Observations: Nothing like a little scandal...

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The Independent Culture

When Brendan Neiland was booted out of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2005 over alleged financial misconduct, it was the first RA expulsion since 1799. What made it even more of a juicy art-world scandal was that Neiland had a heavyweight ally in the Pop Artist Sir Peter Blake. A former tutor of Neiland at the Royal College of Art, Blake resigned from the RA in protest.

Now the pair have collaborated on an exhibition, Neiland's Choice. Neiland has curated the show at the John Bloxham Gallery in Wandsworth, south London, and draws together artists whom he admires or who have influenced him. Hence the inclusion of Blake, who is the star of the show, having donated his now faded Union Flag of 1963 and a print of the album cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Blake said at the show's opening: "That was a sad period. It was unfair that [Brendan] had to leave the RA but, in a curious way, his career has blossomed since then." But a book being published this spring promises to stir up the case again.

(www.john bloxham.com)

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