NOTTINGHAM, UK.- If you go down into the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise… magic, mystery and magnificence all lurk in ‘Forest’ opening at Nottingham Castle . This themed multi-sensory exhibition brings together a range of works by contemporary artists who have been influenced by the beauty and atmosphere of the forest. Encapsulating the breathtaking awe inspired by the natural world, the exhibition includes pieces inspired by the minute world of fairies alongside larger works like Dalziel and Scullion’s 8ft photographic installation. Also included is an alpine landscape in a glass cube and an incredible atmospheric wax room by Ken Parsons. This dome-like structure, 5 metres in diameter, is made of wax and features multi-coloured panels with light and sound to evoke the passing of the day within a forest. Other artists include Anya Gallaccio, George Brecht,Mr & Mrs Ivan Morison, Mariele Neudecker and Samantha Clark.

BREGENZ, AUSTRIA.- Kunsthaus Bregenz presents Jake + Dinos Chapman. Jake and Dinos Chapman (*1966 in Cheltenham, *1962 in London; live and work in London) are among the leading representatives of contemporary British Art. They had a solo exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art in London in 1996, and they took part in the legendary exhibition “Sensation? in 1997, to mention just two shows. In 2003, they were short-listed for the prestigious Turner Prize. They announced their intention of working together in November 1992 with their anti-aesthetic manifesto “We are Artists? stencilled on a wall of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The Chapman brothers are always pushing borders and challenging taboos in their work. Aggressively and with the blackest humour and most subversive wit, they examine subjects like violence, war, the Holocaust, genetic engineering, and death with all the barbarity that goes with them. Even if their work may at first glance seem in-your-face, scandalous, and controversial, there is a concept with a definite philosophical claim behind their art. “We work analytically rather than critically. We aren’t trying to solve genetic engineering problems when we deal with the subject of cloning using child mannequins fused together and covered with primary sexual organs.? (Jake Chapman in an interview with Holger Liebs, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 5/6 April 2003) What they are aiming at, rather, in their own words is producing “moral panic.? Like many artists of their generation, Jake and Dinos Chapman allude to historical art in their work. Since the beginning of their artistic career, they have always dealt with the work of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (1746–1828). Their examination of Goya’s “Los Desastres de la Guerra? (Disasters of War, 1810–1820) has been a constant theme of their work for more than a decade. In his series, which comprises 80 works in aquatint, Goya, reflecting on the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1811–1812, created one of the most extreme depictions of barbarian cruelty in graphic arts. While plates 2–47 of the “Disasters of War? are devoted to the War in Spain, a second group of etchings (48–64) focuses on the famine in Madrid from 1811–1812. Finally, plates 65–80 deal with the repression under King Ferdinand VII.

BILBAO, SPAIN.- The Guggenheim Bilbao presents Yves Klein . Yves Klein provides a unique opportunity to explore the work of this French artist (1928-1962), considered a visionary by his contemporaries and a forerunner of many contemporary art trends and practices. The exhibition includes over one hundred artworks drawn from each period of the artist's career, ranging from his earliest monochrome paintings in orange, yellow, green, red, black and white, his famous blue monochromes and sponge reliefs and sculptures, his controversial Anthropometries, in which he used women as living brushes, and monogolds, to his late experiments with fire and natural elements. A Guggenheim Museum Bilbao exhibition in collaboration with Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY.- Museum Kunst Palast presents The World of the Netsuke. Netsukes, manufactured in Japan with consummate skill as ornaments for men’s belts, today form a much-sought area of collection on an international level. Originally, these belt toggles served to hold the little containers for tobacco, money and similar portables that would be carried on the cloth belt or girdle. Initially, the fasteners would be simple rings or disks. In the course of time, the item, carved out of ivory and wood, developed into a resplendent miniature work of art. One of the most important of its kind in Germany, the Werdelmann Collection of netsukes, which Düsseldorf’s museum kunst palast is fortunate to house, is the fruit of more than thirty-five years of intensive collecting and presents a unique panorama of this Japanese art form and its long success story from the late seventeenth century into the twentieth. With more than 1000 objects touching an inexhaustible diversity of motifs, the collection amounts to a riveting experience – an array of religion and myth, history and everyday life, flora and fauna and much else.

NEW YORK.- Canaletto's painting The Bacino di San Marco sold for $5.28 million at Christie's New York. Nicholas Hall, International Director, and Anthony Crichton-Stuart, Head of Old Master Paintings Department, New York: “Today’s sale was a fantastic vote of confidence for Old Master paintings. Palpable excitement in the room across both sessions ensured constant interest and keen bidding for pictures in all categories and periods – and included six new world auction records in the top ten alone. European activity was exceptionally strong, although the top two lots, the Canaletto and the Filippino Lippi, were bought by U.S. private collectors. Competition was fierce between private buyers, the trade and institutions alike (notably, the Louvre secured Venus, Mercury and Cupid by Nicolas Chaperon). The re-design of the catalogue, the detail paid to the public view, and the addition of our new gallery at 67th Street also had their own part to play in ensuring the sale was an unqualified success.?

LONDON, UK.- Arts Minister, Estelle Morris, has placed a temporary export bar on 'The Archers', a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds. In doing so she has acted on the expert recommendation of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, which awarded a starred rating to the exceptional painting, meaning that every possible effort should be made to raise enough money to keep it in the country. This impressive double full-length portrait is among the most important and visually impressive pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was himself one of the leading artists in eighteenth-century Europe, by virtue of his portraiture, his presidency of the Royal Academy of Arts, and as the author of the Discourses on Art. The subjects of the portrait, Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney, are depicted in woodland in the guise of archers in pursuit of game. The dramatic composition contains rich allegorical references, on the themes of youth and friendship. The portrait, conceived in the summer of 1769 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1770, also has a strong theatrical element and sense of parody that is intended to amuse as well as educate the viewer. Reynolds displays not only keen awareness of the traditions of high art but current trends and fashions. At the time that Reynolds painted the portrait, there was an enthusiastic revival of interest in archery among the English upper class. The deferral will enable purchase offers to be made at the following agreed fair market price: Sir Joshua Reynolds painting deferred at the recommended price of £3,200,000 (exclusive of VAT), until after 26 March 2005 with the possibility of an extension until after 26 July 2005 if there is a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase. Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner's agent through: The Secretary The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art

FLORENCE, Italy - Italian researchers have uncovered the long-lost studio of renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, revealing striking frescos which have been hidden for centuries. The studio and lodging rooms were discovered in a building part-owned by the Santissima Annunziata Monastery and part-owned by the Italian Institute of Military Geography in Florence. The researchers, Maria Carchio, Alessandro del Meglio and Roberto Manescalchi, found a hidden staircase and doorway from the monastery to the workshop, which had been covered up by earlier restoration work. One of the newly-uncovered frescos, thought to be the work of da Vinci, depicts a winged angel with birds. According to scholars it bears a striking resemblance to the famous Leonardo Annunciation kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. "For the first time in this case we see birds which are absolutely dynamic, animals which are absolutely vivid and which remind us of the study done by Leonardo on birds in flight", said researcher Roberto Manescalchi. According to Manescalchi, the studio was where da Vinci prepared some of his studies of birds, which are linked to his codex on flight. The mystery, which ties Leonardo da Vinci to his muse Mona Lisa, may also lie in the Santissima Annunziata Monastery. The author of a recent study on Mona Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, says that Leonardo probably met her in the church of the Santissima Annunziata, where the del Giocondo family had a chapel. In the newly-discovered workshop da Vinci is also thought to have drawn the sketch for his painting of Madonna and Child with St Anne, now in the National Gallery in London.

Antonio Seguí, born in Cordoba, Argentina, 1934, presently spends most of his time in Paris, where he has achieved great recognition as one of the most representative Latin American artists of the twentieth century. Seguí has lived in a continuous formal search that made him shift, starting in the 1950s, from neo-expressionism to the post-pop neo-figuration. His comeback to the figurative has, nonetheless, been characterized by the denial of the classical elements of figure. Concerning his favored themes, Seguí contemplates man as a prisoner of his own world, of his own creations, described very well in the recurring metaphors of the fish tanks, the boxes and even the paintings themselves from which the characters are unable to escape despite of their desperate attempts. Planted in our contemporary world, this author’s artwork is extremely critical of the consumer culture, the mass society and the lack of sense with which many live their daily lives, products of the culture created during the last century and that is the source of sadness of so many of its protagonists. Antonio Seguí’s career places him as one of the Latin American painters who is most committed with the avant-garde that covered and revolutionized art during the twentieth century. A sharp critic of his time’s society, he throws at us a dramatic message concerning the nature and the limits of human beings which make them appear trapped within themselves and by the world that surrounds them. Yet if we carefully observe through the mastery with which his work expresses itself, we are able to discover that the implicit rendition of that anguished being is found within art itself as a vehicle of liberation from the tragedy. Seguí has been an assiduous visitor of Mexico since his youth. He studied there and got to be well-known throughout diverse moments of his life.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Library of Congress has just released an online collection of important materials that document the travels of the explorer Sir Francis Drake. The presentation, “The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake,? is available from the Global Gateway Web site here Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the globe from 1577 to 1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific, claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. His voyages revealed significant new geographical data about the New World and added greatly to Queen Elizabeth's treasury. Hans and Hanni Kraus generously donated their collection of Drake materials to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in 1980.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL.- The Israel Museum presents Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: Saints in European Art. A display of works depicting scenes from the New Testament and the lives of Christian saints, exploring the subject of sainthood and its visual representation. The exhibition presents a variety of Dutch, Italian, and Spanish paintings and French sculptures as well as revealing aspects of the process of collection and research undertaken by the Department of European Art. The centerpiece of the exhibition is The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, 1618, by the Spanish Baroque master Jusepe de Ribera, which was recently donated to the Israel Museum. From 31.

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Pause For Thought

Cameron on Artist's Way

"Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite -- getting something down. That is the Artist's Way."