MOCAtv has produced a 3 part series on ‘The Art of Punk’. The first episode (above) explores of the art of Black Flag, focusing on their iconic four bar logo and associated gig memorabilia designed by artist Raymond Pettibon (who also happens to be Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn’s brother). Installments on the Dead Kennedys and Crass to follow later this month.
Photograph by Fiona Clark, causing a stir almost 40 years on
Some Tauranga locals are up in arms over two images taken by NZ documentary photographer Fiona Clark in the early 1970s. Included in the current group exhibition Now and Then at Tauranga Art Gallery, the photographs were shot at a 1974 University of Auckland gay liberation dance and feature hand written ‘captions’ containing sexual references generated by the sitters. ”This is not a good look for Tauranga” says resident Jocelyn Winwood, who is “disgusted that such exhibits can be viewed by the public” and has asked Bay of Plenty councillors to remove the works from exhibition.
The same images caused a stir when they were first exhibited in the seminal ‘Active Eye’ exhibition (New Zealand’s first survey of local contemporary photography) in 1975. Public outcry against Clark’s work was so strong that the show never opened at Auckland Art Gallery and the photographs were eventually removed from the touring component of the exhibition.
Nearly 40 years on there’s significant institutional support for Hall (she was the subject of a major exhibition, Go Girl, at Govett Brewster Art Gallery in 2002) and despite these renewed complaints, Tauranga Art Gallery is standing by the works. “We would not consider withdrawing any works as they are very much part of the exhibition” said Director Penelope Jackson. “Art often challenges us, both in good and bad ways. Given recent events with gay rights in New Zealand, the [Auckland University gay liberation] dance was part of our country’s history.”
It’s a shame that the same level of gallery support for ‘controversial’ work is lacking here in Melbourne, as the current Paul Yore furore attests. Rather than stand behind the work of the artist, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts has simply closed its doors.
New Chills live album ‘Something Beautiful’ featuring artwork by Shane Cotton
The Chills have just released one of New Zealand’s most expensive albums. Something Beautiful, a limited edition collection of live recordings, will set you back NZ$6,500. The hefty price tag is due in part to the inclusion of a mixed media screen print in each of the 150 copies by painter Shane Cotton, with each print featuring a different lyric from the album. “I think Shane Cotton’s prints are beautiful and powerful” says Chills frontman Martin Phillips. “They contain many elements of the physical impact of this land’s presence on our national and personal psyche which is something I relate to, having explored some similar themes through my music”.
Something Beautiful is the first in a series of music/art collaborations spearheaded by Far South Editions.
On Saturday, works by 25 year old Melbourne artist Paul Yore were seized by police from an exhibition at Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts following a complaint from the public. Yore was subsequently interviewed by St Kilda police but released without charge pending further investigations. His work was part of one of several group exhibitions curated by Geoff Newton celebrating the work of legendary Australian artist Mike Brown. The confiscated images were from an installation entitled ‘Everything’s F*cked’ and featured images of children collaged onto sexually questionable material, including a cut out featuring Justin Bieber’s head urinating from a dildo into a sink.
Anyone familiar with Yore’s work knows that it’s campy, souped-up, often scandalous. That’s why the exhibition contained appropriate warning signs, including leaflets stating that the exhibition was unsuitable for children. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but should Yore be charged with producing and possessing child pornography? Of course not.
National Association for the Visual Arts executive director Tamara Winikoff observed that “This is just another case of people being overprotective of public sensibilities and not acknowledging that people are perfectly capable of making up their own minds” and LOL agrees. This type of censorship is inflamed by lazy press stories like this one printed in the Herald Sun last week that drag up the same old sensationalist ‘tax payer funded’ angle. Tired. Lazy.
‘Everything’s F*cked’ was contained within a gallery space that people could chose to enter after being appropriately forewarned. Disappointingly, the entire exhibition has been closed prematurely so there’s no opportunity for viewers to reach their own conclusions. We need to support artists to make the work they need to make. Inhibiting the rights of artists and galleries to show work that is deemed as ‘challenging’ is a very worrying symptom of an increasingly conservative cultural climate.
The 55th Venice Biennale, ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’ curated by Massimiliano Gioni opened last week. If, like LOL, you’re feeling a little angsty about not being there, check out the video above, featuring Gioni talking about this year’s exhibition.
LOL would kill to see the current Urs Fischer show – the Swiss artist’s first survey in the US - at LA MOCA . Thankfully MOCAtv has posted an exhibition walk through with the show’s curator, Jessica Morgan from Tate Modern (above). Not as good as being there of course, but a nice way to explore the show nonetheless.
Visual artist and Psychic TV front wo/man Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is about to have h/er first solo institutional exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. S/HE IS HER/E contains over 100 works made by the artist from the 1970s to the present. Created in collaboration with his late wife Lady Jaye, P Orridge’s ‘Pandrogyne Project’ is the focal point of the exhibition. In an ongoing proposition, the couple sought to combine their two identities (through surgeries, cross dressing and hormone therapy) into one pandrogynous being; ‘Breyer P-Orridge’. The video above, included in the exhibition, addresses this collapsing of gender. Following the death of Lady Jaye in 2007, Genesis continues the project by occupying Breyer P-Orridge completely.