Not Have Way

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2004 No Comments

As Steve Martin so eloquently put it, some people have a way with words while other people… not have way. Artists, however, can do anything they set their minds to – paint pictures, make movies, start a band, write a novel, put out a magazine – and the great thing is that it’s all art.

We discovered that Un Magazine has a second issue out and it’s available on the web in a colour PDF version and there’s a supplement section that’s exclusive to the Projekt site. As we’ve mentioned previously, we support initiatives like Un Magazine and can say without hesitation that the editor Lily Hibberd and designer Brendan Lee are doing a hell of a good job. Unfortunately the writing dips from the merely adequate to the preposterously bad, as this lead paragraph by Billy Gruner on the opening of Peloton Gallery shows. Under the title Peloton: an art critical space appears in the material city he began:

“It seems an understatement to claim there is a crisis concerning the lack of credible exhibition spaces in Sydney. In post 20th century terms, this is an issue that local and visiting artists alike must attend. There are two fundamentally important aspects of the ‘artist run space.’ The first concerns accessibility, the second is what they provide virtually gratis to culture. In short, these are significant places for the establishment of new ideas, yet despite Sydney’s profile as a contemporary centre of art it is clear that the needs of a generally impoverished local milieu and the mounting requests of as many artists from other places, outweigh the capacity of the few existing venues who struggle to maintain. And if the ‘artist run space’ in Sydney is now more important than ever, it is reasonable to claim that this lack has as much to do with rising real estate values and with how their social significance remains underrated by critics, collectors and those who administer the institutionalisation of art.”

Can you imagine the freak-out Microsoft Word must have been doing when he typed that up? LONG SENTENCE, GRAMMAR, CONSIDER REVISING! DANGER, DANGER! etc. This is a piece of writing so badly in need of an edit that including it, even if only in the web supplement, brings down the tone of the whole publication. A piece of writing like Gruner’s may well raise a few “issues” but it does so in prose so convoluted and difficult to read that anyone not directly involved with the issues could hardly care less. If Un Magazine is going to survive, then the editors need to take an axe to articles like this.

Runway magazine, now on its fourth issue, is a publication put out by First Draft Gallery and it’s a much more traditional artist’s magazine. Edited by David Lawrey, Emma White, Rachel Scott and Jaki Middleton, Runway uses the printed form for artist’s projects instead of trying to replicate a mainstream publication. The latest issue is about work and the contributors responded in different ways. Our favourite stories are the personal responses to the theme, such as Gerry Bibby’s photocopies of documentation from his run in with Centrelink over his (non) enrolment at VCA and Paul Donald’s conflation of work and love and black coffee. Emma White has included a diary of her anxiety dreams over her art career:


I dreamt about the Helen Lemp – that they split the prize between four joint winners, ten grand each, including me. I was very upset until I realised this was still enough to spend six months in Prague and then I was happy as it was a pretty good result. Then somehow I realised that it was a dream because it hadn’t been judged yet, and it changed to my sister explaining to me that this other artist whose work was hung next to mine had won; her work was all black like Sarah Smuts-Kennedy‘s Photo Technica work. The artist had been dead for two years (she had died aged seventeen) and was Aboriginal, and everyone thought it was a beautiful thing to do in her memory. I was angry – “what’s the bloody use of it to her?” Then I realised that Helen from Artspace (who was called Rebecca) had re-hung my work. The lists were all missing and all this other crap was sitting on the shelf, and the photos had been re-pinned so that they overlapped and were pinned in the wrong places. I was just kicking up a big stink and ranting and screaming when I woke up.”

We can totally relate to dreams like this: every time we entered the HQ Short Story Competition we kept having dreams that our fantastically original short story had come second to a Year 10 History essay on the First Fleet that some kid had written and illustrated with traced drawings from an encyclopedia. The unconscious is such a cruel place.

We should also mention that Jaki Middleton has included an article called All-time Top 5: Recipes with some amazing recipes that includes a dessert called Angela’s Chocolate-Orange Mousse. We made it on Saturday night and we have to tell you, it’s sensational!

The Art Life

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