come early or come often?

two possibly unrelated aspects about this ol’ art game have struck me today.

firstly, i popped into the AGNSW today for a quick visit. primarily to pick up my free copy of the SMH-as i’m attempting to save for a trip to london by not buying the paper or coffee – my two major vices since giving up smoking. anyway, while i was there, i thought i’d pop in to check out the James Angus show, which i mistakenly thought was at Agnes (getting my angus and my agnes mixed up), rather than across the ditch at MCA. in having a quick scout around at the contemporary collection and a little peek into the shop before having to shoot back to work, i wondered if i was committing an artcrime in just ‘popping in’ to the gallery.

must one always spend a long time with the work, or will a lunchtime quickie do as well?

of course i spend other times lovingly in galleries for extended periods of time, paying close attention to all the ins and outs, but surely my appreciation for what’s out there is enhanced by a quick peck every now and again. surely it’s about keeping it exciting by having both kinds of experience. right?

and speaking of experiences, i might even take this whole thing a little further and spend the rest of my working weeks before christmas seeing one piece each day i pick up my paper. fully reacquaint myself with the collection and maybe even fall in love with some obscure work from the pre-raphelites that i’ve usually balked at. this could be the beginning of summer lovin’ lunchtime styles!

and speaking of summer lovin’, i think i’m about to jump on the robert hughes bandwagon after seeing the interview with andrew denton tonight.

i must confess that i never fell in love with ol’ hughesy when everyone else was. i was rebelliously reading bachellard and beckett when i should have read bob. and i have a feeling it’s time to repent.
something about his demeanour reminded me of francis bacon – something about the swingin’ 60s, british cad kind of thing, and having fallen in love with frank a while back, it’s time to borrow, or buy the shock of the new. having being introduced to mr hughes the first time around the time of american visions and that ol’ accident, i’m going to avoid that phase until i’ve convinced myself that he’s actually worth pursuing.

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onwards and upwards

another weekend of fun and frivolity with art and music kids, and now she’s exhausted!

on saturday i went up to the last first draft forum for twentylove: onwards. there were some great speakers.

highlights of the afternoon included Reuben Keehan speaking about artspace and the increase of contemporary art spaces and ARIs working collaboratively thanks to not having to fight quite so much for cash, thanks to the Myer Inquiry money. I’ve seen this happening most recently, with 4A being able to use equipment from MCA and artspace easily. Seems that the CAOs are beginning to take a leaf out of the ARIs books 🙂

revisiting soda_jerk‘s reign over the remix was great and i loved their pirate patch style of marketing, with the maxim from dan: “remember that your’e a curator (or artist), not a party organiser”. and being able to speak with aaron seeto was great – aaron had exhibited quite a few times with project and then moved on to bigger and better things (proof again how tops ARIs are) so it was great to put face to name for both of us.

and then a major highlight for me was the 25 predictions for the future from the art life. in true TAL style, it was irreverant, poignant and beautifully executed, despite a case of cottonmouth, which seemed to affect most of the speakers. i laughed my ass off! even when i knew that i had been guilty of number 14, meaning that i’ll probably be up for 25 years imprisonment for a recent post, i loved it! the thing i especially liked is that it was a nice tongue-in-cheek balance for some very in depth and serious discussion about ARIs, contemporary art, commercial galleries, etc.

and then all that seriousness and introspection was highlighted again by our architect swimmer guy, who introduced himself to everyone and made everyone re-introduce themselves, but for the life of me i can’t remember his name. so for the sake of this post, his name is george. george is a regular visitor to first draft, so he’s a persistant civilian, but he was an excellent reminder about contemporary art and art in general being relevant to the general public. we were all exposed as the bunch of haughty snobs we are, and it was fantastic!! favourite quote from george came after anthony whelan re-introduced himself: “sherman galleries hey.. i’ve never heard of it…. ha! just kidding” lol!!

so, after that, it was time for more frivolity at the runway launch at MOP with a trash theme, there was lots of haute plastique, trash couture, karaoke and a few second appearances for some of the forum kids, including Soda_Jerk in runway and Reuban Keehan in the Low show and fantastic Low catalogue interviews. But back to the karaoke. for all my fun and games, i can’t stand karaoke usually. i have a very low cringe factor (see, i’m a snob, i admit it and proud of it) and people singing trashy songs with a variety of talent makes my skin crawl, it’s not personal. however, on saturday night, i managed to stay in the main room for most of the time and even had a quiet trashy boogie with my gorgeous dancing friend Dave [although our best dancing was done in the corridor outside the loos to echo beach by martha and the muffins!]

with jelly shots, champagne, sour lollies and cheese rings, it was a classy night all round and damn impressive. and the issue is just as rad! i’ve only managed to read a few things since having it bought for me on sat, but it’s been delicious. i’ve read the extended remix of the interview by Pete Volich with Christopher Hanrahan, the Chocolate Manifesto by Benedict Ernst, (which i had read previously) and Vicky Papageorgeopolous‘ work is really quite amusing, although i like the work i saw on Shut Up and Follow Me instead, where she did some collaborations with some great artists, like Gerhardt Richter (ie, she put her balls near a Richter painting.. was great!). Am looking forward to reading the other articles in the next couple of days.

I love that an ARI like runway exists: a non-space-based initiative and one that honours the ability of contemporary and emerging artists to straddle various creative forms – writing and printed work. I love that it’s supported by various funding options and i hope it lasts a long, long time! are you listening Arts NSW and Ozco? Probably not, but it’s worth the soap box. and besides, they put on a great party.

After lots of schmoozing and grooving, we then topped the night off by checking out a band called the Kill Devil Hills at the Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills: very Nick Cave/Dirty Three/Geraldine Fibbers. In fact it’s the kind of music that makes couples want to fornicate! i watched 3 separate couples swing and sway, start making out, then leave! If there’s a baby boom in 9 months’ time, blame it on the Kill Devil Hills!

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dancing in ACCA

Gillian Wearing, Dancing in Peckham

i’m a little behind in my gushing over my last trip to ACCA, but thankfully i was reminded this week to write about it, by seeing a work that was so glaringly derivative that it spurred me into action.

“what is she talking about?” i can hear you saying..

she is talking about one YBA called Gillian Wearing.

when i was in ol’ melbourne town celebrating friends’ birthdays, having meetings with board members and laying around in bed with a virus, i did manage to honour my committment to go and check out Living Proof at ACCA. I have been a huge fan of Gillian Wearing since my photography major days and was looking forward to seeing Dancing in Peckham, the video piece which introduced me to her, of which i had only ever seen stills (thanks to Sensation getting canned at the NGA).

Gillian Wearing for me highlights where Australian’s get their sense of humour and taking-the-piss attitude from. Her ability to deride and glorify the british pathetic is awesome and she does so with just enough tongue-in-cheek to take the depression out of it all, but also has enough sadness in there so we have some compassion. When i think of Gillian Wearing, I think of ‘Are You Being Served?’

The exhibition was a survey of her works including her other well-known photographic works Signs: about 30 images of regular brits holding up quite quirky signs that may or may not have related to them. The one i had seen before was the ‘I’M DESPERATE ONE’ held up by quite a suave looking chap with a nice Ray Martin style hair cut. I absoluted pissed myself laughing at two other of those works- one very refined older woman holding up a sign saying ‘HELLO SAILOR’ and an image of two young black twins, one holding up the sign saying ‘I LOVE THE WILLIE’!! I laughed out loud, and i really wish that i hadn’t been in a large, echoing room with a bunch of other people, because i would have laughed louder, believe me. I would have Rolled On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off. No, really.

All the other works were pretty fucking great as well. The self-portraits as members of her family were creepy in a Cindy Sherman kind of way and although I got bored with the video vignettes of people singing their favourite tunes, only because i had reaching my upload limit and there was some really bad singing, i still totally dug the pieces.

But back to Dancing in Peckham.

It wasn’t the only piece there, but boy, it was the biggest drawcard for me. It is the epitome of her black humour, her focus on the vulnerability and dagginess (for want of a better term) of britlife and the schutzpah of saatchi-funded art practice that the YBAs embodied.

The video went for about 34 minutes and i didn’t get to watch the whole thing, but i did go from the beginning and watched for about 10 minutes. The only reason i stopped watching is because i became self-conscious about the noise of my laughing! i pissed myself for about 8 of those minutes, just really enjoying the pastiche dance moves she did with such apparent seriousness, the looks she was getting from the crowds walking past and the absolute style with which she pulled the whole performance off. I couldn’t imagine dancing in front of a camera in the middle of Frankston mall, or Penrith Plaza and be able to sustain it for as long as she did! It was great!

And if anyone has seen Rachel Scott‘s work as part of the fantastic show at First Draft at the moment, curated by Scott Donovan, you’ll see the ‘glaringly derivative’. Perhaps Rachel’s work is supposed to be an appropriation, perhaps i didn’t quite get the significance, maybe to some it wasn’t derivative because Rachel was singing as well as groovin’, but for me – i couldn’t watch it. And unfortunately for Scott’s work, this may just be a matter of timing. Perhaps if i hadn’t so recently seen Peckham, i would have made the link and appreciated it. Unfortunately, it was just too close to home.

By the way, the rest of the work in that show is ace (including Rachel’s other video work) and go check out the Invisible Reading Room – it’s pretty close to heavenly with couches and lamps and loads of cool reading material!

And if you wanna do your own impersonation of Dancing in Peckham, head on down to Lanfranchi’s for the Dance Off! I’ll be there after the 4A opening!

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“bite off more than you can chew, then chew it”

Quote from Ella Williams.

And that about sums up my life at the moment. There is so much happening, so this blog is going to be a mash-up of crap that you all need to hear about. I could have separated it into clearly defined blogs, but i can’t be bothered, so here goes:

Simon Collins, Mine!

This is shameless plug #1. My good friend, painter Simon Collins is having a solo show at Canvas Gallery in Surry Hills. It opened last night and having been sick as a very sick thing, i couldn’t make it. Which is really annoying actually ‘cos he’s a good painter and i was looking forward to going to a show of solid work, minus the sweety dahlink factor.

It runs until 21st October at Studio 47, 61-89 Buckingham St, Surry Hills in Sydney and i’m looking forward to popping in there. I haven’t been to this gallery before so it will be great to check out yet another gallery.

Liminal Personae at Gallery 4A
For those who are regular readers of she sees red, you will know that she, i.e me, has also dabbled in a bit of curating this year, namely a huge project which we got Arts NSW funding for, called liminal personae.

Well, now the show is touring to Gallery 4A in Sydney, which is pretty darn exciting!

A bit of a blurb from the media release:
“This exhibition celebrates the idiosyncrasies of these artists – their particular practices, ideas, concepts, materials, living arrangements, physical or mental circumstances, histories, or lack thereof. The artists involved span a range of disciplines and experience: the curators have rejected the usual practice of showing work by only emerging artists, or only those who have been artists for 20 years or more. This reflects a tradition at 4a of showing the known and the unknown side by side.”

Joanne Handley, one of the artists has a great set of images on her home page

The opening night is next Friday 20th October, 6-8pm at Gallery 4A. For those of you who are in Sydney and couldn’t be assed making it to Wollongong for the first exhibition, you now have no excuse.

early stages of the decay

Update on Entropy at Platform 2: more red stuff
OK, so it’s about 3 weeks now until I head back to Melbourne (again?!) to install at Platform 2. Following on from Benedict Ernst‘s Chocolate Manifesto, the cabinets at Platform 2 will be transformed into a mass of red chaos and degradation for your viewing pleasure.

All tests so far have been successful and i’ve started a collection of red corn paste detritus. Maybe I should donate some of it to Ella Dreyfus’ red exhibition in a few years’ time!

What will be happening is that Sarah Mosca and I are going down to install, which will be a barrel of laughs. seeing as i have to cook my ‘paint’, i’m hoping to film a mock cooking show as part of the installation too! Coming to a recently sold YouTube near you!

Plans for the closing party include an intimate party like ‘room’ at the end of the space and i’m crossing my fingers that i can get hold of a red carpet for the night! Seeing as the exhibition will have come to the end of its cycle by then, i’ll be displaying the remnants of entropy in small frames and they will be for sale. A little souvenir of death and degradation, say.

I’ve also got a bit of a public mischief project up my sleeve for the weekend of installation as well, so if you’re in Melbourne, keep at eye out!

Culture Jammers Rule OK
And speaking of public mischief, i’ve recently become reaquainted with some cool-as-fuck culture jammers and have decided that when i go overseas, i’m going to go into training to become a fully-fledged culture jammer! i’d do it here, but i’ve got no time, and what with these draconian sedition laws about to come into effect, i’d prefer to not spend time in jail.

cool shit i’ve been checking out includes:
graffiti research lab
wooster collective

CutUp’s handywork, lovingly pinched from

Match Makers
Being in Melbourne last weekend I missed First Draft‘s Porcelain Ball and the first round of forums for their Twentylove celebrations. I had a rad time in Melbourne, and i wish that i could’ve been at the forum – sounds like it was a fantastic time!

One great publication that has come out of it is the ARI Match Makers.

Produced by Invisible Inc (those responsible for Runway, in case you’re unaware), it includes interviews with some of the key ARIs around Australia (MOP, Bus, Inflight and Rawspace), nuts’n’bolts info about exhibiting in an artist-run-initiative (which i would like to pass onto as many artists as i know!!!), a map of the Sydney ARIs (it finally got up off the ground, no thanks to the defunct Artport!) and which i’m hoping that gets reproduced a bunch of times, (although i’d like to see it give a shoutout to the regional kids, Project and Field) and a little bit of a description about what ARIs are, for the uninitiated, or the uninitiative.. ha! get it?.. ouch.

she came, she saw, she conquered. now go check out all that stuff!

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smh is repetitive and the artlife is on the money

evidence as follows:

1. today i read the second review of the Juan Davila show by a SMH ‘arts writer’ in as many weeks!

I mean, he’s great, but, please, it’s a little monotonous!
Do Tracey and John go to any other galleries apart from the MCA?
More to the point, does the arts editor actually read the submissions entering his inbox?

2. the artlife’s poll, (that has been running for far too long now, but anyway) is officially gospel.

the top response to Winning an art competition is is
A way to pay off some credit card debt” at 28%.

Today, Lucy Culliton said, when asked what she was going to spend her winnings from the Portia Geach on said “pay of my credit card debt”!!!*

hmmm.. food for thought.

*[lovingly paraphrased from]

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collections and philistines

well after all the heated discussion this week about philistines and bad corporate art collections, I went to the opening of the new round of works from the contemporary collection at agnes wales a little confused.

usually I either take the moral high ground and look at the work from a position of disdain, or, more often than not, with a sense of wonder and naivete, hoping to suck in all the knowledge and excitement about new work.

well, tonight I think I was so preoccupied with the upcoming liminal personae show at Gallery 4A, the meeting I’d had about it earlier in the evening, and the fact that I’d gotten away with telling the truth that sounded like a lie to the woman at the door, that I forgot to put on an opinon before I walked in. probably a good thing.

and as an aside, the truth that sounded like a lie was this: “this afternoon I emailed my very late RSVP to the art gallery and got an email back saying that the door list had already ‘gone downstairs’ and I would have to bring my invitation with me. well, in my haste to get to Chinatown in time, I forgot to take my invitation, but I had actually received one.”
now if I was a door bitch, I wouldn’t let me in, so I’m grateful that the woman either didn’t care, or believed me. which was a relief, ‘cos I was actually telling the truth. I thought about telling an actual lie that sounded like the truth, just to make it easier, but I’m a shithouse liar.

anyway, back to the collection. I was quietly impressed with the works that are on show at the moment. there were a few safe favourites and I thought that the emphasis on bill henson’s early work was a little overdone (a bit like someone boasting that they knew the band before they went platinum), and I thought putting Jenny Watson’s Wings of Desire next to Tracey Emin’s work was a bit mean. The feeling and context of the works are similar, but Emin’s execution and schutzpah far outweighed the aussie girl and she ended up looking like the poor country cousin. As an aside Tracey isn’t listed in the chunky ‘handbook’ but I know I saw her work – I’m a huge fan of the diva.

Jenny WatsonWings of Desire
Image from

Mat CollishawWaterfall
Image from

Other work that really grabbed my attention was the Mat Collishaw Waterfall, which was a digital projection on sandblasted glass, set into a turning mirror frame complimented by a gilted mirror with running water flushing through it, on the floor.

Callum MortonMotormouth
Image from

Seeing some of the big names of Australian contemporary art was quite affirming after seeing the Balnaves project a few weeks ago and for the moment, I don’t feel the need to whinge about state galleries’ inattention to contemporary art. Other stars of the night for me: Janet Lawrence, Mikala Dwyer, Mike Parr, Ernesto Neto, Christine Borland, Callum Morton (swoon!), Ricky Swallow (yes, daggy, but hey) and the return of the Tatsuo Miyajima Region no 126701-1270000 (boy that title reminds me of The Price is Right!). I remember the first time I ever went to AGNSW, this work was on display and it still resonates for me as a commentary on technology, time, surveillance, terrorism, and armageddon.

Tatsuo MiyajimaRegion No. 126701-1270000
Image from

Reading the catalogue (my friend’s copy) on the way home (which is a pretty good buy at $45) my cynicism for public collections has waned slightly. This is helpful really, ‘cos if i have to box myself into a “Commercial Gallery” or “Museum Collection” kind of artist, I’d have to say Museum, so I have to find some hope somewhere. The breadth of Agnes’ Collection is actually quite impressive and the foresight of some of the works purchased is fantastic. And although I know it’s a pain in the ass, I’d like to see more of the collection more often.

But I guess, until then, I need to get that catalogue.

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