Friday Degustation: sorry, no split bills...
[NOT] WELCOME TO BONDI
Luke Cornish aka ELK has unveiled a new mural sited at Bondi Beach, an imposing array of riot police not welcoming asylum seekers to our shores. The provocative image has, as they say, ‘blown up’ in the media with suitably outraged bluster in the [>] Daily Telegraph, more restrained coverage on [>] SBS News and sympathetic discussion on both [>] Concrete Playground and [>] ABC Sydney. Surprisingly Ten Daily of all media outlets gave Cornish the chance to write a post explaining the work and his motivations [>] “When I put the final touches on my mural at Bondi beach, I knew some feathers would get ruffled, but I certainly wasn’t expecting this shitstorm. Yes, families and beachgoers heading down for a swim and a sunbake might feel confronted by a mural of 24 Australian Border Force officers in full riot gear in front of the words “Not.. Welcome to Bondi”, but please allow me to explain. When viewing a piece of art, people naturally ascribe to it a meaning that fits with their beliefs — I can’t stop that — but I can give an honest explanation of what my art actually means. “Not welcome to Bondi” refers to the asylum seekers who’ve been treated so poorly by Australia that they’ve been driven to end their own lives in our detention facilities. The 24 Australian Border Force officers are representative of the 24 people who have committed suicide in these detention facilities (onshore and offshore) since 2010. I was given the opportunity to say something, and I used this opportunity to speak for people who don’t have a voice. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t want to hear this, and I understand that — it’s easy to change the channel when you don’t like what’s on the news, or put your phone away when your feed is a bit depressing. The frustration of these people is borne from not being able to turn this off…”
The Conversation is currently running Hidden Women, a [>] series on under-acknowledged women across a range of professions and time periods. The latest entry is by one of The Art Life‘s patron saints, art critic, historian and writer Joanna Mendelssohn, writing on the life and career on the artist Pat Larter. Married to the prominent Australian painter Richard, Pat Larter’s own art and contributions to her husband’s career were largely overlooked by male critics. The frustration of this neglect, as well as being taken for granted, led Larter to create Pat’s Anger. Writes Mendelssohn [>] ” Ten images of a woman screaming with theatrical rage, pasted onto board, decorated with glitter paint. The faces she makes are almost comic, but there is an intensity to them. The title, Pat’s Anger, says it all. In 1992, the year of her first exhibition, Australian artist Pat Larter Pat wanted her husband […] to understand how his unconscious selfishness made her feel. She asked her son, Nicholas, to make multiple digital close-up photographs of her face as she lay on the carpet, and arranged the subsequent prints to show to Richard with the comment: “This is how you make me feel.” It was about this time that Richard’s diaries stopped referring to “my house” and changed to “our house”.
How did rock art last 30,000 years?
While the rock art of Australia’s Indigenous peoples has been widely acknowledged for both its beauty, and antiquity, the exact time scale of their creation, and how they were made is still unknown. Reports the ABC [>] “In the context of the rest of the world, the oldest Indigenous artwork had already been painted when humans first arrived in Europe, was already thousands of years old when people hunted mammoth in North America and was positively ancient by the time Egyptians contemplated their first pyramids. Indigenous rock art has survived wildfire, flood, ice age, hotter and wetter climates, and the passing by of hundreds of generations of people — and perhaps even the occasional visit from now-extinct megafauna…”
But how was it made? [>] “But despite scientists like Professor Andy Gleadow examining these ancient paintings down to the molecular level, it is still not fully understood how the first Australians created such indelible images. “Some of these paintings are very, very old indeed, and they certainly are getting up to the tens of thousands of years old,” Dr Gleadow said. “But we don’t know what the original paints were and whether what we see now is simply a remnant.”
We have for some time been waiting to find an angle to write about the regional arts phenomenon that are [>] silo art trails. The basic idea is that you make a tour of the country towns where murals have been painted on used and un-used grain silos. The thought of driving several hundred ks to see a giant mural of a farmer, two farmers or even four or more farmers, and occasionally some gesture to Indigenous Australians, has its own special thrill, and thousands of people are on these trails, ticking off the silos as they go.
Anyway, along comes the prefect story. One town has proven so popular on one tour that its lack of a public toilet is proving to be an issue in the Queensland town of Goorambat. [>] “An estimated 50,000 people will visit Goorambat’s three silo artworks in the next year, and none of them will have access to a public toilet…:”
The art of the super friendly email
There’s a real art to writing an email, and as you can imagine, The Art Life gets a lot of press releases and gallery invitations. Cutting through the noise is difficult. So it was some surprise we received an email from Cathrin Machin, our old friend and painter of space art. The email began with a friendly enquiry… “How was your weekend lovely?” It was quite nice thanks… “My good mate Rachel came over and we ended up on the sparkling wine (oh haha) and I did some more painting on that huge horse head nebula thingy I’ve been working on…it’s like 4m / 13ft wide!!!” Well, that’s intriguing… But what’s Rachel doing at your house? “Don’t worry, I painted before we started drinking haha.” Phew! “Oh BTW – Did you receive that last email ok? :)” Maybe… “I didn’t want to hammer you with emails but I know you’d wanted me to let you know about this next project…”
Being very old and easily confused, we had to search hard through our memories to recall when we met Cathrin Machin, and whether in fact she had sent us any emails in the past. She had sent an email last week, and it was just as friendly and chatty. But we came up blank. Did we even know this person? It doesn’t really matter because the link to Cathrin’s [>] Kickstarter campaign – which is currently wildly oversubscribed, sitting at $160,601 in pledges on a drive for a modest $32,000 – is a phantasmagoria of glow-in-the-dark nebulas and black holes that can be hung on the wall, framed, or stuck on the ceiling. Her video presentation is equally cool with lost of fun bloopers left in, and frankly, it completely swayed us. We know Cathrin Machin and if you see her, say hi from us! Oh haha.
For a black dog with few pretensions, Hugo Pooch Artist runs a high toned Insta account charting his adventures as a contemporary art hound. Self-described as “an ordinary dog making extraordinary art” Hugo has a preternatural grasp of profound philosophy tied to practical art making, saying that he’s “…been long fascinated by the ephemeral nature of the zeitgeist. What starts out as contemplation soon becomes debased into a carnival of futility, leaving only a sense of what could have been and the unlikelihood of a new reality.” Who’s a good boy!
“An Italian “Old Master” painting that survived shipwreck and washed up weeks later on a remote Western Australia beach has found a safe harbour — a century later — at the Art Gallery of NSW…” [>] From shipwreck to art gallery: Tiepolo painting finally on display
“How Australia’s love for a cold beer started an art deco architectural phenomenon, and how Sydney led the way…” [>] A New Book Documents Sydney’s Great Art Deco Pubs
Anti-Muse: “Nick Broomfield’s film underlines the downside of a life spent providing comfort and inspiration for a male artist…” [>] Was Leonard Cohen’s Marianne the last artist’s ‘muse’? Let’s hope so…
Closing the Museum Gap [>] Why China Has Hundreds Of Empty ‘Ghost’ Museum
Brilliant Visions [>] Peyote among the Aesthetes
From the Dept. of Violent Laugher: “In his street scenes the artist carefully balanced disturbing images with funny ones…” [>] Why William Hogarth’s polemics were so successful
Superyachts that come with a bow that can break through ice: [>] Tour Zaha Hadid’s Dazzling Superyachts
Fake Britain [>] A Map Of Fictional Locations In England, Scotland And Wales
Time hole: [>] “Documentary about Frenchman Jean Giraud, one of the most influential comic strip illustrators and authors of all time and also one of the genre’s best kept secrets…” [>] In Search of Moebius…
Beaver of Fine Arts: Form and Content by Julie Reneé Benda, McSweeney’s