Sunday, December 18, 2005

New work:
Acrobat boys
pastel and pencil

Keywords: Artsist Paul Grant, Acrobat boys

'Audacious' theft of two-ton sculpture leaves art world reeling

Paul's comment: The police think this elaborite theft might be for the scrap value of this piece, is that because they don't see it's aestetic value being worth as much? For Moore (the artist) this was a change from curves to points, and for some that alone adds to it's value.

From an artist point of view this theft made me wonder: If an artist works for a long time on a piece of art and it turns into something that is not beautiful, don't they sometimes have to withold thier own judgement and think of the time invested and the fact that the piece has a `historic' ( read noval) value? Would he (Moore) have had the integrity and strength to destroy a piece that lacked inate beauty at it's completion? ( Do I?)

The theft gives this piece an added celebrity now, a sign about the theft might be placed on a neat stand beside the work after it's recovered. The reader might then ask themselves why would anyone want to steal this? Maybe for the scrap value? Or maybe the viewer might think: 'It must be valuable `art' if anyone would take all those pains to steal it.'

Big loss: Moore's bronze Reclining Figure is valued at £3 million.
Photograph: Hertfordshire Constabulary/ PA

'Audacious' theft of two-ton sculpture leaves art world reeling


NICKING a painting off the wall of a sleepy country gallery is one thing. Making off with an 11ft-long, two-ton bronze sculpture worth £3m is quite another.

In the biggest art heist in Britain for more than two years, thieves wearing hoodies and baseball caps have stolen one of the renowned British sculptor Henry Moore's most valuable works from an English country estate using a crane and open-back lorry.

In the completely unchallenged theft, the bronze, Reclining Figure, disappeared from a courtyard at the late artist's home in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, on Thursday.
Police investigators believe the giant bronze may have been stolen for its scrap value. But art industry experts last night suggested the famous sculpture could have been stolen to order.

Dick Ellis, a former Scotland Yard detective and UK expert on art theft, said: "This sculpture has been taken because the grounds were open and it was easily available. The theft has been thought through and well planned but scrap would not be a good earner for the thieves. Henry Moore is a desirable artist and a highly saleable one. There is bound to be a bigger return for the thieves from an illegal buyer."

Gerald Laing, the Scottish-based sculptor and artist, said: "They must have taken it for a client. They are not hard to get at because Moore believed that his work should be openly exhibited. I suspect it will be in a box and heading abroad within days."

The theft from the open courtyard was captured on CCTV but police yesterday revealed only sketchy details, revealing that a red Mercedes flatbed lorry, fitted with a crane on the back, and an old-style Mini Cooper, had been used in the audacious operation.

The team apparently circumvented locked gates and an alarm system, while the sculpture was in the process of being moved to another location. One thief was described as wearing a hooded jacket and another a baseball cap.

Chief Inspector Richard Harbon said police classed the statue as a "national treasure" and a team of detectives was now working on a number of theories behind the theft. Work included liaison with the Met's Fine Arts Squad and Hertfordshire's own specialists.

He added: "It is a nationally-renowned sculpture and very, very difficult to get rid of. So, obviously, we are looking at all the possibilities, as I said, right from scrap metal right up to fine arts theft.

"This is not opportunist theft. These are people who knew what they were doing, knew what they were after. A very, very audacious theft."

A substantial reward has been offered by the Henry Moore Foundation for information leading to the statue's recovery.

Moore, who died aged 88 in 1986, crafted the sculpture in 1969 and 1970.

Gareth Spence, a spokesman for the Henry Moore Foundation, said it was the first such crime at the foundation, where there were gates, alarms, and a keyholder permanently present. "We don't imagine this type of thing happening. A combination of the gates and the location would seem to negate them [sculptures] being lifted out of the grounds and stolen. It is quite a daring thing to do, and it will cause a reassessment of our security process."

Spence said the statue represented a development into pointed shapes for the artist and was "an important piece", famous throughout the world.

"It is very representative of Moore. You automatically think of Moore's legacy. I think it would be very hard for anyone to sell. The recipient - where would they display it? It is meant to be displayed outside," he said.

Considered by many to be the most outstanding British sculptor of the century, Henry Moore was born the seventh of eight children, in the coalmining town of Castleford, Yorkshire in 1898. He began carving in wood and modelling clay at school and, after serving in the Great War, became the first ever student of sculpture at Leeds School of Art in September 1919 before winning a scholarship to London.

In 1992 Moore's collection of 666 sculptures, 3,000 drawings and 8,000 prints was valued at £130m

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The big bang theory of art

Opinion - Ben Macintyre

The Times December 02, 2005

If we think poets and painters have better sex lives, it may be that they are good at persuading us.

“SEX AND ART are the same thing,” declared Pablo Picasso; this was one of the greatest chat-up lines ever, from a master of the art.

Finally, a scientific survey has proven what everyone has long suspected (which is what scientific surveys ought to do): creative artists, it appears, really do have more exotic love lives than the rest of the population. The new study, published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society, suggests that artists, from poets to painters to puppeteers, have, on average, twice as many sexual partners as non-artists.

Promiscuous Picasso, Lord Byron the philanderer, Dylan Thomas the boozy womaniser: these were not simply bonking Bohemians, it seems, but artists doing what their genes told them to do. According to the researchers the greater the artistic endeavour, the larger the sexual appetites. (There are some obvious exceptions to this rule: Julio Iglesias once boasted that he had had sex with 3,000 women, but has never yet sung a decent song.)

The authors of the study, also suggest a link between artistic sexuality and schizophrenia. The genes linked to schizophrenia appear to be particularly common among poets and artists: the illness may contribute to artistic individuality and a uniquely imagined view of the world, but it may also explain the attractiveness of artists to others, and thus why those traits have been passed on.

Indeed, artistic ability may have evolved as a form of mating display, a courtship technique to attract partners. In his 2001 book The Mating Mind, Geoffrey Miller argued that intellectual and artistic ability were a form of human plumage, designed to entice sexual partners. “Come up and see my etchings” may be a central statement in human evolution.

Artists have more sex, of course, because that is what they are expected to do. As rule breakers, they are assumed to act on impulse, unconstrained by the mores that apply to the rest of society. When Lucian Freud (83) is discovered to be stepping out with yet another nubile lovely, even strait-laced Middle England bottles its outrage, accepting this side-effect of genius.

Artists (Freud excepted) also tend to die young, making it imperative that they gather ye rosebuds while they may. Poets, in fact, die younger than any other sort of artist, and younger than almost any other type of professional, including deep-sea divers.
When Andrew Marvell wrote To his Coy Mistress, he was speaking for all artists who sense Time’s wingéd chariot hurrying near, and want to get laid, a lot, before it runs them over:

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.

Artists are not only expected to have sex more, but also to write, paint, sing, compose and talk about it, endlessly, preferably in smoky bars. For Picasso, sex was a prevailing theme: a recent exhibition in Paris, Picasso Erotique, displayed no less than 330 paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures portraying sexual congress, or what Gertrude Stein called Picasso’s “dirty side”. Picasso was genuinely interested in sex, all his life, but most modern artists feel obliged to include sex in their portfolios, as a matter of form. Tracey Emin’s installation Everybody I’ve Ever Slept With: 1963-1995 is a very good joke, but also a wry reflection on the modern artist who is obliged either to celebrate sex or to fake it. The Bad Sex awards, presented annually to the most embarrassing description of the sexual act, is never short of contenders.

Artists may not actually have wilder sex lives than mere mortals; they may simply be better at misrepresenting what they do in bed. Jerry Seinfeld once remarked: “Everyone lies about sex. People lie during sex. If it weren’t for lies, there’d be no sex.”

And artists, being imaginative types, can lie better than anyone else. On the other hand, it is de rigueur for a great artist to claim that sex is boring (“The biggest nothing” — Andy Warhol), thus implying that they are at it like rabbits.

D.H Lawrence

“Nothing nauseates me more than promiscuous sex in and out of season,” wrote D. H. Lawrence, simultaneously yawning and panting, to Lady Ottoline Morrell.

The portrait of the artist as a young stud-muffin may have some scientific basis, but it is also a long-running conceit, based largely on wishful thinking. As the artist Dinos Chapman pointed out this week: “The truth is that artists aren’t that special. People just like to think so — especially artists.” But the legend of the artistic and literary libido refuses to die, perhaps because for many people sex has become so desperately cheapened and unromantic.

On the day the sex lives of the artists was unveiled, another, much grimmer report appeared under the less than enticing title Who Pays for Sex? Based on a survey by the Medical Research Council, this showed that the number of men paying for sex has doubled over the last decade, with nearly one in ten of all males admitting that he had done so during the previous five years. The rise of sex tourism, access to sex via the internet, migrant sex workers and rising divorce rates have all contributed to a massive growth in commercial sex. London alone now has an estimated 4,000 massage parlours and escort services. Pornography remains the single most heavily researched subject on the web.

The general devaluation of sex surely explains why, more than ever, we need to associate sex with art, glamour and the carefree misbehaviour of a Picasso or, for that matter, a Kate Moss.
Lord Byron

Three weeks after Byron died in 1824, The Times declared him “the most remarkable Englishman of his generation”; this, it should be remembered, was an Englishman who had rogered practically anything with a pulse, including boys, various grandes dames and his own half-sister. He was mad, bad and dangerous to know; and, as an artist, he was fêted for it.

The image of the artist as Don Juan, glamorous and faintly unhinged, with a tangled and athletic love life, owes more to myth than science, but it is one of the oldest and most cherished of our cultural stories. This may be no more than escapism; but so is art.

Keywords: SEX AND ART , Pablo Picasso, Lord Byron, Julio Iglesias, Dylan Thomas sexual appetites,. The Mating Mind, Geoffrey Miller, Lucian Freud Andrew Marvellbut world enough, and time,. Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, D.H Lawrence, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Dinos Chapman, Kate Moss, Don Juan, Paul Grant,

Sunday, December 04, 2005

'Lewd rubbing' shuts Paris statue

Is this strange or what?

Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris has fenced off a famous tomb to prevent lewd acts being performed on a statue.

The effigy of 19th Century journalist known as Victor Noir has long been popular with women visitors.

This is partly due to his reputation as a romantic figure, and partly because of the effigy's design.

Officials concerned about damage to the icon's groin area have erected a fence around the grave, and a sign prohibiting indecent rubbing.

Noir - whose real name was Yvan Salman - was killed by Pierre Bonaparte, a great-nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, after bearing him a challenge to a duel.

According to the story, he was due to get married the day after he was killed.

The statue shows Noir in a frock coat and trousers lying flat on his back, with a distinct enlargement in the groin.

The effigy has been held as an aid to love or fertility.

It is said that a woman who kisses the lips of the prostrate statue and slips a flower into the upturned top hat will find a husband by the end of the year.

The new sign warns: "Any damage caused by graffiti or indecent rubbing will be prosecuted."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Who will pass the test of time?

The Virgin Mother by Damien Hirst

From an interview with Charles Saatchi

Who has been described both as a 'supercollector' and as 'the most successful art dealer of our times'.

Looking ahead in 100 years time, how do you think British art of the early 21st century will be regarded? Who are the great artists who will pass the test of time?

CS: General art books dated 2105 will be as brutal about editing the late 20th century as they are about almost all other centuries. Every artist other than Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd and Damien Hirst will be a footnote.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Searching for this book:

Keywords: Paul Grant, wk12, wk12.3, W&K12.3, Wieden & Kennedy, Jelly Helms
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