Stuffed birds in the Cathedral?

About five years ago the artist Banksy performed hang and run art. What he would do was to take art with him into a museum and hang it up among the other artwork. This is a fun idea since most museum security is concerned with keeping the visitors from destroying or removing art – not adding to it.

See more about Banksy’s hang and run here.

While in Uppsala this week I came across an interesting variation on the theme. While attending a workshop on mashups we were taken on a guided tour of Uppsala Cathedral. It’s an amazing building filled with loads of dead kings, queens, nobility and a random selection of famous people. In short its a nice place to tour.

At the end of the Cathedral is the Vasa Chapel were the Gustav Vasa is buried with his wife (nr 9 on map). The chapel has a gate and sitting on the gate someone has stuck small stuffed birds…

photo: stuffed birds by wrote (cc by-nc)

The birds may look realistic but I can assure they they are very dead. When I asked our guide he was surprised to see them and my guess is that this is a variation of Banksy’s guerilla art project. Lots of fun. I wonder how long they have been there and how long they will remain there.

A great step for UK art & world culture

This is really cool news and it just makes you wish that all other countries will follow suite. So what’s the news? Well the director general Mark Thompson of the BBC has just announced that the BBC is going to digitalize and put online all paintings in public ownership in the UK and the contents of the Arts Council’s vast film archive online as part of a range of initiatives that it has pledged will give it a “deeper commitment to arts and music”. Just the art amounts to around 200,000 oil paintings! (via The Guardian)

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw

John Singer Sargent, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Lady Agnew is one of the 200 000 pictures we can look forward to seeing online. The good news may still be spoiled if the technology used (or indeed the licenses) somehow prevents users from being able to enjoy them properly.

Scooby Doo is ancient and Chinese

Scooby-Doo was a childhood favourite of mine the cowardly, hungry dog always getting into scary situations provided lots of memorable occaissions. Common knowledge was that the characters in the series were created by Hanna Barbera in 1969 but I have made an important discovery on the streets of Göteborg today.

Photo Chinese Scooby Doo by Wrote (CC by-nc)

This stone statue of the great Scooby was, according to its dating certificate, fired somewhere between 1500 – 2400 years ago according to the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report. So here finally the massive conspiracy has been unmasked 🙂

That's just sick

Via Neatorama came a small report about the artist Wim Delvoye who has done lots of cool stuff. The towards the end of the article was this:

Wim is a vegetarian, but he has a pig/art farm outside of Beijing in China. He’s not thinking of bacon, however – Wim has other plans for his swine: he tattoos them! (He said that the pigs have better, longer lives than those raised for food).

I realise that this may make statements about the consumer society and the way in which we treat animals but I still really dislike the fact that the man tattoos animals. This, to me, is another example of an artist using animals to create “shock value” in order to move the jaded art scene into a reaction. It still does not make it art not does it make it right. And what the hell was the monoumentaly stupid comment that the pigs were happy and that he was a vegetarian about?

That an animal is more happy than another animal (how is this measured?) does not make abusing it a legitimate act. The fact that the artist refuses to eat meat does not legitimize his torment of animals. Just sick. As it happens it also may be pointless from a novelty point of view since he is not the first artist to tattoo pigs.

Why should work like this be dignified with the name art – isn’t it just animal abuse on a more premedited and cruel scale?

But is it art?

This is just plain silly. The Telegraph reports that a convict who may get the death penalty has agreed that if he is sentenced to death he will give his body to art. The body will be deep-freeze-dried and turned into fish food. Visitors to the exhibition will then be able to feed goldfish with the ex dead con.

The artist says:

“ is not his story that is as important for me as the system that exists in a society such as America’s in such a vulgar and primitive way, the system, of killing people like this. I wanted to raise awareness of the fact there are people killed legally in our Western civilisation.”

Is it only me or does this all just feel like a publicity stunt to increase the ego, reputation and through this economic value of the artist?

photo Secret Life of Wanda by tomanthony (CC by-nc-nd)

but did anyone ask what the fish want?

Banksy unmasked

It was only a matter of time before his growing fame led to his unmasking. The Mail on Sunday reveals the evidence they present to his identity. But… Banksy’s publicist would neither confirm nor deny whether the artist was Robin Gunningham.

Mouse on Auction

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I wish I had endless funds. It would be fun to fly to London and go to Sotheby’s on the 17 July and bid on Lot 300, a mouse with glasses reading a newspaper by Beatrix Potter.

It’s a 125mm by 70mm fine ink and watercolour drawing, signed and dated lower right corner “HB.P. | 1890.”, mounted, minor browning not affecting image, slight soiling to blank border.

The Catalogue Note – Reminiscent of “The Day’s News” (c. 1892?), see The Art of Beatrix Potter p.196 and Beatrix Potter 1866-1943 – The Artist and Her World, p.57, Beatrix Potter appears to have had a fondness for mice reading newspapers. Perhaps the most famous example is the mouse reading The Tailor and Cutter from The Tailor of Gloucester. this drawing is entirely unknown and dates from the year of Beatrix Potter’s first association with the firm of Hildesheimer & Faulkner.

But with a starting price of 10 000 to 15 000 pounds I guess its not happening…