Monday, March 20, 2006

Good and Bad Political Art

today I tried to talk critically about political art - after seeing 3 shows:
the twenty bucks a pop fundriser for the anti detention camps flicks for freedom filmnight @ mori
the money makes the world go round anti VSU, lets save COFA Student Association show @ KUDOS
the tunnel vision: greed and stupidity, cartoonists and planners review concrete politics in sydney @ cross arts

All shows finished on the weekend.

I also announced that the archibald opens this week. Artlife jumped the gun and have alreayd reviews the ifnalists - but I thoguht I'd do a run around of the MCA portrait show, the AGNES Wales trad portraiture show and the Salon Des Refusees show up on Observatory Hill. Hopefully I can come up with some coherent survey critique of portraiture as a genre in 2006.

I dunno whether to crash the archi or not. The last time I attended unchaperoned, I ended up rolling on the floor at Ray Hughes's wrestling with Vivienne Littlejohn (RIP) over a bottle of - err Red? white? bubbly? (i think it was a glass bottle). this was after ranting incoheently at John Mcdonald (not a bad thing probably). the next day I woke up alone in bed, with a full condom beside me and a weird apologic note from my friend's flatmate. Hmm, well. Vivienne Littlejohn stopped drinking and did her masters in Egyptology and I became a Lesbian. But as of last week I'm single, sad and desperate enough not to let genitalia stand in the way of one those weird sobbing sodden scenarios .... err, hell after the average archies pissup - there ain't a lot of genital standing anyway - I've even had DILDOs go floppy.

Speaking of which, I missed the slit show. Oh well.

Apart from doing the circuit of heads and eyes - and if I'm depserately bored - chekcing aout that seminal classic on faciality by D&G (not dolce & gabbana) in a thousand plateaus and writing weird shit.........

......I might TRY REAL hard to get down to legge for the Catherine Hearse sculpture show. She's the queen of soft textiles shaped bits - so I'm a bit of a fan. I allso wanna pay off and pick up a piece by my friend Steve Kirby. Apprently its now an investment piece coz his value has ogne up by 30%. Great. I just want more pink blobs on my walls, coz its my birhtdya on sunday and I'm feeling desperately miserable. Maybe I'll make it down it the gunnery for a pie and some of the installations - by Ryan Moore, Izabella Pluta and Todd Robinson. then again maybe not.

Heres for the review:

I went down to the mori show to check out the insane graffitti thing. Its bloody amazing. I'm so daggy I only know graf artists by what their mother call them - so I can't quote what one of them said - well I can - "Hey we traashed the place" - I know him as a very talneted oil painter and classically trained drawer - so it was good to see this find its continuum in the old spray enamel and stencilling. and the gallery is completely dewhiteboxed, and looks amazing - especiallly the scarey cave bit.

The Refugee Action coalition managed to stick a screen over a tiny bit of some huge work - and project some films onto it - but the vibe was kinda weird - coz I felt trapped and immobilisied and lots of the films were video art and the rest film clips - whihc you are eant to breeze past wiht a drink or ten - so err... yeah. Near the drinks the walls and pinths were studdend wiht smalll stuff for sale. The graf show remenats on the floor were 50 times stronger than the salon style hanging of various a4 sied contributions. Sunzanne Norries bargain basement gozilla bieng an exception - plus anton pulverentis series of 5 cartoons on foamcore. I'm criticising myself in this too - coz the whole thing idn't work as well as the plaquard prject ( a simliar gathering of a3 sized pieces against the Gulf War/war on terror) did last year and I was curious why....... i guess it was a lot smalller - and there wasn't any strong formal element to bring eveyrhting together visually. The plaquard project was hung all toghether in a continuous line right roudnt he gallery - nicely borken up by Zanny beggs scultpures, whereas this was WAYYYYY hodge podge. Still $20 is pretty cheap, so I bought something.

On the wekeend I toddled down to KUDOS - to chec out the money goes round show. I LOVE KUDOS! its a great space - a single old church hall - that almost always makes whatever in it look good. It'snnot as big as NEWSPACE and so most artists manage to use it well. (I was astonished at the distance between my greg shaplpeys 3 screen installation and the cavernous empty rooms strethcing up to the great wood panelled bar - Newpsace needs group shows - or total overproductive maniacs)

ahem - back to KUDOS. This show was great. the curators got a mixture of Chinese Yuan notes , plus various amllagams of hell money - and gave em to whoever: students, staff alumni - whoever wanted to do something with em! and - really the whole show was a great snapshot of the cofa talent. Jewellers made money jewels, and scultpros made variosu paper money based constructions - wiht the a few insterting the nots into other witty objets - like slide projectors, toasters - ande on a kind of formbidden city style merry go round. the textiles mob did great textiles, and the drawers did great 'wrokd on paper money'. I bought 3 bits. Seriously for less than the price ofa good haircut. this explains my crap haircut whihc I did alone at home on wednesday while crying and wiping my computer of any trace of my recently exing life love. Art is great retail therapy. the only criticism I'd level a tthe COFa show - were that some of the colalges and 'painted collegas' were liek really bad Art Express. Note to public: Drawing is officially back, so unless you've been doing 3 horus a week of figure drawing for the past 3 years minimum - then DON't draw figures - unless you wanna look like somehting ghastly form the 1980's. If you wanna figure in your work - use the tracer funciton over a photo on photoshop or illlustrator and an effects distortion on the print out.Also wnat let some of these works down - was the emphasis on money as a semiotic element - so they looked like bad brett whitelys.
highlights of this show - were Michael Esson's kentridge style drawing/burning video and lamp's(?) stencil art images - and that great tie/collar thing, plus the sparkle piece (whihc I bought) and the ANON stone exquisite assemblage - whic I would have bought but I don't have that much horizontal space anywhere in my life..........
lowlights (but I enjoyed cringeing) were the photos of money and semen (eeeuw!) and the nangoldin girlwannabe photos - (self with cash). you gotta love undergraduate art.

so from here I wandered over to Cross Arts, taking note of the shitty traffic, weird arsed road bocks, impossible crossings and extreme angst of pedestrians, dogs and cars negotiating some ridiculous traffic islands with shops behind bars. this was suitable prep for the show - which was just a simple stroll down roslyn street. (I think its getting to william street that puts me off) I think the theme of the show is WHY? WHAT THE FUCK???? and full makrs go to michale gormleys obsessive colation of photos of traffic planning disatsters with ocmments. Jo holders docos worked best out of doors - so you can see the streetlife snarl to a halt in the background .

My favourite bits - were the Marious Jastokowiaks counter street signs. these were big bright things made for the ill fated wetern font show last year - but curiously enough ade perfect sense in trying to map the new paths through and around the hell hole horror.

Also Fiona Mcdonald - had some great paper bags - screen printed wiht images of parts of central sydney form 1943 and 2003 - and letters - PUB, PRIV - artily placed over them in a kind of russian new art touch...... and this type of tmeproal mapping reminded me of the squatspace map in dockerty about the time they were starting up the Redfern Waterlooo tour of Beauty........

most of the works - explored the surrounding road closures, the lack of democracy and the lack of accountability for basaiily using a goertnemtn funded but pricately run construction in order to block, break up and destroy a couple of suburbs....

someone needs to do a derive exploring the impassibility of the cross - or even the tunnel. Where's shane haseman?

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