something I enjoy checking on the statistics page for BgArt News Blog is the search terms that people use to find the site. They're not the top search terms.. but they do make me wonder..

I'm also surprised by the amount sex related search terms that pop up. For a (mostly) family friendly blog, I sure do get a lot of non-family friendly search terms. Here's some of the more mild searches.

Here's some search terms from last year too.
>> Art Blogs
Monday, January 08, 2007
  Portraits of London - Alexander Selivanov
russian artistThe Russian born artist Alexander Selivanov will be exhibiting at the Rainbird art gallery in London from the 1st of February. The exhibition is called "Portraits of London" and is also showing works by Sophie Ahmad and Tom Young.

BgArt News Blog is usually not an exhibition announcement service but I really liked the paintings by Alexander Selivanov. Especially this one, this one, and this one. I like paintings that don't have to rely on a pleasant subject to make them a good painting. Paintings that make us see the everyday things that we don't notice, and makes them beautiful.. or at least interesting.

Here's the press release from the Rainbird gallery..
"Seen through this Russian born painter’s eye, these paintings
depict the hidden and unnoticed details of London’s
back street architecture. The veins and arteries of the City,
captured in this artist’s classical manner of painting
have an atmospheric, magical realism."
>> Art Exhibitions
Friday, January 05, 2007
  More Art Less Sex

written on the city website

Here's another interesting website powered by the people, with similarities to sites like Post Secret. Written on the City is a website that encourages users to photograph text in the city and share it with users online.

This particular photo was taken in Hong Kong and some of the commenters have suggested it is the work of the artist Banksy, but that wasn't confirmed. The written advice on it calls for more art and less sex. One could argue that sex and art should be experienced in equal amounts though.

Here's the website blurb..
"someone is trying to tell you something. they don't know you, and it doesn't matter. they say it anyway, writing on the city itself, because the message is important.and so we're listening.
what's your city saying?"
Written on the City
>> Websites
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
  Top 10 List of Top Tens
Edward Winkleman has finished off his year of blogging with a top ten list of top ten lists. It's a quirky top ten that has something to interest most people.
There's plenty more top tens out there though. They seem to spike in popularity around this time of the year. Here's a few more that I found.
Just goes to show that there's a top ten for everything out there.
>> Internet, General Arts
Monday, January 01, 2007
  Record Prices for Paintings or Not
The ArtNewspaper has an interesting article up about the reality of the prices paid for some of the record breaking paintings that are being sold at auctions and privately. With so much secrecy and denial around the multi-million dollar sales, most of the prices are just guesses, with many of them being wrong.

Why you cannot trust dealers' prices' or auction results either
"So in this murky world of rumor, affirmation, denial and reaffirmation, are auction prices the only reliable ones? After all these prices are made publicly, published by the auction houses, listed on art data sites such as or But even with auctions there's often more than meets the eye. For example, Cezanne's Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier, 1894, was sold at auction for $60.5m (Sotheby's New York 1999), but the deal was never completed, and the still-life was later resold for "significantly less" to Steve Wynn. Most lists of the most expensive paintings sold at auction still cite, somewhere in their nether regions, Van Gogh's Irises, 1889, which sold for $53.9m in 1997. In fact the work didn't sell Sotheby's lent half of the price to the Australian tycoon Alan Bond to buy it. He never paid up and the painting ended up in the Getty, for "you've guessed it" an 'undisclosed price'. Art Newspaper

While on the topic of auction prices and the money that people pay for paintings, I thought I would add a few quotes by the art critic Robert Hughes.

>> Art Collecting

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