pink bits (NSFW)

oh hai!

apologies for the big gap in my writing there. i haven’t really felt like writing much in the last couple of weeks – i barely opened my laptop.

having landed in london and started to check out quite a bit of art and a bit of space to myself for a few days (thanks age!), i’ve got the inclination to write again. a bit.

for those who’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably remember when i was living here, i went to a gallery every day for 6 months. i think i’ll start that up again.

even in just the few days i’ve been here, there have been some interesting themes popping up in the works i’ve seen.

one of those is erotic, explicit or visceral imagery.

pink bits

i’m not afraid of seeing pink bits in art, but it’s kind of unusual in london for me to see a lot of it. i imagine the english in prime awkwardness getting all hot under the collar when they view it. perhaps because of that, there’s also an amazing contemporary custom of art that pushes sex and viscera (think gilbert and george, cosey fanni tutti, chapman bros, sue webster and tim noble, trace, leigh bowery). perhaps there’s another cycle of art and artists that are sick of being all nicey nicey between the sheets.

**naughty bits coming up **

patricia picinini at haunch of venison

she’s part of a group show, observer, in the eastcastle gallery (which is a great show, by the way) and is presenting two works that are the kind of work i like about this australian artist – the creepy, hairy, orificial, cronenberg-esque, fleshy silicone.

these two relief works are hairy and contain two quite different images – one with obvious orifices, boobs, foreskin, parted human hair. it’s primal. animal. engorged and wet in so many ways;

the other an apparent floral arrangement that william morris might be proud of – if he was, in fact, into arseholes and body hair.

the gallery staff said that most people are grossed out by the works. which delighted me no end. of course.

the back room (female beauty), curators’ series #5 (bouvard and pĂ©cuchet’s compendious quest for beauty) at david roberts foundation

this show is really great – featuring the works of some excellent artists (shrigley, turk, demand – to name a few). and there’s also a naughty back room, featuring works by sarah lucas, valie export, john currin and man ray. (images: the spectator by susan meiselas and napoli by john currin)

there are ladies’ spread legs, muffs, images of cunnilingus and fellatio, prostitues, fucking and a beautiful  painting of a girl getting a lovely fingering in naples.

mary reid kelly at dublicowicz collection*
not that this was super racy, but there was a slightly macabre, naked grotesqueness about the play/video accompanied by sexual overtones in the text and dialogue. word images of a uterus, muff and some more boobs for good measure.
family jules NNN (no naked niggahs) by barkley j. hendricks at tate modern

a beautiful black man odalisque painting – leg up, showing off his penis, gaze straight at the viewer, white couch and decorative background. the style of painting is quite like some of the americans – eric fishl and ewan uglow, but the pose is all lucien freud and the tone is all chris offili. it’s brilliant.
in a room full of portraits of white men and women, it was so powerful and sexy.

telephone box calling cards
i forgot that this is what the phone boxes are still hanging around for. i know, not art per se, but still london arousal. they’re such an arresting sight – all those boobs, stars, posturing and phone numbers in a physically contained, but very exposed space. a welcome reminder that londoners are actually a whole lot more public about their titillation than i give them credit for.

i’m loving this mini ‘trend’ to my viewing. there really wasn’t enough sexy art i was seeing back home and it’s the perfect time and i’m in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. i’m craving something not-so-vanilla, provocative, uncomfortable, illicit. and relishing the space and anonymity for it that big cities like london can provide.

*i’ll be writing about the show at this gallery later (because it rocked my socks, yo).

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


on wednesday night, the latest bill henson show opened at tolarno galleries in melbourne. i couldn’t make the opening, so went with my best friend – a photographer – on friday afternoon as part of a lovely art mission.

despite being vehemently against his early, highly-suspect means of procuring wasted junkie models, i have been a fan of bill henson’s work since my photography undergrad degree back in the last decade (sssh. i’m scared how long it’s been too).

his early, dramatic cut and tape works that replicated romantic painting and baroque ceiling frescoes captured my heart and i have had a soft spot for his dark ways ever since. even in this post, i’ve defended his practice against a silly art-ish writer muppet who was convinced he was a conceptual artist.

and despite this, i walked into the beautiful art deco foyer of the tolarno building with a vague sense of cynicism.

after all the hyperbole of that bloody roslyn oxley show, and all the rah-rah-wah-wah surrounding the use of children in art, i held little hope that bill’s work could still be so strong and beautiful and dark. i was actually expecting him to just phone it in and reproduce some old stuff, or keep away from the human, adolescent figure at all. i think i would have even forgiven him a mild resignation. i mean really, it must have been fucking exhausting listening to kevin rudd, former prime minister and part-time minister for expressing aesthetic opinion, find his work ‘revolting’ – like he’d even stood in front of one. or to be the subject of yet another miranda devine tirade, boldly going where no brain cell has gone before.

if there was a sign on the gallery door saying ‘sorry, bill’s moved to iceland, where he is surrounded by erudite and educated individuals’, i would have sighed with disappointment, but understood.

but instead, bill henson has just kept doing what bill henson does. none of the images in this series are particularly shocking – i honestly think they hardly ever were. but in this show, he has strengthened the comparison between the ‘disgusting’ naked, nubile, human form of his photographs and the images of naked, nubile, ‘depraved’ form of jesus and friends that titian and michaelangelo made that the masses ram themselves in to see.

he also returns more firmly to the link between body and landscape – the dark, dangerous, mysterious and isolated aspects of nature’s elemental forms, and those equivalent in the human figure.

someone from the murdoch mafia will probably find something in this series to have a whinge about.  delta bloody goodrem‘s marriage is front page fodder, surely a bunch of thin, sickly teenagers in dark moody photos is something to feature, right?

but for the rest of melbourne who haven’t quite lost the function of their frontal lobes, go and see this show. it is beautiful.

yes, i used the word beautiful.

image credits: 
bill henson, untitled 1995-6 pinched from the monash university globe back catalogue
bill henson, untitled 2011 pinched from the age

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