Friday Degustation: scarf and barf edition!
The Adelaide Biennial of Art is the Art Gallery of South Australia’s flagship event. Like most large museum shows it’s both a survey but also organised thematically, and its success rises or falls on the ingenuity of that uniting theme. For the 2020 iteration, opening February 29th and running until June 8, the AGSA has just announced the new curatorial idea, namely, monsters… [>] “Titled Monster Theatres, the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art invites artists to make visible the monsters of our time. Curator Leigh Robb says ‘Monsters ask us to interrogate our relationships with each other, the environment and technology. They force us to question our empathy towards difference across race, gender, sexuality and spirituality’. The term ‘monster’ comes from Latin monere, to warn, and monstrare, to show or make visible. The exhibition title hints at a double narrative which also resonates through the multiple meanings of ‘theatre’. An operating theatre is a room in which to examine, dissect as well as heal; it is also a theatre of war, a site of conflict where clashes between nations and ideologies play out all too frequently, but a theatre is also an arena – an active social space. Curator Leigh Robb says ‘Monster Theatres proposes an arena of speculation, a circus of the unorthodox and the absurd, a shadow play between truth and fiction. The title is inspired by a group of provocative Australian artists. Their urgent works of art are warnings made manifest. These theatres are theirs.’”
Banksy: Completely Unauthorised
Opening on September 13th is The Art of Banksy, [>] a ticketed event at that noted venue for the visual arts, the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park, Sydney. While pre-publicity has played up the artist’s street cred and his provocative work, and a range of art including “…canvasses, screen-prints and sculptures from 1997 to 2008, a period during which the anonymous artist produced some of his most recognisable and best-known pieces..” it’s worth noting that the show is totally unofficial. As per Broadsheet [>] “The show, which has toured the world and was in Melbourne in 2016, is unauthorised – the British street artist has not given the curator Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s first art dealer, foamier manager and photographer, permission to put on the exhibition.”
Raw Language @ Orange Regional Gallery
Curated by Henry Sisley for Orange Regional Gallery, Raw Language: esotericism in outsider art continues the institution’s tradition of championing Outsider artists with an examination of the esoteric in Outsider art. [>] “The esoteric is that which is understood by only a small number of people who possess specialised understanding. It references occultism, mysticism, and alternative understandings of mainstream religion. Sacred or profane, it is an enthralling subject, as people have an innate desire to learn the secrets that are kept from them. Focussing on Australian art, this exhibition allows the viewer to glean an insight into the secret and mystical knowledge possessed by these artists, whether it be the artists’ take on esoteric Christianity, occultism, or their own secret language and understanding of the world.”
Follow: Lego Lost At Sea
This is not an art Twitter account, although it sometimes looks like it. @LegoLostAtSea documents plastics that wash up on the shores of the United Kingdom. And they explain: “Nearly five million bits of #Lego fell into the sea when a huge wave hit the cargo ship Tokio Express, washing 62 containers overboard. One contained over 4.7 million pieces of Lego, much of it sea themed. The Lego is still washing up.” Fascinating and sobering at the same time.
Catherine Blake, artist
Being the partner of an artist when you’re an artist yourself is often a difficult life, especially when the other half is vastly more famous than you are. Catherine Blake, wife of Bill Blake, was an artist in her own right and produced a number of notable works. However, her legacy is that of the colourist to her husband’s books. A major exhibition just opened at Tate Britain in London of William Blake’s work makes an overdue feature of Catherine’s involvement. [>] “Rather than celebrating Catherine by displaying the handful of surviving works known to have been made by her alone, the gallery has chosen instead to point out her unacknowledged daily involvement in her husband’s idiosyncratic work. Prominent among the exhibits to go on show this week, alongside previously unseen illustrated pages bearing his most famous lines, “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,” will be a book cover coloured by Catherine. “We have not sufficiently trumpeted Catherine’s involvement before, and this book, Europe: A Prophecy, dates from 1794 and its cover was coloured by her,” said curator Amy Concannon. “It makes it clear how she worked by his side.”
It has been awhile since we checked in with the weekly musings of Christopher Allen. He’s a busy man, dividing his time between his scholarly art reviews for The Australian, his day job as Senior Master in Academic Extension at Sydney Grammar School, and conducting tour groups for [>] Renaissance Tours where one happy customer described him as “…very patient and tolerant; knowledgeable and enthusiastic about art, history as well as languages.” Of course, he’s tolerant and patient, but even those fine qualities have their limits. In a strange aside in a recent review of Bill Henson‘s latest outing, a predictable account of the artist’s work, Allen let rip on the parents of the kids he presumably teaches… [>] “Henson, perhaps needless to say, is not engaged in the ‘celebration of suburban life” that seems to be a recurrent theme in Australian culture: a world of big houses and backyard pools and four-wheel drives and barbecues and fathers taking sons to football while mothers take daughters shopping and initiate them into the rituals of female consumerism, and boys and girls gradually turn from hopeful, lively and curious little beings into caricatures of their sex and class…” The whole review [>] is here, but of course, it’s behind a pay wall.
The visual language of Smart Cities
Who doesn’t love a sleek visualisation of tomorrow’s urban environment? The global smart cities trend is said to be worth as much as $238 billion USD by 2025, and while few can agree on what exactly a ‘smart city’ actually is [a kind of glossy world-of-tomorrow where convergent media and marketing meet to produce a metropolis that looks great on Insta], an article on City Lab argues that for now, it’s all just a bunch of images [>] ” Despite some stylistic difference, these images all speak the same basic language—sleek and a bit soulless, but striking enough to perk up any boardroom […] The city shown is stuffed with technological enhancements, none of which actually exist yet. But […] what is being sold here is an idea of a smart city, crowning the exponential slope of runaway technological progress. The point of this idea is to give the vague, watery idea of technological progress a bit of real-life heft by packing any possible “future tech” into the head of a pin, where all problems have been solved and the technochauvinist scheme has been totally vindicated. All these images are illusions of progress or spaces where progress can be hosted. Just as suburbs were sold to postwar America as an idea of living, the smart city is a vehicle to sell a focus-grouped future. But these marketing images aren’t selling smart cities to you and me—they’re made to demonstrate that the city is a place where profits stand to be made. The smart city isn’t a technological utopia, or an environmental lifeboat. It’s a few PowerPoint slides in a conference room demonstrating that there’s money to be made. And it’s coming to you soon…”
The Unending Attraction of Nature
[>] “Three hundred trees are growing in a soccer stadium in Austria in an epic work of Land Art that aims to raise awareness about the world’s climate emergency, and the dangers of deforestation. The remarkable installation organized by the Swiss curator Klaus Littmann is the realization of a long-held dream based on an artist’s drawing he saw more than three decades ago. Littmann confesses that Max Peintner sounded skeptical that his vision, which he created in 1970, could be ever be realized. But the Basel-born curator, unveiled the meticulously planned art project in the city of Klagenfurt in southern Austria on September 8. Called For Forest–The Unending Attraction of Nature, it has transformed the Wörthersee soccer stadium into a temporary forest of trees native to Austria and Central Europe.The curator has transplanted hundreds of specimens, some of them fully grown and weighing up to six tonnes each, to create the living work of art inspired by Peintner’s work, which predates Beuys’s proposal to plant 7,000 oak trees at Documenta in Kassel in 1982.”
Time Hole: Poodle Fitness
“Mariko Takahashi’s Fitness Video for Being Appraised as an “Ex-fat Girl” is a short film by renowned art director and commercial film director Nagi Noda who created spots for Nike and Coca-Cola and starring Mariko Takahashi, a California born model”
Guerrilla Girls endorse an art fair?? [>] Australasia’s Largest International Art Fair, Sydney Contemporary, Is Back, but Not Like You’ve Seen It Before
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a controversial painting depicting the Virgin Mary holding a male appendage should have never been hung in an art gallery. “My staff won’t show it to me because they said it’s too obscene and I won’t be looking at it,” she said” [>] Virgin Mary painting ‘Holy Family’ sparks outrage
Oh no, not again! [>] X-Rated Painting Of The Virgin Mary Is Causing A Stir!
Australian artists reveal how [>] they maintain a living wage and a creative practice
The spelling of Georgia O’Keeffe’s name [>] is now the subject of an internet conspiracy theory about parallel universes
“The artist Sterling Ruby, who recently launched a fashion line, worried that his new venture would have a negative effect on his career. “I know that there are people who have paid millions of dollars for my work who might find this banal,” he said.” [>] Sterling Ruby’s Mixed Media
David Hartt’s installation The Histories blends flowers, film, and music [>] Frank Lloyd Wright’s Only Synagogue Gets a Major Art Installation
Has anyone every considered the possibility that Anish Kapoor is a Joker-style super villain? [>] Commissioned by Boris Johnson as the Eiffel Tower of London, Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit’ Is Now More Than $15 Million in Debt
What Ada Lovelace can teach us [>] about digital technology
“French street artist JR is helping the Louvre celebrate the 30th anniversary of its famed glass pyramid by surrounding it with a dramatic optical illusion…” [>] Street Artist JR Turns the Louvre Pyramid into an Incredible Optical Illusion