There’s this gallery. It’s in Alexandria, in an old building. Some artists also live in the building and have their studios there too. They thought it would be a good idea to have a gallery where people would come along for one night and see the work, have a few drinks, have a chat, smoke some cigarettes, do some crazy dancing, then go home [if they were wise]. It all seemed like a fun idea. So the artists did a huge amount of work making the gallery space which they have called The Rehearsal Room and the one-night-only shows are called One Night Only [or possibly The Tonight Show depending on who you ask]. They had their first opening last week for their first show. There were some good artists in the exhibition like Todd McMillan, David Lawry and Jaki Middleton and some other artists whose work we like but which we haven’t seen in years and years, like Leo Coyte [who spends most of his time playing guitar in the band Further]. So anyway. The gallery was so packed you couldn’t see the work, you couldn’t move around and it was so cold the beer was actually frozen. Beer + cold = a sudden need to use the toilet. Unfortunately the Rehearsal Room does not have a toilet, so it was a choice of walking through the rain to the pub [not actually a choice if you were female] or you could walk across the road to go to the toilet behind the trees overlooking the car park of the Australian Technology Park [if you were male and wanted to make a new friend in the semi-darkness]. We learned that the reason the gallery is not open beyond the opening night of each show is because the building doesn’t have much security and besides, the studio of an older, famous Australian artist is just upstairs from the gallery and there is a chance that someone might break in and steal the artist’s etchings [which would be worth, oooh, a couple of grand in the secondary market]. There were no room sheets available apart from the ones stuck to the wall, but since there were so many people standing between us and the work we couldn’t see the numbers anyway, so it was a guess as to whose work was whose, and so we just admired the spinning top [which we were told later was by Lawry and Middleton] and a big Frankenstein head that was probably Coyte’s and a little red wagon with a painting next to it with the words “good grief” on it which could only have been McMillan’s. And then people started to go home and we wondered at the madness of it – all that effort that so few people could actually see [and they had even gone to the effort of printing invitations to the opening and sending them ‘round to all the other artist run spaces encouraging you to go] and we wondered who would ever be crazy enough to write about it since the show was only on once, there were no images available, no web site to look at and even the artists didn’t get a second chance to show you the work because the day after the show there was nothing to see. This is foolishness on a grand level – crazy and wasteful, so much energy and time expended for one night only. But on the other hand, it is the art world in microcosm. Why do we love the contemporary art world? Because it’s about the love of it, man, and the gesture, and to hell with the consequences.
[Late extra: Apparently the shows at The Rehearsal Room are on for a whole month but you have to call in advance to arrange an appointment to go and see it for yourself. Also, apparently, room sheets are expensive to make and end up in your washing machine so instead of providing them for people in the actual gallery, you need to email the organisers and ask for one: the address is the_rehearsal_room[at]hotmail.com.]