The Turner Prize: Love it or hate it, it still gets people talking

Art, Events, Installation

So infamous I won’t even bother with a caption (psgri2003 on Flickr)

Originally published on the Independent blog here

Outside of the art world, the Turner Prize seems to be a byword for work that is self-indulgent, ‘easy’ to produce and generally laughable. Most years it serves as an excuse for anyone who fancies it to make uninformed, unfunny jokes about Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. However, with a lack of such easy targets, could this year change the way people see the beleaguered competition?


Lookalike on Sunday #3

Art, Lookalike on Sunday

So it isn’t quite Sunday any more, but it’s worth the agonising wait because I actually think this is a good one.

Sir Hubert Von Herkomer’s Portrait of Lady Tate (c.1899) is…RUTH JONES

I don’t have much to say about the actual painting, but if you find yourself awestruck by this relative unknown the Tate Britain blurb on Von Herkomer’s work can be read here. Lady Tate was the second wife of big-time art benefactor Henry, whose collection would form the basis of the galleries we all know and love.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I have done nothing but force crude, dubiously accurate similarities upon you for several weeks. Never fear, however, I will be back with some incisive criticism on the hottest (read: cheapest) art tickets in town before the week is out. Brace yourselves.


Famous Welsh person Ruth Jones / Frill enthusiast Lady Tate

Lookalike on Sunday #2

Art, Lookalike on Sunday

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Monna Vanna (1866) is…FLORENCE WELCH

Ok, so maybe it’s just because they’re both redheads and I’m tired. But it’s also an excuse to elbow in this painting, which is one of my favourites. Monna Vanna translates as ‘Vain Woman’, and this is pretty fitting because she is effectively an early example of the wonders of photoshop: Rossetti went back to the painting a couple of years after it was finished to tone down her hair and alter her rings because some 19th-century arseholes got all whiny about the clashing colours. For someone who’s so tired, I’m pretty full of facts. Love Google.

The artist declared this painting ‘probably the most effective as a room decoration that I have ever painted’, which must have made the model, Alexa Wilding, feel pretty good about herself. Chicks love being likened to really nice wallpaper, right?

Rossetti was a fan of the ginge, another example being Blue Bower. This is in the Barber Institute in Birmingham, which is located on my old university campus and which I used to routinely skulk around in pursuit of my younger self’s two primary goals; hiding from my dissertation under the shambolic guise of other vaguely educational activities and trying in vain to source cultured young men. If you also like these things, or if you actually appreciate fine art, you should definitely make a visit.

Monna Vanna hangs out in the permanent collection of Tate Britain with another of my all-time favourite paintings, Millais’ Ophelia, if you’re interested.


Generically kooky songstress Florence Welch / Rossetti babe Monna Vanna

Lookalike on Sunday #1

Art, Lookalike on Sunday

Walking around Tate Britain the other day, I had a revelation. “Woah! The chick in that painting totes looks like someone from Big Brother!”

With this in mind, I will now use the day of rest to seek out the finest in celebrity art lookalikes for your amusement. Here’s number one.

Anthony Van Dyck’s Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew (1638) is…MERYL STREEP

Serious yet heartwarming film regular Meryl Streep / 17th century portrait subject Lady Killigrew