Three Things That Are Not Art

When John Baldessari was recently asked by Vogue contributing editor Dodie Kazanjian what art was not, he had this to say:

WHAT IS NOT ART

  1. “WHAT IS NOT ART” IS NOT ART SINCE IT’S A TRITE IDEA.
  2. LISTS LIKE THESE BECAUSE ANYTHING CAN BE ART.
  3. ARTISTS AS ART SINCE ARTISTS ARE DUMB.

(Above: excerpt from John Baldessari’s 1971 video, ‘I am making art’)

Three Things That Are Not Art

Congratulations, Jukuja Dolly Snell

Jukuja Dolly Snell in front of her prize winning painting 'Kurtal'
Jukuja Dolly Snell in front of her prize winning painting ‘Kurtal’

Jukuja Dolly Snell has been announced as the overall winner of the 2015 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA). Born in 1933 at Kurtal in the Great Sandy Desert, Snell began painting in the mid-1980s.  She’s been exhibiting since 1991 but only held her first solo show in Darwin last year. Her prize winning work depicts the spirits and stories of Snell’s country, Kurtal.  Describing the work she said: “That’s my Kurtal, now! As long as I’ve been born there. That one, Kurtal. Not from another jila, no! One jila.”  For the full list of prize winners click here.

Congratulations, Jukuja Dolly Snell

Marlborough Chelsea – Chick Free Zone

Gallery report cards by feminist collectives Guerilla Girls (left) and Pussy Galore (right)
Gallery report cards by feminist collectives Guerilla Girls (left) and Pussy Galore (right)

Feminist collective Pussy Galore has taken up where Guerilla Girls left off by re-visiting their 1986 report card, which tallies representation of female artists by major New York dealers.  When Pussy Galore re-issued the card in February this year, Tony Shafrazi Gallery held the dubious distinction of representing the smallest number of women in their stable (a measly 5%).  They’ve recently slid to second place however, replaced by Marlborough Chelsea, who, following the departure of represented artist Davina Semo, now represent NO WOMEN.

In response, Marlborough Chelsea co-Director Max Levai had this to say; “As we enter our fourth season at Marlborough Chelsea, we continue our mission to work with artists of the highest calibre. This includes a commitment and priority to working with as diverse a roster as possible and to gender parity as we evolve. We take these issues very seriously and our audience will see that reflected in our planned schedule of upcoming exhibitions.”

While there have been some improvements since Guerilla Girls issued their first report card in 1986 there’s still a long way to go.  Women make up 50% of the population; in 2015 there’s no excuse for this disparity to continue when it comes to commercial gallery representation.

Marlborough Chelsea – Chick Free Zone

So long, Shigeko Kubota

Shigeko Kubota, Vagina Painting, 1965
Shigeko Kubota, Vagina Painting, 1965

Japanese-born video artist and Fluxus member Shigeko Kubota has died in New York aged 77.  She is perhaps best known for the photographs associated with her 1965 performance Vagina Painting at the Perpetual Fluxus Festival in New York, in which she marked a scroll of paper with washes of red paint from a brush strapped between her legs – a powerful response to the heroic posturing of the male-dominated abstract expressionist movement.  Surprisingly, this was Kubota’s first and only performance work, and her subsequent practice was centred around video, sculpture and installation.  Read Art Asia Pacific’s obituary here.

So long, Shigeko Kubota