Is it really Graf?

An odd but perhaps telling thing happened the other day right in the middle of art world central: 22nd Street between 10th and 11th avenues in Manhattan, New York City. After a little haggling with our mayor, Michael Bloomberg (a good mayor who took up a silly cause on this effort), the “urban” fashion designer Mark Ecko staged a block party featuring graffiti writers painting on faux subway car sides.

Bloomberg claimed this event would encourage real vandalism. But the real coooky part is that Ecko is also the man behind “Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, ” a video game coming out this fall for PS2, Xbox and PC. An ex-writer celebrating his past? Or, just a really good marketeer cashing in on nostalgia?

Though it was great to see artists like Henry Chalfant, Daze (who participated), my man Fab 5 Freddy and members of Tats Cru, the “legalized” block party had that new school corporate feel in spades. Hey, as a curator of one of the most recent museum exhibitions on hip hop, I can relate. At least this event was aimed to bring people to 22nd Street to see art, most of whom could care less about what hangs on the walls of the many galleries that dot one of the most important streets in the “art” world.
Franklin Sirmans
Lady Pink
top Daze this pic Lady Pink


Jota Castro

Uplands Gallery
Level 1/12 Waratah Place Melbourne, August 2005
The opening scene of Luchino Visconti’s 1954 film Senso famously opens in the Venice opera house with a scene from Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Death occurs on stage. The audience of occupying Austrians and fervent Italian patriots clash, but there are collaborators among them. The distance between opera and life is diminished.

Castro concentrates his video camera on a beautiful singer performing in a traditional salon setting. Elegance and passion in the performance; malice and irony in the text.

The Presidenzia Italiana, Berlusconi, is in fact heir to the collaboration of Mussolini and Hitler and the trasformismo that has marked Italian politics for at least two centuries.
Margaret Plant
Austrian soldiers at the Italian opera in Visconti's Senso,
see Lowe's comment

Domenico de Clario

A Second Simplicity
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street Southbank Melbourne, August 2005
Dom de Clario's walk-up apartment, shanty-built inside ACCA for the duration of the show, the rooms mimic his parent's little apartment in Trieste of the early 1950s. Very like Do-Ho Suh's recreations of his Korean family homes, similarly slightly but inintentionally creepy. Guests invited to lunch, one or two per day, homecooked by de Clario and his gentle, now elderly parents, the lunch conversation amplified out to the gallery visitors below via miked-up guests. The food was good but not too good, definitely simple. Conversation and lunch slated for one hour, which spun out to two. A little genteel, middle-class hesitancy at the start of the meal, formal introductions to de Clario's parents, whose presence throws the conversation off-course from art world gossip onto the food itself, and then onto food across the north of Italy. I'm reminded vaguely of the dinner-party conversation film genre, Bergman, French films, which neither guest wishes to puncture. I'm surprised by how little selfconsciousness is caused by sound amplification across the gallery beyond, more by the complication of the cross-generational guest mix and the charisma of de Clario's intensely intelligent, very beautiful mother (in her 70s, early 80s?), all of which leads into a focus on aging, on generational politics, on the bleakly self-censoring artworld, on the conceptual poverty of art school ecosystems. Before lunch, I guess I expected something of the ceremony of NYC-based artist Lee Mingwei's invitation-only events (to sleep with the artist, to have dinner with the artist, to accept money from the artist). I knew I didn't want to be part of a Linda Montano/Tehching Hsieh moment (tied together by a short rope for a whole year). I don't know how or if the lunches coalesced, but I suspect the result is more sociological - a portrait of the chattering class's anguish and aging - than an iconic collective image of community. If this is the case, then the work emerges quite differently to most of de Clario's recent performances and sculptures, for the sculpture/sculptor as avatar disappears.
Charles Green


Short ride in a fast machine

Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces
200 Gertrude Street Fitzroy Melbourne, August 2005
A Short Ride in a Fast Machine was designed to celebrate Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces’ 20 year anniversary. A way to recognise the activity that has happened in the past and is still happening. There was a proposition of a history for the art space. Pure celebration and commemoration might have been better perspectives for understanding the show. With the publication that accompanied the exhibition, the simple question of who is visible and who is not was another central, though deferred, topic. Talk of vested interests and people left out stalked this exhibition.
Rob McKenzie


The difference between you and me

The Ian Potter Museum of Art
University of Melbourne, August 2005
What a disappointing no thrills exhibition. It’s not so much the works in the show but the way they've been killed that’s the problem. Motohiko Odani’s video work Rompers, a post-nature/neo-genome rollick, might have created a lively ambience but is so tamely installed with the sound down ever so low. Lothar Hempel’s works look strangely unrelated to each other and rather than having a friction between the different use of materials they are flat and inactive. The Baselitz painting, borrowed from an Australian collection, seems to be the means by which to include the famous European artist. It’s David Noonan, Tracey Moffatt and Richard Larter’s works that add some verve to the show. And Larter’s works, in particular, are so good you want rub yourself on them. One goes to a show like this with every expectation it’s going to be good, especially given the gallery has been closed for maintenance for nearly two years. This show takes no risks and changes nothing.
Jacqueline Riva


The Beast With Three Backs

Lane Cormick Tony Garifalakis Matthew Griffin
Project Space RMIT
23-27 Cardigan St Carlton Melbourne, August 2005
I find myself in front of work by Tony Garifilakis comprising a mass of framed pictures of faces; smashed, bloodied, chromed, brutalized. I catch myself in their spectacle, unable to remove myself from the imagery of fresh wounds. The faces are triumphant, defiant; moments of material made palpable. Then I wonder; who are these people? Where do they come from? By what circumstances has life inscribed itself upon them? They mock the specter of middle-class-ness. My banality.
Bianca Hester
see Griffin's comment


Brook Andrew

'Peace & Hope' Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery
Level 3, 75-77 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, July 2005
Aboriginal boxer Anthony Mundine has been printed large on a poster. His image, chest and face, one bold signifier stretched out on the wall. Muscle, blackness, anger, pride, arrogance, violence, sport, identity, power, history. His image seems to provoke the discourses of contemporary Aboriginality. Mundine is both maligned and celebrated. A subject of conflict. On the internet I found something Mundine had written and it seemed to be what the image was saying, “I wasn’t outspoken and that back then. I didn’t have the confidence I have now.”.
Rob McKenzie
see Lowe's comment related to these images
see Ashley Crawford's comment