Previous Posts: May 2011

Where's Weiwei?

May 2 2011

Image of Where's Weiwei?

Picture: WNYC

With the artist absent having been detained by authorities in China, the unveiling of Ai Weiwei's first exhibition of public sculpture in New York, scheduled for Wednesday 3rd May, has been postponed. More here

Got any spare bricks?

May 2 2011

Image of Got any spare bricks?

Picture: Art Newspaper

The Art Newspaper has uncovered documents from Tate that cast new light on Carl Andre's controversial 1976 work Equivalent VIII (aka, the pile of bricks)Apparently there was a bit of a hunt for spare bricks - with a young Sandy Nairne despatched to get some. He didn't find any - but the Tate has since got their hands on a stash of five.

Sir Dennis Mahon & Prof. Richard Holmes

May 2 2011

Two sad obituaries to note for anyone interested in art and history; the collector and art historian Sir Dennis Mahon at the age of 100, and the soldier and historian Professor Richard Holmes at the age of 65.

Sir Dennis has bequeathed his magnificent collection of Italian baroque pictures to a number of museums, chiefly the National Gallery. He cannily leveraged his gifts on the promise of free entry to museums - and we have him to thank in part every time we go to the National Gallery gratis. 

Richard Holmes was best known for his TV programmes on, amongst others, Churchill, Wellington and Cromwell. In an age of dumbed-down, celebrity driven history on television, his programmes were like an oasis in a desert - informative, comprehensive, and also entertaining. I once asked him to give  talk at the Houses of Parliament for the All Party History Group. His performance was electrifying, as he told the assembled MPs, peers and ministers (the room was packed) that our presence in Afghanistan was, essentially, doomed to failure. He spoke with authority, for he had not only studied the history of foreign intervention in Afghanistan (what is the score now, Foreigners 0 - Afghans 6?), but had spent a great deal of time there, and was also Britain's most senior Territorial Army officer. The lecture was some years ago now, but I often think of it, for, sadly, it seems he is being proved right. 

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