Double Dutch obscures the big picture
A press alert stating that the Dutch secret service (AIVD) had taken "permanent custody of the exhibits" of a Tate Modern show, led me to think this was a "seizure" on the same scale as the Met Police's high-profile removal of Richard Prince's portrait of a young, naked Brooke Shields, last year. The release said that Jill Magid's show at had come to a dramatic end after the Dutch secret service took an exhibit from the show that it had originally commissioned, because it "didn't like what she had revealed about their organisation". There was an accompanying image of two officers bagging the work. Strange then, that after an email chat with the New York artist, to discover that the show didn't end with a dramatic twist. Magid explained: "To clarify, the show at Tate was set up as a handover – or dead drop (meaning the two agents who were exchanging an article were both absent), of my book to the AIVD. The book under glass that the organisation came for was the uncensored version of my relationship with the AIVD. I had received a letter from the AIVD (also on view at Tate) saying that I would be unable to publish my book in that it contained national secrets, but that I could show it in a one-time only exhibition, after which time it would be the property of the Dutch government, never to be published. I sent a mail to the AIVD agreeing to those terms... The handover went smoothly and the book is now in permanent possession of the Dutch government."
Under the covers
Perhaps it was down to the credit crunch but Kama Sutra was apparently the most pirated ebook of 2009. This could be a good thing – the British could finally be shaking off their image as stuffy when it comes to sex. But on reflection, perhaps it just confirms that stereotype. After all, the ancient manual is hardly contraband and buying at a local bookshop will hardly break the bank.
Join the party
An amusing invitation from the 'Erotic Review' magazine announced a drinks party later this month in which writers and guest would come together to discuss "our general erection issue", encouraged by vodka cocktails, and a promise to get an "erotic slant" on the most pressing of issues.
Faces of the fallen remembered again
The American artist Emily Prince has unveiled an installation featuring the faces of American servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004 as a tribute to the fallen. She has, so far, made 5,158 drawings, one for every soldier, on display at London's Saatchi Gallery. All very admirable, but more than a little reminiscent of Steve McQueen's Iraq War Commission, which he unveiled nearly three years ago, and which featured the faces of every fallen British soldier in Iraq. He later campaigned to see them on Royal Mail stamps. A case of art imitating art?
Bolly good show with a taste of Honey
First there was 'Popstars', then there was 'Pop Idol' and 'The X Factor'. Now, drum roll, there is 'Bollywood Factor', a twist on the 'X-Factor' format with some 'Strictly Come Dancing' thrown in for good measure. Honey's Dance Academy – a Bollywood Dance School – will be discovering the next Bollywood superstar in the making, or so it says. Auditions take place tomorrow and competitors will be dancing to secure a winning place, for which they will be trained by choreographers to take part in a major Bollywood film.