Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Who pays? Liability when exhibited items are damaged

This is about the LEARNING POINTS arising from the £99,000 claim for damages that a couple in Kansas were presented with - after their five year old broke a sculpture.

the aftermath and the start of the inquest
footage from the community centre's surveillance camera
Yesterday, I posed the following question on Facebook
On the one hand, the parents are "outraged" by the prospect of a bill £99,000 ($132,000) for their child pulling at / knocking off and breaking a sculpture.

On the other hand, what about the artist who has just had an unsupervised child deprive them of the prospect of the proceeds from selling the artwork?

So should children be allowed anywhere near artworks which are valuable?
Or should galleries do better at protecting valuable art?
Are bills for damages the solution? Would your insurance cover you?

P.S. Who says the artwork is worth £99,000?
As you might expect lots of people had lots of opinions - and there were lots of useful learning points which I said I'd summarise in a blog post.

However first here's the unexpurgated Surveillance Video of the incident at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

My take on this, based on comments made elsewhere by the mother and others is that:

  • THIS IS NOT AN ART GALLERY - it's a Community Centre
  • the boy who toppled the sculpture is five years old.
  • the children were attending a wedding reception at the centre with their parents
    • the parents were saying goodbye to the happy couple when their children decided to take a wander
    • the children were very clearly not being actively supervised by a parent - and were in effect doing what they fancied
    • the adults present were also not supervising their behaviour in the absence of the parents
  • the women sitting down are unrelated to the children - as in we don't normally see ladies in shorts at wedding receptions! I think the woman walked over because the child started to cry

The Issues this incident raises

So what are the issues raised by this incident. The ones we identified yesterday include the following. You may have other suggestions and do feel free to comment
  1. Value - Who can say what an item is worth for the purposes of reimbursement?
  2. Health and Safety - Do all venues owe a vicarious liability for the health and safety of third parties visiting the venue?
  3. Parental Responsibility - what is a parent liable for if their children are not properly supervised?  Is it an accident when parents have been negligent in their duties?
  4. Insurance - Who is liable? Who pays at the end of the day?
  5. Consignment paperwork - What does paperwork need to make clear?
So I'll expand on each of these points below. Please note I'm not a lawyer and this is based on reading around and experience and does not constitute legal advice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

VIDEO Interview with Miriam Escofet, BP Portrait Award Winner 2018

This is about a video interview I did with Miriam Escofet, the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018 (See Miriam Escofet wins BP Portrait Award 2018)

BP Portrait Award Winner 2018
Miriam Escofet with the portrait of her mother "An Angel at my Table"

photograph: Katherine Tyrrell

It's been my habit for the past few years to interview the winners of the BP Portrait Award on video - in front of their portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.  Background noise in the gallery has always been a bit of a problem, however this year, the exhibition has changed galleries and, as a result, the acoustics meant that the noise levels were too loud for my equipment (my trusty iPhone!) and an interview in the gallery was impossible.

Instead we went up to the Portrait Restaurant at the top of the building (where I was booked in for lunch) and did the interview there. We still had background noise as you will hear - but it's very easy to hear Miriam in the interview.

The video has been uploaded to my Making A Mark Video Channel on YouTube - (where you can also see past videos relating to BP Portrait Award Winners - see also below)

  • You can view it full size on YouTube. 
  • You were going to get the large HD version - but YouTube decided it couldn't work out the audio file 
  • so it's the same size as in previous years - which means it can be viewed on mobile devices (I've tested on my iPhone!)

In this 15 minute interview, Miriam talks about:
  • learning about art from her father who was a painter (Jose Escofet)
  • the reasons for choosing the art school she attended
  • how she moved slowly from still life, via paintings of architecture to portraiture
  • her history with the BP Portrait Award
  • her process for painting portraits - including pastel studies and maquettes - and commissions
  • the portrait itself - and what the levitating angel and the moving dish are all about
  • how she plans to spend her prize money
  • the best bit of winning this award
This is Miriam's website

Below you have
  • more about how you can see this year's exhibition in London and on tour
  • articles about Miriam in the newspapers
  • FOR THE SERIOUS FANS: more about BP Portrait Award Winners from previous years

See the BP Portrait Award Exhibition

The BP Portrait Award Exhibition and the prizewinning portraits are on display during 2018/19 at the following venues:
I've also got another video to share with for those of you who can't get to see the exhibition - it includes my quick trot around the exhibition on Awards night. That'll be coming up later this week or next.

Articles about Miriam Escofet winning the BP Portrait Award

Interviews with other BP Portrait Award prizewinners

For those wanting to know more about the artists who win prizes at the BP Portrait Award. 

There are two choices:
  • A Profile of Aleah Chapin - includes her video interview which has now received over 142,000 views on YouTube. Aleah Chapin paints her aunties, cousins, mother and friends; old and new.
Prior to this, these were my blog posts about the BP Portrait Award winners (I was on holiday in 2011)

2008 - the first year I attended the awards ceremony

Monday, June 18, 2018

VIDEO: An Appreciation of Glasgow School of Art

There have been a number of responses on social media to the tragic and devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

Christopher Pitbladdo has put together a wonderful video of film about the Glasgow School of Art - in the past and during the recent renovation. It's probably the most coherent footage about the design, structure and interior of the GSA that exists - and it needs to be shared

As he says (on Saturday 16th June 2018)
I've been talking today with people who didn't know the #GSA very well, particularly the inside of the library. So I've thrown together a quick sequence of Mackintosh's building at its very best.
A short while ago, I was lucky enough to edit a documentary about Charles Rennie Mackintosh. When news filtered through of another fire in his masterpiece - the GSA - I quickly edited this collection of shots together as a memory of the building.

An Appreciation of Glasgow School of Art from Christopher Pitbladdo on Vimeo.

The documentary which he references was highlighted in yesterday's post Lachlan Goudie on Charles Rennie Mackintosh - on iPlayer.

Further comments on the fire

A spokesperson for the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association said it was understood that automatic fire sprinklers had not been fully fitted as the building was still undergoing refurbishment from the 2014 fire.“However, it should be realised that sprinklers can be fitted in buildings throughout construction on a temporary basis, as there is a considerable risk from fire during this period,” the association added.
This all makes it sound like it is a real person who has died, and in a strange way that’s not far off. The sheer idiosyncrasy of the building, Mackintosh’s care and attention to detail, and its rich intellectual subtexts and simple vital presence gave it more personality – its own and its creator’s – than almost any building I’ve ever experienced.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lachlan Goudie on Charles Rennie Mackintosh - on iPlayer

On 5th June 2018, BBC Scotland broadcast a programme on Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928) - Mackintosh - Glasgow's Neglected Genius.

The three ages of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
This is because 2018 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated Glasgow architect, designer and artist - who was born on 7 June 2018.

On 16th June 2018, his iconic 'work of art' - the Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art  - which comprised both the architecture of the building and its internal fixtures and fittings and helped give him an international reputation - was completely gutted in a massive fire (see yesterday post ANOTHER Major Fire at Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art)

However, let's not forget that Charles Rennie Mackintosh made a lot of art in his lifetime and most of it is celebrated in this programme.

You can view the programme on BBC iPlayer for the next 18 days.  Below you can find my short summary and review  of what the programme covers.

BBC iPlayer

Lachlan Goudie does a great job of following the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh from his studies and first job, via
  • his serious design commissions in Glasgow 
    • for the Art School - in two stages. Near the beginning of the film there is video of the 2014 fire and then of Lachlan visiting the rebuilding of the part of was destroyed in the 2014 fire. It's very poignant to realise that everything you see in the film is now gone. However it includes images of the Library as it was and the studios and the various design features on and within the building

I'd never realised before that the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art
was built in two stages - this is a drawing after the first stage

Pics of Glasgow School of Art - now (pre June 2018) and then
    • other schools and churches, 
    • houses (e.g. Windy Hill and The Hill House) and 
    • tea rooms (eg Willow Tea Rooms) while working for the practice of John Honeyman & Keppie (from 1901 Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh) during the Mackintosh years 1889 to 1913
  • the unique interiors, murals and furniture he created for himself and others. I had not idea how far and wide these were. I was particularly intrigued by his influence on design and interiors on continental Europe
Lachlan Goudie in one of the recreations of a Mackintosh interior - complete with furniture
  • his withdrawal from Glasgow after a nervous breakdown - and an unsuccessful start of his own independent practice
  • his stay in Walberswick - and his drawing and paintings (with Margaret) of wild flowers - for a German Client (just before the first World War) - such a pity they didn't feature more of these in the programme. You can read more about this period in his life on my web page about 20th century botanical artists and the slim but beautiful volume by Pamela Robertson. See also my 2007 blog post Flowers in Art... and Charles Rennie Mackintosh which comments in detail on his practice when drawing and painting flowers
  • to living in the South of France in Collioure and Port-Vendres - you can see his wonderful watercolours of places he visited and painted in The CRM Trail and  Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Rousillon (one of the sign boards features in the BBC film). These are some of my favourite watercolours of all time. The compositions are amazing, while the draughtsmanship is masterful and the colour palettes are true to the place and yet well co-ordinated. However I learned from the programme that Mackintosh wasn't averse to moving some of the features in the landscape if they made for a better painting - and illustrated what had happened in the painting of the watercolour below. For more about these superb watercolours I recommend you read Charles Rennie Mackintosh in France: Landscape Watercolours by Pamela Robertson and Philip Long.

The Fort (1924) by CR Mackintosh
  • and finally to living in some poverty in London - where he continued to paint flowers -prior to his death
Part of one of Mackintosh's late paintings of flowers

For those interested in his drawings you can access all his sketchbooks as part of the Hunterian Collections at the University of Glasgow


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Previous blog posts about Charles Rennie Mackintosh

About the 2014 and 2018 Fires

Saturday, June 16, 2018

ANOTHER Major Fire at Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art

I could not believe my eyes this morning when I checked the news - and found yet more pictures of yet another fire at "The Mac" - the iconic and world-renowned Rennie Mackintosh building housing the Glasgow School of Art which was due to reopen in 2019 after the last fire in May 2014.

This post provides links to images and accounts of the fire and the extent of the damage.

(NB The GSA website has been down - probably due to the extent of interest in this fire. It's now got a link to where people can read updates on the June 2018 Fire. It seems likely that the website will be down periodically while huge numbers try to access it)

Looking up the hill to the second fire at the Glasgow School of Art
(screendump from BBCNews)

What's really terrible is that accounts suggest that this fire is even worse than the previous one. It's certainly seems so from the images of the fire.
Damage to the Glasgow School of Art after a fire is "exceptionally significant", a senior firefighter has said.
The damage looks much worse than the first fire
(screendump from BBCNews)
More than 120 firefighters and 20 appliances were called to tackle the blaze, which began at about 11.15pm on Friday and spread to a neighbouring music venue, the O2 ABC.

By 6am on Saturday, fire crews were still tackling hotspots in the grade-A listed building, which appears to have been gutted by the fire and had its roof and upper floors destroyed. (The Guardian 
Heartbreaking': fire guts Glasgow School of Art for second time )

The fire appears to cover much more of the building
(screendump from BBCNews)

Nine hours ago came this tweet from the official GSoA Twitter account
and then this one

Thursday, June 14, 2018

BP Portrait Award 2018 - Artists with their paintings

This is about some of the artists whose paintings are included in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition which opened to the public today at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The purpose of this post is to provide
  • an insight into the age, education and experience of the artist and something of the story behind the painting. Not all artists are experienced and/or professional - a number are enthusiastic amateurs, others are starting out on their careers and some have been working as portrait painters for some time.
  • an idea of the size of portraits selected for the exhibition - by including the portrait painter next to their painting!
You can see all the paintings selected for the exhibition online on the webpage dedicated to the BP Portrait Award Exhibitors

You can see them all in person while they are being displayed at the following venues during 2018/19:
NEXT! My next blog post will include a video interview with the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018

Artists with their Paintings

The artists whose photographs are included below are most of those present at the Press View yesterday morning - who had their label on view! (I tend to assume you are staff if you don't have a visible label.)

My photographs are some of the fastest portraits I create each year given the time available to meet, greet and take a photo and learn something of their painting!
The painters in this post are from Europe and the USA with the following countries being represented: England, Scotland, France, Germany, Poland and the USA although interestingly the artists include two artists born in Italy and one born in Australia!

I'm still trying to work out how come Brighton University got so many of its graduates into this year's exhibition - starting with the winner!

You can read more about the artists selected for the exhibition in Selected Artists and statistics - BP Portrait Award 2018

The photographs of the main prizewinners with their portraits are contained in Miriam Escofet wins BP Portrait Award 2018

UK and Europe

UK - England

Alastair Adams b.1969

Bruce Robinson, Writer and Director
oil on board
© Alastair Adam
Alastair Adams is a Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (the youngest in the history of the RP). He was previously selected for this exhibition in 1995.

He studied at Hugh Baird College, Bootle and Leicester Polytechnic and started painting portraits in the mid 90s and became a member of the RP in 2002. He now works as a full time professional portrait painter working to commission rather than exhibitions e.g. Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint a portrait of Tony Blair. His work is held in numerous collections and has been seen in the exhibitions of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters(1996 - 2018).

His portrait is of Bruce Robinson, an English director and screenwriter. He wrote and directed the loosely autobiographical cult classic 'Withnail and I' and wrote the screenplay for The Killing Fields. Adams met Robinson at an event in 2017 to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of his film Withnail and I and asked if he would sit for a portrait. The sittings to make initial studies and reference photographs took place over two days at Robinson’s home.

Oliver Bedeman (b.1985)

Tom Bedeman
reverse oil on glass
© Oliver Bedeman
Oliver Bedeman is a figurative painter who is based in Oxfordshire.  He has previously been selected for The Threadneedle Prize in 2016 and 2018.

He graduated from Brighton University in 2007 with a degree in Fine Art Painting. He then did the Postgraduate Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School (where he won the Lady Rothermere Award) and the following year (2007-8) he was then the Artist-in-Residence, Royal Drawing School.

The portrait is of the artist’s brother, Tom - and he works in REVERSE in oil on GLASS! Oliver says:
‘Tom is my older brother and I have sought to capture our relationship: ever evolving and complicated. The technique of reverse oil painting on glass means you have to work in reverse, beginning with the highlights and eyelashes. The oil dries quickly on glass, so the face has to be painted in one sitting and with only small adjustments later'
In October, he has a solo exhibition"Silhouettes" at The Fine Art Society, London.
[Note: The little known technique Oliver used for his painting is also called Reverse Glass Painting (also known as Verre Églomisé or 'Hinterglasmalerei'. The shadow is created by the paint on the glass and the gap between the glass and the backboard. The painting is also affected by the colour of the glass]

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Miriam Escofet wins BP Portrait Award 2018

Miriam Escofet has won the £35,000 BP Portrait Award 2018 for a portrait of her mother Alma. 

She won the First Prize in this prestigious and truly international portrait competition from an entry which included portraits from artists living in 88 countries. Each artist was allowed to submit just one portrait - making 2,667 entries in total....

There was a big cheer when the winner was announced at the Awards Ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery last night - and it's very evident from my Facebook Page that she is a very popular winner

Miriam Escofet with her BP Portrait Award 2018 trophy and her portrait of her mother 

Below you can see a list of the Awards and who won what - but it's not a short post not least because of the number of photos from last night's Awards Ceremony which I attended. You can read more about each of the artists in the profiles contained in BP Portrait Award 2018 - The Shortlist

Over the next few days I'll continue to post about the BP Portrait Exhibition 2018 and the prizewinners. There will be:
  • a video of the exhibition and a review of the exhibition 
  • plus photos of artists with their paintings 
  • and hopefully interviews with one or more of the prizewinners.

Judges: While the initial entry was online, the long list was judged from original paintings by this year’s panel:
  • Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)
  • Dr Caroline Bressey, Cultural and Historical Geographer, University College, London
  • Rosie Broadley, Head of Collection Displays (Victorian to Contemporary) and Senior Curator, 20th-Century Collections, National Portrait Gallery
  • Glenn Brown, Artist
  • Rosie Millard, Journalist and Broadcaster
  • Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP
Personally, I'd like to see a return to the more detailed Judges comments on the finalists which we have seen in recent years. If you can distinguish between prizewinners then you must be able to articulate why!

The Awards were presented by guest speaker Lily Cole, with Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Bob Dudley, CEO of BP - in some extremely peculiar green lighting!

BP Portrait Award - First Prize: Miriam Escofet 

Miriam Escofet has won the BP Portrait Award First prize of £35,000. In addition, she also has the prospect of being offered a £7,000 portrait commission by the National Portrait Gallery. 

I was pretty confident this painting was going to win first prize and said as much at the shortlisting stage