from one extreme to the other

so after all that DIY action last week, i’m going to make you all swivel 180º and talk about the total high brow, super gloss art publication Australian Art Collector.

This isn’t meant to be a blatant plug for them, in fact, i don’t get a nickel for giving them a shoutout, but after hanging out at my new favourite hidey hole (magnation in elizabeth st melbourne), i bought this quarter’s issue and have been incredibly impressed with it!

i first bought art collector ‘cos Shaun Gladwell was on the front cover and he’s a bit of a spunk, plus i really like his work. lol! and from then on, i kind of got sucked in. What i thought was going to be pure art wank, has turned out to be some pure art critical/journalistic genius sometimes. well, genius may be a little over-the-top, but it’s been really good lately.

this issue features hany armanious, nick mangan, claire healy and sean cordeiro, bill and ann gregory from annandale galleries, fred cress, neon parc, richard bell and the contemporary collector andrew cameron.

this isn’t a feature list of artists who are fuddy-duddy-match-with-your-sofa types – they are all living, contemporary/cutting edge artists (you can’t get more cutting edge than fred cress turning his back on abstraction to go figurative, while driving a bentley!) and the collectors/gallery owners featured aren’t exactly your aristocracy of dealers/collectors either – the neon parc kids are a couple of slick, smart slackers, annandale galleries has been pushing the boundaries of usual gallery representation in sydney for years and the interview with andrew cameron highlighted the excitement of branching out to collect contemporary works – he owns works by daniel von sturmer and shaun gladwell.

other features include an interview with alain de botton about aesthetics and architecture with regards to buying art, a short article on collectives like DAMP, NUCA and Slave as well as the upshot of the Melbourne Art Fair and art fairs in general.

ever since i’ve started buying the magazine regularly, these are the kinds of articles that have been appearing inside! i’ve been shocked!

the ads are still full of the same old same old guard of galleries and collector’s artists that i associate with trad art collectors, but as an emerging artist, it’s nice to see that at least the editorial is becoming a little more progressive and as a reader, actually interesting to read! i know that this magazine has the power to completely swing an art market, so seeing them profiling some fantastic contemporary artists restores a smattering of faith in the whole game.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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
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Mat CollishawWaterfall
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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
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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
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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.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx