David Franchi – Thursday, 30th June 2016.

Curious Duke Gallery, London, and Secret Art Prize for Moniker Art Fair 2016Curious Duke Gallery offers the opportunity to win a solo exhibition at Moniker Art FairLondon, for the winner of the Secret Art Prize 2016.

London –based, Curious Duke Gallery and Secret Art Prize will be the major sponsor of the edition of the Moniker Art Fair 2016.

Secret Art Prize is one of the best emergent competitions. Coinciding with the most important art week for exhibition in London, it will dedicate a space to the winner during the Moniker Art Fair in October 2016. Both Moniker Projects and Curious Duke Gallery will be offering their curatorial support.

Additionally, the winner will be offered a month long exhibition at the influential Curious Duke Gallery, £1000 in cash, a profile in State Magazine, full gallery representation and mentoring from CDG founder Eleni Duke.

There will also be four runners up, with each artist awarded a place in the Curious Duke Gallery group show that opens on the 29th September and runs until 29th October 2016.

The public will vote for a winner of People’s Choice Award, who will be automatically shortlisted straight to the final 30. The procedure for the selection will be the following: once applications have closed on 31 July, Curious Duke Gallery shortlists 100 applicants and their work will be published on the Secret Art prize website. The public can vote for their favourite. The piece with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award.

Curious Duke Gallery is focused on representing new contemporary artists who work in a great variety of media that often are out of classification. Curious Duke Gallery, London, promotes the accessibility of original and affordable artwork, whilst supporting young artists in their early career. Secret Art Prize was inaugurated in 2014. Multi award winning Curious Duke Gallery placed 2nd at Micro Business Smarta 100 2013 Awards in association with O2, and 2nd best cultural venue in Shoreditch and Hoxton by TimeOut #LoveLondon Awards 2015.

Now in its seventh year, Moniker Art Fair has an established reputation as one of the most exciting contemporary art fairs with its roots set in urban culture.

Staged during London’s most important art week in October, Moniker Art Fair attracts some of the most talked about artists, galleries and collectors from the finer side of the street art movement and its related subcultures.

The panel of judges will choose who is the overall winner of the Secret Art Prize 2016. The panel of judges is composed by Anna Smithson, Director and curator of Smithson Gallery; Mark Powell, Artist; Anna McNay, Freelance art writer, Deputy Editor at State Media and Arts Editor at DIVA magazine; Ana Bambic Kostov, Art Historian; Trevor Nelson, DJ and art collector; and Frankie Shea, Director of Moniker Projects, Founder of Moniker Art Fair.

The deadline is 31st July 2016. Fee is £10.

To apply for Secret Art Prize 2016 the you can visit the Curious Duke Gallery website, or go there in person at 173 Whitecross St, London EC1Y 8JT, for a chance to win an exhibition space at the Moniker Art Fair.


David Franchi – Sunday, 5th June 2016

“Introduction to art” by Thames and Hudson a great book.The Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is a complete guide book to all aspects of the visual arts.

Besides the introduction, it is divided in four parts each approaching an element of the visual arts.

An important part is the Introduction, as it explores the primary questions What, Where, Who, Why and the last is When but divided into Value and Censorship.

The four parts, instead, are: Fundamentals; Media and Processes; History and Context; and Themes.

The first part, Fundamentals, introduces to visual language of arts, by analysing the indispensable elements and principles of art that create the language of artworks.

The second part, Media and Processes, describes how art is made, from such traditional media and processes, for example stone carving, fresco and oil painting, to contemporary approaches, such as digital and conceptual art and installations.

The third part, History, deals with the forces and influences that have shaped art throughout the course of human history. It offers and overview of the history of art from prehistoric times to the twenty – first century in all over the world.

The fourth part, Themes, explains art through the major cultural and historical themes that have stimulated artists to create great works of art.

While the introduction outlines the most important knowledge and skills you need to analyse and understand art, you can read the chapters of Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” in any order, because is an entirely modular publication.

This manual has lots of references, practical examples and features. There are eight boxes called ‘Getaway to art’ which explore eight famous artworks and repeatedly analyses them using different approaches, throughout all the chapters of the book, each time from a different angle – compositional, stylistic, biographical, etc.

More than 1,000 images of art are reproduced and considered in a neat and vibrant way.

The vast knowledge of art is well synthesised, although is a difficult task. Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is thick but however not exhaustive, for art is an immense matter. Some points can be developed.

Superbly illustrated, this energetic and handy book is particularly suitable for the art enthusiast as to those looking for an exceptional educational resource. It is also sensible for those who have no knowledge and would like to move their first steps into the art world. No other book currently available has such an extensive coverage, presented in a modular form, which enables students and teachers to work in a really flexible way.

The authors are highly competent and with a good curriculum. Debra J. DeWitte has studied art history at the University of Texas Arlington, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. She has developed an award – winning online art appreciation course at UT Arlington.

Ralph M. Larmann has a BFA from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA from James Madison University. He currently teaches at the University of Evansville and is a past President of Foundations in Art: Theory and Education.

Kathryn Shields has a Ph.D. in art history from Virginia Commonwealth University and has taught at the University of Texas at Arlington and at Guildford College.

Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” was firstly published in the UK in 2015. Originally was published has’ Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts’ in 2012 by Thames and Hudson Inc. (USA).

This is publication very good. Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is an unmissable book for all kinds of art lovers.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.


September 21


London Art Reviews


Happy New Year from WordPress.com!

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Crunchy numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 112 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 25 MB. That's about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 6th with137 views. The most popular post that day was Dawit Abebe exhibition at the KH - Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London..

Posting Patterns

In 2015, there were 55 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 237 posts.


1 November - 2 November


with 17 posts total

How did they find this blog?

Where did they come from?

That's 139 countries in all!
Most visitors came from United Kingdom. The United States & France were not far behind.

Who were they?

The most commented on post in 2015 was Frieze 2015 fair of contemporary art enthralls London.

These were the 5 most active commenters on this blog:


See you in 2016


Thanks for flying with WordPress.com in 2015. We look forward to serving you again in 2016! Happy New Year!


David Franchi – Saturday, 9th January 2016.

"The Self –Portrait. A cultural history" by James Hall, Thames and Hudson ed., London.

“The Self –Portrait. A cultural history” by James Hall, Thames and Hudson ed., London.

“The Self – Portrait. A cultural history” of James Hall is a captivating and erudite art book, by Thames and Hudson, London.

I have been recently involved in many events about self portraying, a private gallery exhibition Autoritratti, the Goya show, and I have seen many self-portraits in various art events.

Every artist, of every style and period, experimented on self-portraying at one time or another. The Self-Portrait by James Hall is an extensive study from an historic point of view. This book is a broad cultural survey of the genre. James Hall is an art historian and a critic. Covering the full range of self-portraiture, the book is a mapping from the earliest examples to today contemporary artists.

The book starts with a prologue focused on antiquity, from which the first examples of self- portraying can be dated, in particular, the Egyptian ones which are the most consistent. The best of them are by Bak, chief-sculptor to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (1353 – 1336 BC). Despite, antiquity generated examples of genre it is not enough to draw an articulated history.

To find the real starting point of self-portraiture, we need to arrive to the Middle Ages. Terminating with the twelfth century, a strong growth of the tradition is recorded, mostly referring to the monastic environments.

Afterward, the improvement of the mirror technology allowed a significant step forward in self-portraiture. An obsession for mirrors aroused in Europe and the second chapter examines that. To possess a mirror became a status symbol for both writers and artists in general.

In the following chapters James Hall describes the craze for mirror that characterizes the Renaissance. Making parallels with the fecund period the author explains that from this moment self –portraiture is a must for every artist. However, he supports the theory that the flourishing of self-portraiture and the advances in mirror manufacturing are not strictly linked, because the interest in such art genre started long before the technology progress.

The artist became a mirror of society himself during the Renaissance,. It is from this period, in fact, the differentiation between artist and artisan. Artists used self-portraiture to affirm their role in to the society, to show their skills, to spare on model, and to create networks.

During the XVI century, the artist became a sort of hero for the society and this brought to the opposite consideration, defined by James Hall, as mock –heroic self-portrait, and to which he dedicates a chapter.

During the seventeenth- century the artist starts to be considered as a sort of myth and everything connected to him has a special reference. This period sees also the birth of the first self –portraiture broad collection.

Passing through the centuries, “The Self – Portrait. A cultural history“ explores the passages and defines the genre as typically British, but without forgetting the authors of other nations, including Goya, Van Gogh or Picasso. There is an entire chapter dedicated to the influence of personal situation of artists. Considering also the sexual aspects, artists were in search of a balance between their private and artistic lives.

The last chapter focuses on the modern and contemporary self-portraiture. We learn that the name itself is a modern adoption dating the 1920s, when the old definitions ‘Portrait of the Artist’ and ‘Portrait by/of Himself’ were abandoned. During the last century, the head and, above all, the eyes, considered the mirror of the soul, are left aside and portraiture focused on other parts of the body.

Last paragraph cites the ‘selfie’ as the new frontier of the self-portraiture. Selfie was even named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries in 2013.

“The Self – Portrait. A cultural history.” is an exquisite book, full of accurate information. James Hall can show here his notable culture and the profound knowledge he has of the matter. It is even too much, such information is important and a bit overwhelming, and can confuse light hearted spirits, such the artists themselves.

James Hall is an art historian lecturer and broadcaster. He is visiting fellow at the University of Southampton. He holds an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a PhD from University of Cambridge. Formerly art critic of the Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian, he also wrote art books.

The Self – Portrait. A cultural history.” is a key book, not ot be missed, by James Hall for Thames and Hudson edition, London.