Monthly Archives: September 2011

Opening Day at Auckland Art Gallery

Abramovic to Direct LA MOCA Gala

Lady Gaga plays a piano designed by Damien Hirst at the 2009 LA MOCA Gala

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović  has been appointed the Artistic Director of the 2011 Gala at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.  She is responsible for programming an evening of music and performance that will feature an as yet undisclosed ‘guest musician’.  Given that former AD Doug Aitken roped in Beck and Devendra Banhart last year and Francesco Vezzoli got Gaga to jam on a piano painted by Damien Hirst the year before, I’m guessing it’s going to be HUGE.

Hot Photo Friday – Sandy Kim

Sandy Kim, untitled, n.d., from the series 'xxx'

Phallic sculpture stirs up Dunedinites

Rachel Rakena in front of her work 'Haka Peep Show'. Photo courtesy Otago Daily Times.

Rachel Rakena has created a towering black, um, ‘column’ for the city of Dunedin to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.  The 5 meter member, entitled ‘The Haka Peep Show’, apparently takes its shape from Rexona deodorant cans used by rugby players and contains within it video works featuring various haka performances.

The $100,000 sculpture has provoked such an outrage that local Councillor  Lee Vandervis has resigned in disgust, stating “”We’re paying $50,000 to rent a black penis in the Octagon? What’s that all about?”  For Rakena, the work is more complex.  She says it “…considers the sexualisation and commodification of Maori and indigenous sportsmen through the use and exploitation of their masculinity and their culture, in the media”.  Big black cock or sculptural exploration of the objectification of male athletes?  You decide…

Some recent work by George Herms




All collages entitled ‘Xenophilia’, each 56 x 71 cm, 2011

Michael Parekowhai vs. Roxy Paine

Michael Parekowhai, 'Acts II', 1994

Roxy Paine, 'Model for an Abstract Sculpture', 1997

Kiedis, Ruscha Talk Art in a Car


Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis took Ed Ruscha for a burn around LA recently to promote Pacific Standard Time, a Getty Research Institute initiative focusing on postwar art in LA.  The project culminates in a series of major exhibitions in cultural institutions across Southern California in October this year.

Kiedis is a big Ruscha fan.  He also likes art that makes him go “Oh, oh, look at that!”.  Insightful.  Next in the series: Jason Schwartzman meets with John Baldessari.

Claire Martin’s Slab City

Claire Martin, 'Untitled' from the series 'Slab City'

Slab City, a series of photographs by young Australian photographer Claire Martin, takes its name from the ruins of an old World War II base in the Colorado Desert.  Currently on display at the ACP in Sydney, the works document a community at the fringes of society.  The ‘city’ is occupied by addicts, vagrants, and those simply seeking an alternative lifestyle.

Belying her background in social work, Martin captures the confronting reality of poverty – the desert lies peppered with refuse, stray animals spill out of soiled caravans occupied by the elderly and the unwell.  But Slab City also captures a strange kind of beauty.  The desert is a pervasive presence, it glows in dusky tones. And sometimes the city’s  inhabitants are captured in moments of pleasure and intimacy – they share a joint or a kiss, gathering resolutely in a place that provides a very harsh kind of freedom.

Claire Martin, Slab City, at the Australian Centre for Photography, 257 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney, until September 25th.

Hot Photo Friday – K8 Hardy

K8 Hardy, 'Fuck You', C-print, 2009

Gerard Vaughan Resigns

NGV Director, Dr Gerard Vaughan

Gerard Vaughan has announced his retirement after thirteen years as Director of the National Gallery of Victoria.  Quoted in an NGV press release today he stated: “In any field of endeavor knowing when to leave a role is crucial. I believe this is the right time to bow out”.  Vaughan will step down in July 2012.