Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Do you have a lot of money lying around? OK... do you have at least £5? Please help the Art Fund and the Tate museums to buy Turner's masterpiece The Blue Rigi, a view of the Rigi mountain from the Swiss city of Lucerne, at dawn.
I would be very grateful if you would help, because the Blue Rigi has been bought by a private foreign collector at auction last year, but the government has given the Art Fund until the 20th of March to raise the money to match the offer. Otherwise, they will grant the painting an export license, allowing the buyer to acquire the watercolour, and say "fuck off!" to the thousands (millions) of us who would have liked to see it on display in a big (and free!) museum.
Two other Rigi watercolours (the Red Rigi and the Dark Rigi) are already on display at the Tate Britain museum. A special exhibition with the three paintings together (for the very first time!) is on at the moment: do not miss it! and help us raise some cash to make this exhibition permanent by keeping the Blue Rigi in the UK!
He had quite an impressive life, witnessing many conflicts around the globe, especially in the Third World.
I really enjoy his writing so would like to take this opportunity to advise you to read The Shadow of the Sun, a collection of several dispatches and stories from Africa (his account and explanation of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is very good). Another book is about the regime of the Shah of Iran, which has been in my reading list for ages because I dont know anything about it. I might get round to it today...
Of his writing style, the NY Times says:
"He spent his working days gathering information for the terse dispatches he sent to PAP [The Polish news agency he worked for 20 years], often from places like Ougadougou or Zanzibar.
At night, he worked on longer, descriptive essays with phantasmagoric touches that went far beyond the details of the day’s events, using allegory and metaphors to convey what was happening.
“It’s not that the story is not getting expressed” in ordinary news reports, he said in an interview. “It’s what surrounds the story. The climate, the atmosphere of the street, the feeling of the people, the gossip of the town; the smell; the thousands and thousands of elements that are part of the events you read about in 600 words of your morning paper.”