Landscape, or meatscape?

The Glover Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious art awards.  However, its latest winner has upset several apple-carts by his irreverent approach to the field. A Tasmanian artist has won a prestigious landscape prize with a painting of a hunk of meat sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes with peas and gravy. Hobart local Robert O’Connor won the Glover Art Prize for his painting ‘Somewhere near Oatlands’. “It’s fun to try and disrupt a landscape prize by entering a hunk of meat into it,” he said. “I was just trying to amuse myself really.” . . . While some love his piece,

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In Memoriam: Kirk Douglas

One of the giants of the cinema screen has left us.  Kirk Douglas died yesterday at the age of 103. If you don’t know much about him, you can read his potted biography on Wikipedia.  I highly recommend his first book and autobiography, “The Ragman’s Son“.  It’s from the 1980’s, and therefore leaves out the last three decades of his life (and was superseded by later accounts), but in my opinion it’s his best work. His movies were a source of enjoyment and inspiration to millions.  I’ll never forget such classics as “Spartacus“, “The Vikings” and other early works.  He towered above

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One perfect day in Sarajevo

In the light of my comments earlier today about the Superbowl halftime show, and as a counterpoint to the blatantly in-your-face sexuality on display there, here’s one of my happiest fan memories.  It’s the finals of the Winter Olympics figure skating competition in Sarajevo in 1984.  British couple Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean performed an absolutely spectacular routine that won perfect marks for artistic merit across the board, an unprecedented achievement in the Olympic Games.  It was a magical moment that enshrined them forever in the pantheon of ice skating heroes.  What’s more, they did so in a refined, gentlemanly and lady-like fashion, with

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Saved from the scrap heap of history – for now, at least

I was interested to learn that one of the ancient crowns of Ethiopia’s emperors has been saved from looters. After 21 years tucked away inside a Rotterdam flat, a priceless 18th century crown is finally being repatriated to Ethiopia with the help of a Dutch art detective. For more than two decades, the crown has been guarded by Dutch-Ethiopian national Sirak Asfaw in a secret location in his Netherlands home. A former refugee, Sirak fled Ethiopia during the “Red Terror” purges in the 1970s. Over the ensuing years, he hosted Ethiopian pilots, diplomats and refugees as they passed through the city.

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A fascinating piece of history

A reader sent me this photograph of the ceremonial axe of Pharaoh Ahmose I (c. 1549–1524 BC) of ancient Egypt.  Click the image for a larger view. According to the Egyptian Museum: This axe was executed to commemorate the liberation of Egypt from the Hyksos. The copper blade together with its cedar wood handle is entirely covered with gold and ornamented with precious stones. The inlaid decoration of the axe is divided on each side into three compartments, all decorated with motifs alluding to the expulsion of the Hyksos and the re-unification of the country by Ahmose. The side shown here is ornamented with

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Science, art, and history come together

I was fascinated to read that scientists investigating rogue waves have not only recreated one under laboratory conditions:  it’s also an almost picture-perfect copy of a very famous wave in Japanese art. Mark McAllister at the University of Oxford and his colleagues have recreated the Draupner wave, the first rogue wave ever recorded. The 1995 wave, measured in the North Sea, had a maximum height of 25.6 metres … Prior to this, the existence of these freak waves was merely anecdotal. The team generated two sets of waves in a circular tank, and crossed them at various angles in an attempt to recreate the conditions

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This looks far too good to eat

Seen on Gab this morning: Traditional wedding bread of #Ukraine called Korovai has ancient origins & comes from pagan belief in magical properties of grain. Korovai was a large round braided bread, traditionally baked from wheat flour & decorated w/symbols, such as suns, moons, birds, animals & pine cones. That’s astonishing!  I’d never heard of korovai before, but Wikipedia has a lengthy article about it. The bread was traditionally prepared in the home of the bride by women who sang traditional songs to guide them through the making. These women were called the korovainytsi (pol. korowajnice), and were most often invited in odd numbers to do the job of

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A novel hi-tech “display” that’s almost a new art form

I don’t have a very visual imagination.  I’m good with words, but I can’t paint or draw to save my life, and while I enjoy and appreciate some painting styles and schools (landscapes, some portraits, etc.), I don’t like most modern alleged “art” at all.  However, some modern forms of visual expression are so novel that they catch my eye, and my imagination – including this one. When art and function meet technology, you can bank on the product looking something a little like magic. After years of dodging reinvention, the humble clay brick has met its 2018 match, with New

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Some amazing wildlife photographs

Britain’s world-famous Natural History Museum has just released the results of its 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.  There are some spectacular images.  Here are just two, to whet your appetite.  Click each one for a much larger view.The winner in the category “Animals in their Environment”, from Spain, is Cristobal Serrano with a drone-captured overhead picture of crabeater seals on an ice floe.  (Oddly enough, despite their name, they don’t eat crabs!) Highly commended in the category “Animal Portraits”, here’s a lioness captured by Isak Pretorius of South Africa. There are many more photographs at the link.  Highly recommended viewing.

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