Category Archives: Art – Exhibitions/Reviews etc.

“Bubbles” makes a monkey out of the Modern Art World!

Fans of the late Michael Jackson will no doubt remember his pet chimpanzee “Bubbles” but what many may not know is that he was left out of the pop star’s will. The once famous 34-year old primate now lives in The Centre for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida where he has taken to painting for a living.

The Artist at work.

Born in 1983 “Bubbles” costs about £13,000 a year to look after and his first sale of two paintings in 2013 brought in £2,000 for the Centre – see pics below.


According to the Centre ‘Art Therapy’ is one of the tools they use to help the many Hollywood primates who live there. “Bubbles loves to paint and draw so we give him a tray with about 5 non-toxic colours that won’t harm him if he eats it. Mostly Bubbles paints abstract compositions and has a lot of fun doing it.

“Bubbles” has lived at the Centre since 2005 and could reach the ripe old age of 60. Seemingly he’s been busy with his art and is taking part in the “Apes that Paint” exhibition at the Frames USA store in Miami which opened yesterday – 21st July, 2017.

The Centre for Great Apes looks like a charity well worth supporting, but can anybody tell me the difference between what “Bubbles” and his friends are turning out and much of what purports to be modern Irish ‘Art’ today?

Don’t forget to check-out “Art For Art’s Sake” for more controversial opinions and lots of great Art – with more being added every day!

More Irish Art than you could shake a stick at!

With the weather promised settled until well into next week there’s no excuse not to get out there and visit some of the Great Irish Art on show. Kicking off with The People’s Art on Stephen’s Green this Friday/Saturday & Sunday; Merrion Square Art on Sunday,  and the Dublin Painting & Sketching Club Annual Exhibition runs at the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Hall in Dun Laoghaire from the 8th-21st May.

For those of you who prefer to view your art from the couch, there’s always my new site which is growing in leaps and bounds. I have been so busy adding to it that I’ve completely lost track of how many artists are now listed. The scarcity of information on each artist is gradually being rectified – it’s purely a matter of getting time to collate the hundreds of pages of research that I’ve already accumulated while continuing to gather more information. With some living artists it’s like pulling teeth. Check out the latest additions below.

Art For Art’s Sake – Getting Bigger and Better every day!


Morgan O’Driscoll’s Sale of Irish & International Art – A Philistine’s Review!

mod sale final - Copy

Full results here: Irish & International Art Sale Results

What’s your poison – Tony O’Malley or Francis Bacon?

The Irish Times are back full steam with ‘Art Porn’ and their Art & Antiques correspondent, Michael Parsons, was gushing in his praise of the two deceased Irish artists in his piece on RTE radio this morning. What’s brought on this latest media frenzy is the forthcoming sale on St.Patrick’s Day by Christies (London) of two paintings by ‘self-taught’ artist Tony O’Malley. It’s not the two nondescript paintings by O’Malley that have excited the media but the fact that they are painted on two halves of an unfinished canvas by Francis Bacon.

O'Malley and Bacon

O’Malley’s paintings ‘Currach, Clare Island’ and ‘Evening Landscape, Tehidy Hospital’ are fairly standard daubs and carry a paltry estimate of £20,000 – £30,000, but put together and reversed and they become the Francis Bacon work which could sell for huge multiples of that figure. Another example of ‘art’ as an investment, and a triumph of hype over substance. Bacon’s awful, uncompleted sketch looks like a pregnant Charlie Haughey crossed with Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka super villain ‘The Penguin’, and not something that I would want about the place at any price! That said, it will probably sell for millions. Here’s the link to the auction in case any of you feel like sticking in a bid.

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd Art Sale at James Adams – Weds.3rd September, 2013

Judging from most of the offerings contained in Adams forthcoming sale from The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the bankers were as poor investors in Art as they were in running the banks. Amongst the works on offer there are pages of low grade abstract art prints (!) by Sean Scully, and mixed media by Felim Egan – both once very much in vogue with the intelligentsia of Corporate Ireland. In fairness, to Adams, they can only sell what’s before them but there’s mighty little worthy of wall space in the sale and I will await the results with interest. The six wonderful Pauline Bewick paintings stand out like beacons amongst the dross; there’s some value – and art – amongst the cheaper lots by lesser known artists. Paintings that you would enjoy looking at and showing off to your friends.


Above one of the finest paintings in the sale and below some overpriced office boardroom/hotel lobby fodder.


Scully Lot.55.

People’s Art on St.Stephen’s Green, Dublin – Fri. 16th to Sun.18th August, 2013

The ever popular “People’s Art” returns to St.Stephen’s Green this weekend.  An open air gallery of artworks will festoon the railings on three sides of St.Stephen’s Green. It’s free entertainment, you get to meet the actual artists and who knows you may even pick-up a treasure. There’s nothing like buying directly from the source, be it a painting, a book or whatever, it’s something you’ll always treasure and the monetary value doesn’t come into it!

My thanks to artist Aoife Joyce for permission to use her photograph (below) and her own website is well worth checking out too!

Art on the Green

Dublin Painting and Sketching Club Exhibition Dun Laoghaire – 16th/29th April, 2012

One of the largest group shows in the country, the exhibition includes 74 artists exhibiting 267 pieces in oil, watercolour, pastel, mixed media and etchings. Just some of the high profile artists included are Pauline Doyle, James English RHA, Michael Gemmell, Padraig Lynch, Thomas Ryan PPRHA and Ivan Sutton. The exhibition is sponsored by Whyte’s Auctioneers of Molesworth Street.

Full details here:

Peoples Art returns to Dublin’s Stephen’s Green this weekend – June 24th/26th

The ever popular Peoples Art open-air gallery returns to the railings of St.Stephen’s Green this weekend from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June inclusive. A chance for the public to meet artists face to face, chat about their work and purchase direct thus cutting out the gallery fees. Things usually kick off from about 11:00am. I don’t know about bargains but there’s something really nice about buying directly from the artist – you’ll always remember where and when you bought the painting!

Abandoned Ireland Exhibition at Castletown House – 1st April to 2nd May, 2011

I have been meaning to give “Abandoned Mansions of Ireland” by Tarquin Blake a mention for a while and the exhibition now on at Castletown House, Co.Kildare, provides the ideal excuse. Tarquin began exploring old castles, Big Houses, mills etc. back in June 2008. His admirable philosophy is quite simple – record it and document it before it’s gone – Touch Nothing. Take Nothing. Leave Only Footsteps. When he started out he had no idea what it would lead to and certainly a book was not the original intention. As his odyssey gathered momentum he was amazed by the amount and variety of abandoned buildings that he discovered around the country, and first came his excellent website here: followed by his book which was published in 2010 and has already been reprinted. A high quality coffee table book of the highest order, and one which no lover of old architecture and Irish history will want to be without.

Publisher’s information: In 2008 Tarquin Blake found his first abandoned ‘Big House’ and so began exploring the lost architecture of Ireland. Here, he documents what is left of fifty mansion houses with brief histories and beautiful photographs of the haunting ruins. Included are Mountpelier Lodge (Dublin Hellfire Club), the birthplaces of Daniel O’Connell and the Duke of Wellington, and the one-time homes of Grace O’Malley and of brewing family the Smithwicks of Kilkenny. The inclusion of details from the 1911 Census offers a glimpse of the closing days of the aristocracy and their mansions.

Tarquin’s book documents fifty of Ireland’s decaying ‘big houses’ but there are many more on his website. Readers should note that Tarquin’s book and website are information guides and do not act as invitations to enter any of the properties or sites listed. Most of the properties listed are in private hands and permission would be required from the owner before visiting. Ruins are hazardous. No responsibility is accepted by the author or publisher for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone as a result of using this book.

ISBN 978-1-84889-061-9

Hardback €27.99 but may be cheaper ordered direct from the publishers website here:

*Thanks to Lucy for drawing my attention to the fact that Castletown House is NOT open on Mondays see full details here: