Monthly Archives: September 2010

Taryn Simon’s Contraband

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In 2009 Taryn Simon documented over 1,000 examples of seized contraband during a 5-day stint at JFK International Airport.  The resulting body of work, currently on display at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, presents an array of items – unidentified meats, animal parts, cow dung toothpaste – uniformly documented in objective, forensic-style photographs.  Stripped of context by a neutral grey background, these items of trade are effectively re-presented as global artifacts.

Closer to home, photographs from Taryn Simon’s 2007 series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar are about to go on display at the Centre for Contemporary Photography as part of the Melbourne Festival.  Exhibition dates: 15 October – 12 December 2010.

Some work by Karl Wirsum

Karl Wirsum, 'Cutting my eye tooth', 1970

Karl Wirsum, 'Untitled (Study for the painting Screamin' J. Hawkins, 1968)', 1968

Karl Wirsum, 'Untitled', 1970

Karl Wirsum, 'Untitled (Study for a Playboy illustration)', 1969

These works (and others) are on display at Derek Eller Gallery, 615 West 27th Street, New York, until October 9, 2010.

Murakami vs. Versailles

Takashi Murakami, 'Flower Matango', 2001-2006, installation view, Versailles

The opening of Takashi Murakami’s retrospective at the Chateau of Versailles has been met with protests by concerned French traditionalists resistant to the exhibition of contemporary art in Versailles.  The Versailles Defence Coordination and Versailles Mon Amour have created a petition containing over 11,000 signatures berating the Chateau for allowing such a ‘clash of cultures’.

Takashi Murakami, 'Tongai-Kun (Mr Pointy)', installation view, Versailles

Of course the disconnect between location and exhibition is intentional.   It encourages typical Versailles visitors to view art they might not otherwise see and introduces contemporary art enthusiasts to a location they might not otherwise visit.  Leg of Lamb reckons it’s a win win situation.

Takashi Murakami's 'Oval Buddha' installed in the Versailles Palace Gardens

Murakami Versailles, Chateau of Versailles, Place d’Armes, until 12 December 2010.

Hot Photo Friday – Hellen van Meene

Hellen van Meene, 'Holandia', 2004

Critical Failure

The panel for Critical Failure: Visual Arts. From left to right: Peter Mares, Patrick McCaughey, Phip Murray, Naomi Cass, John McDonald

The Wheeler Centre has released video footage from Critical Failure, a series of events that examined the state of arts criticism in Australia.  You can watch the debates on the Wheeler Centre’s website here.

Kaliman returns…

Sydney art dealer Vasili Kaliman

Kaliman Gallery was a fixture in the Sydney art scene for almost a decade and its closure last year was saddening.  But all is not lost for former director Vasili Kaliman following the announcement that he will be opening a new dealer gallery in Sydney with fellow dealer Michael Reid in early 2011.  Kaliman + Reid will focus on secondary market works made from the 1980’s onwards and will also encorporate curated exhibitions into their programme.

Until then, you can keep any eye on what Kaliman’s up to on his website, blog and twitter page.

‘Rocky’ as you’ve never seen him before…

Paul McCarthy, still from 'Rocky', 1976

Discovering a Paul McCarthy video amidst ACCA’s current Gestures and Procedures exhibition was a welcome relief after suffering through Bianca Hester’s ‘experiential’ trash next door.   Leg of Lamb loves a bit of smut and
McCarthy never fails to disappoint.

Tucked in between projections of Mike Parr’s 1970’s performance pieces and Daniel von Sturmer’s elegant modernist videos, McCarthy’s offering is decidedly base.  ‘Rocky‘ features the naked artist repeatedly punching himself in the face and smearing ketchup where the sun don’t shine.

McCarthy’s performances often rub people up the wrong way (ahem) but there’s something perversely pleasing about watching a grown man behave in such a puerile manner.  McCarthy abandons ‘normal’ codes of behaviour and reverts to a primal form of existence in which pleasure (and pain) is achieved simply, directly and without inhibition.

Gestures & Procedures, ACCA, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, Melbourne, until September 26.

Guggenheim announces shortlist for YouTube Play Biennial


The Guggenheim received over 23,000 submissions for their forthcoming YouTube Play Biennial.  100 of these entries have now been short-listed and you can view them on the Play Biennial channel on YouTube here.  From what Leg of Lamb has seen, the pickings are slim.  Unless of course you’re partial to musings on humanity that closely resemble ads for health insurance (above).  A  final 20 works selected by the jury will be exhibited at the Guggenheim, New York from October 22.

On the road with Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander – America By Car

Lee Friedlander, 'Plate 151, Denali Park', 2007, from the series 'America by Car'

American photographer Lee Friedlander loves a good road trip and has for many years photographed scenes in the rear view mirrors of various hire cars. The mirrors are clever framing devices that Freidlander uses to create oblique perspectives on the American landscape. 192 of these square format images taken during the past decade are currently on display at the Whitney Museum of Art.

Lee Friedlander: America By Car, Whitney Museum of Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street New York, until November 28, 2010