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



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