A group of artists have threatened to boycott the Biennale of Sydney in protest of one of the exhibition’s major sponsors, a company called Transfield, which contracts with the Australian government to manage mandatory detention centers for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Artifacts in museums — in an effort for preservation — are often placed out of reach of the communities with which they are entwined. One way museums are bridging this divide is digitization, and with this purpose in mind, the South Australian Museum is currently undertaking a massive project to photograph and catalogue each and every one of the objects in their Aboriginal Material Culture Collection.
The American suburbs are already surreal places, perfectly planned roads dotted with identical homes infinitely replicated across the country. In his two-year Suburban project, Australian artist Ian Strange radically transformed these places into something even more otherworldly with paint and flames.
Distilling the ethos of a national avant-garde is a daring act, but curator Marissa Bateman’s goal is to accomplish just that in Peripheral Visions: Contemporary Art from Australia at Garis & Hahn. The exhibition aims to showcase the most effervescent artists of Australia’s contemporary art scene, marking the New York debut of the participants. Artists include Australia’s Venice Biennale representatives Vernon Ah Kee, Claire Healy, and Sean Corderio as well as Joel Beerden, Stephen Bird, Nicholas Folland, Dan McKewen, Amanda Marburg, and Phoebe Rathmell.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Melbourne-based street artist CDH specializes in presenting audacious and difficult challenges to institutions that explore the illicit nature of street art. Disguised in a bright safety vest, he is well-spoken and calm and on one occasion his demeanor has even been able to convince a few Melbourne police officers to help him install a street art work. He believes in giving art to the city if they want it or not and that art can be created even if permission is not granted. He dares people to destroy what is clearly art and so traps them in participating in his project.
Other than having a name that sounds like it could be a gay bar in a seedy part of town, Sydney’s Cockatoo Island is going to be hosting the largest urban art festival in the southern hemisphere starting November 4 and continuing until to December 11.
Recently, I received a press release from the Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) heralding their new show, Saying No: Reconciling Spirituality and Resistance in Indigenous Australian Art. My first reaction was astonishment. I didn’t understand how Australian Aboriginals fit into the mission of an institution concerned with the African diaspora?
In 1999, the National Gallery of Australia cancelled a planned exhibition of Sir Charles Saatchi’s Sensation, a collection of art focused on the work of the Young British Artists of the 1990s, on the grounds of the possible offensiveness of many of the works included in the show. Several of those works and artists are now on display in the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) recently opened in Hobart, a small city on the island of Tasmania in the south of Australia. Where the National Gallery quailed at the idea of exhibiting work by Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and the Chapman brothers, MONA has no such qualms today. Works by these artists feature alongside 400 other pieces from the private collection of David Walsh, a Tasmanian millionaire gambler, art collector and founder of MONA.
Lotus Johnson left this illuminating comment on Alison Young’s post “Art, Value & Banksy’s Rats in Melbourne,” which included an illustration of a stencil depicting a native Australian flower stabbing a Banksy signature animal, the rat. Turns out there’s more than meets the eye.
It seems that Melbourne City Council just can’t get it right when it comes to street art, and especially when it comes to the work of Banksy: two weeks ago, they “accidentally” ordered a cleaning crew to remove one of Banksy’s iconic rats from a wall in Hosier Lane, in the centre of the city. The news of this rodent’s demise was greeted by a storm of media criticism.
Who knew the Australian landscape painting world could be a hot bed of scandal. Earlier this month, the Wynne Prize was awarded to Australian painter Sam Leach. Normally bestowed on “the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours … ” this year it was revealed that the painting wasn’t exactly based on an Australian scene but an image the artist found on the Internet. The horror! Veteran feminist and public intellectual Germaine Greer has jumped to Leach’s defense.
According to The Australian, the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia has rejected a $400,000 bequest because it came with strings attached. The Murdoch-owned newspaper also used the opportunity to point out that the donors are communists.