Kick Out The Lame Mutherfuckers!!!! (And how to spot them - a users guide).
Conscious strategies to energise those usually artless summers by two artist-run non-spaces - flag-wavers for ad-hoc trend? - kick-started the real millennium in the city that matters most (for those yet to move to Melbourne). Firstly, and in no particular order, No Room Gallery (the artists formerly known as Rm. 212) called upon the faithful to submit their peculiar and favourite spots, sights, alterations, interventions etc. in the city. To be toured by mini-bus if desired. Kind of Situationist-inspired; its nice to think of these urban drifters, noonday cowboys reclaiming the streets for Art. Im pretty sure most were too lazy or whatever to actually go out and see the sights but just reading about it and thinking about looking at familiar stuff differently - travelling without moving, Jamiriquoi fans - seems like the kind of lazy, half-cooked idea appropriate to summer daze.
Cuckoo, in case you dont, um, read, um, Log magazine, is a series of shows in existing galleries put on by the Famous Five. A coup in someone elses coop, this roots movement of the moment has a mission to bring you, the punter, the stuff thats not getting air in certain other art spaces. Theyve already taken Archill Gallery, Anna Bibbys, next theyll take Berlin (or bring it here, courtesy Blank Industries). A Rich Art/Poor Art format - ye olde presence/absence schtick - paired Fashion/Costume against Video, Paine contra Publication, Southern Men versus Secret Sound Artists, and Performance going ten rounds against, ahhh, Performance. Yeah, ok, heres (some) content:
Kirsty Cameron made two self-explanatorily titled dresses "For A Lesbian Period Drama", i.e. one cut from a Union Jack. Ya ever notice that people that get into film either a) never come back or b) when they do find time to make art (no, film is not art) make it about said film-industry, or, alternatively, make it from and about the materials their partners bring home from the prop shop? Violet Faigans droll paean to fashions on/off, in/out, up/down was the likewise self-referential "Skirt/Pants and Pants/Skirt": la nouveau western. Highlights of the concurrent video package were Tessa Lairds psychedelic female wrestlers circling across a background of erupting volcanoes, and Dylan Rainforths explanation of the transference process via a fun-fur Freudian bear-suit.
Then, to school peeps, it was Ralph Paines texty, illuminated-manuscripting, happy-to-be-flat paintings alongside his micrograph Terminus Hotel. Also that night, Da Nile Is Not A River In Africa, in which the JBs give up the funk on Soul Brother Number One Daniel Malone. Its the closest thing to a functioning history of the guys work; ask for it at yer local newsagent. Dan Arps and Eddie Clemens showed why its called plastic in a "Calling All Permutations!" show involving a mercurial deployment of various elements: picnic tables, shrink-wrapped polystyrene-bog-roll, fake shit, fake slime, etc. whilst certain old-schoolists kept it (velvet) underground from behind a screen to lay down a pleasant aural fuzz. But, hark, emerging from behind the White veil, Pasifikan beauties: spoken word, song and slap-dance - awesome.
Next week, cos this shit was, like, blitzkrieg, man, Joyoti Wylie and friend invented performative C&W - odd but pretty or the Topp Twins for the art crowd? You be the judge. Wylies special invited guests Bad Art School Experimental Band and Sappiness Is A Warm Drone Guy were less intriguing. But thats ok cos outside a 7ft queer gorilla was doing karaoke in platforms; dahling, you havent lived Then, that same night, it was down to Anna Badass Bibbys to check Bad Als Baddest Museum of Popular Merchandise, a veritable collective unconscious of the Pepsi (Soda Stream?) generation. David Cleggs sauntering squadrophonicseasoundscape was suave. Rumours abound of an upcoming Cuckoo hatching. Incubating.
Guests and Foreigners: Francis Upritchard made up for a slightly fragile show last time home with on about this years model family, the Royals. Well, just Charles actually (at Ivan Anthony). Conspiracy theory of the Prince-Charles-Is-The-Anti-Christ variety, Upritchards skill and humour kept the ball in the air; large ink drawings with ridiculous diagrams and analyses persuade entertainingly to support her Satanic treatises. The creeping notion that this might just be a good idea that doesnt need much invested could spoil it however. Its like Jewish jokes - its more fun if the comedian really does hate kikes? The shows other idea, stuffed earthworms with Biblical text, e.g. "No One Comes To The Father Except Through Me", is on par with the following witticism: Good Book Worms.
Of course, the big deal is Bright Paradise: exotic history and sublime artifice (city-wide, pan-galactic), with the opening proving to be the wet-nurse of all openings; total schmooze-fest. Well, without having to say anything too articulate about our inaugural Auckland Art Gallery triennial, and while there is lots of great stuff to look at, it would appear difficult to find anyone (gravy train engineers excluded) who thinks its a good show. Some people say its an unimaginative curatorial concept, like a slightly dusty conference theme. Some point to a lack of lateral consideration of Bright Paradises own terms, resulting in a preponderance of art where Bright reads hyper-real or simulacrum (by the way, the highlight of Baudrillards public lecture was his paper-rock-scissors analogy, but I guess you had to be there) and Paradise concentrates too particularly on landscape. This to the exclusion of other ways of thinking of Paradise as interesting in considering our place: Paradises ethnic and gendered frames and Paradise-as-technological-topos are just three ideas that could have been better considered. Some people mentioned a lack of Asian, Maori, or Pacific Island perspectives: where are we, exactly? Some knockers even asked, if this is the first in our own series of international events how come nearly all the work is local stuff?
FIVE POPULAR FAVOURITES @ BRIGHT PARADISE
Harry Liminal is many things to many people