Cheese With Band Aid (Detail)

Art Life , Op-ed May 24, 2004 No Comments

We received our first bit of MCA/Biennale bumpf in the mail – a handsome little mail out with pictures of the art we will see in the shows and other extra exciting events.

These events include the Biennale keynote lecture to be delivered by Beatriz Colomina under the title Suspended Domesticity which draws on the speaker’s “knowledge of architecture and its relationship to print media, photography, film and TV” [and will] “examine our relationship to the built environment and how this shapes our understanding of perception.”

Sounds very Biennale doesn’t it? We’re sure Colomina knows her stuff, but there’s so many things wrong with that entire description we don’t know where to start. All we can say is that we feel very heavy and tired after reading it, like eating a lot of cheese.

Speaking of cheese, there’s a work illustrated in the mail out called Pessimism No More! by well known cheese-culture fixated artist Pravodoliub Ivanov. The work is a big block of cheese, wrapped in bandages and covered in Band Aids. We can assure you that it is easily one of the most unsavory and disturbing works of art we have seen in a long time and realise, yes, it’s going to be one of those Biennales isn’t it? The sort of exhibition where there’s a bit of dust on a light bulb or a photo of a tram stop in Norway in overcast weather or a Dutch artist masquerading as a prostitute at the door of the gallery. Oh dear.

Our despondent mood lightened somewhat when we saw that Tracey Moffatt is doing a one woman show of standup, possibly wearing a spangly t-shirt with FOX on it we don’t know, but we can dream.

Moffatt is appearing for one night only on the 19th of August in a special event called Your Opinion – and I do hope you have one, where you are invited to come along and tell her what you really think of her work. Honestly and between friends, we have been harbouring a few issues about her work over the years and more recently the blanket advertising for her MCA retrospective where every bus stop in town was plastered with her face. We welcome the opportunity to get these “issues” off our chests and thank Moffatt for the chance.

For a mere $25 you can take part in what the MCA is calling an “interactive session”. With a few hundred seats available at the MCA, the museum is looking at a tidy sum for a night where there are some seats, a microphone or two, an art star and the opportunity for “you, the audience, to respond to her new work Adventure Series, and participate in a discussion about the work.”

The MCA is undoubtedly hoping to get the punters in off the back of the hype surrounding the 100,000+ people who came to the gallery to see Moffatt’s retrospective. We have no idea if Moffatt is going to be paid for her stand up gig but we were wondering, in general, what she could possibly hope to gain from such a frank exchange of views?

Some cynical friends of The Art Life suggested that Moffatt may videotape the evening and then turn that into a work of art. Maybe the whole event will turn into a Jerry Springer slanging match where most of itis beeped before someone gets their t-shirt ripped off or the bouncers move in and close the show. It’s an intriguing idea. Then, while perusing the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery web site(as you do), we noticed that Adventure Series is one of the gallery’s shows programed to coincide with the Biennale (the other being Hany Armanious from the 1st to 24th of July and then Moffatt until the 28th of August).

You know, a lot of people would say that the MCA is taking the whole Moffatt publicity thing too far, or that the ties between the publicly funded museum and the for-profit business of Oxley is getting too close for comfort.

Well, we’re not like that. We admire the Trumpish business acumen of exploiting your best asset and creating a bit of art world synergy. We think that the closer everybody gets together, the more love there will be in the art world. We love love.

Andrew Frost

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