Friday, June 26, 2009

Apology to Roadkill Redux

The Artswipe
Rat series, 2009 and ongoing
mobile phone photos

I'm back from the dead dear readers, as is my new series Rat, which I shot while holidaying in Venice. Here's a taste of things to come. It's a deep work and speaks to notions of sociotemporality, as does all my work.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Head Up My Arse or Dead in the Arse... I can't decide

Folks, it's been way too long between vodka milkshakes. I heard a search party happened; then there was a funeral. The body was never found so they cremated a blow up doll from Club X. Imagine the smell of burning plastic and hot air. Well that is the smell I have been experiencing of late, having had my head up my arse. And I can tell you it's dead in there. Dead in the arse.

The Artswipe is taking a holiday from blogging for now. I'll be back when the air has cleared, I promise.

Love you all. Especially you.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Artswipe is BITCH

Deborah Kelly in collaboration with Tina Fiveash
The Big Butch Billboard

The Artswipe
has been away - as you all know because you all keep hassling me to come back to the five and dime - because she has been living large as a billboard. It's that time of year when we all get sucked into a gay vortex (yep Mardi Gras time). And The Artswipe gets sucked more than anyone. In fact I just came back from getting a full body wax in anticipation of 'Monday Milktails', an Oscars bash to celebrate the Gus Van Sant movie Milk, where Sean Penn is gay for pay. The best kind of gay actually because at least when you're paying someone to be something, you can complain when it doesn't live up to your expectations. Complaining is what I do best. If there is a comments box, you can be sure I will fill it. 

Enough about that, what's new in queer cultcha? That queer provocateur of the visual arts Deborah Kelly has, in collaboration with photographer Tina Fiveash, produced a billboard that pays homage to the Maria Kozic is BITCH billboard from 1989. Kelly replaces Kozic's fetishised powerdrill wielding Ken Doll assassin with a butch dyke called Mahalia Jones. It's as simple as that - take a hetero feminist icon of the late 80s and replace her with a stylised blow-dried butch dyke wannabe straight out of The L Word. Kelly's billboard does for queer butch culture what metrosexuality did for straight men - stylising the signifiers of gender/sexual identity into shallow advertising speak. Or maybe that is the point?

The Big Butch billboard is currently showing at Australian Centre for Photography and in regional locations. On March 7, the butch ones among us cart the billboard down Oxford Street for the Mardi Gras parade. I can hardly contain my excitement.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Greetings and Salutations

The Artswipe's plan for a new look MCA at Circular Quay

The Artswipe has not posted now for over a month, and some of you want to know why. Well I have been busy with public speaking engagements at self-esteem building seminars (the most recent called "I too can love me"), fundraising for AIDS charities (so no more people "die of gay"), and advising on the future of the Museum of Contemporary Art building redevelopment (my approach: an architecture of the jumping castle).

If that wasn't keeping me busy I've attended John and Kelly's son's funeral - simply a tragedy, and I mean that. I've never been big on Scientology - anything remotely suggestive of science makes my eyes water - but in these times of grief and vulnerability, I'm likely to cling to whatever gives me comfort, whatever keeps me close to the celebrities I love.

The moral of this story? Well there is none when you're morally bankrupt (or "reek of moral turpitude," as a preacher man once said of me). But I will say this, and I do apologise that it has come so late:

Happy new year Artswipe readers!

The Artswipe is on annual leave until early February, when I will be back with reviews, spews, and clues. I promise to keep on delivering the high level calibre content you have come to love and hate. Indeed, I have a lot to live up to after one anonymous commentator (who I probably made up) dubbed The Artswipe "the Entertainment Tonight of the Sydney artworld."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Documental as Anything

It was announced earlier in the week that
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev has been appointed curator of Documenta 13, to be held in Kassel, Germany in 2012. Most recently Christov-Bakargiev's claim to fame is curating the recent Biennale of Sydney, which according to MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor (as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald), helped the curator bag the prestigious job. In particular, Christov-Bakargiev's "bold use" of Cockatoo Island as a venue assured her the job. Macgregor was part of a nine-member international committee that selected Christov-Bakargiev.

Documenta is probably the most esteemed contemporary art event in the world. What The Artswipe finds so flabbergasting is the self-importance placed on such extravaganzas. What's with the nine member committee? Is this the United Nations or something? One of the problems with the artworld these days is how over-determined everything has to be. Because we all know that no matter how much importance is placed on who the curator is, or which artists the curator selects, we'll whinge about the show because, well, we weren't included! The Artswipe is hedging bets that whatever Australian artists are selected, they'll be drawn from the pool of Australian artists already represented in the recent Biennale: Shaun Gladwell, TV Moore, Mike Parr, Raquel Ormella, Tracey Moffatt, Vernon Ah Kee... take your pick. Or get together a group of nine artist friends and take your collective committee styled pick. Either that or dream of the day when the artworld holds Idol style auditions or Big Brother style evictions for these spectacularised international art events, because I know Paula Abdul would be The Artswipe's pick for curator.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Baz is a Spaz

Can someone please back me up on this: Baz Luhrmann is a total spaz.

Recently in the news - which is mostly consumed with talk of the release of his overblown epic Australia - Luhrmann made claims that Barack Obama would have been "stolen" had he been born in Australia being that he is the offspring of mixed race parents. Well the fact is, Obama was not born in Australia. I think the plight of the indigenous in Australia is not at all comparable with what African Americans have endured. Perhaps the only similarity is that both the US and Australia have shamefully racist legacies when it comes to how "black" people have been treated. Does Luhrmann really care about the stolen generation? His film cost a trillion to make while a significant population of Aboriginals live in abject poverty in Australia. I mean really, his designer wife Catherine Martin flew all around the country sourcing the perfect bush tea cutlery set for the production design. I seriously doubt they were that concerned about righting Australia's wrongs in the process. Moral of the story: if you are after an attempt at quick publicity of the socially responsible kind, espouse shallow generalisations about "blackness" and race relations.

All The Artswipe has to say is this: If Luhrmann had been born in the US, surely someone would have "stolen" that closet from him and outed him by now. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Regime Change Room

The Artswipe celebrates Obama's election win with a costume change*

What an amazing day when the real world aligns with popular culture. The idea of the black president has been long accepted as a reality in popular culture, as documented at Slate Magazine. The Artswipe has been so used to seeing depictions of black presidents in Hollywood movies that it was always a total reality check when the real president would come on TV and shake his redneck booty. But now times have changed and there's a new sheriff in town. To celebrate Obama's triumph, and in keeping with the Countess theme of the previous post, The Artswipe thought it best to slip into something a little more comfortable. I posed for this portrait earlier today at Darling Harbour.

* Apologies to Charles Browning

Monday, November 03, 2008

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Ron Rophar
Countess, 2007

A new blog has surfaced in the blogosphere called
CoUNTess and it's one of the most interesting ones The Artswipe has seen this century thus far. Taking its lead from The Guerrilla Girls, CoUNTess gets busy with gender statistics to highlight how women continue to be marginalised in the big bad artworld. With only two posts published to date, CoUNTess is bursting with promise. Gender inequality does still exist so we must expose it and then fucking terrorise the oppressor - STICK IT TO THE MAN, LADIES! 

For instance, The Artswipe did a Google experiment to demonstrate patriarchy in action. Male = 449,000,000 hits. In contrast, Female = 393,000,000 hits. What a cruel world, where the Female is not more ubiquitous on the interweb. 

Better yet, when typing "countess" into Google Images, The Artswipe found a great artwork of a countess surrounded by her menagerie. What an inspired solution: when men no longer work out for you, get some pets. By "world renowned master artist" Ron Rophar, this painting is adorned with over 250 carats of genuine diamonds, "a first in the history of art" according to an online press release. Indeed the press release is right by proclaiming it is a "21st century masterpiece". Damien Hurst is such a copycat with his jewel encrusted skulls and shit. 

Now who said you can't dress up feminism with a little bling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meeting Your Maker

Renny Kodgers meets Kenny Rodgers: A Simulacrum to Behold

The Artswipe has always wanted to meet her maker. But to do so would warrant some discussion as to who The Artswipe is modelled on. Inspired by performance artist Renny Kodgers meeting his maker, The Artswipe is asking loyal readers to guess who The Artswipe might be if there was a real world CELEBRITY counterpart - and I'm not talking art stars. I'm talking the real shit: the Brangelinas of the world, etc. How much fun: it's almost like a competition, except it would require too much effort think-tanking a potential prize. Send a comment with your nominations, and who knows, The Artswipe may do some market research with the data.