Monday, February 20, 2012

19 February 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

State of the Arts

State of the Arts: Artists shaping the world is the Arts Council’s national conference for the UK's arts and culture sector.  It took place last week at the Lowry in Manchester and included a live blog and live tweeting (check out #SOTA12).

I wasn't paying particular attention but kept noticing flurries of tweets which suggested maybe all was not well.

This is the Arts Council's 5 minute round-up video


I'm not sure that this is the same perspective as others who were at the conference.

Below are some reports on the conference.  It rather looks like those hitting on the topics that matter were very much the practitioners (ie artists) rather than the bureaucrats.  That suggests to me the latter need to get their heads out of the sand and start rethinking what they're doing and how they're going about it from the ground up (I'm allowed to say these things being an ex-bureaucrat!).  Particularly in relation to accessibility issues.
Organised by Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with the BBC, this disappointingly anodyne conference was an exercise in command, control and public relations.
Whilst there is little doubt ACE genuinely wants to involve artists, it does so in a highly controlled and tightly curated manner that only serves to emphasise its inescapably hierarchical nature and the extent of its deeply engrained institutional paternalism.
  • This is a post by SOTA blog co-curator Hannah Nicklin asking What is it for? Who is it with?.  Looks like I might have come away with the right impression of what needs to happen next.
For what it's worth I'd put out the next conference to tender and allows artists organisations to come up with proposals of how to do it better - and then award a contract to whoever comes up with the best idea and demonstrates the capacity to pull it off.  I'm pretty sure that artists could do it if they were given enough time.  However they might also marginalise the public relations for the Minister aspect of it!

Art Blogs

Robert Genn (Painters Keys) suggested there are Five skills worth learning

Botanical art 
Coloured pencils and pastels
Felicity House with her pastel artwork
Drawing and sketching
Painting
  • A really nice post Giants by Ilaria Rosselli del Turco (Ilaria Rosselli del Turco - News) - about seeing three exhibitions by Antonio Lopez Garcia, David Hockney and Lucian Freud and what she made of them
  • I smiled when I read a Stapleton Kearns post on Facebook
There are three stages in a Stapleton Kearns painting. (1) I am almost done! (2) Gee, I hope I'm doing this right. and (3) This was going to be really good.
Printmaking
Art Business & Marketing

Insurance for Artists and Art

I've started to look at insurance for artists and artwork. Here's
Other art business
Art Economy and Art Collectors

Stories about art collectors this week
Art Education

Tips and Techniques
Art Competitions
  • The winners of the The 13th Annual Pastel 100 competition run by the Pastel Journal are now online - with the remainder in the magazone.  I have to confess it's not one of my favourite years.
Art Exhibitions

Major UK Art Galleries and Museums
Its weakness is predictable: most artists are feeble compared to Picasso
    • Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard - Picasso and Modern British Art - review gives it 2.5 stars - which I take to mean Brian thinks it rather weak.  Trust him to make the most obvious remark - which is about how stretched the term "modern art" is for the purposes of this exhibition.  He spends half of his review giving us an education about the impact of Picasso on Britain - for which I am grateful!
    • Laura Cuming of The Guardian in Picasso and Modern British Art – review indicates that the catalogue is better than the exhibition.  She feels the British art is effectively downgraded when compared to Picasso.
this show is very precisely focused. It looks at three artists who paid sharp attention without being overwhelmed – Wyndham Lewis, Francis Bacon, David Hockney – and five more who swooned.
London Art Galleries
  • "Lucian Freud Drawings" - a life in line is my review of a VERY major exhibition of Lucian Freud Drawings - but in a London art gallery (Blain|Southern Gallery) off Berkeley Square in Mayfair rather than a major museum.  My review focuses on what he liked to paint other than people.  It felt like a privilege to see this exhibition
  • Another London gallery, the Chris Beetles Gallery in 8 & 10 Ryder Street in St James's, has a new sort of Spring Show which opened last week and continues until 28 April 2012.
    For the first time, Chris Beetles Gallery displays all aspects of its wide-ranging stock in a single exhibition, encompassing 300 years of the best of British art, from 18th century watercolours to new paintings, and also including illustrations, cartoons, etchings, photographs and sculpture.
Preview
  • Some of the biggest names in art and fashion have been busy making eggs.  On Tuesday 21st February 21, over 200 eggs are going to be placed around London - for The Big Egg Hunt.  The public will then be given the task of hunting them down!  This was the Eggs on Tour Bus last week
  • The Royal College of Art is host to Ceramic Art London 2012 is the major selling fair for contemporary studio ceramics at the Royal College of Art on 24 February to 26 February 2012. RCA Ceramics students will be exhibiting new work along with 75 leading contemporary ceramic artists
  • Double Take – The Art of Printmaking is a collaboration between the RCA and the University of Kent can be seen until 14 May 2012 Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, University of Kent, School of Arts in Canterbury.
Art Galleries and Museums
  • Every time I see Charles Saatchi writing about how the current art museum framework works, I can't escape the feeling that this is a man who'd rather like to divest himself of the cost of running a huge museum ie the Saatchi Gallery which doesn't charge for entry.  His latest Guardian article A legacy that Turner would have approved of sounds good until you think about where is the space that's going to show this new collection of contemporary British Masters.  Might it be on the King's Road?
  • Timothy Potts has been appointed as the new Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.  He is currently the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and prior to that appointment in 2008 he ran the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.  Here's the New York Times comment from its Arts Beat blog J. Paul Getty Museum Appoints New Director
  • Which makes me wonder who will get the Fitzwilliam appointment....
Art Societies

Pastel art by Sheila Goodman PS
Pastel Artwork by Sophie Ploeg (bottom left) and Ann Wilkinson PS (suite of 5 works)
Art Supplies
Copyright
Internet
  • Apple:  Look away everybody who is not an official Apple fan.  Here are the reviews of Apple's Mountain Lion for iMacs - which basically suggest that the next version of the operating programme "Mountain Lion" will become even more like the ipad and even more integrated with other Apple products.  The key message seems to be people love apps - and that convergence is the future.  Plus intimations about a new iMac and discontinuation of support for older Macs.
  • Google has been very very naughty according to this Wall Street Journal article.  Google's iPhone Tracking details how the Google and other ad companies bypassed privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser on mobile devices and computers in order to track the online habits of people who created settings specifically to block that type of monitoring.  Invasion of privacy anyone?  (which is somewhat ironic since the WSJ is part of Murdoch's NI stable!) Apparently the code was instantly changed as soon as the breach was identified and published.
  • Cloud computing:  If you've been thinking of using a cloud as a back up archive and failsafe for an emergency you might want to take a look at this article 
  • Right now mobile apps are more customer-friendly than mobile optimised websites according to Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox however this is changingMobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift
Mobile apps currently have better usability than mobile sites, but forthcoming changes will eventually make a mobile site the superior strategy.
and finally......

I'm shutting up shop after this until I've got my entry for the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists sorted out. I've been suffering from a bad bout of busybusybusy combined with procrastination and am a bit worried about meeting the deadline for submitting entries - which is 27th February (see Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2012: Call for Entries).

[UPDATE:  I might post a bit of art between now and then!]
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