What’s Next?

Art Life Aug 01, 2006 No Comments

Last week The Art Life asked a number of our readers the question – what’s next? Interpretation of the question was left open and entirely at the discretion of the respondents. We present here a selection of the responses thus far, ranging from actual predictions of the future including [but not limited to] fashion, art, salsa dancing, unaided human flight and the correct preparation for cooking a rabbit…

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Philip K. Dick eating Cheerios out the box. No milk. Dry like his sense of humour. He’s fine with how it went down. Enough time has passed and some dreams just don’t work anymore. It’s jake by him that the youngsters are swapping baseball cards and making stadium rock. Fine that Daniel Lanois is raking it in with our culture’s regenerated yearning for the FM dial, turning it like the feet of kids in sneakers dropping their unlit matches in the suburbs and making for the vineyards in Jeep Cherokees. Bruce Mau blowing off Renzo Piano to re-package Larry Clark. This is all just part of The Super Acceptable. Nice politics, nice neo-Liberalism, nice gestures programmed to exist as a default setting. The punk kids are not punk kids but the Gap Youth League. A whole generation wearing chinos and Rockports breathing the word “campus” in through their nostrils and infilling their ink and yearning for Madelaine, walking and talking like Josh, making notes in the pages of their journals and on the tapes of their camcorders about Condoleezza Rice’s pant-suit of the hour, her demure way with a sonata. Thinking everything bigger and bigger and still getting the details down. Doing it Don DeLillo style, following sweeping curve balls out of the park and watching fractured-narrative movies in the day-time and driving into the deserts to watch the bombs go off. Still, we shouldn’t judge or make fun of their claymations, because, when all’s said and done they’re just dealing with the fact of conscription the same way me and Martin Sheen’s generation did – making manifestoes and calling it presidential poetry for the people. They’re as afraid as we were. I get the internalising of the structures of the horror and the way they’ve equated them with success. After all, every one of us is acting like a Statesman now, and that’s the best kind of reassurance of our disconnectedness we can hope for in this new world. And Philip is fine with the hopelessness of that ‘cause the only explosions he’s hearing these days are confined to jazz, his head in the clouds of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, who were always gonna be a part of his future. Forget politics, saxual healing is the real healing. Get up, get up, get up, get up, get up, let’s make love tonight – Robert Cook.

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More good ideas and interesting excursions into materiality; less derivative coma-inducing sameness and local big-fish posturing. And some more breaks (financial and otherwise) for Artist-Run Initiatives and spaces – Dr Dougal Phillips

*August 2006

  • Sadly but unsurprisingly, Kim Beazely has a heart attack and drops dead. Peter Garrett replaces him as the new federal opposition leader. Mark Latham returns to politics and is made Shadow Minister for the Arts and promises to abolish the Australia Council.

September 2006

  • An anonymous group of MySpace users claim that they are bored with typing the words “thanks for the add”
  • 90s retro movement sees renewed interest in new-age spirituality and non-traditional percussion instruments and the influence is seen in commercial galleries.

October 2006

  • A huge wave of Yitzhak Rabin fashion accessories appear street markets around the world.
  • Westfield starts work on a mega mall in the Gaza Strip and everyone is pleased.
  • Human organ cloning is tipped to become second biggest global industry within next ten years, after logistics.
  • Orlan becomes the official “face” for the Doc Martens brand.

November 2006

  • Outdoor wall sculpture on dwellings become a popular status symbol in Kellyville and similar locales.
  • John Howard staves off recession fears by announcing tax relief for the Staghorn industry.

December 2006

  • Elvy Sukaesih and Rhoma Irama embark on a world tour with The Cure.
  • Ed Kuepper takes up carpentry.
  • An Australian state capital city begins work on a tourist attraction – a major public building based on the sculpture of Geoffrey Bartlett.
  • UTS gains full control over future developments at the National Art School.
  • A survey by Australian Art Collector reveals that recently, most art buyers have been buying what they like.

NB: All predictions are baseless and should not be taken as business, personal or professional advice – Grice Grocers

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The grinding of gears – Anonymous

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What’s next? At the very least, there are in the foreseeable future nine hundred and some odd more simpleposie questions for the day! best to all the art lifers
– Jennifer McMackon

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This is what’s next, so I’m told… Rabbits should be gutted as soon as they are shot or trapped. Simply slit through the stomach fur and skin with a very sharp pointed knife, making a lengthwise cut of about a hand’s span up towards the chest. Stand on the animal’s well separated back feet while doing this, and pinch up the belly skin to prevent cutting into the intestines. Then grasp the head and front paws in one hand, hind legs in the other and use an abruptly halted outward swing to flick out the entrails.

Skin the animal by pushing the thighs of the hind legs up through the gutting slit and peeling the skin down over the feet. It should tear off just below the first joint. Then, holding the back feet together in one hand, use your free hand to haul the skin down over the shoulders and head. Pull the front legs back through the skin, which should tear off just behind the feet. Cut off the head (which will be inside the pelt), front and back feet. Remove lungs and heart from chest cavity and wash the carcass well. Soaking in salty water for an hour or so makes the flesh lighter in colour.

Parboil the rabbit, then fry in pieces after coating with an egg and breadcrumb mix. Or you can roast your rabbit in a Breville sandwich maker, or make it the basis of a stew, in which you can share with your depraved artist friends over a lovely cask of cheap red wine that you should pick up from your local BWS shop.

Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy what will be the next artistic and culinary trend – Nigel Milsom

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Since we’ve been around the recycle bin about twenty times lately and have come up short with the late 90s revival, I’m predicating a bold return to Fauvism. I also suspect Sebastian Smee will be Johnny-on-the-spot with the job of heralding this step into the sensible and Macca will be his handmaiden – Fred Fred.

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Following two years of art jail, I am trying to schedule a regular day off. I hope, like a normal person, to use this day for reading, walking and cooking, and not feel too strange. Please feel free to send advice – Lily Hibberd

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Craig Waddell has a salsa party tonight, and I’m about to eat baked salmon for lunch.

Crikey, I’m having one of those days where I feel like I’ve escaped the space time continuum altogether – but it could be that I’ve just got too many friends moving to Adelaide….. There is no “what’s next” – I reckon the future only exists as a realm of possibilities that provide an imperative to act in the present.

So death is all that is next. Death and more boredom and more extreme terror and gloom and tedium……

Once the telly gets turned off – then it’s more of the same, getting up, trucking on. People will continue to do interesting stuff, nice corners of surprises will open up – and dickheads will appropriate/sell off/ban what ever looks like too much fun, and so people will move on and do more stuff.

Some boys round the corner in Newtown have got a fun squat party in a fortnight. They’re gonna show some videos and do that funky Melbourne street art stencil thing… then they’ll be evicted, the place will get demolished and remodeled as funky inner-city warehouse style apartments for bland investor/ superannuated slave thirty-somethings whose idea of culture consists of trivia nite at the local pub.

And as my local streetscape gets eviscerated, and I have travel further for a decent bit of fruit, art or conversation… and the squatters move away, they’ll find somewhere else, and keep on going. Making art, making connections, making shit up. Making interesting and intelligent responses to boredom and stupidity, of which there is plenty more to come – Mayhem

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What’s next? I’m reminded of that urban myth where the final Philosophy degree exam question was “Why?” And the student who answered with “Why Not?” got a HD. What’s next? Who knows? If I’m being asked ‘what’s next?’ as in, The Next Big Thing in the Art life – I would probably say “I’m sick of wondering and sick of people asking. I’m sick of that being the way that the world thinks. Go read about it in some News Ltd tabloid!” If I’m being asked ‘what’s next?’ as in, “What are you Working on?” I could wax lyrical about the kinds of stuff I’m working on, the theories, the materials, etc but I would probably just answer – “read my blog, it’s easier” If I’m being asked ‘what’s next?’ as in, What do when you Don’t know what you’re Doing? I’d say “just keep putting one foot in front of the other” Or, to be facetious, I think my final answer would just be “number 42” Cheers! – Lauren Brown

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Maybe its a bit on the long side but if your going to ask to question of “what’s next?” I think you have to map out a bit of the logic of how you’re going to get there, particularly if recognise that you have some agency in shaping what’s next.

What’s Next? Unassisted Human Flight. Current investigations into the possibility of unassisted human flight have developed from information received through dreams and a daily practice in the body arts of yoga and Tai Chi. The first of the dreams that is relevant to this discussion suggests that in order to fly it is necessary for the feet to have a kind of energetic conversation with the ground. The ‘speaking’ aspect of this conversation involves sending energy (which might also be described as ‘prana’ or ‘chi’ depending on the tradition) through the base of the feet toward the ground, while the ‘listening’ aspect involves developing a sensitivity toward the way the ground responds to the energy emanating from the base of the foot.

For practitioners of the body arts already adept at moving chi or prana around their bodies, the speaking aspect is generally relatively easy to master. The listening required to become air-born is, however, somewhat more difficult. It requires an expansion of the body practice to develop a far greater degree of sensitivity in the soles of the feet, an area of the body often neglected in our hand-centric society. As this sensitivity develops we witness the parallel development of a more profound understanding of the nature of the energetic connection between the ground and the feet.

When we adopt the conventional mode of moving around on the surface of the planet – commonly known as ‘walking’ – we are implicitly accepting the dictates of gravity. This acceptance is reflected by the feet adopting what, for the moment, we will call a passive-energetic-state. The energy flowing through the feet in such a state is wholly under the influence of the active ground force which we know as gravity, (as sensitivity develops such active/passive distinctions become less relevant, but for the moment they are useful in describing the phenomenon).

In the passive-energetic-state prana, (or chi), moves through the legs in a way which is roughly analogous to the flow of blood. Assisted by gravity in the standing position, blood will move to the base of the feet with relative ease; however its journey back to the heart will generally be more difficult. During longer periods of time spent standing the accumulation of blood in our feet and legs can cause pain. While it’s useful to compare prana to blood flow there are some important differences. Rather than accumulating in the feet and legs in the standing position prana leaks out through the base of the feet and in energetic terms the pain we feel in our feet, (a pain which might also be associated with blood flow) can be traced to a consistent loss of energy through the sole of the foot while it is in its passive-energetic-state. In this instance the active ground force draws the prana out through the base of the foot.

At this point it is useful to introduce what in the yogic tradition is called a ‘bandha’ (which can be translated as ‘lock’), and with it introduce what might be seen as one of a number of ‘apparent contradictions’ that are central to the development of the sensitivity required for unassisted human flight. Earlier in this text it was suggested that in order to fly we must send “energy through the base of the feet toward the ground” with this movement of energy seen as the ‘speaking’ component of a conversation between the feet and the ground. While this is true, the sole of the foot must first be ‘locked’ in order to prevent the prana being drawn out through the base of the feet by the active ground force. This energy ‘lock’ or ‘seal’ fosters the sort of control necessary for it to be released, or perhaps more correctly, expanded, in a meaningful and articulate way which then, in turn, facilitates the dialogue between the ground and the feet.

So whereas previously this dialogue was conceived of as the sending energy through the feet to the ground we now arrive at a more subtle conception of the process, whereby the energy is first contained by the bandha, and it is then this container which expands and enters into the ‘conversation’ with the ground. At this point it is important to note that while the extremities of the physical body provided us with an initial picture of the boundaries within which prana may move such boundaries do not correspond to the layers of skin which we might consider to be the limits of our physical presence. Rather the body is merely the starting point in developing a consciousness of prana as a force that moves through all matter – Ben Denham

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Whats next? World peace… – Monika Behrens

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Good question. I can’t be too sure…I do wonder if it will involve human corpses and cutting folks open, having a good old poke around the innards, that sort of stuff. Someone was telling me recently there is an artist doing this kind of work, maybe on the TV? Is this true? It sounded like an interesting show. I can imagine this catching on. Gizzard art? That could be next. Or maybe that could be the thing after the next thing, no, two things after the next thing – Mark Hetherington

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Tuesday will still follow Monday and things will remain as conservative and reflexive as they are now for a while longer. Back in 1979 Imants Tillers (whose work I respect b.t.w.) was in the Biennale of Sydney, John Howard was Treasurer and Malcom Fraser was a hated conservative Prime Minister. Now Malcom Fraser is a respected voice for moderation and reconciliation which just goes to show that these days you have to look for change in places that you do not expect to find it. So on this basis, I think that what is next is a period of zombie art where buried forms of traditional practice are brought back from the dead. Theory will make a return like one of those intruders from the old Big Brother episodes who are invited back into the house. But this time it will be a little more transparent and more likely located in sub-cultural performance practices and be a little less a recipe for distance. Artists will start to read more literature and make beautiful, complex and time consuming things partially as a reaction to the horror of the present and partially because there will be less anthropology and the easy re-categorization of common place objects as art; if for no other reason than it so transparently reeks of pseudo religious transubstantiation. As a consequence curators will start to wear a little less of that religious black that makes them look like suburban priests and may evidence more empathy for artworks than networks, Pro Hart will get a major museum show and a group of asian australian artists will repaint the Arthur Streeton paintings from the first australian exhibition at the Biennale of Venice in 1958, proving that some things change and some things do not – Gary Carsley

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Creative Survival: The Final Act. Gather your friends around, find yourself a warm dry seat and hang on for a wild ride. The ending should be pretty clear within 20 years even if it’s another 100 years until the curtain falls. I’m sorry that I’ll probably be leaving before the end, I always enjoyed Grand Guignol – Ian Milliss

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What next? It is nice to have a change as introspective teen-pack videos, photos and highly detailed sneaker wall drawings bite the dust to make way for something new… I have my suspicions that the trend may be towards edgy low-tech, retro 30s/40s style things, or perhaps a continuation of perfectly untidy, wonderful sometimes quasi-anthropological works (Mathew Monahan for example), also props, sets – things theatrical in appearance, function and form and finally as the novelty of computers in art expires (well almost) the pickings of computer generated works for art galleries will be more selective hence some good, evolved stuff there. I will keep on painting pictures – Sally Ross

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What’s next? That is of course partially determined by what has come before, however, we seem to have popped out the other side of a very long string of ‘isms’ and relaxed into a less reactive mode of artistic production. Trying to self consciously define where we are in an art historical moment no longer seems to be a primary concern in the process of making art.

The fact that we have officially embraced painting into the realm of contemporary art, alongside video art, installation, new media and any other possible means for visual communication suggests to me that we have come full circle. Maybe things aren’t quite utopian but it does seem that anything goes as long as you do what you set out to do well.

The most recent ‘ism’, postmodernism, was largely driven by a desire to deconstruct and examine established structures which create meaning. As a result some of the less self conscious, more expressive elements of art making took a back seat. After a certain amount of time this seems rather one sided and intellectual fatigue sets in. I think we will see more artists dabble in unashamedly personal work, utilising the aesthetics developed during post modernism. Darren Sylvester comes to mind as an example, his work is cool and slick in appearance but at the same time could be viewed as almost embarrassingly personal in content. Artists are getting braver when it comes to establishing an emotional, as well as intellectual connection with the viewer.

Perhaps we now acknowledge that it is possible to use symbols to create meaning without being prescriptive and that the resulting ambiguity can be powerfully suggestive and psychologically engaging. Skulls have emerged as a motif in several artists work over the past couple of years, Ricky Swallow, Ben Quilty and Jodie Maurer have all used them in different ways. I am intrigued by this renewed interest in a traditional motif of our mortality. This may sound boring but I do think something we will see is a re-examination of ‘the big questions’ in art expressed in ways that are relevant to society now. Life, death and the complex and at times dark experience of being human which to me is never boring. Call me old fashioned but I find this possibility exciting Halinka Orszulok

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More obfuscating spin from leading arts institutions fending off scrutiny about the conflicted interests of cultural gatekeepers – Stephen Feneley

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Retro-futurism – Soda Jerk

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I can’t predict what will or could happen next in the ever-changing world of many kinds of art; new media, for example: don’t ask me. What I can predict though is something very interesting that is going to happen very very soon within the realm of Aboriginal art. I think we are experiencing a shift in terms of the control of Aboriginal art: I hope this goes back to being in the hands of the artists themselves, but I think mostly I hope that we can learn to differentiate between that dreadful term: ‘carpet bagger’ from ‘carpet bagger’. Someone who kidnaps Aboriginal people to get them to paint, for example, is very very different to someone for whom Aboriginal artists choose to paint for. And I hope we can begin to train our eyes properly to see this, as evidenced by the quality of the work produced. I hope people begin to trust their own eyes. I also am wondering what’s going to happen to our booming auction industry now that the paintings are running out… In terms of art in general I think the new generation of dealers and artists are coming up now which will lead to a dramatic change of sorts, and I also think stencil and graffiti art is going to be huge. Bigger than it is already – Sublime-ation

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New for 2007 – an hysterical over-reaction to the threat of global terrorism – oh sorry, that was last year. My predictions for the new year: greater commitment from the Oz Co for new media in this country, realistic funding for the arts in tertiary education, some tangible recognition of local artists by Sydney’s major public galleries, and a return to serious coverage of visual arts in the mainstream media. Oh, and peace will come to the Middle East and John Howard will disappear gracefully – Scott Donovan

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  • I badly need to update my website and promote my current show which is on at N.E.R.A.M in Armidale N.S.W (finishes August 29th).
  • Tossing up if I should continue being festival coordinator for Stanwell Park’s Festival of Flight.
  • Catching up with some artists to work out a few ideas I have for a collaborative show.
  • Continuing to paint a new show and also complete two commissions I have.
  • Arrange monthly dates and venues for “Alula Lounge”. A night time event for northern dwellers of the Illawarra.
  • Organising an under 18’s Graffiti show down at the Clifton School of Arts for November this year.
  • Heading off to New York in October to immerse myself in music, art, and new adventures.
  • Growing some balls that will enable me to show my portfolio to galleries over there.
  • Casting some sculptures and chasing up interested “patrons”


Sarah Parker

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On a macro level it seems sadly that what is next is more Israeli and US (and Australian sponsored) madness in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East and time spent watching the news and wanting to cry. On a more positive micro level I just quit my job so lots more time to pursue some projects I am excited about – Zanny Begg

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I’m going to make a work about Mamdouh Habib – Vicki Papageorgopoulos.

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So what’s next?

In terms of specific art works, I see a future in kinetic craft.

I also see a strong future in localised and regionalised art practices that are relevant to Australia’s very dispersed population. Our non-breeding population is slowly moving away from the urban centres thanks to various government and business initiatives and people seeking a better quality of life. Engaging regional audiences and developing artists in these unique areas can be achieved in a number of ways, for instance, by establishing regional and rural Artist Run Initiatives and offering ARI internships in urban areas, linking artists with business or travel/studio exchange opportunities, and offering international artist exchange programs with other regional artistic areas around the world.

Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs) have laid the foundations for the next growth phase in contemporary art practice. Over the next few years, we will see many of these ARI and related groups step up from operating as small independent spaces to take a new place as a networked market force. For a number of years now, ARIs have been providing the much-needed injection of energy into creative youth development, often providing the only exhibiting and professional development opportunities to young, disadvantaged and cross-discipline artists.

The outcomes from ARI funded activities will have a bigger impact on the future of the Australian contemporary art community than any other recent development. Compare the current ARI movement with an independent artistic group from the 1970s like Melbourne’s Pram Factory theatre group who individually went on to become some of Australia’s most important figures in shaping our political and artistic future. Some of the names involved back then were: Jack Hibberd, Graeme Blundell, David Williamson, Helen Garner, HG Nelson, Max Gillies and even Bob Hawke who helped keep the place open. Right now, you may not be all that familiar with the movers and shakers of the bigger Sydney or Melbourne ARIs but one day these people may very well be running our country!

My blanket slogan at the moment is: get an opinion.

We all need to get off our apathetic arses and get an opinion. It doesn’t matter whether we are right or wrong. What matters is that we bother to find out what is going on in the world around us, that we talk to people who we don’t know about things we don’t understand. Better to be wrong and learn something about life and yourself than sponge off the spin of the media and leave the decisions to politicians. The world is all about change – so get over it, get used to it, and most of all¦GET AN OPINION! Otherwise we’re all fucked – Art Pimp

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It was a terrible time to be alive

The proliferation of addressing the public publicly had taken its toll
Rhetoric had been gathering in the polar-regions for the past few
thousand years
And it was predicted – that by the year 2006
Our sunlight would struggle to penetrate the spoken word

Booming baby boomers had come at a great cost
Four-wheel-driving between motivational talks
Life coaches and exhibition openings
Our predecessors had left us with a
Substantial environmental debt

Generation Regeneration sought to balance the deficit
Asphyxiating the parental vocal chords with still slippery umbilical
The Silent Majority expressed itself from an early age
Death was a volume control
A mouth muffler – catalytic converting

Towards the end of 2006 the human voice had been prohibited altogether
On the spot fines and surgical procedures for repeat offenders
Enabled the brain to at last – function
Utilising the 100% hitherto unused potential – we started to make sense
As the stratosphere took breath, we non-verbally communicated

We painted pictures of our sick selves and presented them to our bosses
We fell in love spontaneously and erected installations on the footpath –
Inviting our subjects to dance
We made love silently as we thought about
The Visual Arts

By the year 2007 our World Leaders were all practicing artists
Exhibiting rather than electioneering – they were magnificent.
Oil paint was purchased by the barrel – peacefully
Whilst underground dwelling practitioners sniffed industrial adhesives
Patted kittens and worked tirelessly on Swedish automobiles

It was ok to be alive

– What

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A Dreamorama for the Future

The Art World will change in the following ways:

Artists will celebrate and support each others achievements.

Curators will ardently seek out the darling and the relevant.

Political Art will valued , collected and exhibited.

Curators will review the work of mid career artists.

Retrospective’s will occur in the artist’s lifetime with the artists imput.

Questions on what contributes to a distinct Australian Culture will be of PRIME significance in all our institutions.

This is a complex question and will be approached thoughtfully.

Curators will collaborate with artists in designing their shows.

Guest curators will be invited to create stimulating and provcative shows.

Artists will be invited to co-curate shows.

Women artists will be regarded as distinct and powerful contributors to our culture. Their lives as women will be acknowledged and celebrated.

Museums and Art Galleries will encourage a greater sense of public ownership.

Sponsorship of large exhibitions must ensure free entry for all members of the public. IF Museums are supported by taxpayers why do so few of them feel at home in Museums?

Educator Officers will put together challenging programs with a cast of more than the usual suspects. Artists are articulate and thought provoking people , ask them to speak. Even if they are not your best friend.

The truely local in art is internationally significant …not the other way round.

Critics will not seek to lecture or impress the readership with their knowledge rather they will seek to explain why art is relevant and what it has to offer the viewer. Reading John Ashbury’s Reported Sightings should be mandatory for every art critic.

Artists will play their part in the next elections. Artists will also hold forums developing an ARTS Agenda for the country.

Art is not for any elite , it is for everyone.

Imagine that ..an audience for art bigger than sport! It happens in Europe everyday!

– Juno Gemes

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what’s next or what’s new? …nothing but trouble, headaches, misery and year round orgies for everyone associated with CULTURE!!

The prediction is, by December 2006 art and CULTURE will be an illegal enterprize, outlawed by the doomsaying Howard Government.

– Spiv

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If you would like to be included in this ever-expanding post, send an email to theartlife[at]hotmail.com answering the question “what’s next?”

The Art Life

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