MONA in full effect, art life before social media, giant cheese wall, keep your stinking charity + more!

Art Life , Stuff Apr 26, 2019 1 Comment

Red spot specials!

The MONA Effect

The proposed Art Town tower

It’s hard to overestimate the affect that David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art has had on Hobart, and Tasmania more broadly. Some claim that MONA contributes as much as one third of the state’s total tourism dollars. Indeed, its presence has been so enormous, with a museum and the Dark Mofo festival, that the arts in Hobart have been attempting redefinition in Walsh’s long shadow. In Are the Arts Subverting Hobart? Brand Tasmania profiles art patrons Penny Clive and her ‘fund-manager husband’ Bruce Neill, who are the duo behind Detached, and who own the former Mercury newspaper headquarters, and other large inner city buildings. The duo somewhat controversially also plan to erect a 117 metre tower development called ‘Art Town’ that ‘would transform Hobart’s skyline’. Along with other galleries, ‘creative hubs’, and some new restaurants, the MONA effect seems to be working to transform Hobart into a creative arts tourist destination with few equals in Australia [>] Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine proclaimed [newly opened] Franklin to be one of the best restaurants in Australia and […] credits MONA with helping businesses like his get started. “The museum gives you confidence that there’s enough people coming through who want quality. I don’t think the restaurant could have existed without it”.The Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University, Justin O’Connor, told Newsweek’s Lisa Abend that MONA’s presence had encouraged talented people to relocate to Tasmania.“It’s allowed creatives to spend more time here, built synergies with existing institutions and – most important – changed the way people think and dream in Hobart and Tassie,” he said. Professor O’Connor said MONA had not been a deliberate strategy to change the city. “David Walsh just dropped MONA on an unsuspecting city [and] State. Ever since, they’ve been trying to retrofit their thinking around its enormous presence,” he said.”

The art life before social media

Was there an art life before Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? We started back in 2004, before you could share images online, and the inclusion of video on a blog post was but a pipe dream. But in the spirit of make do, art-related chat groups, email lists and user groups took root. Art Kelsey Ables remembers a simpler time [>] “Before big tech shepherded the vast number of online users onto a handful of sleek websites, there was a scrappier internet—where offbeat chat rooms and eccentric niche websites reigned, and carefully crafted “away statuses” were a kind of personal branding—back when you could be away from the internet. Until attention spans became a commodity, the internet was dreamed of as a “bastian for people to direct their own education,” as Charles Broskoski, co-founder of internet bookmarking site, remembers. Artists, too, forged communities in the spirit of collaboration and learning. From the gothic underworlds of Breed and Abnromis to hyper-specific pixel art sites, to larger communities like DeviantArt, the internet presented a breadth of opportunity for all kinds of artists—often of marginalized identities or with artistic interests unrecognized by institutions.”


What is an image? What is, or is not, a picture? Complex perceptual questions play a big part of Sienna van Rossum’s paintings at Tweed River Regional Gallery. The works [>] “…explore the eye and its complex navigations across spaces and surfaces. For van Rossum, seeing is not absolutely transparent but rather embodies a strange uncertainty that she ironically evokes through the familiar. Worn and loved objects from her home are intimately rendered with a combination of meticulous realism and effacing abstraction. In these observations of the overlooked, ‘unimportant’ things in life, van Rossum asks the viewer to reflect upon her imagery’s intelligibility and ambiguity, proximity and distance, absence and presence.”Until May 19.

A very good bad idea

Not far to go now…

There are good ideas, and good bad ideas, and bad bad ideas. It’s not quite certain which category Make America Grate Again falls under. The artist Cosimo Cavallaro plans to build a wall out of cheese. The artist is well known for using food stuffs in his work, including a 200 pound chocolate statue of Jesus, splashing mozzarella around in a hotel room, and clothing former super model Twiggy, also in cheese. From The LA Times [>]: “A Los Angeles artist has answered President Trump’s call for a border wall with Mexico. Vowing to “Make America Grate Again,” Cosimo Cavallaro is creating a wall of cheese next to the actual border in Tecate, Calif. “The first thing that comes to your mind is that it’s absurd,” Cavallaro said by phone on his way to work on the wall, which is already 5 feet tall and 30 feet long. It’s a ludicrous effort, he said, referring to both walls. “To spend all this money to keep dividing the countries, I think is a waste,” he said. “You see the waste in my wall, but you can’t see the waste in [Trump’s] $10-billion wall, which in time will be removed?” As he set down slabs of cotija — a hard, crumbly cow’s milk cheese from the Mexican state of Michoacán — a Border Patrol agent walked by the desert landscape. He gave Cavallaro a thumbs-up. “Nice place for a picnic,” the agent said, chuckling.”

Follow: teo_treloar_drawing

In a mind bogglingly detailed process of carefully applying graphite to paper, Teo Treloar’s super detailed art is documented in the artist’s Instagram account [>] @teo_treloar_drawing The work alternates between dense monochromes, and surreal vignettes of figures encountering mysterious energies cast adrift in a universe of cross hatching. You might also catch sight of the artist in some the smoothest Hawaiian shirts this side of the ’80s.

Chuck some of that charity this way…

Authorities have not yet concluded how much it will cost to repair the damage.

After the fire that destroyed the spire and part of the roof of the Notre Dame in Paris early last week, a number of France’s richest families donated millions of euros to its reconstruction. Reports The Age “Even before the smoke had cleared, luxury goods magnate Francois-Henri Pinault – the chairman and chief executive of Kering – announced his family would donate €100 million to the effort. Not to remain on the sideline, his rival Bernard Arnault – the chief executive of LVMH and the richest man in Europe – pledged twice that amount on Tuesday morning. The Bettencourt Meyers family, which controls L’Oreal, quickly matched that pledge. And Patrick Pouyanne – chief of executive of French oil giant Total – offered another €100 million.” So you’d think, that’s pretty great – rich people donating their money to restore a national icon and internationally recognised heritage building. Not so fast [>] “The cascade of cash that materialised overnight to save the cathedral has raised eyebrows in France, still in the throes of a crippling protest over rising social inequality and whose leader is regularly decried as the ‘President of the rich’. “Of course, I find it nice, this solidarity,” said Ingrid Levavasseur, a leader of the yellow vest movement that has protested against inequality in a series of often violent Saturday demonstrations since mid-November. The stream of donations essentially confirmed the movement’s broader social critique, Levavasseur said. “If they can give tens of millions to rebuild Notre-Dame, then they should stop telling us there is no money to help with the social emergency,” Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT trade union, said on Wednesday.”

Moby Dick and the Big Read

“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”

Back in 2011 an exhibition and symposium on whales and whaling was staged at Peninsula Arts, the art space at Plymouth University, England. As part of that show was the beginning of a massive project, a full audio recording of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Including reads from professional actors, actual sea captains and various others, the project set out to record all 135 chapters, plus introduction and epilogue. Now, eight years later, the project is complete, and available for download as podcast on iTunes, and on Soundcloud. [>] “I have written a wicked book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.”

This Side of Paradise

Although dismissed by some Mubi viewers as ‘glorified home movie footage’, and indeed it is, few home movies are directed by a legend of underground cinema, with a ‘cast’ that includes the director, Andy Warhol, and various Kennedy children: [>] “After the death of John F. Kennedy, Jackie wanted to give her children something to distract them. She thought about buying a film camera. Peter Beard suggested to Jackie that she asked Jonas Mekas for this project. So, in the late 60s, early 70s, Mekas spent several summers with the Kennedy family.”

Assorted Links

[>] RIP Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

JunoCam is orbiting Jupiter and shoots images of the planet [>] that are then released to the public to turn into art

On depicting Jesus [>] as a white guy

[>] Cuba Arrests more Artists Following Opening of Havana Biennial

Man fined [>] for taking Gerhard Richter sketches from artist’s garbage

Performance art meets punked [>] Four Sets Of Identical Twins Staged A Time Travel Prank On An NYC Subway

Debate of the century? Kinda. [>] What happened when Jordan Peterson debated Slavoj Žižek

Profile of Aileen Duke (Shoto) [>] a Sogetsu Ikebana artist

David ‘Two Packs a Day’ Hockney is [>] part of Time’s 100 list

Multi-media artist Flying Lotus goes full David Lynch [>] featuring David Lynch!

Design for the far future: [>] How Can We Hope to Warn Future Humans of the Poison We’ve Buried in the Ground?

Where so many others have failed, Marquee.TV is going to build a global arts TV channel. [>] New Netflix-like streaming platform for arts and culture has landed

The Art Life

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