Colliding Islands, installation view, courtesy Caboolture Regional Gallery 2012, originally uploaded by cubamxc.
Touring exhibition Colliding Islands recently concluded at the Caboolture Regional Gallery. For the past three-years, the exhibition has traveled to seven venues along the east coast of Australia, attracting over 19,000 visitors. For the four international artists involved, the project has facilitated their first exhibition in Australia. While for regional touring venues and audiences, the project has provided a rare opportunity to engage with international and contemporary art issues. As for the only Australian artist involved and myself, the project’s associated public programming has afforded us with an opportunity to gauge regional audiences. For the most part, this has been interesting and engaging. For example, refer Colliding Islands at Lake Macquarie.
However, it’s amazing just how controversial a nude self-portrait can be. Especially a male nude. For another example, refer The controversial landscape. In this last instalment at Caboolture, Moore’s work was accompanied by a small discrete warning. At first I thought this was funny and curious. Then I suppose, consistent with warnings accompanying television programs and films.
The public program at Caboolture was also interesting. When someone in the audience pronounced the word black (the moment I internally gasp: OMG is he a racist and how am I going to deal with this?) everyone in the gallery jumped down his throat. But then after elaborating on Moore’s work, an older, purse-lipped woman stated, “I just don’t get what he’s trying to say, aside from that he’s well endowed.” Her lack of empathy was astounding and nobody jumped down her throat.
I later learnt that a parent, with their child, missed the warning and was upset. The gallery seemed to consider the issue covered, as the warning was there. They seemed unprepared to elaborate on the issues. I suspect that there could have been a female nude in the next gallery and they wouldn’t draw any correlation. Interesting. Next time, I know to prepare answers for the most fundamental FAQs.