Other People III

Other People Nov 28, 2011 4 Comments

As Hegel argued “an idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.” Carrie Miller makes some sweeping generalisations and maybe even a few frenemies as well…

I’ve been running out of ideas lately. At first I thought it was because, as a creative type, I was going through some kind of existential crisis. Then I realised I hadn’t read a book in over a year. There’s a large, 1930s, German ottoman blocking my bookshelf. Since the Global Financial Crisis I’ve been time-sharing my interior decorator with a Marxist housing co-op and I can never get her to make time to come over and move it. All I can do is stare at the titles from my ironic, Ikea sofa. I’m sure if I could only get to my copy of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, I could really start pumping out some catalogue essays again.

It’s been several hundred years since the term ‘cadmium-yellow’ has been used in a profile of an artist. In fact, the journalist who recently wrote an article about Tim Storrier had to get special permission from the Ecole de Beaux-Arts to borrow the quill that is used to write that special word. Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has denied rumours that the article has further damaged relations between France and Australia because cadmium-yellow was misused, referring not to one of Storrier’s paintings, but to the colour of the vanilla ice-cream his wife had made from eggs laid by their guinea fowls.

I had to record 16 and Pregnant again, thanks to Cash Brown, the Demi Moore of the contemporary art scene (except Cash would be able to hang on to Ashton). She had invited me to the launch of dlux MediaArts’ anthology of Australian video art. Alright, I admit it, this DVD compilation is actually as good as TV (except for the embarrassing queer bits). I met the Director of Artbank, Geoff Cassidy, there. He was smart, funny and charming. And he wasn’t wearing skinny jeans and a Blondie t-shirt. Lucky for him. I was absolutely ready to gut him like a salmon in my next column.

I always enjoy going to art-related events. It’s great spending another evening listening to champagne-sipping artists whinge about how hard it is to be artists. This particular combination of an oppressed group mentality combined with an inner-city lifestyle is going to keep Andrew Bolt in business for eternity. Which is a good thing, of course. After all, we’re all for free speech.

There have been rumours going around that certain premier level commercial galleries think they can bully MONA into buying work from their stable. Last time I looked bitches, it was a free country. David Walsh earned his money fair and square: having the guts to press the ‘double up’ button on the pokies. He doesn’t give a f__k if his very own Palace of Versailles doesn’t include the right amount of Rosalie Gascoignes or Shaun Gladwells or Susan Norries or Hany Armaniouses or dot paintings or wah, wah, wah. If I was him, I’d fill the building with Brescia furniture and to tell you all to s__k it.

It’s that time of year again. Thanks to print media lifestyle editors, keeping up with that ho next door with more friends in the indigenous arts sector than you will be easy. Anything that reduces someone’s carbon footprint is handy, particularly if it doesn’t look like a filthy hippy made it. They can take it on holiday with them to that resort in Thailand everyone Facebook ‘likes’. And for the kids, how about making them cry for hours on end when you sponsor them a third-world water buffalo instead of buying the selfish little bastards the latest Steve Jobs-designed devil machine? Now that you’ve fully benefited from unfettered consumption yourself, it’s time to teach them some manners.

I’ve already dropped hints about my gift. It was after I had a coffee with Sarah Murdoch in Centennial Park the other day (she didn’t know we were having coffee, she was two tables away). I was hoping to see The Great Gatsby being filmed. Anyway, there were other Baz Luhrmann fans there (of course). Sarah is one herself.

I was speaking to one of them about whether Baz’s extradordinary vision will ever be fully acknowledged in his lifetime. Why, for example, has he never won an Oscar? We agreed that he was probably the Van Gogh of cinema. It concerned us that like that great painter, he may end up penniless and driven to cutting off his left ball. But that is the lot of the misunderstood genius in a world of mediocrity. That great peer-reviewed journal, The Good Weekend, has profiled many intellectual giants who have struggled to gain acceptance from the ignorant masses.

On a brighter note, she told me something I always should have known. Baz had produced a CD in 1998. I must have missed its release – I’d had an Australia Council grant to explore notions of performativity in South Korean brothels that year. I had found my perfect Christmas present. It’s title? Something for Everybody.

* Every time you share this column The Art Life will donate 25 percent of its ideas to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. But every time you don’t, Rupert Murdoch will beat a baby seal to death with his bare hands.

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Carrie Miller


  1. MC

    Satire dies on the table when you try too hard to breathe life into it.

  2. Melanie

    No doubt Gaga will wear the newly slaughtered baby seal. So it’s win/win really.

  3. RW

    performativity? a word used for the sake of it. intellectual snobbery is so tiresome. poking pseudo-academic but misfired shit at sex workers is a bit of a turn off. as is the general unfocussed negativity. merry christmas.

  4. Carrie Miller

    @MC. Thanks for the feedback. I will be sure and put much less effort in next time.

    @ RW. Point taken.

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