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Friday, February 29, 2008
  Most Popular Art Museums in the World
Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation paintingThe Art Newspaper has released their annual list of the most popular art museums in the world, with the Louvre in Paris coming in first place with an estimated 8,300,000 visitors.

The most popular exhibition was at the Tokyo National Museum in Japan which attracted more than 10,000 people each day. It was more of a single painting than an exhibition, which makes the figure even more remarkable. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting "Annunciation" was loaned by the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

"For the fourth year running, the Tokyo National Museum tops the list. Tokyo routinely produces enormous visitor figures, thanks to a combination of vast exhibition spaces and a 35 million-strong conurbation. But “Leonardo” was even higher than 2005’s record-breaking attendance for “Hokusai” at the same museum, which averaged 9,436 a day." Art Newspaper

Here's the top 20 most popular art museums in the world compiled by Art Newspaper. The list below includes the number of visitors, name of the museum, and the city that the museum is located in.

8,300,000 - Louvre Paris
5,509,425 - Centre Pompidou Paris
5,191,840 - Tate Modern London
4,837,878 - British Museum London
4,547,353 - Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
4,518,413 - National Gallery of Art Washington
4,310,083 - Vatican Museums Vatican City
4,159,485 - National Gallery London
3,166,509 - Musée d’Orsay Paris
2,652,924 - Museo Nacional del Prado Madrid
2,650,551 - National Palace Museum Taipei
2,435,300 - Victoria and Albert Museum London
2,395,075 - State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg
2,232,475 - Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow
2,219,554 - Museum of Modern Art New York
2,133,149 - Field Museum Chicago
1,772,255 - Tokyo National Museum Tokyo
1,674,607 - CaxiaForum Barcelona Barcelona
1,650,000 - Moscow Kremlin Museums Moscow
1,649,969 - Museum of Fine Arts Houston

There's a PDF file of the full list of art museums, exhibitions, and how the list is compiled here.

I probably should get out of the house (Australia) more often as I haven't visited any of the top 20 art museums of the world. My problem is that when I do leave Australia it is to countries that are not known for their impressive art collections. Not everything is about art though.
>> Art Museums
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
  Art News Online
Here's some art news missed, happening, or coming up from around the web.

Saturday, February 23, 2008
  Cal Lane's Sweet Crude Oil
sweet crude oilI like art that makes us look at ordinary, dull things that most people pass by everyday.. or things that we find objectionable or even disgusting in a new light. Part of the curse or blessing of being an artist is to notice things that most people don't.

I find an endless fascination in things like smoke, the bubbles in a bath, or the passing clouds, which probably labels me as an artist that is interested in stupid stuff that should be seen in passing, but these are the things that blow me away. Even a walk in the park that I have passed through a thousand times can see me frozen still by a tree that is lit perfectly by the sun, or composed in a way that looks more perfect than any painting could ever be. A simple walk can be visual overload, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I pity those that don't see the ordinary as extraordinary as it must be such a dull existance.

Anyway, my point is not to ramble on about my walks through the park but to mention an exhibition about an artist that has used an ugly medium to create something beautiful. Cal Lane has used 55 gallon oil drums and industrial relics to create delicate floral and lace influenced works of art.

In preparation for "Sweet Crude," Cal Lane wielded the plasma cutter to transform a host of industrial relics --from the small (shovels and gas cans) to the large (dumpsters, 55-gallon drums, car doors) to the architectural (I-beams)-- into works of art. The result of Lane's unique sculptural process is best described (in her own artist statement) as "an image of opposition that creates a balance --as well as a clash-- by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials. This is manifested in a series of Industrial Doilies, pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function."

She is exhibiting at the Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica from the 8th of March through to the 12th of April.
>> Art Exhibitions
Thursday, February 21, 2008
  Sydney Photos and Heavy Art Books
Here's a few holiday pics from my recent Sydney trip where I went to see PJ Harvey at the Sydney Opera House. I also saw a few exhibitions, but nothing that really dropped my jaw. My most exciting art moment was buying three art books (two Anselm Kiefer books and one Brett Whiteley book). The books were so big and heavy that I almost lost my arms while dragging them back to the hotel, but they were worth the struggle.. even if they did almost kill me.

I have always drawn more inspiration from art books, which is partly because Australia is so far from the art of Europe or America, but also because I can't relax as much as I would like to at a busy exhibition in an art gallery.

This is a painting by the German artist Anselm Kiefer at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Anselm Kiefer Painting

Here's a triptych by the American artist Cy Twombly, also at the Art Gallery of NSW. There's also another Anselm Kiefer painting in the distance.
Cy Twombly Painting

This is the Sydney Opera House where I went and saw PJ Harvey in concert.
Sydney Opera House Building

A look back at Sydney city from the Opera House.
Sydney Cityscape

These are some paintings by the Sydney painter Ken Done at his own art gallery. I don't think he is taken very seriously by the art establishment, whatever that is, but I have always liked his work. He does a lot of very commercial stuff which turns a lot of people off but I still like him. They're just happy, colorful paintings that don't have to be thought about.. which can be a good thing.
Ken Done Gallery
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  Sydney and PJ Harvey at the Opera House
Posting has been a little light lately as I took off for some city time in Sydney. My excuse for going down to Sydney was to see PJ Harvey at the Sydney Opera House, which was well worth the extra dollars I had to pay for tickets on eBay! (it was sold out so I took the risk with tickets on eBay).

I did a search on Youtube and found a couple videos. The sounds and images aren't the best as they were recorded with mobile phones, but being there in great seats was amazing.

Last time I went to the Sydney Opera House I didn't hear an electric guitar, but the place is perfect for one. Here's PJ Harvey singing "To Bring You My Love" from one of her older albums. The person recording it must have been way up the back.

Here's a slower, more acoustic song called "Grow Grow Grow" from her new White Chalk album. The person recording it was much closer too.

I also walked a thousand miles and visited a bunch of art galleries but the highlight was the PJ Harvey concert at the Sydney Opera House.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
  RED Auction for AIDS Raises $40 Million
Damien Hirst and Banksy PaintingContemporary art has showed that it has a heart by raising more than $40 million to help fight AIDS in Africa. Bono, Damien Hirst, Sotheby’s, and Gagosian Gallery organized the (RED) auction on Valentine's day, where leading contemporary artists from around the world donated major works to auction for the cause.

Bono of U2 got the bidders in the mood with an a capella version of "All You Need is Love" to open the auction. The auction room was filled with a bunch of celebrities that included John McEnroe, Takashi Murakami, Martha Stewart, Queen Noor, Dennis Hopper, Michael Stipe, Helena Christensen, Liya Kebede, Russell Simmons, Brian Williams, Ziyi Zhang, and Christy Turlington.

Damien Hirst can now add the title of "philanthropist" to his resume as he gave seven works that made almost $20 million for the auction. He was also influential in getting so many notable artists to contribute major works to the show. The experience seems to have touched the artist as he says he won't be cynical for a while..

"It’s an amazing result, it’s not sunk in yet but it just shows you what you can do if you put your mind to it. I'm never going to be cynical ever again for a while. A big thank you and a million out of ten for all the artists who gave something. We've helped to change the world a little bit." Damien Hirst

The image in this post is a defaced Damien Hirst spot painting by Banksy called "Keep it Spotless". It's probably one of the better artist collaborations that I have seen. Big egos usually get in the way when two established artists lock horns to collaborate on a painting. The work sold for $1,870,000 USD which would make it an auction record for Banksy, but having the Hirst signature stamped on it would have been a BIG influence on the final price.

Here's a list of contemporary artists that gave work for the (RED) auction..

Albert Oehlen (1)
Andreas Gursky (1)
Angus Fairhurst (1)
Anish Kapoor (1)
Anselm Kiefer (1)
Antony Gormley (1)
Ashley Bickerton (1)
Banksy (2)
Banksy (defaced Hirst) (1)
Bernar Venet (1)
Bill Viola (1)
Carsten Höller (1)
Cecily Brown (2)
Chéri Samba (1)
Christo (1)
Chuck Close (2)
Damien Hirst (7)
David Bailey (1)
Douglas Gordon (1)
Ed Ruscha (1)
Elizabeth Peyton (1)
Francesco Clemente (1)
Fred Tomaselli (1)
Gabriel Orozco (1)
Gary Hume (1)
Gelitin (1)
Georg Baselitz (1)
Georges Lilanga di Nayama (1)
Ghada Amer (1)
Gregory Crewdson (1)
Guillermo Kuitca (1)
Haim Steinbach (1)
Hiroshi Sugimoto (1)
Howard Hodgkin (1)
Jake & Dinos Chapman (1)
Jasper Johns (1)
Jeff Koons (1)
Jenny Holzer (1)
Jim Lambie (1)
John Currin (1)
Julian Schnabel (1)
Keith Tyson (1)
Malick Sidibe (1)
Marc Newson (1)
Marc Quinn (2)
Matthew Barney (1)
Michael Craig-Martin (1)
Michael Joo (2)
Nigel Cooke (1)
Paul & Damon McCarthy (1)
Rachel Howard (1)
Rachel Whiteread (1)
Raymond Pettibon (1)
Richard Prince (1)
Robert Rauschenberg (3)
Sam Taylor-Wood (1)
Sarah Lucas (1)
Sean Scully (1)
Seydou Keîta (1)
Sir Peter Blake, R.A. (1)
Subodh Gupta (1)
Tadao Ando (1)
Takashi Murakami (1)
Thomas Demand (1)
Tim Noble & Sue Webster (1)
Tom Friedman (1)
Tracey Emin (1)
Willem de Kooning (2)
Yinka Shonibare MBE (1)

See The Global Fund, Join (RED), Sotheby's, and Gagosian websites for more on the RED conteomporary art auction.
>> Art Auction News
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
  Plot to Kill Muhammad Cartoonist
Denmark's intelligence agency have arrested three people that were planning to kill one of the cartoonists of the controversial prophet Muhammad cartoon published in the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper. 72 year old cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and his 66 year old wife Gitte Westergaard have been under police protection for the past few months.

Two of the suspects held are Tunisians and the third is a Moroccan Dane.

The cartoonist said "Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me. But I have turned fear into anger and resentment." BBC News

See also Museum plans to buy Muhammad cartoon and Cartoon Contoversy posts.

Thanks to Coxsoft for the tip!
>> Controversies, Cartoons
Sunday, February 10, 2008
  Gay Jesus Play in Sydney - Corpus Christi
A controversial play just recently opened in Sydney by the American playwright Terrence McNally called Corpus Christi. The play depicts Jesus as a gay man that is seduced by Judas and also shows Jesus marrying two gay men.

Robert Forsyth, the Anglican Bishop of South Sydney said a few tame things like "It's historical nonsense and I wouldn't want to go and see it. Life's too short."

While Angela Conway of the Australian Family Association went a little further and said "The ideas are offensive and really border on blasphemous. It's just completely fanciful and self-obsessive."

It got me thinking about the reaction of the Muhammad Cartoons and the damage that they caused. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that there were bomb threats and protests in the US when the play was staged, and Terrence McNally also received death threats, but it still seemed like a relatively calm reaction to something that causes people to lose all rational thoughts (an attack on their religion). So I did a Google search..

I found that when it was staged in the UK there was a little more controversy. Terrence McNally (he must be used to controversy by now as this was back in 1999) was sentenced to death by the Shari'ah Court of the UK. He had a "death fatwa" placed on his head as the play was deemed blasphemous by the Al-Muhajiroun (The Defenders of The Messenger Jesus).

Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, judge of the Shari'ah Court of the UK said "The fatwa is to express the Islamic point of view that those who are insulting to Allah and the messengers of God, they must understand it is a crime.
The Church of England has neglected the honor of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. It is blasphemy for them not to take action."
BBC News

I wonder what people would fight about if there were no such thing as religion, patriotism or oil..
>> Controversies, Australia
Thursday, February 07, 2008
  Urban Art Auction
Bonhams seems to have created a whole new genre of art auction after the success of their first "Urban Art" auction in London recently. It featured street, graffiti and urban art from artists like Banksy, Keith Haring, Antony Micallef, Adam Neate, Faile, Paul Insect, Space Invader, Swoon, D*Face and Jamie Hewlett.

Gareth Williams of Bonhams says "Urban art is art at its most accessible, available in the public arena for universal appreciation. However, by definition it is also an ephemeral art form, often disappearing as fast as it appears. By transposing their images from street wall to canvas, urban artists are now creating a permanent legacy without compromising the vitality of their art form and it is these works which are currently taking the market by storm."

This Banksy screen print below (which is one of 50 printed) more than tripled its pre-auction estimate and sold for £96,000.
Kate Moss Banksy
Banksy - 'Kate Moss', 2005 (£96,000)
signed, dated and numbered '30/50' in pencil, screenprint image, 52.5 x 52.5cm (20 11/16 x 20 11/16in).

Paris Hilton's debut album that once sold for £10.95 at a HMV music store increased in value considerably after a little Banksy tampering. The artist tampered with 500 of the Paris Hilton CDs and placed them in music stores.

Banksy tampered with the images on the case and insert, depicting the Paris Hilton with a dog's head and the body of a nude mannequin, interspersed with subversive slogans including '90% of Success is just Showing up' and 'Every CD you buY puts me eVen further out Of youR league'. The music was remixed by Banksy and Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley and the Grey Album fame, and contains tracks with titles such as "Why Am I Famous?", What Have I Done?" and "What Am I For?".
Paris Hilton Banksy
Banksy - 'Paris Hilton', 2006 (£2,600 not including taxes and premium)
customised CD and case 12.5 x 14.5cm (4 15/16 x 5 11/16in).

Top lots from the Bonhams Urban Art auction in London

>> Art Auction News, Banksy News, Celebrities News, Banksy Does Kate Moss

Monday, February 04, 2008
  ArtReview Magazine Gone Web 2.0
The ArtReview magazine has gone all interactive online with their new beta. I haven't joined their new online community or spent much time on it yet, but it seems to be a more serious attempt to embrace the Internet than any of the other websites owned by major art magazines.

Throwing up pdf files of the printed magazine and charging fees that come close to the cost of the magazine in the newsagency has been the norm for most art magazines around the world. So it's refreshing to see something different.

ArtReview says the new site is a "unique blend of community and editorial content, combining expert artworld voices with the input of artists and enthusiasts from around the world."

Here's what the ArtReview marketing blurb says about the site..

> Find exciting new artists
> Post your artwork, blogs, videos and audio
> Follow headline contemporary art news via RSS feeds
> Daily dispatches from the artworld's major centres
> Create your own discussion groups and forums
> Features, reviews and magazine archives
> Find the galleries that represent the artists with ArtFinder

Find the new online art community at
>> Website Reviews, General Art News
Sunday, February 03, 2008
  Artwork Needed (by a Scam Artist)
Artists must be getting smarter online and not falling for the email art scams like they used to, because I get very few scam emails from them anymore. The scammers also seem to be getting lazier as they don't even bother with little details like the WEBSITE of the artist!! Previous art scam emails even had the titles of the paintings that they wished to buy.

Would you buy an artwork from an artist that you know nothing about and don't even know what their website address is?

Here's a recent email..

Subject: artwork needed...............
Email: Hello
my name is JOHNSON MARK i will like to purchase some of your artwork for my parent wedding anniversry that is coming up very soon. i will like to inform you that i will be making payment through cashier check if this is accepted by you please kindly get back to me with your website address so as for me to choose the item needed by me.
Johnson mark

I know I have mentioned email artist scams a few times before, but artists that are new to the internet still fall victim to these people. Emails and comments on the older posts compel me to keep mentioning the art scams as they do help artists.

Here's some older posts: Art Scam Avoided, Scam Artists, Art Scam Emails, and Art Scammers.
>> Art Scam News
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