Join with us in a glass of champagne as we celebrate the arrival of the 10,000th visitor to The Art Life. We’re not sure when this will happen – probably on Wednesday or Thursday – but it’s true.
We seem to be getting bigger all the time and with the number of emails we’ve been getting – ranging from aggrieved and demanding messages from people who think we owe them something to subscription requests, news about new galleries and openings, chain letters and the ever popular scam emails from Africa – we’re beside ourselves with over stimulation. We just can’t keep up. One minute we’re at the MCA, the next at the Art Gallery of NSW, then we go for a ride across town to find that Peloton is closed when it should be open, that Rex Livingston Seagull Gallery is just a shop front that’s open for ten seconds on a Saturday and that David Griggs has written to us saying that one of his gallery mates is reading books on how to cut up bodies. It all makes sense to someone.
As the visibility of The Art Life increases we seem to be attracting a lot of attention from quarters of the art world we never thought would take notice of our activities. Here’s a sampling of the mailbag.
The Brett Whiteley Scholarship is going to be announced on October the 7th. This is the prize that celebrates young Australian painting talent by giving them a plane ticket and asking them to please leave the country – maybe then they’ll get some inspiration! This year’s judges are the indefatigable AGNSW head Edmund Capon, the AGNSW’s head curator of Australian art Barry Pearce and artist Kevin Connor. (Did we ever tell you the story about the time we surprised Connor sun baking in the nude on the roof of the art school building on Flinders Street back in 1983? Perhaps another time…). Whiteley Scholarship finalists’ paintings will be exhibited at the Brett Whiteley Studio from Saturday 9 October.
The AGNSW has also announced the artists who have been included in the inaugural Anne Landa Award, a new media award that gets a bunch of video artists together and helps the gallery increase their collection. The judges for the prize are the indefatigable AGNSW head Edmund Capon, curator Wayne Tunnicliffe and Juliana Engberg, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art boss lady. Engberg is like the Felicity Fenner of new media – nothing happens without her say so, and anyone who disobeys her must go and live on a farm.
Six artists have been named for the award exhibition, only one of whom comes from New South Wales. At first we thought that this may have something to do with the fact that Engberg comes from Melbourne and, you know, she likes what she likes – but then we remembered that there’s hardly any new media work happening in Sydney and then we relaxed. The artists announced by the AGNSW are Van Sowerwine, David Rosetzky, Guy Benfield and Peter Hennessey from Victoria, Craig Walsh from Queensland and Shaun Gladwellfrom NSW.
There’s an election coming up soon and we urge, nay, we implore our readers to vote for John Kerry. Sorry, wrong country, wrong election. Artists against Howard is a group of artists who are encouraging its members to vote for someone, anyone, who is not Liberal. Their sincerity is unquestioned, evidenced by their use of random capitalization in their mail outs:
“ARTISTS AGAINST HOWARD now ! WHAT IS ARTISTS AGAINST HOWARD? ARTISTS AGAINST HOWARD is a group of painters, sculptors, singers, actors, performers, writers, technical personnel, radio personalities, musicians, stand up comedians, graphic artists, choreographers, directors, computer artists – EVERYONE involved in either the performing, visual or electronic arts – banding together to help oust John Howard at the next Federal Election. Over the next month we will be putting on and supporting various events in the lead up to the election to give artists a voice in trying to unseat John Howard.”
If you’re interested in finding out more, you need to visit the group’s mailing list. For those still undecided about which way they will vote on October 9, we’d remind you that, according to some pundits, John Howard is responsible for the avant garde art scene in this country. Vote accordingly.