Thursday, 24 July 2014

Radiant weeks

 Traces of the work made for the Factory 49 group show, July 2014

Some weeks are just more heavenly than others. I am still gliding on the great news I received last week. This week's art rant follows.

Manna from heaven: A friend passed on a complementary ticket for the opening night of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Listening to the Russian Countertenor, Dmitry Sinkovsky, was incredible. To hear such tones/notes, live, from a Countertenor was pleasantly disturbing in that it raised multiple gender questions and assumptions.

Annette Messager at the MCA. Enjoyed the artist talk with Rachel Kent.
It was fantastic to see so many savvy and remarkable Sculpture women in one room. As I sat there listening to Rachael interviewing the very charming and lucid Annette Messager, I couldn't help thinking about the remarkable bank of women sitting both behind me and in front of me. During the slide presentation, I found it very curious to see an image of an old style  circular shaped clock marking 11 minutes before the hour. As I have previously mentioned on this blog- Ich habe elf minuten. T'was a spooky art moment.

Pressing questions:
1. Margaret Roberts: Who will present her long overdue art museum survey? 
For readers who have not had the opportunity to see Margaret's work, I've attached the link to her website: 

If we go all out to import and present funky European and US artists, can we not extend the same graciousness and generosity to senior and remarkable Australian artist such as Margaret Roberts and Rose McGreevy?  We are not part of the US conversation, and as such, we would do well to remember this. 

Australian Artists, Art Historians, Curators, Collectors and most importantly Art Audiences all share the collective responsibility to create vibrant new chapters for the Australian art encyclopedia. Every single action counts: If you see a great show- let people know- on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Art only comes alive when it has an audience.

2. Why has there not been a large and significant national survey of Feminist art in Australia spanning 1970's- now in Sydney or Melbourne? Think large, i.e 150 + artists. Imagine: Anne Newmarch, Pam Harris, Barbara Hanrahan (distinguished Adelaide artists who have seldom been shown in Sydney) and then keep on adding as you work along the coastline to Sydney, then up the coast to the Torres Strait and then back around to Perth. Then take the selection tour inland to the Central Desert and the multiple communities that promote and encourage women of all skins that make art. Don't forget Tasmania and the wee islands south again.

I am extremely lucky that I grew up in Adelaide during the Don Dunstan years. For readers outside of Australia, Don Dunstan was a visionary state Premier (late 1960s-1970s) who put the Adelaide Festival on the international festival map. Dunstan's vision helped produce some of this countries most agile arts minds such as Robyn Archer and Anne Newmarch. The Dustan legacy helps me imagine all sorts of possibilities for both myself and other artists. It was moving to hear Djon Mundine recently cite Don Dunstan at the opening of 'Hereby make a protest'. Carriageworks commissioned Karla Dickens, Nicole Foreshew and Jacob Nash to make new works for this important exhibition.
It was rather lovely to hear Dunstan and his progressive thinking being discussed. It was good to be reminded of his ground breaking work in areas of social justice, the arts, indigenous rights and women's rights.

Invite: If you are in Sydney on the 6th of August, please take this note as an invite to attend an exhibition that marks nine years of conceptually rigorous output by Pam Aitken, Marlene Sarroff, Kate McKay and all the artist's associated with Factory 49. I will be putting in a new drawing that reflects the 'up draft' that I am currently gliding on. The opening starts at 6pm. Address: 49 Shepherd Street, Marrickville.

If I haven't already put you to sleep, the last event that bears noting is Xavier Le Roy's upcoming lecture at SCA on the 6th August. When I think about the work that he presented at KPAP's '13 Rooms', I remember being moved to my core. On one occasion the work reduced me to tears. On other occasions I would leave the space when I felt my eyes watering up with tears. Working on this project allowed me to take my work rest breaks and 'sit' with Le Roy's work on multiple occasions when there was no one else in the room. The work was deliciously private and so quiet. I cherish such rare performance moments. This performance registered on the same chromatic spectrum that also accommodates Tino Seghal's phenomenally sexy and energetic work that he presented at Dokumenta 12. It's little surprise that these two artists work together. 

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