Stranger Than Fiction will be my first novel, a work of 'art fiction' that weaves critical theory with popular culture, aesthetics with gossip, authenticity with invention, highbrow with lowbrow, and other such literary and artistic misdemeanours. This project is supported by the City of Melbourne 2011 Arts Projects. Stay posted for more info.
The Foreign Art Office is my new art writing project based on travels to China and the United States through 2011. Each chapter will be published online by The Art Life distributed free to subscribers in Australia and around the world. The work will be part travelogue and part critical examination of the effects of globalisation on contemporary art practice. Topics will include: the influences of new materials and technologies on art production; changing roles of the artist and art markets; as well as more philosophical explorations on language, politics, economics and cultural identity in 21st century art making. This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts and funding advisory body.
Busy and exciting times ahead for the Art Pimp! x
Check the new SPACE INVADERS book fresh off the press from the National Gallery of Australia, designed by Monster Children, and distributed by Thames & Hudson. SPACE INVADERS: Australian street stencils, posters, paste-ups, zines and stickers features essays by curator Jaklyn Babington, Prof. Alison Young from University of Melbourne, yours truly and a few other up to speed writers on street art in Australia. Both the book and exhibition feature around 35 artists who have worked up from the skanky streets and into the swanky galleries (although nearly all of them still work the street scene). Some of my fave artists are featured...just wish I could have made the bumper opening night, got sent some crazy pics, but alas I was busy on the other side of the world. SPACE INVADERS runs at the NGA in Canberra until 27 February 2011 then tours nationally, so check it...
(above) Bindi Cole, Ajay, 2009. Archival pigment print on rag paper, 100 x 82 cm.
Bindi Cole, a Wathaurung artist based in Melbourne, first brought the Sistagirls to our attention last year when she won the Deadly Art Award, part of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, with her photo Ajay. Bindi was so inspired by the Sistagirls that she began an ambitious photographic series in an outdoor, tableau-style that would celebrate the strength of these unique transgender women from the Tiwi Islands.
Read my piece about Bindi Cole at The Art Life.
un 4.1 (edited by yours truly) had an awesome launch at Grace Darling and there's been a super response to the new-look journal format. Huge thanks to Brad Haylock for the hot new design and Helen Hughes for subediting, Adam Cruickshank for the cover art, Melody Ellis and Kelly Fliedner for organising the launch, and Always and The French for playing. Thanks also to the un Projects Board, Arts Victoria, The Australia Council, and all our artists and writers.
Grab your free copy of un from supported venues listed or download a full PDF from the un Magazine website. You can also browse a digital version below...
The Art Pimp is playing doorbitch and photographer for SubText pop-up art symposium by un Projects tomorrow. Totally ramped about hosting Martha Rosler who has flown out all the way from NYC and is gracing us with her presence this foggy old winter weekend. There is a whole day of events planned tomorrow and entry is by gold coin donation at the Wheeler Centre.
The Art Pimp has been busy guest editing the latest issue of un Magazine and will launch the latest redesign issue (by Brad Haylock) with the rest of the un crew at Grace Darling Hotel 114 Smith Street Collingwood at 7pm on 16 June 2010. Featuring free magazines and performances by Always and The French. Sweet!
Pimpo is very pleased to announce that he is now the Melbourne Affairs Editor for the fabulous new version of The Art Life. No, this won't be a social gossip column about who's having an affair with some artist — although that's a great idea come to think of it — rather it will be an article or two about something fresh from the Melbourne art scene and zipped straight to Sydney then sent around the world for your reading pleasure! You can subscribe to The Art Life directly through the website...
Check out some previews from the Art Pimp's new book Nightmares and Cheesecake.
**Update** Quite a few people have asked who my chapters are about, and I feel that rather than explain what "fiction" means...der...I would explain again that this novella will be very loosely based on an amalgam of various characters I have met over the last decade and reworked into my own vignettes. So when I say art fiction I really mean art fiction, like science fiction, only the aliens are here on planet earth instead working as curators and whatnot. Anyway, there won't be any more chapters published online as I am going to spend a few months polishing the final manuscript.
News on the streets is that un Magazine is set to make a 2008 reappearance with a special edition edited by Rosemary Forde and overseen by the usual suspects from the un Committee (Lily Hibberd et al). Check out this link for information about submissions or to download previous issues of our much missed critical art review magazine.
Sometimes living here can make you feel like an alien – a legal alien as opposed to an illegal one (see Australian government illegal immigration and indigenous rights policies for further information). This was on my mind when I was recently asked by Phip Murray and Constanze Zikos to visit my former art school at Swinburne Prahran to give a talk to the students and install some work in PB Gallery on St John Street. The result was an illegal Australien flag – a textool breakdown. Yet I'm still an occasional alien... and so it is...
Check out Melbourne performo-ho Catherine Sewell's blog The Playground of Mischief that outlines some of her design concepts relating to performance work in public and private spaces. Catherine is currently completing her Masters in creative arts therapy at RMIT but is better known around de traps for her work in film, design and performance.
The hot word on the streets is the upcoming Making Space statewide event and publication (edited by your own artpimp) launching at 6pm on Friday 27 April at Platform. Developed by the Australia Council, Arts Victoria and VIA-n (the Victorian Initiative of Artists Network) Making Space will involve 21 artist-run spaces from around Melbourne and regional Victoria. Those involved include: 24seven, 69 Smith St Gallery, Allan’s Walk (Bendigo), arc Yinnar (Gippsland), Blindside, Bus, CARNI, Citylights Project, CLUBSproject, Conical, The Dolls House, Kings ARI, Seventh Gallery, TCB Art Inc, Trocadero, Victoria Park Gallery, West10, West Space and Yarra Sculpture Gallery – proving once and for all that the ARI scene is where it's at!
Melbourne sculptor Jess Hutchison has continued to explore consumerism and the increasing lack of brain activity in the general populace with her caged performances and observations at BOX. Throughout December and January, Jess has installed herself in her own handmade cage for half hour commuter documentation while she takes notes on the things people apparently want but rarely need. The lists have since become a collection of bizarre and funny things stuck up on the window opposite BOX and the entire work is presented as an ongoing experiment. On until early February, this may be the last BOX show from de pimp (sniff sniff)...
Stencil streetho HAHA was the guest BOX artist for November, showing four recent stencil paintings from his AFL series that explore the Australian male gaze. Revealing the homoerotic undertones implicit in men celebrating and worshiping other men, HAHA's multilayer stencils show his typical controversial offhandedness when it comes to tackling big untouchable subjects.
Attended the launch exhibition from the forthcoming Melbourne Design Guide on Saturday at GPO. A pocket guide to all things slick in hometown including architecture, interiors and fashion, the MDG will also feature a section on public art, galleries, ARIs and street art all homespun by yo'own ArtPimp and some local art hos the likes of Lily Hibberd, Alexie Glass and Andy Mac!
Southside art ho Jade Palmer has joined forces with Andy Sargeant of SevenNine and Darren Henderson of dirtygood. De three talented fellas just about to open The Autopsy at 162 Carlisle Street St Kilda East... right on de pimp's home turf! (This image shows Merda's wall mural for the opening night)
James Dodd has played his infamous hand in BOX with the latest October exhibition. JD's new installation, Ride With Prince, features a full window stencil inspired by Purple Rain, as well as the front window cutout board offset by a collage painting on the back wall. The effect throws a twisted shadow out onto Elizabeth Street as well as giving the rich colourfield depth to the text work. Hot stuff from the master of underbelly oz culture. See it at 351 Elizabeth St Melbourne during October.
Your very own Pimp has veiled BOX on Elizabeth Street in hot pink fabric in an odd mix up of deference and sexualisation of a building. The best result is seen at night when it adds a decidely camp colour swatch to the otherwise grey-blue-brown spectrum of the Melbourne CBD. For more information about this work see the BOX site.
Naomi Tettmann, one of Melbourne's hottest young couture fashion designers has installed her complex piece 'Dream Hellscape' in the BOX window. The work is a mutilayered dress with a feathered trail and covered in hours of beading which wraps up the walls of the small window space. Having already garnered a reputation with her flamboyant fashion, seen at shows like 'Couture Dreaming' at the 2006 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival earlier this year, Tettmann will soon be flying out to the Museum of Modern Art in Santiago with her partner Ash Keating (who also has an event at Platform on the 1st September just to let you know). So, check out Tettmann's work at BOX before she is poached from abroad (or even worse-Sydney! that's a joke sunnysiders). Evening performance in the BOX and drinks this Thursday 24 August from 6-8pm - 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne.
BOX recently played host to two interstate artist shows: The first was from Adelaide-Sydney artist and filmmaker Yasemin Sabuncu. Exploring ideas of modern greed through folk lore, Sabuncu created a light and playful installation about Jack and The Beanstalk with a dark twist. Entitled 'Urban Myths,Fairytales & Propoganda' the work consisted of vinyl cutouts, painting, polyutherane and dirt (see picture above). We had a good turnout for drinks at BOX and Yasemin insisted it was getting harder for her to decide which city to base practice in...Melbourne is now a hot contender! The second show was a brief return from the Match Box Girl, aka Leanne Shedlezki, and her twin sister Naomi. The twins are promoting their Match Box Projects portable gallery that showcase small 2D art works in clear perspex suitcases. Following their success at the Sydney Design 06, we all wish the girls success as they take a collection Australian artists' work to Japan as part of the 2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange.
Da Pimp is flexing his grip on the underground art scene in Melbourne with the news that he will be joining the Platform Artists Group Inc. in the subway under Flinders Street...yah! Looking forward to joining Simone Ewenson and Luke Sinclair and the Sticky zine team. If you don't know where Platform is...enter down the middle stairs from any train platform at Flinders Station or enter from Degraves Street stairs. Platform consists of a series of display cabinets and has a 16 year history as the true underground art space of Melbourne. Remember ho's that the deadline for submissions for the 2007 program is the 28th July. Platform application guidelines can be found here.
Following straight on from his top-selling solo debut at Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Fitzroy, local sculpt-ho Roh Singh managed to save one piece for the latest BOX show. Featuring his Bird of Yore sculpture, Roh has once again produced a series of technical and aesthetic stunners with a finesse few artists possess. Using 3D virtual software - similar to the software used to render CGI in film - Roh projects his compositions through a set of perspex layers which he then drills into, creating illusionary objects in space. Viewed from one angle, Bird of Yore appears as a flat solid but, moving slightly to one side, a mirror image of a bird (or a stealth bomber) appears to hover within the clear plastic sheeting. On until the end of June in the window at 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne. Hot-Hot-Hot!
Pimpo's fave Pandas have finally installed a new work in the BOX window! Fresh from their sticky success at the containers project in the docklands and Hotel Fox in Copenhagen, Pandarosa (aka Ariel Aguilera and Andrea Benyii) have returned to the cut and paste days of olde. The new installation 'P&A' features two cardboard 'coffins' with texta portraits of the pair complimented with paper and vinyl flourishes on wings and walls throughout the window. On show 24-hours a day until 31 July! Pandas rock Pimp loves Pandas xx
The BOX Hedge is in fact the leftover creations from the recent Hedge-Mony performance at the Melbourne Museum as part of Festival Melbourne 2006. There was a fantastic turnout to see the show of hedge-headed performers under the guidance of Red Cabbage (a troupe of talented not to mention lovely looking ladies and germs...not that you'd know it from the headgear!). So together with Red Cabbage member Zita Whalley, I decided to show the clippings of Hedge-Mony at BOX! Zita is no stranger to the tiny window...she performed as part of Bird Girl launch party last year. Check BOX HEDGE during April and watch out for street performances and other buried treasure...
Melbourne artist Jeanna Bajic recently teamed up with scientist Luke Noble to create the MEME installation at BOX. Taking the board game Balderdash as a starting point, the two played out the word game using "meme" with a group of friends (both artists and scientists who by the way as equally kooky as one another!) Someone got in first with my totally wrong definition of 'an egotist with a stutter' but the result was a hilarious collection of meanings. Jeanna then laid out all the definitions over the game board, photographed them, then printed and stitched the set into a seven metre canvas! What does one do with a seven metre long photograph? Well... enter Luke Noble to create a triangular rotating machine (imagine a enormous old fashioned clothes wringer) and throw in some rubber bands and a battery and wham, there you have one of the strangest and most original creations to visit BOX.
Okay, let's pretend Da Pimp is a pro-femmo and can talk about femmo art. I just like to use the term femmo, along with homo, or commo, or art ho. They are oh-so interchangeable, no? Though seriously this show at Spacement has some excellent talent (thinking here of Sue Dodd and Alex Martinis Roe) although I'm hesitant to fully endorse feminist shows in general, regardless of how good the work is. Now girls don't go getting your knickers in a twist, let me explain. Da Pimp has problems with franchising political fringes. What I mean by this is where one "group" define the parameters of everything they are not and thereby establish a social intervention. For instance, the Sydney Mardi Gras as "representing the GLBT community" which is simply not true for everyone. Oh, and GLBT is not a drug or a sandwich people, look it up. What eventually happens is that community group ends up becoming a small imitation of the imperial capitalist patriarchal dominion over earth (otherwise known as political). Now, politics sucks; just look at question time on the ABC if in doubt. Playing a fringe franchise on politics simply isolates the very things people want changed and load them up as something to be simply argued about and compromised over until the world has moved on and outdated policy is passed. Feminism should not be political. Feminism should simply be chicks saying "we do most stuff better than you regardless of what we got between out legs" okay maybe something less crass than that. It really makes me wonder what wave we're now up to in capital F Feminism. Women are in more positions of power (good) but still earn less than men (bad) are choosing family AND career (good) but still wanna look like Jennifer Aniston (eeuw how wrong town). So I'm not gonna crtique this show cos I'm not a feminist. I'm not any kind of -ist and i have no -ism to push. But do still go see it!
We have just launched Run Artist Run - a new blog as part of Artists' Week Workshops at the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts 2006. The royal "we" is in fact Lily Hibberd, Ianto Ware, James Dodd, Lisa Kelly, Andrew Best and me your friendly art pimp. Run Artist Run is the most comprehensive set of links to Australian ARIs (Artist Run Initiatives) you're likely to find online right now (cos tomorrow it might be outdated with another initiative going off!) Check out the new blog, leave comments, suggest new links and dive into the big brave world of DIY art fame.
Da Pimp is Back! Yup I have finally emerged from the scarily soul extricating world of corporate design and returned to the fold of super rich artists. So, the latest issue of un Magazine was launched at the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts last week. I think it was the quietest launch we ever had. Maybe too many people coming out of Callum Morton's epileptikos Walk-In Drive-In...? I did scare some chick half to death when I stepped down off the mirrored podium. She almost spewed poor luv. I think she thought I was a sculpture but like they don't scratch when they look at art do they? Anyway, Da Pimp was over with Lily Hibberd (un Magazine editor extraordinaire) who inspired the crowd at a number of forums and workshops with her dinky DIY approach to surviving as an artist in Australia. Needless to say, Lily is leaving for LA in a couple of weeks (haha) though seriously, she will be joining her naughty beau Brendan Lee who is on an OzCo studio residency and chocking up as much high grade video hours as his hot little finger can push. So, is this the end for un Magazine...? Well it may well be kids. Oh No. Well duh, the team has been pitching for support from every man and his dog and every dog and it's fleas and well well well wouldn't ya know no-one wants to support it but boy they really love it. Thanks, cos sympathy is great for paying printers with. So, after seven brilliant issues, featuring hundreds of emerging artists and writers (who rarely show up in the standard art media) the powers that be (boring) have decided that the magazine is not worthy of further funding. I should note here that un did receive some small grants in the past to cover writers' fees. How Arts Vic, OzCo and the other funding bodies can justify the some of the shite they pour funds into (that continue to exacerbate the anti-art funding public sentiment) while refusing to continue support for an artist run project such as un is totally beyond me. Yes, yes, I understand the policies of supporting new smaller budget works from new applicants but un is not a one-off self grandising project like...well, maybe I won't mention them here...but nevertheless, un has shown a dedication to publishing first time writers, publishing artists (yeh like we can actually write), emerging curators (who probably shouldn't be allowed to write) and new artist run spaces. In fact (whew take a breath) I would hazard a guess that around 90% of un material will take the next five years to appear in the mainstream art press (but that's mostly because they are all waiting for their new edition of contemporary art terms to be released otherwise what wanky name will they have for it?). So despite returning from the Adelaide Festival feeling inspired about the next generation that will soon be blipping our eyelids, I can't help but feel underweighed by the heavily apathetic and power hoarding culture of Australia's passive agressive art scene. Yup. What a rant. I've barely started....
New York based ArtKrush have selected Diary of an Art Pimp in their current feature on art blogging around the world. The Art Life team in Sydney were the only other local art bloggers to appear in this funky online art mag. Check the current issue which also features cover artwork from the ever-hot Wooster Collective!
Sydney artist Leanne Shedlezki has installed her latest matchbox range in the BOX window at 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne. Leanne's overlaid screenprints first appeared in Melbourne this year at Span Galleries in a show about identity. Floate, the design studio that fund BOX, already own a matchbox girl by Melbourne artist Ropar but were happy to be revisited by the famous flaming redhead. Check Leanne's work, on until the new year, before she burns out of town.
In the meantime, check de pimp's review of a recent x at Blindside in the latest issue of Machine, a spunky little art mag from Brisvegas.
Glen Walls continues his unique spatial breakdown of the clean lines of modernism at the next Spacement opening. Walls works with the juxto of architectural modernism and people who seem to defy gravity and repeat themselves in barren spaces. Working in sculpture, video and installation, Walls is a dedicated art ho who has spent many a late night assembling tiny perfect models of our far from perfect world. Check it at the next Spacement opening on 10 November 2005 at Watson Place Melbourne.
Opening this Sunday 6 Nov (4-6pm) is an interesting new Citylights photographic x by young artists from Warmun Aboriginal Community East Kimberley. Using disposable cameras a group of ten young people (15-25yo) took snaps of their local area over a six month period and this x is the result. Three of the artists (Jonah Kingsley, Johnine Echo and Erica Nodea) are travelling down from Warmun Art Centre which is 200km south of Kununurra...get out your atlases if yo hos don't know where tis!
Lily Hibberd's latest x has opened with unfurling curtains and mirrored paintings in the back room of Linden in St Kilda. Having painted the walls a deep rouge, Lily and Mr Lee were wondering whether anyone realised the installation was more than a cosmetic improvement... Nevertheless the paintings set on ghostly mirror backs inside black frames once again showed Lily's brilliant painting techniques of appropriating cult cinema mise en scene. Dangerous Liaisons x runs until 13 Nov.
For those in Melbourne who haven't heard about CARNI then get out from under your rocks kids. Jason Keats and Rod Payne are the grunt behind this latest (and probably most ambitious) ARI for Melbourne. After running the ARI Making Sense for more than a decade, the guys decided to take over the leasehold of an old leather factory in Preston. Following some pretty serious makeover work, CARNI was recently opened and now features a bar, stage, artist studios, performance spaces, exhibition space, plus events and outdoor entertainment areas. Check the CARNI website for more updates soon. In the meantime, members and friends of CARNI are invited have a drink and check this massive new project space on Thursday evenings at 60 High Street Preston.. Northside never looked so promising...
Photographer Marliyn Jeanette has just installed her latest montage exhibition in the BOX window. Pussycats, rockstars, and glamour girls are just some of the subjects to appear in more than 100 photographs taken since Jeanette moved to Melbourne from Sydney. The photoshow will be up until the end of October at 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne.
Download issue 5 of the glorious un magazine here. The ever talented Mr Lee and Ms Lil have made a black issue and Tony G is all over it (cover features his kiss of death). The pic here is a detail from the collage work of Garifalakis' entitled Ruin of Empires (Pimpo raved about it when it showed in Family First at VCA).
Lyndal Walker has re-installed Volatile in BOX as an abandoned shopfront window. Volatile Over continues Walker's exploration of the rise and demise of popular culture through marketing, advertising and general consumer memory lapse. In a deliberate attempt to undermine her own artwork, Walker creates faux brands that collapse after the hype. Volatile was created as a fashion brand featuring appropriated pop imagery of skulls, stencils and inverted nude stereotypes. Originally installed as Volatile So Hot Right Now, the work has been seen at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in Fitzroy as part of the 2005 Melbourne Fashion Festival - and the irony didn't escape many fashionistas although left a few asking where the clothes were! Volatile Over will be on display until the end of September at 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne.
AMAC has squeezed into BOX for an exclusive one week show! The work features spraycan wallpaper and four photo light boxes of local street artists including HAHA, work from Rats of Melburn and an image of the gated enemy of the burbs. AMAC's 'Too Bad You're Gonna Die' installation will be up until this weekend Sunday 4 September. Check it at 351 Elizabeth Street Melbourne. Looks best at night. Yah!
Embracing his metalesque adolescence, James Dodd will soon be showing his new series of work at Helen Gory Galerie. JD continues his interest in cultural icons whose time has probably come. The new x is entitled Something Metal Inside Me and is opening on 1st September. Get out your stovepipe black demins and let's rock!
Local street artho Tom Civil is once again shining his spraycan onto our social disarray with a new x at Citylights Centre Place in the CBD (off Flinders Lane). Opening is 3-6pm this Saturday 30th July and runs until 27 of September. The message from CIVIL: "Let's make shrines from the wastes of capitalism. Bring treasures and flowers to commemorate civilians killed at war." We're gonna need a lot of flowers kids.
Local film directho Nicholas Hansen is set to launch his new film, RASH, at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Screenings at Greater Union Cinema on Thursday 21st July 7.00pm and Tuesday 2 August 9:00pm. Hansen's doco is an exploration of Melbo's hot 'n' itchy street art scene that will soon come under attack with the arrival of the 2006 Commo Games and the accompanying Royal Hoopla Nonsense that ensues in town. Perfect timing...check it.