Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Prize Queen

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The Artswipe
"In addition to God and the studio, I'd like to thank Skanky Jane for making
this animated GIF of Artswipe's Oscar predictions vs the actual outcome", 2007
New New Media

"Artswipe also hopes to do a quick run around town and take in some art shows in their last days, to stave off that bitter feeling of neglect art experiences during the Christmas shut down. Maybe even shed some Oscar tips."

So were the concluding remarks of Artswipe's first blog post for the year. Some art shows were viewed but I just didn't see anything worth the words that hadn't already been uttered somewhere else. That prize show The Anne Landa Award exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW was quite festive, and certainly more interesting than it was the year before. But while Monika Tichacek deserved her win for the (now rather old) video work The Shadowers (2004), the hype and scandal publicly aroused by her lesbo-sadomasochistic work made me less responsive to it on second viewing (I first saw it at Artspace in 2005 and became an instant fan).

What interested me, seeing it in the hallowed context of an art prize at the AGNSW, was how The Shadowers - perhaps to its detriment - stood out because Tichacek was the only female artist represented among a group of seven video and new media artists. But maybe the gender inequity was abated by the surplus of female energy contextualising Tichacek's work. After all, The Shadowers was a piece about female desire and queer sexuality produced by a woman (Monika Tichacek, with some help from performers Aña Wojak and Rosanna Mastroianni). Then it is curated by a woman (Natasha Bullock) into an art prize exhibition named in honour of a woman (Anne Landa).

Usually I tire of the very gender stocktaking I've just outlined because politically correct divisionism is, like, so 1995, but it seems a suited observation in retrospect because the boys represented are such boys. Really, the encircling gangbang of male artists at the Anne Landa Award was so pungent with the whiff of blueballs, soccer practice and dickcheese that it was a relief to be in Tichacek's black curtained safe place... No wonder she sews her legs together. Any self-respecting woman would.

There it is, Artswipe promised an art review. The Anne Landa Award closed on the 11 February. Hope you got to see it. I'm certainly a better person after seeing Tony Schwensen's nipples in yet another absurd performance video situation. If you're now pissed you missed it, let me know and I'll lend you my copy of the $25 catalogue.

If the Anne Landa Award stoked your inner prize queen, then hop along to my favourite opening night of the year. It's The Academy Awards aka Oscars (just in case you didn't know). It's not curated by anyone that I know of. Artswipe did promise some Oscar tips, and this year Artswipe's done some homework and seen a lot of the films. After the last few posts I've indeed realised what a celebrity-themed February it has been. So much so that Aquarians and Pisceans are so fucking cool in that Britney-esque way right now, wading the complex depths of a glittering hirsute ocean. Bid or Buy it Now.

If you can't get tickets to the Oscars, it's best you don't ask because they don't offer freebies to volunteers like the organisers of
The Biennale of Sydney. My recommendation is you make your own little gift bag and watch on TV. It's very democratic that way and TV is the people's medium. My video artist friends may want to watch it as a 3 channel dvd installation, that's up to you.

Why did I pick my picks? Leonardo DiCaprio as best actor because he's as cute as a button. Starring in Blood Diamond and The Departed, he really did work hard. Leo's made like at least five movies now since What's Eating Gilbert Grape. What a working class man. Maybe Alan Arkin as Supporting Actor because he's old. Definitely Helen Mirren because everyone says so - indeed, she's the ultimate Prize Queen. I suppose Jennifer Hudson as Supporting Diva because we need to think for a minute we're at The Grammys instead of perhaps the abortion clinic they call American Idol.

Scorsese will win for The Departed because I don't think he's ever won before. Babel has to get something - it does critique American gun cultures and terror-inspired politics in an ever-so-ambiguously-even-handed manner that it might just be this year's Crash (Best Picture Oscar 2005). Does that mean Babel could be Best Picture? I hope so. If not it will get one of the throwaway awards from the two Screenplay categories.

Notes on a Scandal should get the other Screenplay award, simply because it was so nasty. The Philip Glass score may win for Notes on a Scandal, because Academy voters may cast an intertextual vote this year. Meaning, Philip Glass scored The Hours. The Hours was about Virginia Woolf. Notes on a Scandal makes numerous smartypants references to Woolf throughout. Notes on a Scandal is really in such Room of One's Own that it is Artswipe's personal pick for the Best Picture - even if it's not nominated in that category. But then again, it's all about women's business and like Monika Tichacek's The Shadowers, it's got enough deliciously amoral lesbian ingredients to warrant a major Australian art prize. An Oscar, perhaps not.


Skanky Jane said...

Thanks for the picks Arty - better than watching it all on the Teev for my money. Looking forward to seeing Notes on a Scandal.

SJ xx

Skanky Jane said...

PS. You're prolific this month....

lauren said...

i don't know if it's even nominated, but stranger than fiction is my 'best movie of 2007'.. so far.

it's ace and you should see it - even if it's just for the shoulder piece tat that maggie sports! and it does that whole self-referencial thing that will ticklet your fancy, i suspect

Nicky Marotta said...

The SMH seems to think the Oscars are taking a "softer, gay turn" this year. Is this in response to the Anne Landa Award's "lesbo-sadomasochistic" turn? Are the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sending out Ellen's unwavering nervous smile to counteract Tichacek's dark visions? And where is Bette Porter to defend the right to choose?