Since I got the job as outsideleft's man in the UK, and since that entails trying to come up with a meagre 300 words of opinion and information on supposedly interesting cultural phenomena from London (which as we all know remains the capital of the world), I have spent hours pounding the pavements in 2005 just looking for something, anything, to write about. That and trying to beat 60 words for an opening sentence which I have just managed now.
I have seen a lot more art shows than I would usually have bothered going to. Most of the best ones I wrote about, a few really good ones I didn't get around to. So a belated big thumbs up for the Africa Remix show at the Hayward Gallery, Paul McCarthy at the Whitechapel and Henri Rousseau at the Tate.
The Frieze Art fair was a dismal experience. Aside from the "expensive biscuit" fiasco I was also witness to an excruciating display of arselicking as the staff of the world's best known fashion magazine greeted David Bailey who had happened to take a seat right next to me. Sycophancy as high art. I was lucky not to get air-kissed to death in the melee.
In any case, my favourite art story of the year is also one of the last. On December 16th or thereabouts thieves made off with a two ton Henry Moore sculpture from a park in Hertfordshire. Valued at $5m, police fear that it will be sold for $5000 scrap.
Coincidentally, on the day I read about the theft, I had been listening to Tony Hancock's "Michelangelo 'Ancock" in which Sid James steals various sculptures to be entered into a local sculpture competition. And the whole Moore theft seems like the plot to an old sitcom. Even the local police have given their investigation the ridiculous title Operation Souffle, surely only to enhance its potential to one day be filmed as a latter day Ealing Comedy.
As I write this I guess there may be one less Henry Moore in the world and a couple of tonnes more brass. Ironically, in the Hancock episode, Tony suggests that Henry Moore will have to go back to door knockers when he sees how good a sculptor Hancock is. Two tons of bronze makes a lot of knockers.
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