Life During Wartime

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2004 No Comments

There is a theory that living The Art Life is like being at war – long periods of boredom followed by furious bursts of excitement. In the past week, John Opit’s missing Cezanne painting was found in a Gold Coast home after an anonymous tip off to the police and, perhaps not coincidentally, less than 24 hours after Opit himself had told the cops he thought he knew who might have it.

Meanwhile, anti-art crusader Ross Cameron won a victory in his long standing battle against the contemporary art collection of Parliament House, Canberra. Instead of spending the $100,000 a year the Old Parliament House shop makes from the sales of tea towels and mugs on contemporary art by emerging artists – which has in the past included art by Patricia Piccinini and Tracey Moffatt – the money will now be spent on prints of pastoral scenes and other proper art.

Then Ricky Swallow was announced as the artist who will represent Australia at the next Venice Biennale – an honour somewhat akin to being asked to attend a trade fair – marking what must be the premature end of his career at the ripe old age of 29. What’s he going to do now we wondered? Fly to the moon on a rocket ship of love?

Next we got an email telling us that Charles Mereweather has been “pushed through” and is going to be the next director of the Sydney Biennale and we have to confess we were shocked, excited, surprised, mystified and then, eventually, drowsy and sleepy. What does it mean? We don’t know!

A friend then rang us up to tell us about all sorts of exciting comings and goings from galleries all over town – so and so is now in Melbourne, what’s his name is going to sue you and the King Pins have joined Kaliman Gallery.

Then we had the startling experience of being verbally attacked at the Sydney Film Festival by an experimental video maker, a veteran experimental video maker/drummer, an advertising-executive-turned-comedy-writer and the former editor of a well known film magazine because we had the temerity to say we thought Lars Von Trier was a c__t! We retired bloody and bruised.

Then it occurred to us that we are at war – there is the war against terror (known to us as TWAT) and as far as we can tell the war on drugs is still being fought – after a shipment of MDA covered won tons was seized in Botany! – and there must be some sort of cultural war being fought as well. We suspect one of the weapons being used in the cultural war is a secret ray gun that induces forgetfulness and lethargy. We know we promised a wrap up of the Biennale artists and God knows we meant it when we said it. Next week for sure! Meanwhile, there are the continuing round of official parallel exhibitions…

The Art Life

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