“The botched attack this week on the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris is a worrying sign of the times. On Sunday, a man disguised as a woman in a wheelchair attacked Leonardo da Vinci’s world famous painting with a cake. His stunt was filmed by dozens of museum visitors.
The 36-year-old breached the security barrier but failed to break the reinforced glass covering the painting. As the attacker was led away by security guards, he shouted: ‘There are people who are destroying the Earth… All artists think about the Earth. That’s why I did this. Think of the planet.’ The cake-wielding attacker has since been arrested and placed in psychiatric care.
Thankfully, this attack caused no damage to a painting that has been behind protective glass since a Bolivian man threw a rock at it in 1956. But we should and can expect more attacks like this. And next time, one of the world’s masterpieces might not be so lucky…”
Read the full article online free on Spiked Online here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/06/01/the-mona-lisa-and-the-rise-of-right-on-iconoclasm/
“Imagine that you are young and you have a passion for a sport, say, javelin throwing. You watch videos of javelin competitions. You buy your own javelin and throw it in a nearby field for hours every day. You then join a javelin club with expectations of becoming a professional sportsman. But the club is not what you expect.
“Club members don’t seem to practice javelin throwing much. And they not only admit members who don’t throw javelins, but they also actively dislike javelins and javelin-throwers. They call javelin-throwers supporters of racial oppression and reactionary politics. You stop going to the club, regretting that you devoted so much energy to the pastime.
“It sounds odd but that’s not far from the situation in fine art. If you love making skilful images of figures, objects and landscapes, it is highly likely that members of your profession will sneer at you – at worst, you will be accused of upholding exclusionary standards. Even art tutors struggle to teach the skills now because they themselves have not been taught them.
“So when using skill to depict worlds in two dimensions in the field of fine art is deemed suspect, where do traditional art-makers go? The new book, Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration, which explores the diverse and dynamic art that comprises fantasy illustration, provides a hint….”
Read the full review on Spiked here.
“In the cycle of a fiction writer, there is a pattern: youthful works, reviews/articles and fiction during the author’s lifetime; then posthumously comes unpublished fiction, journals, collected articles and – finally – letters.
“Letters are the most fugitive of literary texts. They are distributed between numerous recipients and their descendants, sold to collectors, lost, forgotten, destroyed. But they allow us to experience life events from the perspective of the author.
“So it is with Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). In The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 5: 1932-1934, we spend time with him in the Florida Keys, a period when Vanity Fair featured a full-page, full-colour Ernest Hemingway paper doll, captioned ‘Ernest Hemingway, America’s own literary cave man; hard-drinking, hard-fighting, hard-loving – all for art’s sake’. The paper costumes were Neanderthal, soldier, boulevardier, fisherman and bullfighter. By this point, Hemingway was already working to maintain a macho reputation he himself had promoted: a proper man’s man, but with the sensitivity of a poet and the avant-garde technique of a literary Picasso.
“Hemingway was notorious for exaggerating his masculine achievements, but he had real prowess as a sports fisherman…”
Read the rest of the article on Spiked here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/04/13/revealing-the-hidden-hemingway/
“Donald Trump has been deplatformed. He was removed from Twitter, his email service provider cut his service, and even Deutsche Bank said it would no longer work with him. Now, in true Orwellian fashion, he is facing depersonning. When the idea of digitally removing or replacing Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2 was put forward, it was meant as a joke. But that joke almost immediately became a serious suggestion. Even Macaulay Culkin, the star of the movie, agreed that Trump should be deleted. There has already been a version made that edits out Trump’s appearance. That was broadcast on CBC in Canada, although CBC claimed that the edited version was made in 2014, and that there was no political agenda behind it.
“In this time of hypernormalisation – when satire and reality merge, and the cycle of approved/forbidden accelerates exponentially – you might have need of your DVDs as a reminder of the pre-censored reality of this or that film or TV show….”
Read the rest of my article in full for free on Spiked here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/01/19/why-you-should-hold-on-to-your-dvds/
“When a mob toppled a statue of merchant and slave trader Edward Colston in central Bristol on Sunday, the scenes were reminiscent of the collapse of a tyrannical regime. The mob stamped the fallen statue with rage and delight. Yet the mob was composed of individuals who had experienced no struggle or strife, and live in one of the safest, most prosperous nations in history.
“Most of the crowd were white, middle-class university students who have never done anything to oppose actual slavery. Not one of those warriors against slavery will offer a word of criticism regarding the (internally disputed) Islamic practice of slavery, which persists in some parts of Africa to this day. Toppling a statue is a summer carnival; researching and criticising a world religion is a little less of a rush. For most people today, virtue is not embodied through persistent and difficult private acts. Rather, it is demonstrated through momentary public performance and posted on Instagram.
“Far from fighting the power, the mob was acting in accordance with guidance it has received from schools, universities and mainstream media. Bristol council and the mayor did not decry destruction of public property, but applauded it….“
To read the full article visit Spiked: https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/11/towards-britains-year-zero/
“Catherine Hewitt’s Art is a Tyrant is a lively biography of groundbreaking French painter Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899). Bonheur was the daughter of minor aristocrats Raymond, a portrait painter, and Sophie, a piano teacher. In an attempt to improve their circumstances, Raymond and Sophie moved to Paris when Bonheur was seven years old. It was in Paris that Raymond became a convert to Saint-Simonianism, a socio-political movement of religious character, that advocated communal living, sex equality and spirituality to counteract the perceived alienation generated by industrialisation. Raymond’s attachment to proto-socialist ideas made a lasting impact on the young Bonheur.
“Despite Raymond’s doubts about the financial security of an artist’s life, he supported Bonheur’s decision to pursue painting, providing her with some training and encouraging her to copy paintings at the Louvre. Bonheur was always especially attached to animals, so it was little surprise that they became her principal muse….”
Read the full review on Spiked website here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/04/13/rosa-bonheur-striking-a-blow-for-women/
“GK Chesterton’s most famous analogy is that of a walker finding an ancient fence in a landscape. Chesterton suggested that while one might not understand the fence’s purpose, one should still respect it, because it had at one time served a function and it might still perform that function. Tearing down the fence out of impatience or impetuosity was reckless, Chesterton suggested, because through simple ignorance one might be destroying a potentially useful construction. Such was the situation in which modern man found himself.
“HG Wells (1866-1946) – the prolific fiction and non-fiction writer, best known for his early science fiction – never encountered a fence that he did not do his best to pull down. Family, marriage, religion, nationhood, custom and class – all were subject to Wells’ ire and mockery. He felt it his duty to remake the world according to science and rationality. The sight of old fences was a provocation to him.
“Many today underestimate the enormous influence of Wells. Not so Sarah Cole, who seeks to retrieve something of Wells’ importance in Inventing Tomorrow: HG Wells and the Twentieth Century. As she points out, Wells’ work has sold millions of copies, and has been translated into multiple languages…”
Read my full review on Spiked website here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/02/13/hg-wells-nightmares-of-a-better-world/
“In his fiction, Michel Houellebcq has chronicled the deracinated state of modern France, as he sees it. Made selfish by the generation of ’68, detached from morality by easy access to pornography, alienated from its history, numbed by mood medication, destabilised by mass migration and rendered powerless by the rise of transnational authorities, France (and Europe generally) is slipping into social, cultural and moral disintegration. It is, as he sees it, inevitable, imminent and irreversible. Houellebecq is the ultimate ‘blackpilled’ author. He offers readers no intimation of the rescue or survival of Western civilisation.
“In his new novel, Serotonin, we encounter another snapshot of France’s plummet into oblivion. Not that there aren’t pleasures and diversions to be had as the tragedy of Europe is cast as a grotesque comedy. As usual, Houellebecq’s protagonist is his alter ego, in this instance a character called Florent-Claude Labrouste.
“Labrouste is aged 46, a heavy drinker and smoker, cynical, sour, tired and anti-social. His ‘flabby and painful decline’ is analogous to the collapse of his society….”
Read the full review online on Spiked here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/11/11/the-exhilarating-nihilism-of-michel-houellebecq/