Extras

As the temperatures dip, the birds need our help. We round-up the most innovative (and occasionally bonkers) feeders and houses for our feathered friends

Ai Weiwei became the loudest arts story of the year and an internationally recognised symbol for China

Ten people who changed the world: Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist became a truly global force

Whether in the cut-throat field of politics or the fashion industry's corridors of power, this year they left our planet a better place. Celebrate 10 of the best, nominated by Independent writers

Professional grump: Rooney in 1978 at the desk from which he delivered his televised diatribe

Andy Rooney: Writer who found fame with his grumbles about modern life on CBS

Every American age has had its licenced curmudgeon. A century ago Mark Twain filled that role, then came Will Rogers and HL Mencken. The latest of that line was Andy Rooney, whose pungent television commentaries about life's myriad petty irritations made him a national institution.

Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name with a hologram of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Chris Levine: Light fantastic

Chris Levine made his name when he created a hologram portrait of the Queen. Now he has rock royalty queuing up at his studio. Charlotte Cripps meets the laser artist

Roman Opalka: Polish-French conceptual artist who explored the passing of time in an extraordinary series of canvases

The Polish-French conceptual artist Roman Opalka was best-known for his attempt to reflect and define the progression of time through his series of acrylic paintings of numerals titled Opalka: 1965/1-oo (one to infinity).

Tony Cragg, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Works by Tony Cragg may adorn many a company atrium, but that doesn't mean he has sold out

Von Ribbentrop in St Ives, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

Andrew Lanyon plays with his viewers in a show that gleefully sacrifices accuracy to imagination

Orpheus: The Song of Life, By Ann Wroe

Lyric poetry is poetry sung to a lyre; the figure of Orpheus embodies it. So what does his myth tell us about how lyric poetry connects to life and what poetry offers modern lives today? Orpheus emerged from a culture intensely aware of its own communality. Ancient Greeks wove into their poetry and philosophy what it means, politically and imaginatively, that different people play different roles in society. "Music", which meant poetry as well as melody, symbolised the way many different elements combined to make harmonia. Harmonia - from harmottein, "to join or fit together" - was an important concept in moral philosophy and medicine as well as music. It was the taut balance of different forces in one body, either our own bodies or the body politic.

At home with Betty Jackson

The iconic fashion designer shares interior tips, colour advice and a few home truths with Annie Deakin.

Beautiful and damned

The rich and famous of 1920s era Hollywood appeared to have it all - but artist Pam Glew's new exhibition examines the curse of the seemingly blessed

Cultural Life: Tim Minchin, comedian

Books: Christopher Hitchens's autobiography, 'Hitch 22', is a poignant read, and very interesting because I have a very poor knowledge of recent political history – or for that matter distant political history. I'm also reading 'Jasper Jones' by Craig Silvey, about an Aboriginal kid and a white kid who find a dead woman, hanging from a rope. I was completely sucked in.

Sport on TV: Olympic pastiche ticks all the boxes in race against time

One of the dilemmas of writing a topical comedy must be that your script can be overtaken by events. The makers of a new sitcom about the London Olympics, Twenty Twelve (BBC4, Monday) might have been bemused by the apparent ability of Locog, the real organising committee, to deliver on time and on budget. Not many laughs there.

Nancy Spero: Shocks to the system

Spero spent six decades 'making the personal political' with her feminist artworks, yet recognition came late. Arifa Akbar argues that the Serpentine Gallery's retrospective is a timely tribute to her talent

The Secret History Of: The Arco light

By Kate Watson-Smyth

Christie's uncovered: Anatomy of an auction

we all know how an auction ends – with a crash of gavel, a depleted wallet and a dented ego or two – but how do they begin? Christie's auction room in London's St James's has seen more action than most. It has been in use since 1823 and the blockbuster Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on Wednesday will be one of its busiest of the year. Dealers and collectors from all around the world will be donning their smartest suits and gathering to bid on landmark paintings by Monet, Picasso and Degas, spending millions during a frantic and dramatic evening. But this is merely the public climax to a project that is three months in the making. Long before a painting reaches the rostrum, it has to be sourced by Christie's multinational team headed by Giovanna Bertazzoni and Olivier Camu, and its owners persuaded to sell. Potential buyers across the globe are alerted. Paintings are restored, reframed, studied and valued. And throughout, the team must balance their visceral love of the art and the calculating demands of the market.

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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent