Monday, January 31, 2011

Re Blog: Street Art and the Site Specific

Seeing these images of Buff Diss' taped hand works on Wooster Collective this morning got me thinking about Street Art again and how it is intentionally site specific.

The taped works were made over a weekend with help from  South Australian emerging artists, Jason Ankles, Remi Pichete and Joshua Smith and positioned in the Adelaide Central Market.

Okay, so this work was a commissioned piece through Carclew Youth Arts, the Australian Government and in conjunction with the Adelaide  City Council, but none the less the work is very specifically targeted to its environment. A hand emerging from under a noodle bar holds a pair of chop sticks. Clever, no?

Above via Wooster Collective
Earlier in the week Wooster posted the above imagine of Above's (get it?) tour of Brisbane during the devastating floods.  This stencil illustrates how important environment is to a Street Art work.Often the site is just as important as the actual work and the effectiveness of the work is often dependant on it. 

As Street Art gets more and more popular, the difference between Street Art and graffiti (not Graffiti) gets more and more pronounced. With Street Art,  you see evidence of  planning, and composition which rivals a Jan van Eyck painting, you know this was something that was drawn up many times before it hit the wall. But its not only technique that is important but originality, style and oh yeh visibility.....So take a look around, glance at the bottom of walls, gutters, corners because you're not going to see a Blek le Rat rat up high. 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Brook Andrew Baby!

In September last year UQ Art Museum played host to Brook Andrew's Jumping Castle War Memorial. As the title denotes, it is in fact a children's jumping castle (no jumping was allowed) covered in the black and white Wiradjuri pattern, native to memorial trees of the Wiradjuri people, of which Andrew himself is descended from. This pattern, so commonly featured in Andrew's work has become a signifier for pop culture through its repeated use.  A few months prior the work featured as apart of the 17th Biennale of Sydney and was stationed on Cockatoo Island. This time jumping was permitted although only to those over 16 years of age. Andrew questions the idea of a memorial in this work, what was once a stationary object, an of object of respect becomes a play thing and something which the artist actually wants you to jump on. Knowing this is a memorial, do you jump? It is at this moment in which Andrew interrupts our interpretation of assoiating meaning to what we are seeing- he wants you to jump on this memorial, the question is, should you?

 Then in October, the Insitute of Modern Art played host to his work The Cell, another interactive work where participants were required to done black and white Wiradjuri patterned jump suits and enter the giant inflatable cell, once more covered in the Wiradjuri pattern, only this time red and white. Viewers were challenged to enter The Cell and if they could or felt they should, jump. If you chose to do so not only were you jumping on part of the Wiradjuri pattern and thus the culture, but in donning the patterned suit you wore the skin of another culture.

Andrew has often been quoted saying  he rejects being labelled as an Indigenous artist and  that he attempts to disrupt his viewers perception in labelling his work as being based in the Aboriginal culture.If Andrew's work is percieved in this way, we tend to look at his work like The Cell in an art historical context. Post Modernism saw the begining of the end of the 'dont touch phase.' When once touching the art was forbidden, now as in Andrews work touching or jumping is encouraged. In this view Andrew is literally breaking the boundaries between the art and viewer, so much so that the viewer in jumping enables the art.

  Although despite Andrew's rejection of the Indigenous label (it is perhaps these claims that make the viewer hone into the Aboriginal aspects of his work) we cannot ignore the meaning of the Wiradjuri patterns. Now at the currently showing 21st century: Art in the First Decade exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art is Andrew's work, Ancestral Worship, 2010. The work is comprised  of numerous Wiradjuri patterned black and white deck chairs, some of which are printed with images of people Andrew has found on post cards used for tourism and exotic display.  Andrew, once more breaks the boundaries between the work and the spectator. Julie Ewington has said the intention of the art work is to give you the chance to sit beside these honoured people of the past who Andrew sees as 'ancestors' or 'gods.' But are we sitting beside them or sitting on them? Is this a non Aboriginal view or do we inherently read into Andrew's work and interpret the work based on his ancestory?  And if you do, are you willing to sit down?

Brook Andrew has a firm grounding in the sensational, although despite initionally seeming superficial,  his work is art historically sound in challenging established methods for memorial, and in doing so, converts the viewer into participant.

bisou bisou,


All images are by Art Collective

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hot, Wet, Summer. Brisbane Exhibition Calender.

When it's not raining in Brisbane it's blistering hot or worse, both. Galleries are air conditioned and usually sheltered, so it's an easy decision. Here's what's currently showing in Brisbane.

Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Southbank. 

21st Century: Art in the First Decade. On now until April 26th 2011

Carsten Holler. Image via QAG
Art in the First Decade, as its name suggests features art made from 2000 to 2010, celebrating the first decade of this millennium in art. Featuring national and international artists such as controversial artists Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. With several themed rooms, spreading over three levels, there is a lot to see. Even if you are tired after negotiating your way around the first two levels be sure to push through to see the third, there is a beautiful Bill Henson photograph and highly amusing Richard Bell painting that are both worth the energy. The exhibition boasts 'highly interactive public programs' and 'interactive artists,' which basically means the kids won't get bored because there is a giant slide (pictured above). 

AC Tip: There is a coffee cart on the first floor under the escalator ( you will need it). 

Scott Redford: Introducing Reinhardt Dammn. Currently showing until March 13 2011.

Scott Redford, Perpetual Abstraction, 1997. Via QAG

Introducing Reinhardt Dammn, we all know him. He was that kid in high school, the cute tanned one with the sun bleached hair. Always wearing that faded Nirvana t'shirt, skipping school to surf and smoke weed on the beach, surf board permanently attached to his arm pit...that one. Reinhardt Dammn (two m's) is a fictional character ( or is he really?) created by Scott Redford, emphasising pop and tourist culture. The exhibition undresses the glamorous Surfers Paradise and scrutinises visual culture.

AC tip: Examine the sheets in Reinhardt's make shift room, they are surprisingly accurate!  

Vida Lahey:  Colour and Modernism. On until February 13 2011

Vida Lahey, Calendulas, 1936-37. Via Google Images

Possibly reminiscent of those water colours at Grandma's house, and the exhibition layout does not do much to negate away from that familiar memory. This one will probably bore the kids to death. However keep in mind Lahey is a Brisbane artist working under the influence of French Impressionism and these works mark the influence of European art being felt in Australia during the time. Women painting floral arrangements in a modern style was a common theme at the time and it is believed by some this style blossomed during the war years. Whilst the men were away, the women were able to more extensively develop their art through a limited domestic setting. 

AC tip: the current collection displays at QAG have recently changed. Head upstairs for the International Collection featuring artists such as Degas, Picasso and Tintoretto. 

The University of Queensland Art Museum. 

Multplicities: Self Portraits from the Collection.Until January 16. 

William Yang, Self Portrait #3, 1949. Via UQAM

The self portrait has always held a certain fascination,  are we simply looking at an artist's physical self portrayal or their concious or subconscious  psychological projection? It seems that we are never satisfied with the former and persist in trying to read into the portrait, attempting to make it something more than a painted reflection. Multplicities is a opportunity to examine the self portrait of varied established artists including Luke Roberts, Scott Redford, Gordon Bennett and Vernon Ah Kee.

NEW 2010: Selected Recent Acquisitions. On now until February 20. 

Lisa Adams, Sparrow, 2009. Via UQAM
A selection of recently acquired works, featuring  Lisa Adams, Tony Albert, Lincoln Austin, Tony Garofalakis, Louise Hearman, Bill Henson, Danie Mellor, TV Moore, Sidney Nolan, Dennis Nona, John Passmore, Julie Rrap, Arryn Snowball, Madonna Staunton, Thomas Tjapaltjarri, Guan Wei and Ken Whisson.....phew!

QUT Art Museum. QUT Gardens Point Campus.

Across Country, Ken Hinds Cultural Collection. Showing until January 30 2011

Sunshine Coast based art collector, Ken Hinds has a passion for Aboriginal Indigenous artworks. Hinds' collection is more than just the souvenir type dot paintings commonly exploited from "outback Australia." His passion has lead him to the Australian central outback to grasp a better understanding of Indigenous art and its beginings. The collection is nothing less than impressive, featuring artists like Namatjira, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, Lena Yarinkura, Lily Karedada, Minnie Pwerle and Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula.

bonne journée,