Monday, May 08, 2006

Art and Flatulence - keeping up appearances

Today I was introduced along with the phrase 'arty-farty' - which inspired me to give a long windy plug for Mike Parr. (His etchings are at the MCA for another 10 days and he's gold leafing his arm under a tree outside of AGNSW tomorrow) This was totallly unplanned and spur of the moment. Radio is a spontaneous and unpredictable beast at times.

So right now i'm sitting on a full intestinal lumen trying to maintain the gas. the gas lift chair beneath me swivels in an annoying manner. Arty Farty. Hmmm.

On Friday I rocked up to the chrissie cotter SLY/STONE VILLA show. While doing the elbow leaning act on their weird 1980's laminated bar thing and chatting to Nick Strike, some lady came up to me an commented on my raiment - "ooohh you look so bright and colourful and whacky! you must be an artist! you must be soooo creative!". Thing is, is that, contrary to my plans of wearing my peepshow tie, shirt and trousers - I'd been inspired by a packed lunch of beetroot to go in a classic black ensemble. As my jaw hit the floor my eyes glazed at my chromatic accuser - herself decked out in a bright yellow ladysuit - with flashes of tartan headwear - and possibly some lappets, and accesories in another colour. Words completely failed me so I smiled blankly. I hope I didn't seem like a bitch. She did stand out from the crowd who were mostly dark suited, handycam wielding members of the sydney Tiawanese embassy coterie, with a sprinkling of marrickvillle councillors and some of the stone villa artists.

Anyway - the art featured small photographic printouts and some smaller works on acetate/works on paper. These had been shipped over from SLY studios in Taipei at less expense than stone villa artists exhibits (concurrenlty showing in Taipei)- which included large pannelly wall pieces. still cheaper than a bronze sculpture though. highlight of the show was the box hologram butterfy, and the nice 3 animal cartoon character in some great artists book that was sitting on a plinth.

Shannon johnson had a GREAT SHOW open on saturday night at Sheffer Gallery - which is 34 Lander street Darlington (off Shepherd street). I missed the opening but I can barely wait to see the show which runs till 27th May.

Shannon has done heaps of stencil art and drippy aerosol collage which have an appealing mix of pop/anti pop references with some more painterley plays with graf-art motifs of stencilling, lettering and decollage. Her wall pieces are still aroudn and she's had 'discrete wall object works'(new wank term for paintings) at space 3 - and even at the wedding circle where she was one of the directors.

Over summer she spent 3 months at the Paris 'cite des arts' studio. Instead of mooching around the glossy art haunts within the marais and St. germain (and whingeing aobut how moribund it all is) - shannon hooked up with some really interesting network of community based street artists - and found a couple of great little artist run spaces on the outer arrondissements. she also did some collaborative in situ works over there and furthered her obsession with famous frog tagging icon "Misstal" .

I posted some long whinges about the frightful ennui of the "grande public" art exhibitions in paris - and probably forgot to mention all of the amazing art there is in Paris streets. Lots of minivans are decked out in amazing aerosol art - and there is really great greaffiti - EVERYWHERE - and incredible stencils. The 1960's Asger Jorn decollage (diiscrete tearing) of metro billposters has been taken further with people doing crazy painted detournements of billposters even now. (something almost impossible on Sydey's glass & perspex horrors). It makes a pretty full on contrast with the beige boxes of 'high art', but enuff said.

In short - shannons sheffer show has some of the residue of a tres noice exchange with a quite vibrant visual arts activity in frogville and her own work here.
opening hours Wed - Sat 11-6pm. Ph -61 02 9310 5683

the other plug I gave was for Ian Milllises show at Macquarie uni galllery. Click on "Art School The Open Source" - (3rd blog lingk on the right) for more info. the show opens this wednesday night and goes till early june.

I gave a brief rave about the MCA masquerade show. Its great . Go see it. It closes may 21st. If you go with some joe-average friends - send em upstairs to sam taylor wood's pop photography & they can get their celebrity fix and financially support the cool free stuff downstairs. the film on claude Cahun nearly made me cry. It's free.

I FORGOT to mention the latest cross arts show. Details follow.


Exhibition Dates: 6 May to Saturday 3 June 2006
Talk: Tom Carment, artist, and Pat Geraghty, seaman, unionist and local resident
When: Saturday 6 May at 3pm
Where: The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney (opposite St Lukes Hospital gates)
Cross Conversation: Saturday 27 May 2006 at 3pm
For more information call 9357 2058 or 0406 537933

May Day Watercolour Studio: bannerette workshop directed by Barbara Campbell at The Cross Art Projects on 6 May 11am to 3pm Saturday 6 May, 11am to 3 May Day 2006: Sunday 7 May at 11am at Hyde Park North. Guest speaker is Sharan Burrow, ACTU President.

Simon Blau, Barbara Campbell, Tom Carment, Tom Nicholson, Raquel Ormella, Jacky Redgate, Emma Rees and Bernie Slater (Artists and Writers' Alliance, ACT), Toni Warburton and John von Sturmer, Jelle van den Berg, Deborah Vaughan, Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit
Curators Jelle van den Berg and Jo Holder

CROSS CONVERSATION: 'May Day, May Day: Rethinking Art & Politics
When: Saturday 27 May 2006 at 3pm
Where: The Cross Art Projects
Speakers: Ann Stephen, curator and author of On Looking at Looking: The art and politics of Ian Burn, Miegunyah Press, 2006; Neil Towart, research director Unions NSW and curator of Trades Hall collection and Craig Judd, curator Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery


The exhibition May Day looks at contemporary industrial relations from a cultural perspective, connecting an interdisciplinary curatorial work and historic moments. It also identifies a strong neo-conceptual critical and aesthetic strain within contemporary Australian art practice that interacts with global concerns and local political topics.

May Day reflects on these sorry days of government manipulation of unions and the introduction of divisive industrial laws, on the curbing of civil liberties and the strangling of access to information. As many have observed, the 1950s and Cold War political posturing have become a metaphor for todays conservative politics. While not a historical survey, the exhibition includes newsreel footage of the 1956 Sydney May Day shot by the acclaimed Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit whose work typifies an art is a weapon style and some related archival material.

In contrast, artists are now maneuvered off the set by the spectacles of art and entertainment and cultural politics is divorced from institutional political culture. However, artists often work with this lineage of modernism and cultural activism. Barbara Campbell, Tom Nicholson and Raquel Ormella use traditional emblems of protestbanners, occupied sites, anonymous poster paste-ups, hand-to-hand materials, collaborative actions. SomeTom Carment is an examplework with activists like Pat Geraghty, veteran member of The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and resident of Kings Cross, to document passing cultural history. Other artists, like Simon Blau or Jacky Redgate, comment in symbolic or abstract ways, often with irony and humour.

The project evolved from discussion of Jelle van den Bergs sketchbook titled Industrial Relations, which juxtaposes notes and views of the old industry suburb of Waterloo with notes and views of the shiny new Waterloo of residential apartments. Gentrification and outsourcingboth processes in the tension of globalization.

The artists of May Day honour the determination and colour of two great workers commemorations: the Eight-Hour Day (renamed Labor Day), won 150 years ago by stonemasons, and the May Day parade initiated by shearers at Barcaldine in 1891. Today the two have pretty much fused into one public event. May Day, associated with rites of spring, May Queens and maypoles, and given aesthetic legitimacy by William Morris and Walter Crane, is undergoing a renewal.

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