Biennale Party: Worrying Developments

Art Life , Reviews Jun 03, 2004 No Comments

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of days as The Art Life ascends the social ladder. We never thought we’d live to see the day we’d be at an opening chatting with comedian Mikey Robbins and seafood chef bloke Rick Stein, but there we were, beers in our hands, nodding and smiling as Rick said to Mikey, “So… how do you get a turtle? And how do you drown it?”.

Then there was the issue of our ripped pants, the lack of tickets to various openings and the smell of steamed cabbage wafting through The Art Gallery of NSW like an old man’s doss house. But even more worrying was the development of dreaming and imagining things and next day not being sure whether we actually told the funniest joke of our lives or perhaps it was just an illusion? We are on shaky ground.

So, when we were at the Museum of Contemporary Art and we saw Edmund Capon in his trademark mandarin jacket, we had a complete mental seizure – where were we? – where was Elizabeth Ann Macgregor? – and indeed, what time was love? We saw Mick Jagger but then we realised it was Bill Gregory, the gallery guy from Annandale Galleries (which we are always surprised to discover is still open for business) talking to Joan Grounds, who doesn’t look like a better-looking Laurie Anderson anymore, but a really beautiful Klaus Kinski. Kerry Crowley walked up the path with Catherine Moline like they were gonna kick some arse and take some names while academic tough guy Alan Cholodenko was hanging out the front of rock’n’roll high school in his leather jacket and zip gun looking for all the world like a member of The Jets (the gang, not the band).

All of that took place with a few seconds and we were reeling – Aaron Seeto was there with someone who looked like they might be a famous architect, then there was a really familiar looking bloke with Kathy Cavaliere, some guy who works for Woolley’s Wheels, Ash Hempsall with his mother and either Grant or Pirrie from GRANT PIRRIE, A Guy in A Bowtie, painters Lucinda Chambers and Katrina Pym, Michael Hutak freelance writer and former editor of Australian Art Collector, Anthony Bataglia famous for being the world’s most miserable man, not to mention a whole gaggle of former Sarah Cottier gallery artists like Mathys Gerber (who was proving that wearing a brown suit isn’t a fashion mistake if you have the right “fuck off” attitude), Cottier herself with husband Ashley Barber and former assistant and currently curator at the Queensland Art Gallery, Nicholas Chambers. And let’s not forget Merilyn Fairskye, David Haines, Joyce Hinterding, Brad Miller, Alex Kershaw, Kathy Temin, Roslyn and Tony Oxley, Gary Warner, Tim and Mick Gruchy, Mike Boswell, Emil Goh,Bronwyn Clarke-Coolee, Susan Norrie, Lisa Andrew, Pat Corrigan and Akira Kurosawa.

As our eyes started to wobble we thought we saw Pretentious Pony The Fashionable Talking Horse, but we knew that was a cross-blog impossibility and went to the bar for a drink. We got ahold of three drinks – two glasses of red and a glass of champagne – and stood next to a table and watched a video that was being screened which was a “behind the scenes” explanation of how the whole Biennale at the MCA was put together. It turns out it’s a lot of work and very tough on the staff. As we watched we felt calmer and were about to go outside when we saw Pretentious Pony sidle up next to us and put her hoofs on the bar and order a scotch on the rocks.

“What have you seen?” we asked.

“People are everywhere and dressed in all sorts of fashionable clothing,” said The Pony.

“Like what?”

The horse shook her head and then pointed out someone walking past with a suit coat on and a scarf.

“There’s been a lot of scarves and ill-advised suit jackets,” she said. “There has also been a lot of behaviour!”

“Like what?”

Pseudo, quasi and possibly crypto model girls walking about in flat shoes, languildy leaning back against pillars while watching video art, throwing back their heads and laughing a knowing laugh!”

“Oh my god!”

“Yes, but there is more,” said The Pony. “We have also observed a high level of gloss lipstick that has been buffed to a mirrored-sheen and I have adjudged it to be highly dangerous.”

“What other clothing have you seen?”

“Ah,” she said. “Bowler hats have made a shock return as have constructions in net and feather.”

“No way,” we said, not believing a word of it.

“Well, look there,” Pretentious Pony said as she gestured with her hoof towards a woman wearing a bowler hat and a blue body stocking.

“We stand corrected.”

Andrew Frost

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