Saturday, 17 May 2008

the story in the newspaper cutting at left would have been perfect for a scene in The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard. I found it while perusing Dan McFan's blog.

Dr Jon directs me to Boing Boing, (a directory of wonderful things), where there is a link to COMICS WITH PROBLEMS, which has posted an entire Will Eisner M-16 U.S. Army rifle maintenance booklet (1968). Blog comments at the end give us this observation, interesting in view of the fact that Eisner invented the PS army mag at the time of the Korean conflict eithteen years earlier and it hadn't changed its style much in the interim:

"A friend of mine brought one of these home from the Army way back when. He said it didn't actually help with the training because it was so lunatic. We all thought of it as being on the pathetic side of funny. The military was a sexist institution then and so remains. I suppose it's better than a computer game."

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Friday, 16 May 2008

worst poet' outsells boy wizard

A private collector has paid £6,600 for poems by the man ridiculed as "the world's worst poet". A total of 35 of William McGonagall's works - many of them autographed - have been up for auction in Edinburgh...
William Topaz McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee, "has been widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language. A self-educated hand loom weaver from Dundee, he discovered his discordant muse in 1877 and embarked upon a 25 year career as a working poet, delighting and appalling audiences across Scotland and beyond."
Here are a few stanzas from one of my favourites, The Demon Drink
Thou causeth the mother to neglect her child,
Also the father to act as he were wild,
So that he neglects his loving wife and family dear,
By spending his earnings foolishly on whisky, rum and beer.

And after spending his earnings foolishly he beats his wife-
The man that promised to protect her during life-
And so the man would if there was no drink in society,
For seldom a man beats his wife in a state of sobriety.

And if he does, perhaps he finds his wife fou',
Then that causes, no doubt, a great hullaballo;
When he finds his wife drunk he begins to frown,
And in a fury of passion he knocks her down.

And in that knock down she fractures her head,
And perhaps the poor wife she is killed dead,
Whereas, if there was no strong drink to be got,
To be killed wouldn't have been the poor wife's lot.

(BBC news link thanks to hayley campbell)

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Thursday, 15 May 2008

they sicken of the calm, who know the storm" - Dorothy Parker.

History's Greatest Drunks square off!
"This month we pit dark horse Dorothy Parker against booze juggernaut Ernest Hemingway.
Round One
Parker orders two Beefeater Gin martinis.
LO: Parker comes out with her tried and true martini jab. They clink glasses and Hem turns on a boyish smile. I do believe he is attempting to charm the lady.
HC: They casually sip and exchange pleasantries. Hem may be onto something, when it comes to attractive men, Parker is known as a pushover.
Round Two
Hemingway orders two Gordon’s Gin and tonics with a splash of bitters.
HC: No surprises from Hem, either. These two have drank together before, in New York, and I don’t think they’re going to need to feel each other out.
LO: I sit here wondering what manner of trick Parker is going to pull. She cannot attack his palette, as she did so effectively with Welles, and she surely cannot outdrink him. I just had a rather odd thought..."
(Modern Drunkard magazine)
Channel 4 tv in Britain: (thanks, Hayley)

Artful Codgers- C4 Thursday 15 May 2008 9pm
"Cutting Edge tells the story of the audacious pensioners from Lancashire who conned the art world with a series of fakes sold to museums, galleries and collectors all over the world. Masterminded by 84-year-old George Greenhalgh, and aided by his mother, Olive, 83, son Shaun, 47, faked paintings, sculptures and ancient artefacts in the garden shed of their shared council house in Bolton. The Artful Codgers uncovers the secret world of the most unlikely art forgers in history, interviewing the police who uncovered them, the experts they deceived and their friends and neighbours in suburban Bolton."
National Post has the Reuters version of the story from January 29:
"the Artful Codgers, one London newspaper calls them. Testifying in court, Mom claimed her work was purely routine, like making calls for Shaun because he's too shy to talk on the telephone...
In 1997, a certain Mrs. Roscoe (that's Mom's maiden name) sold Shaun's The Faun at Sotheby's in London, claiming she had inherited it from Roderick O'Conor, a friend of Gauguin, who had purchased it from the Paris gallery. (She supplied a bill from the gallery, forged by her boy Shaun.) A firm of London dealers bought it, to their delight, for only £20,700, and later sold it to the Chicago Art Institute for US$125,000. Chicago's sculpture curator dated it to 1886, called it probably Gauguin's first ceramic and said it was among the Art Institute's most important acquisitions of recent years. It was included in a show, Van Gogh and Gauguin, which went on to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It remained on exhibit in Chicago until the call from Scotland Yard last October. It would be there yet, and perhaps for centuries more, if Shaun hadn't messed up the cuneiform.
Shaun has been sentenced to four years and eight months in jail. Mom got off with a year's suspended. Dad came to court in a wheelchair, wearing slippers, with a shawl over his legs; he apologized for being partially deaf, due to his Second World War injury... (lots more)"

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Wednesday, 14 May 2008

freud's large nude sets art world record

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A picture of an overweight woman lying naked on a couch, painted by the British artist Lucian Freud, set a record Tuesday night for the most money paid for any work by a living artist. The 1995 life-size painting -- "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" -- fetched $33.6 million during bidding at Christie's auction house in New York. The previous record was for "Hanging Heart," a painting by Jeff Koons that sold for $23.5 million, said Rik Pike, a spokesman for Christie's.

James Garner undergoes surgery after stroke.
"Actor James Garner, best known for starring in the classic television series "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files," underwent surgery this week after suffering a minor stroke, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
A rather affecting 3D exploration of Picasso's Guernica by Lena Gieseke. (thanks to Bob Morales)

High drama on Ebay:
Bob Kane's personal bound copy of thef irst issues of Batman up for grabs
Some of the best-known comic creators simply didn't hang onto their comics very well. Marvel legend Stan Lee's golden age collection was reportedly destroyed by flooding in his basement. Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster went through such a financial downturn they couldn't hold onto things.
But Bob Kane's story beats them for melodrama. Kane tried to hang onto his Batman comics and original art. But he didn't try hard enough to hang onto his marriage, and ended up losing both. Kane's wife, tired of his philandering, purposely destroyed as much of Kane's comics and art she could get her hands on. And she got to just about all of them.
But she didn't get to these. These copies were bound for Kane by D.C. comics and used as reference in his studio, where Kane worked in 1939 and 1940 with artists Jerry Robinson and Sheldon Moldoff and Batman writer co-creator Bill Finger.
These copies didn't get destroyed, but got left behind when Kane's family moved. These were headed for the trash when they were reportedly rescued by a domestic who worked for the Kane family.
“The best fame is a writer's fame. It's enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.” — Fran Lebowitz

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82 (NY Times- May 13)

"The irrepressibly prolific American artist who time and again reshaped art in the 20th century, died Monday night. He was 82. He died of heart failure, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein, the artist's gallery in Manhattan.
Mr. Rauschenberg’s work gave new meaning to sculpture. “Canyon,” (left, lifted from his Wikipedia entry) for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. “Monogram” was a stuffed Angora goat girdled by a tire atop a painted panel. “Bed” entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, slathered with paint, as if soaked in blood, framed on the wall. They all became icons of postwar modernism."

and in stupider news, (All via wee hayley campbell):
Furtive Venice snapper arrested
"A man who allegedly photographed more than 3,000 women's bottoms as they toured Venice has been arrested. The man was stopped after police became suspicious of a large bag he was carrying as he followed women through St Mark's Square...
Police have refused to name him but Mario Marina of Venice police said he is married with two young children and has a professional job in the nearby town of Padua.
He might have some explaining to do when he gets home."
What did you do on your last day at school?
Pupils sent home after turf prank.
"The entire sixth year of a school was sent home on their last day after pupils turfed over the floor of their common room. Teachers at Banchory Academy took the step after it was discovered some pupils had been drinking."
Aussie straps in beer, not child
"A car driver in Australia has been fined for strapping down his beer rather than his young child. Police said they were "shocked and appalled" when they pulled over the car south of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory.
This American Life. Four and a half minute Chris Ware animation.

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Monday, 12 May 2008

this is the book Neil Gaiman was promoting at the Childrens Book Conference in Melbourne. The Dangerous Alphabet, illustrated by Gris Grimly,who has quite a few books to his credit (his website). This is a book we would have loved to have around back in the day when Cambo read to the wee 'uns. We have kept all the best kids' books on our shelf and still dip into them now and then, and in fact the last one we bought was long after the kids had all grown up. Alphabet has a simplicity of sonorous phrases with the pictures carrying the narrative. Grimly's art has that lovely wet watercolour-on- textured paper look of which I have become enamoured over the last couple of books I've painted myself. This boat-face is a detail from 'P is for Piracy, blunt or discreet':

I've just recalled that at the Brisbane Writers' festival last year I found myself in conversation with a woman writer of childrens' books who was at odds with the whole idea of illustrations and seemed to regard them as a imposition made by her publisher against her better judgement. She felt it made the book take twice as long to read as it should have done. Writers can be such odd folk.
The end of the world as we know it: Philosopher John Gray tells Ben Naparstek why we are all doomed - May 10, 2008

"Though not a believer, John Gray excoriates the recent fad for books attacking religion by the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Michel Onfray and Richard Dawkins. "The difference between religious believers and secular rationalists is that religious believers are used to questioning their myths, whereas secular rationalists think their myths are literally true. I advocate an attitude of scepticism and critical distance from all these powerful belief systems." (via Mick Evans)

Woman files claim, saying dog feces ruined family outing
NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - A New York woman has filed a $100 claim against Norwalk saying a family outing to the Maritime Aquarium was ruined by dog feces. City attorney M. Jeffry Spahr said the official response is that her claim is denied and in his words, "poop happens." (via Bob Morales)


"I was once so poor I didn't know where my next husband was coming from."- Mae West.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Review of Leotard at Aint it "First Second has made a name for itself by producing quality material, but this book outdoes all of its previous endeavors."

Also, Stephen Grant reviewed it last week at Comic Book Resources: "it's a first class tour-de-Campbell whimsy"


i've just read Vivien Johnson's excellent monograph on Michael Jagamara Nelson (1997), the artist who designed the grand mosaic in the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra, Australia and who famously threatened to take a chisel to it in 1993 at the height of the Mabo Land Rights debate (painted version on cover at left). He also painted one of BMW's well known 'Art Cars,' a project that was conceived in 1975 and to which Warhol, Lichtenstein, Hockney, Rauschenberg, Stella, Calder and others have been commissioned to contribute over the years.

"As Andy Warhol's comment ('I adore the car; it's much better than an art work') somewhat ambiguously suggests about his car (the only other hand-painted contribution to the project), the most intriguing question about the Aboriginal Art car may turn out to be whether it is better art in western terms, because conceptually more complex, than the same painting on canvas. The paradox of adorning an icon of western materialism and technologcal progress with indigenous iconography evocatve of the very antithesis of these values made sense to BMW's executives as advertising copy for their product, but the validity of the Michael Jagamara Nelson Art Car as Art is not necessarily diminished by their business acumen. Alongside the corporate perspective is another, from which the Aboriginal Art car's startling conjuncture of incommensurables has little to do with either irony or bathos. While acknowledging its resonances with the concerns of contemporary international art, we should not overlook the car's equally significant resonances in collision of thse two realities that makes for the ironical depth of this Art car, the contest of values which gives the work its conceptual strength."

This whole series of BMW ArtCars can be seen here at the manufacturer's own site.
And there are some good shots here in somebody's photo album, put together at time of recent exhibition: BMW Art Cars Exhibition- Jehangir Art Gallery- Sep 9, 2007 "BMW India presented today two BMW Art Cars embellished by world renowned artists Andy Warhol (BMW M1, 1979) and Roy Lichtenstein (BMW 320i, 1977) at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai a rare opportunity for motoring and art enthusiasts." (with scale models of the other cars)

Andy applies some red to the front fender

Last minute discovery. Blog titled 'Frantic scratchings - stuff I want, stuff I need, stuff I like' has all sixteen of the the related videos which will save you rounding them up from Youtube. Compare in retrospect Roy sizing up his little toy model on the table with Nelson getting to grips with the real car.

Johnson notes that when the artist realized it was a big ask to get the job done in the ten days allotted for the specailized workshop facilities (with penalty clauses in the contract for running overtime) he chased the video team out.