Monday, June 26, 2006

Advance Aust-ARTY Fair

There's something happening in sydney this weekend and I've got a horrible feeling that 2SER may be a sponsor.

I'm always attune to the possibilities of nepotism and the media - so I'm not sure how much to bag it on air.

but hell - this is my own space so i'll hoe in here!

actually I just checked the site. no 2SER logo... so i'm Free!

The thing that shall not be named - is a funny cross between a 19th century Paris Salon and Expo '88.

Sydney ART culture - is imbued with enormous connotations of elitism and snobbery (it's an australian wide thing, and permeates anglo saxon culture - but it's very strong in sydney).

"ART" - is seen as somehting deluxe, expensive, intellecutally and financially elite.

A bit like chateau cardboard in the '70's, a new marketting trajectory is pitching ART to the ordinary aussie consumer.

Mobiliing some aspects of aspirationalism, the notion of a quick punt (you never know if it could be a winner) and tying them to the idea of challenging the bourgieness of art - the pretension, the snootiness, the academic postmodern conspiracy et. al, this show promises to bring ART to the broader public. - and where else but in that icon to popular use of public space - Rupert's shed?

so - think of the archies, paddies and the nostalgia of the Royal Easter show. Its the authentic side of the art market - you can see all the buggers flogging their wares under one big roof. See it side by side. Decide for yourself. take a punt.

I've heard the radio ads. they promote the afffordeable side and have voiceovers that sound like the same people in the ALDI ads (I got all this stuff for only $200!!!) - only its more like "I got all this free wine for only $40! - I got this great little print for only $2,000! - maybe it'll be the next whitely!".

Times like these, i realise why i'm in cultural studies and not in art history and theory.

Because I WANT to embrace the popular apppeal of the banal version of ART. I'm genuinely interested in why people are attracted to a shopping mall version of the ART experience. and I'm genuinely sympathetic to people who want something cheap, and fun and who want to access "ART" without aquiring all the cultural capital of one of those inner city pursed lips underground art snobs of someone such as myself.

And, dear readers, I must confess my own monstrosity. I speak fluent french and I drop in references to dead and living french theoreticians in the course of casual conversations. I know the floorplan of the louvre, an anumber of other international art musuems intimiately. I feel comfortable in internaitonal art symposiums and I own a couple of black skivies (bought in Paris). Even worse, I wear thick rimmed spectacles, sport an avant-garde haircut, I live in Newtown, and I'm doing a PhD. I embody the postmodern conspiracy and I'm not afraid to admit it!

But I have been broke most of my life, and I like a free drink wherever I can find it. I've gnawed on the dust of struggle town for many a year - as an artist - and I know a trojan turd when I see one.

Listening to 2SER - or reading ARTBLOGS online - youse, dear audience already possess considerable cultural capital. Allow me to take you by the hand and alllow you to embrace your affinities with certain social distinctions. You don't have to be an intellectual snob, or a canny investor, or an art historian. You can have the affordeable ART experience. You can rub shoulders wiht the funky squad, knock back a few drinks, and bring home a few choice aquisitions. All this for less than a haircut.

Alternatively - you can spend this weekend at a sydney pub, drinking shit beer which costs more than a pint of guinness in LONDON (I kid you not) - or swilling chateau choker across the counter, while screeching inanely over the roar of incredibly shit music or live broadcast of whatever male dominated sport spectator sport is being played any where in the world. a tthe end of the night, count how much you have spent. $30? $50? $100? How many times do you do this each week? a month? Next month - JULY. Decide that your pub money will remain outside of the hallowed halls of spot lighting and mdf and try the following:

step 1. Avoid the royal hall of industries this week and this weekend.

Step 2. Decide you won't go to any pubs anywhere for the next month.

Step 3. Go to art openings. you can attend at least 3 or four per week. Bring a friend or two so you've got someone to talk to. and yes you'll be able to TALK to them and hear them - because you won't be screeching over loud music or satelllite TV. Stand around a nice well lit space and chat and drink for free. If your conversation is interesting neough - and after a few dirnks, other people will join in. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LOOK AT THE WALLS - in fact you could spend the entire time, standing on the street, glass in hand pretending to be a smoker.

NB: - art galleries usually don't have anywhere to sit - but you could always rock up in a wheelchair - as many are groudfloor. Otherwise think of the calories you burn, and the leg and foot strengthening you can get while standing up. besides after a few drinks - you won't feel your feet anyway..

Sep 4. while aesthetophobes are advised to attempt to spend an entire week at art openings and NOT SEE ANY ART, after doing this, you may venture a few cursory glances sideways away from the hottie you are tyrng to chat up with your wine breath.Often looking athe ART can be quite a pleasant or interesting experience. OK no, not always, but sometimes. If you don't want to look like a berk - don't try and engage in earnest conversation about the ART at an opening. Equally don't have too loud mobile phone conversations. (texting is OK. Textings is tres cool if you're standing in fornt of a piece iwht no red dots near it. Gallery dealers will think, if you have a catalogue in one hand and a phone in the other that you are making reccomendations to your investor friends - and offer you more wine) As I said, bring friends, talk about weather or haircuts or your sex life. Eventually work up to perusing catalogues/price lists. you'll be amazed how cheap a lot of the art is.

Step 4. Having been pissed, had nice chats and had a good time in a nice well lit and warm envronment for FREE. see how much money you have saved. don't spend it on pokies, a new haircut or E-bay speculation. Instead: BUY SOME ART. If you go to 20 openings in a month (or even 10) you will see something you don't hate. If you REALLY like something - you can lay-buy it. If you're not sure - spend what you would on a haircut or new shoes. If after 6 week sor 6 months you htinkit's hideous - then PUT IT ASIDE AS USE IT AS A WEDDING PRESENT. your friends/relatives etc. will laugh about it for the rest of their lives.

Step 5: Buy buying art you not only support galleries (and artists) who pay for the free goon on pitiful incomes, but you contribute to the culturla ecosystem that keeps the art world a lot more interesting that ART ON THe ROCKS. each month, try to buy the cheapest art you can possibly find in a gallery. (I mean $10, -$15 by the way). YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT. Pretend you're shopping. you can even throw it out afterwards.

Step 6: Read ART ANd MAYHEM or THE ART LIFE - to find out what interesting 'quirky' (TM) or emerging art shows are happening - and who is interesting/boring/relevant. This may or maay not help you decide what to look at or buy.


Step 8. If you work in the ARTS industry: Like you're an 'artsworker', community cultural development oficer, curator, writer, educator, preparator, event coorindator, arts advocate, publicist etc. REALISE THAT YOUR LIVELIHOOD DEPENDS ON THE UNPAID WORK OF ARTISTS AND LEARN TO PAY YOUR WAY. spend 10% of your income on art each year or accept that you will carry my undying contempt for you and all your work buddies to the grave. If you don't want to do this, go and earn your money off the sufferings of an indigenous community who'll call you an (opportunistic) WHITE CUNT to your face.

i'm not trying to put hairdressers out of business but mayhem - wuld like to propose an audience challenge: If you can NOT go to the hairdressers for 12 months - and spend the money on ART. I will cut your hair for free. (or find some other textile artists/soft sculptor to do it).

So that's my rant. I don't want to whine and preach at you about how poor artists are. but in order to support my practice over the past 10 years - I renounced spending money on shampoo, underwear, haircuts, deodorant, CD's and cinema (i'm only just resumed some of the above - thanks to 3 years on a PhD scholarship) . I know very few artists - even sucessful ones - who earn the HECS repayment threshold (a damn fine reason to be an artist by the way) . Poor ones are just glad to know how to break into locked dumpsters. Supporting a practice usualy costs about $5,000 per year - just on basic materials - plus there's studio rental of $3,000 per year - if you're lucky. Exhibitions usually costs someone - about $1,000 per week. Aritsts do it and so do gallery dealers - because IT'S DAMN FUN!!!! so buy buying some little object - you can share some of that fun.

So! this is a very long way to lead you into this weeks hot drinking/viewing/buying tips.

GAFFA (330 Crown Street, surry hills) has an opening on thursday 29th june 6-8pm and running from 30-5th july

featuring: verity-kate mead, mike turner, ben frost, vanessa kyle, joy
lai, kate carr, ross atkins, kelly robson,aidan li, shannon johnson and
william w. - who are all interesting, suvccessful emerging artists.
(checkk the artlife's list of artists or do a google search on some names - or just rock up and have a look)

PLUS you can spend $200 on jewellery, object, sculpture, painting, photography and more!!!

This saturdya 1st uly ther'es be a closing thing at Peloton - for hte medicins sans frontieres art auction.

and you could get a work for les than $20 - and send it to your Nanna and scare the pants off her!

Rock on up too 19 Meagher Street Chippendale between 4-6pm.

Morii also haas some $20 works going on the Kurnell show.

Shannon Johnston has some great collage things at MAD: 52 enmore Road enmore,

and..... you'll have to listen to the broadcast to hear about the other openings this week



Monday, June 19, 2006

After Party

Mayhem is a tad fatigued of the endless search for free goon at sunset, and imagines most readers are too. Mayhem suggests a quality stroll through all the art thats around at the moment - but if you MUST joing the madding crowd - then you can try the following:

On tuesday:

KUDOS gallery has an exhibition opening for GROUND FLOOR, which presents the finished works and works in progress of COFA's 2nd and 3rd year Sculpture, Performance and Installation students.

GROUND FLOOR opens 6-8pm Tuesday 20 June
Kudos Gallery
6 Napier St. Paddington NSW 2021
exhibition continues to 1 July 2006
open Wednesday to Friday 11am - 6pm, Saturday 11am - 4pm

this is round the corner from the Ivan Dougherty Gallery - where they've got some GREAT stuff as part of the Biennale Of Sydney.

Alfredo Juan Aquilizan and Maria Isabel Gaudinezz Aquilizan have filled a room with perfect cubes - made from folded clothes, shoes, bags and mementos. If you've ever moved house - you'll totally love this piece... and in fact it is a public performance of migration. Each cube is a collection of immaculately ordered items from a group of CUBANs - asked by the artists to imagine what items they would pack if they were to leave cuba forever and emigrate.

Before this wonderful nest of post-cubist brilliance - there's a big fat video installation (extremely spooky 3 screen split still life shuttling thing that gave me a headache) and a great little cubby house constructed by Muruvvet Turkyilmaz - which consists of all sorts of little objects, images and a small video screen - all connected with nice wiggly lines and some writing which is probably in turkish.

but yes, go sip goon at KUDOS and support the baby artists.....

My favourite bit of the biennale so far has been Olga Chernysheva's video pieces at the ACP (australian centre for photography) - which is up the fashion strip end of PAddo. (257 Ocker Street). Nice weird, quirky details- like little boys grimacing in front of gyrating cheerleeders, and some old woman polishing her medals and preparing a picture of Stalin at the end of some march - meld nicely with a longer moving peice gogn through a train..... the room has a nice couch and thick black curtains too.

Actually maybe my favourite biennale bit is the foyer of 4A in Haymarket. Its all Pink! FLOURO PINK - with HELLO KITTY curtains!!!! (mayhem reccommends that you buy a pie or some chocolate nearby and then just go and stand in the pink space and you'll feel ocmpletelly happy even if you don't understand the art)

After wetting myself with sheer joy I wandered upstairs and enjoyed the highlight videos of Cao Fei - sshowing grey side of chinese techno industries. Extremely cinematic.

a few people have been baggin the amount of VIDEO ART in the biennale - but to be honest - I rekcon it's adamn cheap alternative to the Sydney Film festival. you can wnader into a nice dark space, out of the rain and cold and sit there for as long as you like (so you can walk out in 5 mins, or 5 seconds or 5 hours)- AND IT'S FREE!!!

I was going to suggest an artists stroll approach - for you flanning fans out there - which is to foregt straggling pas tthe roadworks to walsh bay and instead write a stern and cross note to the Sydney City COuncil for the disgraceful state of Cowper wharf road.


Before the disaster area there are 4 musuems that should not be missed. the MCA - known and loved and loathed. There are some OK paintings in there by Milenko Prvacki that reminded me just a bit too mucc of Rosalie Gasgoine - but that's not his fault. There's a very big err painting by Imants Tillers which ruins a whole room. Contrast this laboured construction with the neat, squared multilevelled funhouse approach of Ruark Lewises 'Banilities' room and you'll see what I mean.

anyway - you could spend a whole day in the MCA, or two - so maybe you should wander up the road first - and check out Ken Done. Ignore the fact that you are in Ken Done - and try to look at what you are looking at as colours and shapes on fabric. what do you think? really?

across the road - there are 2 buildings devoted to my favourite artist: charles billich. ONe houses 2 floors of monumental nipples and writing flesh coupled wiht some bad graphic design. the other houses the current ARt ON THe ROCKS exhibition. ART ON THE ROCKS Is a staple of sydney painters doing their stuff, and quite sadly, most of it is extemrely grey. My friend steve has asked me to ask people to go and vote for him. he spent the whole weekend playing with a footpump powered airbush and couple of drills with some carmine and liquin - so i rekcon he's worthy of peoples choice award. Plus he's broke and needs the money. so please go in, avert your gaze form the doom and gloom (unless you want to think that the most exciting contemporary painting in australia is Imants Tillers) and vote 1 Steve Kirby.

I've just attempted to insert a jpeg version of a text based invite into this posting. Detials below. SUBTEXT: Free goon in marrickville this wednesday night

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lucazoid out of the Sham

Mayhem took the monday off to write long and considered manifestos (see entry below) and so Lucazoid stepped in to provide an enticing review of the Biennale and especially the works donw at walsh bay.

Lucazoid also metined the folowing events this week.

MATERIAL COMFORT opens 6-8pm Tuesday 13 June runs till sat the 17th.
at Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St. Paddington NSW 2021
the Artist is Sarah Jameison, and she's exploring the concept of comfort. Her work aims to identify and articulate where she finds comfort in the material world; in spaces, objects, textures and organisational structures. Each work can be read as a case study aiming to identify, measure and question the validity of material comfort. In short, Jamieson describes MATERIAL COMFORT as an “exhibition about taking off my tracksuit”.

MORI GALLERY - for one night only on the same night has a screening of films by Anna Belhalfaoui. From the search for weapons of mass destruction, to protests against detention centres in baxter and villawood, to saving the tassie forests, exploring kurnell and fights over photocopiers......

Some of the videos feature the scheming gallic saphhic scrags that wrecked my marriage, and actually the artist is a gallic sapphic scrag that was my marriage, so i'm not sure if I'll be there, but it shouldn't stop the rest of you.

On WEDNESDAY Night Tracey Clement has an opening at Groundfloor gallery in Balmain with - bloody amazing see through fabric bodies if anyone can be bothered getting to Balmain - or you can check out her jagged little schrapnel anti jewellry at Pelt.

Luca didn't mention the following:

Shannon Johnson has great found bits pictorial works at MAD - Make A Difference Gallery on 52 enmore Road, enmore.

Or the Curator led SafARI tour of Artists run initiatives Starting this saturday 18th June at 12pm at Pelt Gallery, 46 Balfour Street Chippo. the low calorie, high intellect mobile art experience known as SNACK ART should be putting in an appearance so I highly reccommend you rock on over.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Biennale Bullshit Bingo,20867,19409349-7583,00.html

Yesterday I went to a seminar organised at LOOSE space - which consisted of a group of artists and arts workers sitting on chairs cushions and beanbags, in a cozy white room, sipping exquisite tea and whining, theorising, postulating, pontificating and having a good old civilised chinwag about this year’s Biennale of Sydney, the openings of which, many in the room were still nursing hangovers from. (for a good review of BOS opening night go to

I'll discuss the content of discussion and the BOS so far - hell the BOS is so big I could keep a daily blog for the next 2 months just of BOS events - but for the moment I want to draw readers attentions to other pressing extraneous factors to the big art bonanza that is the Biennale

As stated in last week’s entry, I reckon the BOS is not so much interesting for the stuff that gets swept up inside the phenomenon of international contemporary art fest - but for the weird porous extraneous events. The loose show, seminar and catalog on CONES of ZONTACT; profiling contemporary art in Sydney, was one. The Mori gallery intervention; exhibition of protest, was another - particularly the guerilla style gaggle at the BOS party giving out DVD's and catalogs of the event, and the current sodden SAFARI circuit of 6 artists run initiatives is another.

But then there are the other 'reactive interventions' which kind of make me feel less hearty and cheery about the whole contestation thing. If you click on the title of this entry - you'll go directly to Friday’s editorial of “The Australian”. Lambasting the Biennale and cultural studies as part of the whole postmodern conspiracy that threatens to undermine good old Australian values like Gallipoli, pulling up your socks and getting on with the job - I was tempted for just a minute to regard it as a joke - but it's not. This is the paper that had Giles Auty as its art reviewer.

As I said at the LOOSE forum - whatever the problems and limitations of the Biennale, it is conducted in the context of a federal government that hates it and everything it and contemporary art purportedly represents and would like to achieve. Most coalition ministers and most of their constituents regard Charles Billich as Sydney's most important and valuable contemporary artist. A few of the more civilised ones like to collect Norman Lindsay paintings, or maybe the odd Brett Whitely print to show how hip and with it they are. The shadow of Dargie and his heirs looms large. T S Mith and Co. may well devise elaborate theories of provincialism, but the current rulers of Australia are unashamedly ignorant fatuous anti intellectual anti cultural colonial blockheads. Whatever lip service is paid to cosmopolitanism, these people like football, cricket and contiki tours. and they hate me, and probably most my friends and any readers of this blog. They'd like me and you to go away and breed, or get a poor paying job in the service industry, in retail or the army. They don't care what lies or cliches they have to bluster about in order to do it. They don't care if Australia becomes a minor economic outpost of china, the US or whoever. If they can keep going to the races, drinking shit beer, and buying real estate, they'll be right mate.

On a lighter note, I received an invitation from Michael Carr art dealers to "our biennale show", with opening drinkies on saturday arvo. Featuring 2 slightly frightening reproductions of largely defiant paintings (intended no doubt to be a bit of a dig at the lack of the drippy stuff at BOS) and an artists list of the following: Annette Bezor, Pat Harry, James Smeaton, Michael Taylor, James McGrath, Ron Robertson Swann, Justin Balmain, Tony Lloyd, Yifeng Tan, William Eichholtz. All look woozily familiar to anyone familiar with the call list of Australian Commercial Galleries Association, Pat Harry is Michale Carr's mum and did that pink punky metal love seat in newtown, and Ron Robertson Swann was the wunderkind of New Modernist Sculpture back in the 60's or something. He's like pre whitely vintage new modernism (yep that’s meant to be oxymoronic) and still trucking on.

Now I usually don't give a lot of coverage to the ACGA galleries, and it isn't only because most of woollahra and paddo shopfront art gives me an odd twitch in my left eye and a strange feeling of queasiness. It’s also because ACGA has its own established network of publicists, writers, and public institutional support. I do art reviews on a community radio station, and write on this blog all from the goodness of my heart and desire to promote and support critical dialogue around the types of spaces and artists that are also marginal, underfunded, emerging, dying, gasping, or you know, out there.

The above is patently obvious but becomes more interesting in view of something like the Biennale of Sydney, which I think highlights the extent of difference between the various art worlds – not to mention the odd bit of cross fertilization and hybridity (T.M) . Many of the people sitting in the room at Loose were whingeing about the distinctly crapped on sense of exclusion generated by the cavalcade of international art stars, brought to us by the 12 pages of BOS corporate partners and plopped into 16 art institutional boxes, propped by nice curatorial rhetoric of community building and collaboration, while staggering around jetlagged for 1 or 3 weeks, attempting to generate a certifiable contemporary art product within the confines of cosmopolitan cultural tourism.

Fair enough I say, but it reminds me so much of so many other conversations I’ve heard among artists excluded form the Archibald, or sculpture by the sea, or from an ACGA stable, or from firstdraft, or from COFA, or the old and boring whinge of painters being excluded from the MCA and contemporary art in general. Or even Pro Hart – given a state funeral but still whining in the grave about his rejection by the champaigne sipping chattering classes anti ocker conspiracy.

And artists are quite intensely imbued with good old nietschian ressentiment (resentment with a French accent and I know he was german but his ressentiment stuff got repopularised by Deleuze who is French so now we say ‘rizontimont’ and look knowing) at every single level of the game and in every circuit.

This was stated by the man who should be bingo master at yesterday’s discussion. However rather than taking a diagnostic view of the artist as some kind of special case of neurotic nervous nellydom. (particularly as expert accounts have it that our good man Deleuze was really against any of this sort of psychoanalytic bullshit). I’m going to cite my fave man Derrida and that nice bit in the truth of painting abut parergons and margins.

Firstly – a quick paraphrasing tribute, in the spirit of the ALP conference held at Sydney town hall this weekend. Apparently one of the BOS artists went there looking for the Australian left and emerged looking not entirely unlike his work in the ground floor of the MCA before being rescued by a bunch of ex-squatters and some hearty chinese soup.

Raise your glasses and sing the following to the tune of “unions forever”

There is Power in the Margins
Power in the Frame
Power in the edge
Of the picture

That was Derrida’s argument in a nutshell. He reckoned that a pictorial meaning was not generated by the implicit meaning of what was generated within the internal structure of the picture but largely from the (social, physical, semiotic even) structures that separated the thing designated as ‘art’ from the stuff around it designated as not art.

In the open field whacky out there postmodern whirl of the 21C – defining such margins becomes a little bit more tricky than sussing out a gold gilt frame – and things all get a bit rhizomatic and swarmy. (think of deleuze, a plague of rats and a mound of clumpy roots. This is the image of contemporary reality evoked by a thousand plateaus, and it’s MEANT TO BE CONFUSING).

Here some lashings of Bourdieu and the sociology of art can come in handy. The art world is a serious of worlds, of fields, of possibilities. Art is the cultural imagination of capitalism, and is why it survives even on a vapid level amidst the most extreme ideologies of economic rationalism. (Ask yourself why all the hot biennale art comes from CHINA). Economics is not rational, but profoundly playful, irrational and strange. Capitalism thrives on speculation, which is little more than dressed up gambling. Gambling is a tax on people who cannot do maths, it makes no sense, its not meant to, and yet this is what our society is based on. No wonder whacky art practices fit in so well. And isn’t the ‘avant-garde’ the perfect model of capitalist entrepreneur? As much as we loathe the beast of capitalism, we area all, and artists are especially, absolutely immersed in it, sunk in it swallowing it up to our ears. It is our dreaming space as much as we are part of its.

I don’t find this as depressing as it would seem. I am quite content to occupy the little niche known as PROTEST and accept the likely inevitability of everything I do being recuperated by some opportunistic arsehole looking for a mortgage on a meriton dogbox and a spending spree at IKEA. As long as it’s not me dreaming of a Bunnings Xmas I’m happy eating out of bins. What interests me more than the threat of my own failure is looking at what types of institutions framing of the recuperation, exclusion or containment of imagination and revolt exist. I am interested in the permeability of the membranes between outsider and insider artists, between the contemporary and the reactionary, between the success and the failure. I am interested in the flows, the exchanges and the possibilities across these membranes. I am interested in my own levels of seduction incorporation and rejection of the various establishments and institutions that can be called ‘ART’, and how these relate to experiences of my peers. The painters, the squatters, the posers, the academics, and that poor guy falling in the mud in the video called THAW.

A product of the great gab fest at loose was a proposal for a big game of Biennale Bullshit Bingo. Squatspace is into it and so is SLAC. Send me your favourite artspeak words and lets lampoon em on a lawn somewhere.

As for the BOS itself; the MCA has some great stuff which I’ll write about later on. This week I’ll go to Ivan Dougherty, the NAS and the ACP and also check out Sarah Jamiesons opening at KUDOS – which I’m sure will provide more interesting versions of Emotional Architecture than the rather disappointing installation at the MCA. I hope to get down to Artpsace and Agnes Wales next week, but I’m a bit scared of the Performance space.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bigger than the logies!

Bigger than the logies!

If the Archibald prize is like the art worlds version of the logies, then the Biennale is like….the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras, or new years eve, or the sydney festival, or something... you know, BIG.

It's not about the ART so much - as all mexican wave of social ferment that swirls around the kutting edge contemporary kulcha fest that the biennale of sydney (BOS) is meant to denote.

Biennales in the past have provoked artists' protests marches - not to mention prune faced tirades against the post modern conspiracy (famous words uttered by sir William Dargy in 1975 and oft repeated since....)

Last week I gave a brief hint on how to sneak into opening night parties. (the biennale is held in june as its the one time in the year when sydney siders can wear black skivvies and look, cool and intellectual) - but this week I can even do better!

The word on the street is that THE best BOS BASH will be held at the Musuem onf contemrpary ART this wednesdya night. Unfortunately for all the freee scammers - they have a doorbitch policy even more hardcore than Newtown RSL. skivvies, COFA mullets and weird spectacles don't cut it. you need your name on the door to get into the sanstone palace of free champers, shoulder rubbing wiht INternaitonal Art stars and the heady wooze of wandering in a white walled space looking at the latest big art thing - while too pissed to remember any of it but with the pleasant feeling of having been there when it counts.

HOWEVER - mayhem's dedication to the faithful readers of this column and listerners to 2SER - has led to me finding a way for you, humble culterati - to get your name on that doorlist! Yes! you too can be an international contmeporary arthobnobber!

all you gotta do is give up a few free hours of our time to help install Antony Gormley’s work, Asian Fields, at Pier 2/3, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney for the Biennale of Sydney. Bring your friends! your relos! that hottie you just saw on the bus!!! Take the day off work - coz you'll be sure to earn a days wages in liquid compensation on wednesday night!

they need the work to be ready by tomorrow night - so they want as many people as possible. they are asking that people come to Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay as soon as possible to help us get the work finished by tomorrow. Wear warm, comfortable clothes, and don’t be afraid to get a little bit dirty! Call Zanni on 0400882265 or email for further information. Volunteers will be provided with a catalogue of the Biennale and tickets to the artists’ party on Wednesday night to thank them for their help.

as for the ART:
The work is made up of 170,000 clay figures that were made in a village in China by 300 people. The project has been running for fifteen years in eight different installations. It is a very important piece that represents community, people living and working together, and in Gormley’s terms - ‘the future of this world’. It is an extremely exciting opportunity to work so closely with both the artist and the piece.

The clay figures have been shipped out for the Biennale of Sydney which opens on Wednesday to the public. Since last Thursday, we have had volunteers installing the work at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay, although unfortunately there have not been enough people to complete the project. As this is the last day we have to install, we are doing an urgent call out to as many people at possible to help install the project. Antony Gormley flew in from the UK this morning, so we are working closing with him and Zheng Wei, the curator of the piece.

Once you get yer hands into KULCHA its pretty hard to wull 'em out in a hurry. (Rather like some other delightful things I know.....)

mayhem highly reccommends going along to Ivan Doughtery on thursday arvo - to hear the artists talks by Alfredo Juan Aquiliza and Maria Isabel Gaudinez Aquilizan - who'll be doing a rerun in situ of their artists talk given at the Sham a few weeks back.... talks go from 3.30-4.30pm - and thene the opening is officially launched at 5.30 by chuck sunnyday - the BIG BOS curator star......

Afterwards - just toddle around the corner the hill to Australina Centre for Photography - and then roll all the way down oxford street, right down to where liverpool street meets the portal to hell that is the crosss city tunnel. then stop. turn right, and wander along the parky pavement.

there in the wine soaked white boxes of day street. you'll find the biennale alternative openings - which like the 'alternative' mardis gras -promise to offer a cooler, more 'now' earthy, more 'authentic' contemporary art experience than the international art spectacle that BOS is all about.

up the stairs at 168 day street, LOOSE is staging a Biennale pirate-copy exhibition & publication project...

Called CONES OF ZONTACT its a clever pisstake on the BOS theme of Zones of contact and features contributions by over 60 Sydney artists and projects/spaces in the production of a counterfeit Biennale catalogue, zine-style!

The list of contributors reads liek a whose who of sydney contemrpary art - and the zine is a perfect textbook for new art theory/ractice.

(see list)

why am I not in it?
well may you ask - well they are cool - but not that cool.......and they've rung me in as part of a critical chinwag fest on saturday evening (6-8pm same place)

Besides yours truly features in the Protest Expo at Mori Gallery - which opens the same night.

:EXHIBITION OF PROTEST Group Show at Mori Gallery features residues from the BIG SUNDAY ADVENTURE at Kurnell yesterday.

In addition to works on walls, works on floors, works on screens, there'll be a catalogue and DVD for sale. Names include Susan Norrie, Helen Grace, Lisa Kelly, Daniel Boyd, Zanny Begg, Adam Hill, and the usual supects.

the expo blurb is:
Stop the desalination plant and nuclear power station. Save Kurnell Peninsula from destruction. Save Botany Bay National Park. Save Gweagal Aboriginal Middens. Save Captain Cook Reserve. Save Towra Point Aquatic Reserve. Save Boat Harbour AquaticReserve. Stop illegal clearing of land

but more info, more typos and better grammar is in last weeks post.

I was incapacitated on the weekend and so missed the Artists run intitiative fest called SAFARI. it got launched on saturday - and I recieved a promo from one gallery stating THAT CITY OF SYDNEY have deemed that exhibitions that incorporate performance art are a danger to all,

so much so that they slapped a $1 million suspended fine on ON A GALLERY!

Safari - is another 'fringe' biennale event: exhibiting works by emerging and unrepresented australian artists across six ARI's (artist-run initiatives), five in sydney and one in 'the gong', from 3 - 25 june 2006. 'SafARI' will include works in diverse media including sound, photography, jewellery, ceramics and painting.
'medium, rare' gallery
3rd - 25th june 2006
thu - sun / 12 - 5pm

official opening:
china heights
level 3 / 16-28 foster st surry hills
saturday 3rd june / 8-10pm

Jessie Angwin, Penelope Cain, Daniel Chant, Tracey Clement, Simon Cooper, Shirley Diamond, Damian Dillon, Alex Gereg, Paul Grant, Chayni Henry, Shelley Krycer, Rik Lee, Natalie Masters, Xavier Modoux, Adam Norton, Sean O'Connell, Tiffany Parbs, Mark Rodda, Jasper Streit, Janet's Truck, Jake Walker, Rully Zakaria

contrary to the 'emerging' label, most of the above are quite respected, prominent and if not mid career, then certianly established artists. osme teach at various art isntitutiaons, some are curators and writers as well. if anything SAFAR shows that the sydey art word is BIG, and lively and interesting.

the timing of 'SafARI' capitalises on the national and international focus on the visual arts in sydney during the biennale in order to provide opportunities to the artists, arts-workers and arts-spaces involved. while 'SafARI' unabashedly seeks to ride the biennale slipstream, there is no official or authorised linkage. 'SafARI' brings focus to sydney's ARI's and the vital, formative and experimental role they play in sydney's visual arts scene.

more info at

so I rekcon the Biennale is cool this year - because it has proviked a shitload of punchy, fun and bright counter shows - that are more than satlletie events but a more interesting reactive response to the provocation of having an official festival of contemrpoary art. (its provocative because the very act of selection, curation and promotion is comthing that is exclusive and elitist). So its great to see artists and galleries getting together to do some interesting suff as well.

see yers round the traps