Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pissing Contests


When it comes to bathrooms that look this good, gender is irrelevant.
Above: the female (top) and male (bottom) bathrooms at Carriageworks.

Recently at The Art Life, a debate raged about gender representation after Carrie Lumby reviewed a fairly banal Herald article. Adam Cullen and Ben Quilty were called up (among others) for quotable quotes in this article about art audiences getting bored of testosterone-fuelled art and it's hard to resist taking the bait. Not quite sure I saw the point of the Herald article or the Lumby write-up, but I've never been so entertained as I was when reading the 70something comments it sparked at The Art Life. And I just love how so many who commented clamour for the last word, returning again and again to strengthen their stance on whatever it was they were trying to make a point about. The Artswipe doesn't care for the last word. I'm too sophisticated for soft cock pissing contests. Rather I decided to put on a Guerrilla Girl mask and contribute to all this 'research' about gender representation in the arts by undertaking the following gallery crawl during the week:

Gallery Barry Keldoulis
: Chris Fox, Hitesh Natalwala
MOP Projects
: Alex Lawler, Marita Frazer, Emma White
Firstdraft Gallery: Clip Art: Kate Smith, Soda_Jerk (Dan & Dominique Angeloro) & Sam Smith, Ben Frost, Grant Stevens, Elvis Richardson, Deborah Kelly, The Motel Sisters (Liam Benson & Naomi Oliver)
Performance Space @ Carriageworks: Ruark Lewis & Jonathan Jones, Ross Gibson & Kate Richards
Tin Sheds: Petra Gemeinboeck
Sherman Galleries
: Marion Borgelt
Stills: Magnum New Blood: Antoine D'Agata, Jonas Bendiksen, Alec Soth, Trent Parke, Mark Power
AGNSW
: Sean Cordeiro & Claire Healy

Total Male Artists: 16

Total Female Artists: 12

If I had not gone to Stills, which was showing five male Magnum photographers, my gallery crawl would have been almost 50/50 in terms of gender representation. Not that that really says anything because generally I'm more interested in whether the art is any good. And overall it was a fun trip around Sydney, but my favourite works for the day were all the more interesting because they were about art and sex. So thanks to Carriageworks for introducing me to your male and female toilets. I've never seen a better or more expensive installation in my whole life!

4 comments:

Ian Milliss said...

Artswipe you really are very astute, your whole post describes that bizarre SMH/TAL cluster-beat-up perfectly, particularly, as you noted, the 70s retro attitudes and the strange competitive commentary - and it gives me a chance to compete with a first and last word. Pissing contest indeed.

The suggestion that the article at least raised a debate about art was hilarious ie stupid. In fact you could argue that the whole dumbed down debate was art, at least in the sense that once a technology (or in this case a meme) becomes totally obsolete it becomes ART (think etching, think super8, etc) and is then maintained by a small cultish band of enthusiasts in a more rarified and precious form than it ever originally had. Here was an art world maintaining a system of beliefs and grievances (on all sides) that is now way out of kilter with reality. Nonetheless there they were lovingly maintaining the delusions and washing and polishing them up like a bunch of old fogey vintage car enthusiasts. LOL.

Check this out http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/20/is-there-anything-good-about-men-and-other-tricky-questions/ for a much more sophisticated mass media story on the relationship between men, women and culture. It says in a thousand words what your two photos say more succinctly.

Skanky Jane said...

Arty you are so mean. I mean I know that you can't take me with you to posh exhibition openings but I would have been right at home at this one! Anyway I am relieved that I was wrong about you and Schappylle, please forgive me, I just was missing you sooo bad and well, I was a little bit jealous. Anyway, I want to congratulate you on winning the Box Art Quiz #1 - and thought maybe you'd like to have another go with the Box Quiz #2?

Yours, Always and Forever,
SJ xx

Skanky Jane said...

We all know that Skanky Jane is more of a try hard than a stute but I thought the dunnies rather stressed gender difference? (Although SJ can pee standing up and even boys have to sit down to do number 2). Speaking of which - I don't think you should pooh-pooh these types of "debates" too much - agoraphobia (for instance) keeps many folks indoors and not everyone gets to have a professor for lunch.

SJ xx

Skanky Jane said...

Online debate and controversy has caught up wit' ya Arty!!

simpleposie question for the day #2156

simpleposie wants to know:

What's Artswipe?