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Curator’s Notebook




Raymond Arnold Unique States: Seriality & the Panoramic 2013, William Charles Piguenit Sketchbook of England and Wales 1900, Benjamin Law Woureddy 1835, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

The recently refurbished Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) has been a resounding flop. Its former dagginess was a kind of museum within a museum, and admittedly humourous. Now, slightly less daggy than before, it’s just shinier.

The upstairs gallery exhibiting Benjamin Duterrau’s The Conciliation 1840 has been repainted grey and rehung. In this instance, I’d prefer the red. In front of Duterrau’s The Conciliation now sits Benjamin Law’s busts of Woureddy 1835 and Truganini 1836. I was really taken with Woureddy’s direct gaze. As Mary Mackay has noted, it portrays Woureddy ‘as hunter, warrior and man-in-command, a Greek hero in kangaroo skin’.

Considered the earliest major Australian sculptures, they’re historically and culturally significant. Reportedly acquainted with the sitters, Law’s busts represent potent figures. Eight pairs and four individual busts are known to exist in public collections worldwide, including the British Museum.

By contrast, Piguenit’s watercolours and Raymond Arnold’s Unique States: Seriality & the Panoramic were captivating highlights.

Related posts:
MONA + Hosting, 29 March 2013
MONA + Theatre of the World, 28 March 2013
Further to The Betrayal, 18 February 2011


Graffiti by Jamin, Tom O’Hern and Rob O’Connor Vip’s eh? Well done. Well. Fucking. Done. 2013 (detail) P: D. Eckersley, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

Vip’s eh? Well done. Well. Fucking. Done.

Back to MONA, this time approached by MONA Roma 1 or MR-1, along the Derwent. MONA would have to be one of the few places open Good Friday. Luckily Walsh is an atheist. In the Posh Pit we’re served drinks, canapés and the question “So, have we all been to Easter service this morning?” and we all burst out laughing.

We’ve started to debrief about what we like and not so much: like the dimmed lighting, arguably overly theatrical, it’s a fine line, but it’s a relief not to be attacked by bright sunlight; the O, not so much, it’s spatially distracting; we really like the hospitality, this attention to detail, it’s welcoming. And we learn that all the front of house services are worked by hospitality staff.

It reminds us of a documentary about the Eames, which not only emphasised Ray Eames’ contribution to the partnership, but also their attention to the importance of being a good host. The care invested in a guest-host relationship, versus consumer, is a critical distinction.

We arrive, this time to see whatever we’ve missed. Namely, Death Galley with the mummy and coffin of Pausiris, and Christian Boltanski’s The Life of C.B. 2010-. What Boltanski’s has reportedly described as a Faustian deal with the devil. Boltanski has agreed for his studio to be live streamed and recorded in exchange for a monthly stipend. It’s a gamble, should Boltanski live longer than eight years, Walsh will lose the bet by paying more than the work is worth. “Walsh has assured me I will die before the eight years is up because he never loses. He’s probably right. I don’t look after myself very well.”

Related links and posts:
Eames: The Architect and The Painter 2011
“We don’t really buy into flavours” 17 February 2009
Hey Pippa, what’s with the metal? Thought you’re a minimalist, 17 February 2009





Julius Popp bit.fall 2006-7, Dinos Chapman Great Deeds Against the Dead 1994, Robert Gober Hanging Man / Sleeping Man 1989 (details), originally uploaded by cubamxc.

We’ve finally rocked up to see MONA and Theatre of the World in its final week.

Everyone must know about MONA. Opened January 2011, it’s a cavernous art bunker cut into a sandstone outcrop, clinging to the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart. Drawing on professional gambler David Walsh’s collection, it is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. Rex Butler has attributed it as one of only three significant galleries in Australia; and it’s worth noting that of the three, none are in Melbourne and GOMA is the only publicly funded institution.

It’s approached through the Moorilla winery or by ferry coasting the Derwent River. Designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects (FKA), with the heritage setting of the Roy Grounds houses preserved, descending into the subterranean sandstone is like entering some kind of tomb. It’s just very, very cool.

Theatre of the World, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, presents a cacophony of objects freed from the habitual restrictions of historical and cultural categorisation. Martin is best remembered for his 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre George Pompidou, a response to the highly criticised Primitivism exhibition at MOMA. A 1989 New York Times review of Magiciens is available online.

Reminiscent of the Renaissance view that art and knowledge are inextricably linked, Martin rejects the notion that ancient and contemporary works of art are inherently different. Rather than present art in a way that dictates to the viewer how it should be viewed, he told Radio National’s Sarah Kanowski “You don’t go to a concert to learn about the history of music, and this is where museums went wrong, because they went too much in this direction, and they think visitors can only appreciate art if they know the history of art.”

The thing is, sometimes you want to know the history of an object, or at least something about it. We’d grabbed an O, a modified iPod, but it’s spatially distracting. Compared with GOMA’s consistently pristine and clinical presentations of Ah Xian, it’s refreshing to see an Ah Xian bust in a different context, buried amongst a multitude of somewhat random objects. But I wanted to know what some of those objects were. Instead of having a quick reference, I was pulled between being in the space, in the moment, and the O. Rather than a reading device, a super brief video, a more visual device would probably be better.

One of the most impressive, soaring spaces within Theatre of the World exhibits dozens of tapa or bark cloths collected by missionaries and stashed away by TMAG, reportedly since 1850. Here, they’re abstract, extricated from their original function to wrap protectively around the bodies of newborn babies, young men and women as they came of age and finally the deceased.

A likely nod to Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, the most focused space within the exhibition surrounds the viewer in an abject spectacle of brutalities. Works include Jake and Dinos Chapman Great Deeds Against the Dead 1994, after Goya’s etching A heroic feat! With dead men! Wim Delvoye Osama tattooed pig skin 2008, Roman Signer Aktion Mit Fassern 1992 and a wallpaper by Robert Gober Hanging Man / Sleeping Man 1989. Its unnerving motif depicts a lynched black man, an image taken from a late 1920s political cartoon in Texas, alongside a sleeping white man, from a Sunday newspaper advertisement for sheets at Bloomingdales.

Related posts:
Michael Brenson, Juxtaposing the New From All Over, New York Times, 20 May 1989
Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you can see, 17 October 2012
Museo Rufino Tamayo, 2 December 2005



IMG_2634.jpg, originally uploaded by mxccuba.

We spent the night before suffering vertigo at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC). On a corner opposite three multi-story shopping centers; how is this space financed? It’s a strange space. It’s like two stacked Guggenheims. The first has a series of creative businesses, bookstores, where we perused and bought graphic books and icedea, a conceptual ice cream parlour. The second has a maze of galleries, the better exhibition being Hear Here.

Yesterday, we liked Speechless by Nipan Oranniwesna at 100 Tonson, chatting with Rene at 338 Oida Gallery and Narawan at the The Reading Room. As it turned out, we’d inadvertently already met Narawan earlier in the week, when we were looking at DIG, installation and research materials of forthcoming film Boundary, at Messy, a shop house where Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Gallery VER was once located.

Related posts:
We’re going to Thailand, 29 November 2012
Merlion, 4 April 2009
Contemporary art in Condesa, 2 December 2005


Fischli/Weiss How to Work Better 1991, originally uploaded by mxccuba.

So, I’ve been researching artists and exhibitions to check out; but it’s unlikely I’m going to see more work by Phinthong.

‘During the second phase of the exhibition How to Work (More) for Less Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong contributed a timely commentary on Fischli/Weiss’s How to Work Better 1991. In 1990, the Swiss duo had come across a list of ten ‘commandments’ in both English and Thai, hung on the wall of a pottery workshop in Thailand (starting with ‘1: Do one thing at a time’ and ending with ‘10: Smile’). They then reproduced the English version on the façade of an office building in Zurich. In Basel, Phinthong installed a sheet of one-way glass in the door that usually shields the Kunsthalle’s library from view from the gallery space; through the glass, visitors could peep at the original photo of the list taken by the Swiss duo. The installation was a visual reminder that what usually remains invisible in these kinds of transfers is not only the original language version, but also who produces many of the things we consume, contemporary art included.’ Refer: Frieze Magazine | Archive | Pratchaya Phinthong.

Related posts:
Fell for this today, 24 October 2012
Sculpture is Everything, 12 October 2012
Jessica Stockholder, 3 January 2007

Source: visualsupply.co via exhibition I never on Pinterest

Close your eyes while I say ‘Los Angeles.’ What comes to mind? Your fantasy of the place is no less true than the diverse daily lives of it’s actual citizens, and part of the unique charge of this city happens when the quotidian and fantasy congeal. To read more… What We Mean When We Say L.A.. It’s all too familiar.

Somewhat related posts:
Last Days: Alice Lang, January 24 2011
Preview, September 24 2010
The Brisbane Sound – Small World Experience, March 10 2008

Gardar Eide Einarsson Untitled (Pepper Fog Generator) 2012 Inkjet on aluminum diptych Source:
maureenpaley.com via exhibition I never on Pinterest

Gardar Eide Einarsson Caligula 2010 P: M. Givell Source: media.instrumentandoccupation.se via
exhibition I never on Pinterest

Gardar Eide Einarsson I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul 2007 Sculpture Center
Source: sculpture-center.org via exhibition I never on Pinterest

Continuing his study of regimes of paranoia and easily mis-identified symbols from underground sub-cultures globally, Gardar Eide Einarsson’s I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul 2007 constrained the white-box by creating a chain-link fence using spray paint and a stencil. A sterile steel bench placed at the centre of the gallery and a photograph of the back entrance of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, added another layer highlighting the opacity of certain forms of representation – of insider and outsider – versus demagogic appropriations of branding and style.

His text based works are a little more direct. Mining the graphic design and advertising methods that manipulate public beliefs, particularly the distilled and sharp morsels of meaning found in slogans, speech bubbles, logos, or flags emblazoned with fighting words such as ‘Liberty or Death’ and ‘Come and Take It’, which echo the sentiments of nationalism and revolt. Einarsson recontextualizes meaning, creating a tension between imagery and the action it compels the viewer to take.

Referencing a range of iconic phraseology from 1960s and 70s protest movements and counterculture, for example, the infamous Manson Family or recasting a line from a play written by Theodore Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber. A wall painting using the logo of underground record label SST is subtitled Sic Semper Tyrannis, in Latin ‘thus always to tyrants’ – a phrase shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln and a favourite of American terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Einarsson is similarly fascinated with the visual language of comic books, using speech bubbles and comic typefaces to produce bold statements on gallery walls. In another example, he bleeds the entire colour out of the iconic Captain America shield. He relies on the viewer’s recognition of a familiar format or icon and the attendant uneasiness that comes when that object or language is stripped of colour, context and its usual meaning.

Einarsson also borrows imagery from underground subcultures, including criminal and left-wing militias, portrayed in a primarily black-and-white palette, meticulously produced using, for example, computer-generated stencils. This austerity gives Einarsson’s work a hard-edged rejection of sentiment. Combined with a self-conscious acknowledgement, reveals an ambivalence and irony at the heart of politicised works while flirting with the problematic style of ‘radical chic’.

Einarsson purposely problematises his work to avoid didactic, facile expressions of negativity or controversy. His use of text allows for a directness that both recalls and critiques artworks decrying political injustices made during the 1990s by artists such as Barbara Kruger. By staging textual works alongside abstract objects, propped paintings and images, Einarsson embeds his politics more deeply in a search for answers, and through Minimalist formalism he offers opaque or ambivalent translations of his skepticism toward established power structures.

Investigating varied forms of social transgression and arguments for political subversion, as well as the administration of justice, Einarsson seems to focus on notions of the unwanted outlaw or extreme rebel, exploring how such an outsider becomes a tragic figure.

Related posts:
Sculpture is Everything, because sculpture really is everything, 12 October 2012
Marco Fusinato, May 12 2010
Field Trip, February 4 2007


Lara Favaretto Gummo IV 2012 Iron, car wash brushes and electrical motors, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

I’m often asked, but what is it? Media reps in particular, insist that people need to know, is it paining or sculpture or what? It’s contemporary art, painting or sculpture isn’t necessarily relevant, is a response that’s often met with annoyance. Sculpture is Everything, a current exhibition at GoMA, offers a very tidy description:

Contemporary sculpture is extraordinarily diverse. It can encompass anything from found objects to kinetic structures, from monuments to installation and land art, from pop assemblages to ritual objects. Form, material and three-dimensional space have been considered to define the medium of sculpture, concerns which can be shaped through film, photography, painting and/or performance. As epitomised in the work of artists including Ai Weiwei, Francis Alys, Brook Andrew, Gordon Matta-Clark and Erwin Wurm.

The exhibition features a number of significant recent acquisitions made with funds from Tim Fairfax. Including Lara Favaretto’s Gummo IV 2012, comprised of five carwash brushes, each a cool shade of blue or violet, attached to a metal slab and a motor that causes them to spin. Like much of Favaretto’s work, Gummo IV employs a strategy of displacement, whereby a found object or readymade is removed from its usual surroundings and situated out of place. Stripped of their intended function, the appearance of five spinning carwash brushes in the gallery results in these familiar objects appearing simultaneously absurd, gleeful and mesmerising.

Another recent acquisition, with funds from Tim Fairfax, is Gordon Matta-Clark’s Office Baroque 1977, 16mm 40min, restored by Generali Foundation. I wasn’t previously familiar with this work. Matta-Clark is best known for his ‘cuts’, for which he sliced abandoned building in half or removed sections of walls, floors and ceilings from abandoned buildings.

Or my personal favourite, Fake Estates (1973-74), for which Matta-Clark purchased microplots, small unusable sections of curbsides and alleyways, at public auctions for 25 dollars a piece. Matta-Clark collected and montaged images, maps, deeds, other bureaucratic documentation attached to these surveying and zoning irregularities, some as tiny as one square foot. Quite simply demonstrating the arbitrariness of public/private property demarcation. Or Food (1971-74), a restaurant co-founded, managed and staffed by artists at the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets. Refer When Meals Played the Muse, New York Times, February 2007. Food in particular, reminds us of a decaying, pre-gentrified New York.

For Office Baroque on the other hand, Matta-Clark cut through a five-story Antwerp office building. The ‘cuts’ were organised around two semicircles that arced through the floors, creating a rowboat shape at their intersection. The 16mm film displays a bare-chested Matta-Clark in blue jeans and a dust mask, a year before his premature death from pancreatic cancer, labouring, wielding a chainsaw. Which recalls Richard Serra in his lead-spattered boiler suit. And, for me, a quote I recently came across by Monica Bonvicini, “I decided to art because it was the only way to a worker and an intellectual at the same time.”

I was also reminded that, like his father, the Surrealist painter Roberto Sebastian Matta Echaurren, Matta-Clark studied to be an architect. Architecture, with its inextricable relationship to private and public space, the economic implications of private property, urban development and decay, became the subject matter and material of his work.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a catalogue, with multiple essays addressing subjects including performance as sculpture.

Related posts:
Back to the Future, May 22 2012
Rear view: Spencer Finch, 28 December 2010
Field Trip, February 4 2007

Dan Flavin untitled (to Piet Mondrian through his preferred colors, red, yellow and blue) and untitled (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green) 2 1986 Source: illumni.com.au via exhibition I never on Pinterest

Berndnaut Smilde Nimbus II 2012 Source: buzzfeed.com via exhibition I never on Pinterest

Naoya Hatakeyama A BIRD/Blast #130 2006 Source: spaceframed.blogspot.com via exhibition I never on Pinterest


Tiffany Singh Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound 2011, originally uploaded by mxccuba.

I’m not sure why I was so keen to see Guido van der Werve’s Nummer Acht: Everything is going to be alright 2007, it’s better online. But Tiffany Singh’s Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound 2011 was a pleasant surprise. And the only thing really worth mentioning about MCA’s refurbishment is Robert Owen Sunrise #3 2006.

Related posts:
Back in Sydney, July 29 2010
Sydney Biennale: Cockatoo Island (part 2), May 14 2010
Sydney Biennale: Vernissage, May 11 2010


Finding Country, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

Finding Country is an idea about that which cannot be seen. Its question is ‘what can be revealed through Country?’ and its directorship is exclusively aboriginal in origin and trajectory.

Directed by Kevin O’Brien, Finding Country will be a collateral exhibition at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition will present, from an aboriginal perspective, an aboriginal position on space in Australia.

Right now, the project seeks to raise the funds needed to execute. So far, it’s very close with almost 50% of the desired funding committed, and pledges close 21 June. For further information and/or to support, refer Pozible | Crowdfunding and follow the links there.

Related posts:
Colliding Islands at Lake Macquarie City Gallery, June 4 2011
Further to The Betrayal, February 18 2011
Featured Project, July 24 2010

Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Per Olov Ultvedt Hon – En Kathedral (She – A Cathedral), 1966, installation view Moderna Museet, Stockholm Source: dailyartwork.tumblr.com via exhibition I never on Pinterest

I’m kinda confused. Republicans used to be about families, picnics, waving flags and maybe even eating hotdogs – although without the raw onions, because nothing bad should come out of a Republican’s mouth, be it foul breath or foul language. But these days Republicans seem to be interested not only in swearing but also in watching porn movies and looking inside vaginas. If they used to indulge in such illicit activities, they would do so privately (and blame them publicly on loose Democratic morals). Now we all have to listen to arch-conservatives besmirching traditional Republican ideals.

Read more… Frieze Magazine | Archive | Right & Wrong.

‘A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we’ve seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What’s happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we’re being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We’re being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard. My worry (Mark Pagel) is that we could be moving in that direction, towards becoming more and more sort of docile copiers.’

To watch and/or read Infinite Stupidity with Mark Pagel [12.15.11] | Edge


madge story, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

Came across this wonderful post at Ginger + Smart’s blog quite some time ago:

“Recently we spent the afternoon researching our next collection in the chilly
basement of the Powerhouse Museum Archives.

We found this crazy piece by Madge Gill from the 1920’s. She was one of the first female British Outsider Artists in London and her now famous work is known as Mediumistic Art. Madge went mad after her daughter died in the flu epidemic and would speak for hours to the spiritual guides in her head while she embroidered
her wild thoughts onto linen dresses.

We quite loved her madness.”

It’s a bit of shame their blog is just a continuous stream, but refer Ginger + Smart’s blog

Related posts:
I wish I still had my pyjamas on, January 21 2007
But wait there’s more, January 8 2006
¡Viva! ¡Frida! November 29 2005


large_610365078, originally uploaded by cubamxc.

Alex Monteith was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As a child her family moved to New Zealand. She was a competitive surfer for six years, the Irish National Women’s Champion in 2001 and competed on the New Zealand, European and world circuits. Monteith now lectures at The University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts.

Drawing upon her experiences and interests, Monteith collaborates with exponents of high-speed cultures, surfing, motocycle racing and flying, through a series of durational performances presented across multi-screen configurations. Her works offer a real-time encounter with speed, slowness, endurance and performance ‘at the threshold of geographical or territorial extremes’. Further, her practice enters the realm of psycho-geography, as coined by Debord to describe ‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment (consciously organised or not) on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’.

Monteith was one of four finalists in the Walters Prize 2010 at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, where we encountered Passing Manoeuvre with two motorcycles and 584 vehicles for two-channel video installation 2008, Dual-channel video installation with sound. In which a Ducati 996s and a Suzuki GSXR 600 continuously cut through commuting traffic toward the city. The encompassing sound hums, shifts and tilts with the mesmerising action on screen until it comes to a halt and the foot hits the pavement. Granting access to the bodies and machines in motion. It’s sure to appeal to little brothers who ride motorbikes. It conveys experience as only an acute participant-observer can.

Related posts:
Colliding Islands at Lake Macquarie, June 4 2011
DSC05056 (Walters Prize 2010), August 23 2010
On guard, August 8 2010


Love the Future, originally uploaded by mxccuba.

The New York Times once referred to Ai Weiwei as “a figure of Warholian celebrity”. And his ongoing detainment is shaping up to be a contemporary epic that parallels Valerie Solanas shooting Andy Warhol.

On April 3, the internationally acclaimed Chinese artist was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong. Some colleagues associated with Ai Weiwei’s studio have also since disappeared. Thirty-seven days later and there is still no official charge or notification regarding his whereabouts or a reason for his detainment.

The lack of transparency surrounding the case has left everyone to only speculate that the most apparent motivation would be the ongoing challenges to political sensitivities in his work. But that’s not new, so it’s probably a connection to the pro-democracy demonstrations inspired by the Jasmine Revolution, making Ai Weiwei one amongst many activists that have disappeared and/or been arrested. However, at this point the investigation appears to be focusing on tax evasion. Ai Weiwei has been denied legal counsel and a lawyer is amongst those that have also disappeared. The case continues to defy China’s criminal procedure law and evade accountability.

Ai Weiwei’s profile has drawn further attention to the crack downs brought on by this Jasmine Revolution. Particularly the tightening of internet controls obstructing demonstration supporters and netizen support continues to be censored and deleted. Love the Future.

Related links:
Free Ai Weiwei
Love the Future
Public Letter from Ai Weiwei Studio

Additional links:
May 20 Architects accused of silence over Ai Weiwei
May 28 Ai Weiwei: the dissident artist


Penny Byrne, Maddestmaximus (2009), originally uploaded by mxccuba.

It’s a little surprising that Australian Art Collector isn’t all over this, or hasn’t at least been profiled. Her bitter-sweet ceramics are regularly described as requiring a closer inspection to reveal that there’s something amiss; something which may appear ubiquitous and innocent from a bygone era is actually dark, humorous and subversive. Really, they’re pretty blunt. A ballerina wields a samurai sword, It’s Murder on the Dance Floor (2010), a boy wears army fatigues, and fey gentleman in breaches and hose are painted the bright orange of American, including Guantanamo, prison jumpsuits.

Byrne reworks vintage porcelain figurines of the 1950s. Such decorative ornaments, literally useless, are both kitsch and conservative. Byrne transforms them into objects that take on conservative politics, current affairs, social and environmental issues. A practicing conservator, Byrne applies these specialised skills, in her own practice, to chopping off the heads of Dresden figurines and action men. Smashing, sawing off limbs, painting camouflage garments, adding army helmets and weapons.

Byrne points out, “I won’t destroy important decorative art… But the vintage ones, which are poor copies of the original, I think they’re just asking for trouble.” (From Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald, March 6 2007). But the very act of distorting and reconstructing, risking the sanctity of the original object propels us into unfamiliar territory.

Byrne’s subversive ceramics are provocative reconstructions of our complacency and complicity. Their irreverent elaboration, and sometimes even their price, is very desirable. For ILL-Gotten Gains, Byrne’s last exhibition at Sullivan + Strumpf, she was insistent that the small Gitmo Bay Souvenirs be accessibly priced. Almost fulfilling the very definition of souvenirs, the works highlight our experience of atrocities as witnesses from a far.

Related posts:
From Time Travel: reimagining the past, June 14 2010
PJ Hickman, May 14 2009
Final Progress Report, Solutions, November 5 2007


David M Thomas, Dream Job (2010)., originally uploaded by mxccuba.

I’m a little behind with a year in review a la Artforum, Freize (Jemima gets a mention p. 90) etc.; but hey. While 2009 was perhaps a more rounded year with books and performances, 2010 was unusually good for exhibitions in my corner of the world, including my hometown.

For me, there was APT6, the highlight being Kibong Rhee; the Sydney Biennale, namely ASE+F, Fiona Pardington, Kate McMillan’s Island of incarceration and Shen Shaomin’s Bonsai Series; Alex Monteith’s Passing Manoeuvre with two motorcycles (2008), as part of the Walters Prize at the Auckland Art Gallery and Julian Dashper at the Gus Fisher Gallery (plus, while in Auckland I got to purchase some really nice dresses, as you do); Brook Andrew, The Cell (2010) (1 of 3 posts); Vernon Ah Kee’s Tall Man at Milani; David M Thomas’ Dream Job at QCA, Santiago Sierra’s, 7 forms measuring 600 x 60 x60cm, constructed to be held horizontal to a wall, had a super brief stint at GoMA, supported by Kaldor, which really centred around the ‘In Conversation’; and Heimo Zobernig at Pestorius Sweeney House.

More broadly, I agree with Filipovic (Freize p. 88), following on from the Bergen Biennial Conference, September 2009, 2010 was also a year with a renewed explosion of journals and texts focusing on curatorial practice. Namely The Exhibitionist by Jens Hoffmann, which has inspired some elements of my recent titles.

Other related posts:
I’m Okay, You’re Okay essay, Sept 16 2010
From Time Travel: reimagining the past, June 14 2010
#4, Nov 15 2009


Caged Whale Skull, Straddie. P: L. Rollman (2010), originally uploaded by mxccuba.

I didn’t even know there was a Straddie Museum until October last year. And it’s a curious museum to say the least. These kinds of museums are usually curious. But sometimes you find a gem, or maybe a kind of gem-like thing buried in a back corner.

The Straddie Museum provided a lot of info regarding early Dugong business and a sample of Dugong oil, an explanation of how Dickson Way acquired its name and Dunwich Benevolent Asylum housed in the totally rebuilt continence building, complete with the spooky dummy. Weirdly, the featured materials are laminated; a B&W photo of the surf club from the 90s is placed alongside much older photos and is visually indistinguishable; as well as headings such as Transport and Communication that may have been prepared by primary school students for a social studies assignment, but aren’t credited as such.

The real feature of the museum, the absolute gem, is a complete whale skull. However, while understandable, it’s also a little sad that it’s caged. Even worse is that the intact remnants of the wild are caged in a nasty, poorly kept cage.

This kind of experience was more-or-less replicated Sunday in Redcliffe. With the purpose of seeing the Joseph Banks and the flora of the Australian east coast, at the Redcliffe Museum, a National Maritime Museum travelling exhibition, we made a day of it. Noting, maybe the title should at least mention Sydney Parkinson. The works themselves were lovely and we were disappointed we couldn’t purchase prints. Otherwise, we were generally a bit distracted by the design values. Most notably, the museum is housed in a late 60s church and we spent a lot of time staring strangely at the mammoth, and I mean mammoth, air-conditioning vent placed directly to obscure the stain glass windows. Every inherit feature of the building is unfortunately ignored.

Related posts:
The Betrayal, February 23 2009
I love my time, I don’t like my time, an afternoon at the Frye, January 6 2007
Museo Nacional de la Lucha Bandidos, January 1 2006


Kibong Rhee, There is no place – Shallow cuts (2008)., originally uploaded by mxccuba.

Further to yesterday’s post, there’s been other good works and exhibitions at Southbank over the past year or so. Namely, Kibong Rhee’s metaphysical installation There is no place – Shallow cuts (2008) for APT6, employed light and vapor to conjure a sublime impression of morning fog that shrouded the silhouette of a dark sprawling willow tree. The misty dreamlike setting was reminiscent of a traditional landscape painting, except that the tree debatably turned very slowly; a mesmerising illusion.

Related posts:
Frustration be gone, April 11 2007
MoMA: Casual Friday Shopping, January 25 2007
Museo Rufino Tamayo, December 2 2005


Spencer Finch, The Light at Lascaux (Cave Entrance), September 29, 2005, 5:27 PM (detail) (2005), Fluorescent light fixtures and lamps with filters, 39 x 611cm. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery., originally uploaded by mxccuba.

It should have occurred to me that Boxing Day at GoMA would be really hectic, but it was out-of-towners on a tight schedule with the plan. No matter, it’s always curious to see a lot of people’s reactions. And with works by over 140 artists, 21st Century: Art in the First Decade is a lot of fun.

It’s especially enlightening to see all the new acquisitions in one exhibition. In fact, it’s almost astounding that all these works have been so quickly amassed for just one collection. I was particularly pleased to see Spencer Finch’s The Light at Lascaux (Cave Entrance), September 29, 2005, 5:27 PM (2005) amongst them. The work was previously exhibited in 2009 as part of Spencer Finch: As if the sea should part and show a further. It was the best exhibition I’ve ever seen at QAG/GoMA and I’d considered writing a review at the time, but never got around to it.

The exhibition was concerned with light and the perception of light. From what I remember, there was a bank of 9 monitors facing the wall, which reflected a pastel hue, there was a drawing of an eye or iris and there was The Light at Lascaux. In some respects, particularly in its pace, it was really more of an installation than an exhibition.

To create The Light at Lascaux, Finch recorded the quality of light between the shadowy interior and entrance of the Lascaux Cave. The cave which, discovered in 1940 in south-west France, is synonymous with prehistoric art. The Light at Lascaux recreates this light with diagonal fluorescent tubes and calibrated colour filters related to pigments in the cave’s prehistoric paintings, as well as tones from the surrounding mountainous landscape and sky.

Related posts:
I love my time, I don’t like my time, an afternoon at the Frye, January 6 2007
Jessica Stockholder, Of standing float boots in thin air, January 3 2007
Casa Luis Barragan, December 2 2005