Mailbag # 4: The East Is Red

Site News Jun 21, 2004 No Comments

We always like to get messages from well-wishers at our email address ( – it makes us feel loved in this cruel, cold art world.

Christopher Bruce wrote to us under the subject header YES:

“I can read again….thank you.”

We didn’t know Mr. Bruce was having difficulty and we are pleased that his visual acuity has returned to normal.

We also got a lovely email from Marisa Purcell, an artist from Sydney who is now living in Zurich (a city we hear is very neat and clean but you can’t flush your toilet after 10pm at night in case you annoy the neighbours). She writes:

“I just wanted to say thanks for your stuff! … I love reading your reviews, amusing, silly and honest. It’s great to still know what’s going on- its like one of your mates is talking, so I believe you…

“I’m having a show tomorrow night in Basel, coinciding with the Basel art fair, and then another one in Zurich in august.”

Sadly we couldn’t make the opening and we’re not sure how we feel about being called ‘silly’, but we like the idea that The Art Life is spreading love around the world. We also had a look at Marisa’s work at her web site and it’s bloody good.

Dudley Jenkins wrote in to chastise us for mentioning what kind of ducks there were in a photograph by Deano Dampney:

“…You’ll be writing columns for Country Life in the blink of a hedgehog’s snuffle!”

We also get, from time to time, people asking us to help them with their crazy, crackpot causes – you may remember some weeks back we helped an artist find his socks. Well, this week we got an email from Lisa Kelly and Gail Hastings (aka Sydney Art Seen Society) who are agitating for a nationally recognised scale of artist’s fees.

The place to be is Reginald Murphy Hall, corner of Greenknowe Ave and Elizabeth Bay Road, Kings Cross on July 8 at 7.30pm. The hall is named for the man who invented the plinth so it’s a suitable location for a meeting where proclamations will be read, a petition proposed, some drinks will be drunk and two choruses of The East Is Red will be sung. As we had our collective fists in the air, we read with some puzzlement the following description of Sydney Art Seen Society’s good cause:

“The Sydney Biennale opened recently – which provided the opportunity for many artists to meet and a number to recognise in each other’s misfortunes the rapidly declining viability of the local, visual art situation here. While the Howard Government may have commissioned the Myer Report to analyse, nationally, the extent of artists troubles, its recommendations have not at all been felt within the visual arts at the ground level (ie. by artists) but also little address the dumbness (in both senses of lacking intelligence and a stifled dialogue (lacking speech)) that is creeping through our major art institutions and throttling an engaging and internationally recognisable contemporary art visual culture here. Sydney is quickly becoming the black hole of the contemporary art scene, the place where contemporary visual artists get swallowed up and disappear: their work unacknowledged, its potential wasted. Need this be so?”

Hell no! It does not need this be so.

A Reader sent us a snippet from the infamous Pop Bitch email newsletter and we include an excerpt here to remind readers of The Art Life that we could go a lot harder than we do, but we’d be out of business in about 10 seconds flat if we did. The email, titled, POP BITCH SAYS ART GOZZIP ROOLS read:

>> Big Questions < < What art lovers are asking this week: Which eccentric Brit-art legend was seen at Oscar’s gay cinema in King’s Cross sucking off a Latino man on the back row during Bank Holiday weekend? The tall, bespectacled man had first, conscientiously, put a condom on his friend.”

And finally, this email just in from the suspiciously named Less TV, asks:

“Bro, word on da street from neddy is that u r simon barney, any comment on that??”

Hmmm… Let’s just say that could be partly true.

The Art Life

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