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Tagged and then some

unbeknownst to me, there's some kind of system in place that bloggers are inflicting on other bloggers to expose the inner flesh of those that hide behind the anonymity of a QWERTY keyboard and a user-friendly interface.

The aim is to reveal 5 things about yourself that not many people would probably know, then nominate another 5 people to tag and so forth.

so, thanks to Age from In My Atmosphere, it's my turn to let everyone in on some secrets. Well, maybe not secrets, but.. well, you know. and i'm not really that secretive, so this is gonna be painful.

top 5 reasons to keep my mouth shut

1. i hitchhiked with my 14 year-old sister to the northern beaches of Sydney on new year's eve in exchange for a cone-piece.

i haven't smoke pot for a ridiculously long time, but there was a time when i may or may not have been in the posession of smoking paraphernalia. trying to get a cab from Macquarie Uni after the fantastic Summersault festival to my hobbit hole in Frenchs Forest was impossible, so i rocked up to two girls, who were going to smoke out at Narrabeen beach and organised the deal. My sister and I got home in one piece, they got their fun and my mum was none-the-wiser.. until we let it slip last night reminiscing about old times!

2. i droped out of a science degree.

straight out of school, i started studying science at Sydney University, after moving from Melbourne the day after my last VCE exams. I had never done biology or physics, so struggled through my lectures, never went to biology which was on a monday afternoon after a 4 hour break and generally hated it. so i dropped out after 3 months. i'm college drop out! woo hoo!

3. i voted for Bronwyn Bishop in my first chance to vote.

what a fucking waste huh!! this is coming from a girl who is regularly jumping up on quite a left-wing soap box, loves to hang shit on any Liberal MP at the first opportunity and would not be caught dead within an inch of a blue-ribbon seat! What can i say, i was young, influenced by the chatter of my folks, and mistakenly thought that a woman being my local member would be better than a "stupid male". I have made my peace, done my penance since then, but it's still pretty shithouse, right?

4. i used to play bass guitar.

i saved up and bought my first guitar when i was 18. I shared it with my flatmate who also wanted to play guitar. it was solid wood and heavy as a muthafucker. my second bass is now currently the bass used by Jamie from Run For Cover. I exchanged it for a video of Tank Girl, one of my favourite films.

5. I can't touch velvet.

You know that feeling you get when someone scrapes their fingers down the blackboard, or cracks their knuckles, or whatever makes your hackles stand up on the back of your neck. well, the feel of velvet (or anything similar, like valour, flock or other materials in that genus) makes me get like that. i shiver, shake and jump around. ick. gag to many, not so much fun for me.

now that i've completely exposed myself to the vultures of the bloggin' world, here's my next top 5:

top 5 people who i'm taggin'

1. The Artswipe - Art bloggin' diva.

2. Ampersand Duck - A letterpress printer who works part-time at an art school, and the rest of the time as a freelance graphic design hoor and wannabe artist.

3. The Wooster Kids - rad street art collective blog crew. Anyone of them will do.

4. Banksy - i know he's way too busy to be doing silly little lists of self-disclosure, seeing as he's all about anonymity, but i'd still like to see it

5. Jade Pegler - an ace friend and a super-rad paper artist.

have fun kids!!



surprise, surprise, surprise!! GoMA and the APT5

OK, so it may be a severe case of Emperor's New Clothes, but honestly, i don't care right now. I've just touched down in Melbourne town after 3 days in Brisvegas and i spent half that time at the new Gallery of Modern Art and checking out APT5 and i'm going to rave about it. and no, i can't wait 'til after xmas 'cos there are other shows to see and blogger have got me on time & a half over the holidays! lol!

However, I can't be bothered spending time crafting a well-thought out introduction, conclusion and a body that flows, so i'm going to go point form. if it works for the art life, it can bloody well work for me :)

lauren's top 5 for the new GoMA

Rachel Whiteread25 Spacesthanks to the QAG website

1. Rachel Fucking Whiteread!! Rachel Whiteread is one of my favourite artists and on my trip to London next year, it's already my mission to check out as much of her work as i possibly can, so imagine my glee at seeing one in the flesh. there it was, Twenty-Five Spaces in all its resinous glory.

parochial reaction? you betcha!!

i saw it there, up on the top floor of the contemporary collections galleries, almost fainted as i'd already fried my brain from going through the other 3 floors of the gallery, did a little excited dance and then had to leave, so i wouldn't actually faint.

i came back the next day and was able to hang out with the twenty-five spaces for a while. i drew one of the blocks, sketched an aerial perspective, crafted some of my own space-based ideas and left, begrudgingly. it was love at first and second sight.

2. Vernon Ah Kee. This man is.. This woman is..

Dear Mr Ah Kee,
You bastard! In the many years i have spent in front of artworks, in galleries around Australia and around the world, i have never cried. I fucking cried in front of your work This Man Is.. This Woman Is. Yes, cried. I bawled my eyes out and instead of watching Tracy Moffat's work, i stood in the projection room sobbing. and instead of just glancing at your work, i read every single fucking piece. and i wrote as many as i could down. and i got cranky with anyone who couldn't give a fuck enough to read the pieces. so thanks a bunch. i couldn't just let the injustices of colonisation be swept under the carpet. i had to fucking feel something. you'll be hearing more about this later.


Yayoi Kusama, Soul Under The Moon

3. Yayoi Kusama Soul Under the Moon.
Kusama's silver balls in the watermall was the highlight of my last APT, but getting to experience the breadth and sheer vastness of the Soul Under Moon piece was fucking awesome! I do it any justice in describing it, but if you have the chance to step out in to the ether and gaze at infinity +1, do it. And make sure you're wearing at least some white 'cos it's all under blacklight and you'll look hot!

4. Liu Xiao Xian The Way We Eat.
Such a simple piece, but so clearly proving the superfluosity (well, it's a word now) of western culture through the basic symbols of our cutlery as the system of our consumption. On one side of the red velvet-lined cabinetm, made from slipcast porcelain is a full 'silver service' spread of butter knives, table knives, salad forks, desert forks, soup spoons, servers, etc, etc, etc. The other, two chopsticks.

5. Yasumasa Morimura Blinded By the Light
I really like Peter Breughel's Parable of the Blind, so i was so pleased to see Morimura's appropriation and comment on the power of western commercialisation on Asian culture

other works that rate a mention include Kentridge's Zeno Writing, Ah Xian's heads, Rosalie Gascoigne's street signs and Jon Cattapan's Passage Set 2004.

APT5 2006, the triennial on a leap year. to be honest, i was more blown away at the last APT, but this APT is solid. And what i liked about it was it was well-rounded. there seemed to be less artists, but more opportunity to explore some of the ideas of those artists, rather than a theme-based, biennale type thing where it's all about the token and squeezing everyone in.

the ground floors of each gallery featured work from the APT, which had a whole bunch of great works. here's the list:

lauren's top 5 for APT5

1. Anish Kapoor. Oh my goodness, this UK/Indian artist is the king of contemporary sculpture in my book! the extremely fragile pigment works that are in the APT are divine and i could have spent way more time in the cordoned area, except i was wary of all the people lining up to get in waiting for me. His 1000 Names steps were so luscious to my she sees red eyes and the womb-like tunnel of red love was so, well, yummmy! The book was $135, so unfortunately i couldn't take some Kapoor lovin' home with me, but it will be mine one day :)

2. Tsuyoshi Ozawa
Ozawa had several works that were really successful in this year's triennial. The first series, which was from the Vegetable Weapons series, initially reminded me of Simryn Gill's work from the 2004 Sydney Biennale. However, i felt that this work was far more poignant and well-presented. The arrangement of food to become weapons was fantastic and also challenged stereotypes of the images of fear that we are often exposed to.
As well as the vegetables, Ozawa curated the Nasubi Gallery: a collection of milk boxes as small galleries. Based in the Ginzu district of Japan and a piss-take of the Nabisu Gallery there, he invited all the artists from the APT to create works in these "galleries", my favourite of which was the Medicine Cabinet by Justine Cooper. The whole concept of Nasubi Gallery (translated as Eggplant Gallery) is right up my alley, appealing to my sense of cheekiness, and up there with Wrong Gallery in terms of turning gallery spaces on their heads.

Tsuyoshi Ozawa,Seafood Hot Pot

4. Yuken Teruya.
The Notice Forest by Teruya was such a simple display but filled with poignancy about commercialisation, globalisation and the disposable nature of western culture (yes, even the arts). The japanese artist creates these amazing tree paper sculptures in and with disposable paper bags from the likes of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Lush and even OzCo get a guernsey! Craft-wise, the works are exquisite and conceptually, they're sharp and witty as well. I loved it!

Yuken TeruyaBlue Tree
Thanks to Saatchi Gallery

5. Zhou Xiaohu
Part of the Long March Project, looking at the Cultural Revolution in China and the rise to power of Mao Tse-Tung, Xiaohu created an amazing diorama in the round of power and dictatorship in clay. It looked like chocolate (which was a fantastic aspect of the work) and the enormity of the piece, combining ceramic works and DVDs of sound and basic clay-animation was really engaging.

Zhou XiaohuUtopian theatre (detail)
Thanks to www.asiapacifictriennial.com

so, if you're umming and aahing about whether to make the trip to the APT, just do it. There is some great stuff there! I didn't even get a chance to go into the new State Library, which has a really snazzy new building, even if the cafe is a fucking rip off. I also didn't get to IMA or Rawspace, like i wanted to, so make sure you take your time there when you go!

Have a great holiday period everyone! For those who mourning the lack of blog action over the xmas break, don't worry, i got plenty coming :)

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i know i said i wouldn't, but...

.. i went to the opening at first draft on wednesday night.

it was fucking great though - bit of xmas theme happening with striped candy canes and other coloured lollies, the 1/2 dozen boys were selling their 2006 catalogue, which i can highly recommend, and there were some really great artists on show.

in the front room, michael moran was showing not here (to make sad songs sincere)ink works on paper that were damn cool - text based works with just enough angst to be spicy, but no so much that i wanted to vomit. my favourite was the one attached to the front window of the front space. not a traditionally easy place to install a framed work, it actuallly fit perfectly and conveyed a bit of a philosophy in a way - it is what it is, because it is.

emma van leest, whose work from a homage to a private place i had previously seen in her studio (as a sneak peak walking past with her fellow studio buddy), was skating out the doors. they were beautiful cut paper dioramas, with a really oldy-worldy type feel. something about them reminded me of rudyard kipling and the jungle book, for some reason. maybe i had a pop-up book version that looked like one, but anyway, they were so delicate and inviting and cheap!

and to go with the jungle book theme (well, my jungle book theme) in the back room was the riki tik tavi installation. with a pile of rubble in the middle of the floor - the result of a performance of the smashing of huge bits of rock, some paper works and small video works. the video works were the strongest and my favourites were cabin fever and woodstock wood, featuring kate and marley playing 'games' of sorts - the friendly rivalry type. the first one was within a brown wooden bird-house type-thing (which, according to the room sheet is a dog kennel, but i prefer bird-house) which you peered into, and featured them piercing a can of woodstock bourbon mixer and skulling it. you didn't see them throwing up, but boy it was close. the one prior to that, (cabin fever) which i think was better viewed second ('cos that's how i viewed it, and it was hilarious) was them, in a sauna, with sailor hats on, saluting for as long as possible before one person faltered. thankfully i was able to talk to kate and got the low-down 'cos i didn't realise that they were in a sauna, or what the deal with the game was, but you still got the essence of competition and the fun of it all. it was all quite amusing.

it was a great way to end the year for sydney shows and a nice vibe, with lots of people, lots of chat, good art, good sales and nice weather. i left at exactly the right time, and as i was heading back to the country terminal, everything kind of felt right with the artworld. just like a rudyard kipling book.



thanks for coming.. or faking it at least.

this may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but she sees red copped her 2000th hit today and i'm bursting with pride!

like a soccer mum who continues to barrack for her son who is hopeless at soccer, but tries his little heart out, i'm stoked about this weeny little milestone. i know that all the big kids probably get 2000 hits and 4000 page views per day, but for the blog that started off with 3 hits in her first week, before i realised how to turn off 'ignore visits', this is quite an achievement!

thanks to all the regular readers - i know who a few of you are, and the rest of you lurkers, well, it's nice to have your company too. even those who look for "two dogs fucking" or "taking pregnant ladies up the ass", i hope you eventually found what you were looking for. to all the international visitors, i know that i'm hopelessly anglo-centric, and thanks for putting up with it and congratulations to the person at Deutsche Bank who was my 2000th visitor. You probably had no idea.

and so, to celebrate of sorts, i'm going to create some more work for myself and finally haul my arse onto flickr!
thankfully i don't mean that literally, or we'd all be in strife. [and the crowd goes mild]

it has taken me many months, much hassling from jade and much procrastination on my part, but i've finally made the decision to join the yahoo crew and upload images of my work onto the much more accessible image-sharing site. from there you can cast your aspersions far and wide

so, here's to site meters, low expectations and binary forms of approval.. and many more posts to come :)

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guerilla girls



cause of death: overdose

i'd heard about this happening, but i think i've officially overdosed on exhibitions. for a while.

or more to the point, i've overdosed on openings. for a while. i've been to 4 of the fuckers in the last 2 days, have my own happening tomorrow night and quite frankly i've had it up to here with them.

this ridiculous gallery hopping began on wednesday night with the Peloton openings: Material Culture by Rowan Conroy at P19 and the group show Examples at P25 featuring a wide range of contemporary artists: Daniel Argyle, Hany Armanious, Lesley Dumbrell, Matthys Gerber, Alison McGregor, Anna Kristensen and Giles Ryder. The shows were OK - although they left me feeling a little flat, especially the group show. Not that it wasn't absolutely packed with great work - it was. Most of it was extrememly professional and well-crafted/well-thought out, but i left just feeling a little bland. This may actually have more to do with the layout of the space, more than anything. Everything was laid out fairly evenly, 2D work on or attached from the walls, sculptures in the middle, enough space to walk around - i know, just how you want it when you go to a show. but for some reason, i wanted more. i wanted something that i could get sucked into. or spat out by. Rowan Conroy's work was not the most intriguing photography i've ever seen, with work investigating industrial and urban architecture (which i quite enjoy most of the time) but because the whole gallery was taken up by all of his works and there was a sense of theme encompassing the show, i actually enjoyed this more than the who's who show at number 25.

last night i squeezed 3 openings in on the one night and i think they pretty much encompassed the gamut of shows/spaces in sydney in one foul swoop.

firstly i headed to the quagmire of paddington for the last show for the year at Roslyn Oxley 9. If i thought the Peloton opening was a who's who, then Stolen Ritual at rosox proved far more so. the list of artists included James Angus, Hany Armanious, Angela Brennan, Tony Clark, Destiny Deacon, John Firth-Smith, Fiona Hall, Christopher Hanrahan, Newell Harry (the guy with the last name first, and the first name last), Lindy Lee, David Noonan, Rohan Wealleans and John Wolseley. phew!

Some of the art featured was kinda predictable. Not the art itself, but the presentation of it - glaringly aimed at hefty wallets looking for a wonderful christmas gift for dear aunt lady so-an-so. As a balance to the big hitters like Firth-Smith and Wolseley, there were some great works which were by some of the coolest kids on the block at the moment. I really enjoyed both James Angus' works: Soccer Ball Dropped from 35,000 Feet and Pi to One Million Decimal Places; David Noonan's screen print on birch plywood was beatiful and it looked like a portrait of Brandon Lee all made up like The Crow, but i could be disasterously wrong there. I had a good chuckle at Newell Harry's Mum and Dad/Dum and Mad drawings as well as the usual giggle at Christopher Hanrahan's work - this time he was cracking out the Jewish proverbs: As is the Gardener, Such is the Garden - (soul man) being more concise and generally amusing then the (table lamp).

And despite all that great work, i had the worst time! If someone ever sees me at a Roslyn Oxley opening ever again, could they tell me to go home and come back another day, when there are only the gallery staff around!! The ubiquitous mafia of the über cool are always at the openings and i invariably leave feeling like the biggest dickhead on the planet. I stutter my words, have no idea what to say, feel like a bit of a lost lamb and in trying to make up for being completely intimidated, make stupid remarks filled with bravado that have me looking like the biggest ignorant wanker on the face of this planet. well, maybe ol' johnny 'oward would give me a run for my money, but anyway. the weird and the worst thing is, it's not the rich-looking patrons, or the stylish artists that have been around forever that i lose it around - it's the around-my-age-but-more-successful-than-i-am-but hope-to-be types: usually male, usually drunk, and usually brats that i end up in a mess around. and that's what i fucking hate about openings - i swore that i would never go to an opening caring about who i was or wasn't and would just dig the art. yeah, well, in theory.

Petrina Hicks, Shenae & Jade thanks to www.acp.au.com

so, back to punching my weight, i popped into the ACP opening of the Pet Project, which was yet another feel of opening. A lot more women and quite a nice easy-going atmosphere. Not so much preening and more actual conversation going on. I didn't get a chance to see all the photos, thanks to there being so many people, but the new space was ace, there were some great photos of pets. To be honest, my favourite one was the front cover of the new Photophile - an image by Petrina Hicks, but I also really liked the cibachrome lightboxes featuring 'missing pets' - ornaments from shops in chinatown and the work by Beverley Veasey. I caught up with Izabela, which was great and after a juice, i left just as Sandy Edwards from Stills Gallery walked in with the largest, most beautiful dogs you've ever seen. Obviously to get her pic taken at the Pet Photo Booth by Justin Spiers and Yvonne Doherty. Obviously.

Justin Spiers and Yvonne Doherty, Andrea, Tristan, Valentino and Tatiana thanks to www.acp.au.com

And then to the other end of the spectrum: an ARI opening. medium rare's last show for the year, 21st Century Dreamtime. Jo Cuzzi and Rachael Lafferty are showing paintings with a slightly carnivalesque theme. I'm not sure whether it was intentional, but the crowd kind of reflected it too - lots of obvious art students (now on holidays), crazy costumes, hair styles and lounging around the odd-shaped space. Although the space felt a tonne more comfortable than either Rosox or ACP, unfortunately the work wasn't all that fab. I liked 2 paintings which were on quilted material, looking like they had been painted on children's changing tables, or matress protectors. Other than that, the works were quite all over the place, like Juan Davila minus the craft. Pity really.

And if you're not exhausted by this account already, then you should be, 'cos i was stuffed after all that traipsing. I was also incredibly intrigued at the pattern i discovered: the better the work, the more uncomfortable the gallery space is. which doesn't do much for making work accessible. but i guess you don't want art work to be too accessible. people might actually enjoy it, talk about it, want to have it, but not actually buy it. PR101: the more out of reach something appears to be, the more people actually want it and the more people will pay for it.

and finishing on that incredibly jaded note, now i'm going into hibernation. i'm not going to go to another art show to see others' work until i get to brisbane. i've had enough. i'm about ready to just stare at a blank wall for a while and sip some kind of cool drink and overdose on food instead of visual ephemera.



all art is quite useless

after recently discovering the joy of oscar wilde's company, i settled in to read the picture of dorian gray and was promptly hit with a preface which reaffirmed a view things, left me feeling like oscar's disapproval had washed over me and simultaneously amused me at how some things change over time and some just don't:

the artist is the creator of beautiful things
and should be rewarded accordingly

to reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim
considering that by the time wilde had written Dorian Gray, revealing the artist had long been a practice of art as well, perhaps mr wilde is showing his naivete. however, in terms of an antidote to the uber-ego of some artists, it does OK. where this maxim really shines is as a philosophical pat on the back when an artist is possibly getting lost with the purpose and intention of their work.

the critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things
if this isn't a basis for which to celebrate artsblogs and artist-run-initiatives like un and runway, then i don't know what is. to me, this validates artists as valid critics (especially as we're already creating beautiful things).

it also a reminder that critics are also just creating impressions. that no person's opinion is anything other than a response or reaction to something.

othewise know as: to reveal art and conceal the critic is criticism's aim.

the highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography
which effectively makes this blog the lowest of low. not only is it autobiographical, but it is from someone who should be creating beautiful things, but spends most of her time looking at them instead. it does, however, give weight to the argument for objectivity in criticism and for the use of third person/plural pronoun, which has been discussed previously here.

those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. this is a fault.
yeah, perverts.

those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. for these there is hope. they are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
I think i'm going to post this on my wall. i like being cultivated. i like finding beautiful meanings in beautiful things (as i create them, before i write about them). As to being elect and a capital B on beauty, while i love the idea of thinking about what Beauty is, and personifying it with a capital, these days, i think there are other considerations as well as Beauty that indicate being cultivated.

there is no such things as amoral or immoral book. books are well written or badly written. that is all.
well, not acccording to John Howard's new sedition laws, but we won't mention that one shall we!

the nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
the twenty-first century dislike of contemporary art is the rage of howard not seeing his own face is the mirror.

the nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of caliban seeing his own face in a glass.
the twenty-first century dislike of political art and creative dissent is the rage of howard seeing his own face in a mirror

the moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consits in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
morals.. hmm.. do habits and choices come under that description?

no artist desires to prove anything. even things that are true can be proved.
whether you like political art or not, as few proper critics seem not to, i don't think this one is quite so true anymore. even if you're not trying to prove something overtly politically, you're trying to prove something conceptually, materially or symbolically. and if not to someone else, at least to yourself [or that nasty teacher in year 9 who said you'd never amount to nothing]. although if artists were rewarded accordingly, perhaps this might be true.

no artist has ethical sympathies. an ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
please, please, please may john mcdonald, sebastian smee or the artlife not read this blog. they have all argued, at some point, that art which has a bold political or ethical statement is either not worthwhile, or not art. i really don't want them to be right, because while i'm not a relational aesthete, i firmly, firmly, firmly, believe that art needs to say things that the shitty tabloids don't. it may not be beautiful with a capital B, but ethical sympathy in an artist is damn sexy! and unpardonable mannerism? isn't that what post-modernism supposed to be?

no artist is ever morbid. the artist can express everything.
except ethical sympthies, apparently. and there are a few morbid artists, but i guess that can still express. so perhaps the definition for morbidity is not the expression of something depressive, but the depression of an ability to express.

thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.
a shoe in, really. i don't know any artist, great or awful, who doesn't, at least at some point, use thought or language of some sort. whether that be material, conceptual or symbolic language, or at least a bit of thought, like 'maybe if i put this blue here, it will look a bit like the sky'.

vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.
this is a whole other kettle of fish and from a whole other generation, where vice and virtue were even words that you used to describe validity. thankfully, we had the 60s, which turned this whole thing upside down and gave us charming blank canvases, wacky lines all over the place, drug use like you wouldn't believe and children who love a good mash-up.

from the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. from the point of view of feeling, that actor’s craft is the type.

assuming that rhythm is a description of form, which, as a formalist of sorts (well, sorta), i'm inclined to agree with, i can dig this grand statements about musicians. but i'm sure that wilde isn't intending to completely osctracise the rest of the arts from being a type of all the arts. perhaps the various boards of the australia council can nut this one out. perhaps it's just a nice way of saying that musicians and actors, while being completely unhealthy and having the worst sleeping patterns, are still pretty good at floating our boats. vice, virtue and all that jazz aside.

all art is at once surface and symbol.
what a celebrity death match this would be if you had the abstract expressionists vs the symbolists. thankfully surface and symbol aren't meant quite as literally, otherwise we'd end up with sanctioned art looking like jackson pollock meets james ensor! ew!

those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril
i guess these days, this is for anyone who creates work that isn't intended to match the sofa. you do so at your own peril, but damn there are a bunch of spunks joining you in it!

those who read the symbol do so at their peril
see above

it is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
i can see the t-shirt now: life immitates audience. i really want one actually.. and a few marketing/advertising mates of mine might dig it too!

diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital.
so, for once all those clashing opinions in the comments section of the artlife are actually right! all of them. by that definition, there's some interestingly new, complex and vital works. this also proves that a diversity of critical opinion is a vital element of any art scene. whether you like your tabloid, or your Broadsheet, discussion is vital.

when critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
now, how to get the critics to disagree...

we can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. the only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
ah, the ol' form vs function argument. well, sorry mr wilde, but that one's been sorted for a good 50 years or so. since bakelite came into town. or maybe i'm wrong. maybe it's still a discussion we have to have, but i have long forgiven myself for admiring a quirky chair, oh-so-minimal ceramic tea set, pretty much anything at Object or Space

all art is quite useless
here here. great innit?



Landa, Landa, Landa... and other frat stories

The frat house that the nerds from Revenge of the Nerds ended up belonging to was Lambda Lambda Lambda and i have this vague memory of someone saying it in that movie, wearing a pink chearleaders outfit and kind of making it sound like Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! And when i went to the opening of the Anne Landa Award, it was all i could think of!

But that's not meant to reflect on the exhibition at all.

The opening was also the trustees' Christmas do and the last hurrah for chair David Gonsky, who is an all-time, super-top, mega-fantastic, supporter of the arts, and moving onto Chancellory duties for a large University in New South Wales (why i bother with subtlety sometimes, i don't know). David's speech was amusing and not too long and although others 'poo-poo'-ed his description of new media as 'new and fresh' in relation to it being lauded at Agnes, it was actually a pretty good speech. God knows i wish Edmund had just left us with it, rather than getting a word in.

Philip Brophy The Body Malleable 2002-04 - All so sexual!
thanks to www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Anyway, the show, the show! In a nutshell, here are my pics: Daniel Crooks, Daniel Von Sturmer (swoon!), Philip Brophy and Monika Tickachek. The others were, well, meh. Tony Schwensen's work possibly suffered from being put in a veritable thoroughfare, but i just didn't dig it. And although James Lynch's backyard party-looking work, could possibly better from a different kind of venue, didn't really float my boat either. Grant Steven's text/sunset work just blatantly bored me. But sometimes i'm hard to please and i did actually giggle at the slow unveiling of the text across the screen, like a scene from Jumping Jack Flash when there's some serious secret online 'chatting' going on, although perhaps that wasn't the intention of the piece.

Basically, the work that i like, especially in this exhibition, but i think more broadly as well, is work with strength of character. And while naive, bitsy, and disparate work seems to be getting a lot of starring roles lately, i'm just not that into it. This possibly reveals my own naivete, ignorance or dagginess, but hey - i am the one that made the Revenge of the Nerds crack earlier!

And if there was any doubt about diversity between art schools, you just have to head to the grad shows this week. Being a NAS alumni, I have always felt a little out of my depth hanging out at COFA and heading to their grad show Annual 06 on Wednesday night, it was really obviously that that's where the cool kids are. I felt like a nerd walking into the Alpha Beta frat house. But at the same time, it was just like being at an ARI opening - cheap cans of beer and classy plastic cups of wine and loads of denim. General fashion for the crowd was skinny jeans, off the shoulder shirts and ballet slipper shoes for the girls, popped collars, fringes and more skinny jeans for the boys. And i don't usually notice fashion at these kinds of things, but it was scarily obvious!

images: Jirat James Patradoon, 2006, thanks to www.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Thankfully, some of the work i did manage to see amongst the throng of people seemed pretty sincere, or i might have vomited with boredom. There were a lot of good sculptural/installation gestures - some great kinetic work and a whole bunch of video work. The basement section was so industrial and gritty, it was great! I especially liked the fallen-down staircase underneath all those overpass walkways and the swinging door room in said basement. [Sorry, slack with taking down names...]

And if the COFA opening was an ARI opening, the NAS opening was like going to a commercial gallery opening. Lots of slightly older kids hanging around, a lot of flowy skirts, black natural fibres, the beer was imported and there was even food (although we all acted like seagulls when it arrived!). And the spaces for the show have been renovated and become very professional. Thankfully some of the work coming out of there has become playful and almost edgy, otherwise i think i might have suffocated with boredom. Louise Spent's photographs of her posing with cut-out bits from blow-up dolls was fantastic and getting to jump on Asha Zappa's fried egg ceramic works was easily the highlight of my night. [This may or may not have been for self-centered reasons as 'she' has also done works with broken eggs/walking on eggshells]

And so, with the SCA show happening this week, that's it for me for grad shows for another year. Thank god for that! great as they are, it's all a little, well, grad show.

Unfortunately it also heralds the death of the art scene for the year. Looking throught the Art Almanac the other day, i realised that there is going to be sweet fuck all on over the christmas break in Sydney or in Melbourne! (I'll go into the serious lack of the visual arts program for the Sydney Festival another day)..Lucky I'm heading up to Brisbane for the APT!!