At GOMA’s ladies nite it was a glittering evening of celebrities and art stars – meanwhile Carrie Miller was at home in the Shire with a cheeseburger…
GoMA’s much anticipated Contemporary Australia: Women exhibition, the second in the Gallery’s ‘Contemporary’ Australia triennial series, opened last Friday night with a spectacular party for all the girls and their husbands.
The party’s theme, ‘Naughty Nurses’, was another inspired idea of the exhibition’s gifted curator, Benny Hill. And, boy, did the Australian art world take the opportunity to let its hair down. A well-known Sydney art dealer arrived dressed up as Florence Nightingale’s left breast. “You can’t say I don’t do my bit for the women’s movement”, Ray Hughes was heard to mumble through a moist papier mache nipple. The newspapers’ social pages were filled with glowing reports of the A-list event, with one reporter describing it as “a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation”.
Unfortunately, when journalists wanted to ask him about where he got his ideas from, Mr Hill couldn’t be reached for comment – he was running too fast for anyone to catch him. His offsider – a little, old, bald man – attended the scheduled press conference on his behalf, but everyone kept patting him on the head and so none of the questions feminist art commentators had about the exhibition ever got answered. For example, doesn’t a gender-based exhibition in a state institution reproduce the very cultural conditions that the works located within it seek to overcome?
According to gallery insiders, while Hill is pleased with what he’s done for women’s art, he’s said to be disappointed with the standard of female talent in this country, and by that he means a lot of Australian women artists don’t have very big knockers.
In other art news, the Kerry Packer Who Cares if Your Taste’s in Your Arse if You’ve Got a Shitload of Money? Memorial Fund was a lot richer thanks to last week’s Celebrity Apprentice Australia’s art challenge. Following GoMA’s lead, the teams were split along gender lines: pink for girls and blue for boys. Celebrities with the credibility of child molesters and the imaginations of risk assessment officers were asked to make work about a crucial time in their lives.
The standout was David Hasselhoff’s moving sculptural piece about the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to the gifted singer of such hits as ‘Looking For Freedom’, he’d played a vital part in bringing about this important political moment and felt it was necessary to make an artwork that communicated his special place in history. While clearly more talented than the washed-up seat-fillers he was competing with, the Hoff struggled under conditions that would make a grunge artist ring their mother. His finished work, while certainly as emotionally charged as the moment you’re told your newborn is retarded, lacked the conceptual rigour of the earlier video performance for which he is best known. Rolling around the floor, desperately trying to shove a hamburger in your mouth, was ultimately a much more realised critique of communism.
The Heinrich Himmler of Surf Life Saving was assigned to the women’s team but, in the end, even he couldn’t save a group of girls that included Tania Zaetta, that aging Bondi mole who has turned a flat stomach and a tan into a Bollywood career, and Patti Newtown, who shuffled around muttering about Bert like an under-medicated, sexually disinhibited widow in a nursing home.
Thanks, Celebrity Apprentice Australia, for proving once and for all that, when it comes to making art, men are better than women. Or, that David Hasselhoff is a complete and utter c_nt.