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Kusama for $1000!

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The annual MCA Bella Dinner will soon be held in Sydney.  An annual event, the dinner also hosts a prize draw which costs $1000 to enter, but entrants are guaranteed to win one of 30 fine contemporary pieces. This year they even have a Kusama in the mix (see below).

The Kusama is by far the most valuable piece – and a stunning work in its own right – but for sheer beauty,whimsy and originality, my favourite has to be the Lionel Bawden sculpture made from coloured Staedtler pencils (above).

You can view all the works here.  If you want to enter, you’d better be quick, as the draw is notorious for selling out before you can say “Bargain”.

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Posted by on August 7, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking

 

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Franck Gohier: Target

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Australia is a funny place. We laugh at the commercialism of the US but spend ourselves silly on credit.  We welcome people from all nations, yet shun our own ancestors.  Or, as the recent Australian film Samson & Delilah showed, we pay exorbitant amounts of money for Aboriginal art, with most of the funding going to the gallery owners and only a pittance to the actual artist, who often lives in squalor.

Welcome to Franck Gohier‘s world, currently on display at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.  Gohier uses his acerbic wit to comment on themes such as the Northern Territory invasion (ahem, intervention), the credit crisis, and global warming.  This wit, combined with the pop-art aesthetic, sends a powerful message about where our country is headed.  The bullet holes aren’t so subtle.

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Welcome to the Tropics

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3 minute warning

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking

 

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Lacey Terrell: The Passing Ring

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Being nomadically inclined, I’ve always understood the appeal of running away and joining the circus. In fact, if it weren’t for shared bathroom facilities and a little too much socialising for my tastes, I would probably have already done so.

F-Stop have released a new issue of their always awesome e-zine, focusing this month on the theme of Amusement.  Their featured artist is Lacey Terrell who has spent the past 13 years documenting what she calls one of America’s last nomadic tribes, the Culpepper & Merriweather Great Combined Circus.

The circus travels continuously for eight months of the year, mainly throughout the midwest, and is otherwise based in the remote town of Hugo, Oklahoma – perculiarly, the town of 5,000 people seems to be the winter home of about a dozen competing circuses.

Anyway, back to the photography.  Terrell’s work captures the essence of what the circus is all about: bright colours, movement, and the promise of something new every day.  It also goes behind the scenes to depict the reasons that circus performers choose this lifestyle in the first place: for some escapism, others restlessness, boredom, cameraderie or sheer desparation, for the lack of a better option.

The Passing Ring is a culmination of over a decade’s hard work, and the quality of the images definitely reflect the artist’s dedication. You can see more of Terrell’s work via West Hollywood’s Kopeikin Gallery.  Also worth checking out is the F-Stop group gallery exploring similar themes.

Edit: after hearing from Terrell herself, she suggests some more reasons why people join (and stay) with the Circus:

One thing not mentioned was that many of the performers are true artists, trained in Circus arts since they were children. So there is an artistry element, as well as a life-style element that factors into the reason for being with the show. Other non-performers have many reasons as well. For some, it’s a business. For some, an adventure. For some, a second chance at life away from hardships experienced in the past. And for others, it’s what they know. Circus is a way of life, offering a sense of community and family to many. EB White wrote, “The circus comes as close to being the world in microcosm as anything i know; it is universal and complex magic.”

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All photos copyright Lacey Terrell.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Awkward Family Photos

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Family portraits.  It’s somewhere we’ve all been; somewhere few of us want to return.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember some classic photo shoots – heads stacked on top of each other in a bizarre human Christmas tree; my brother pouting below a street sign bearing his name; and those awful, forced poses that the photographer would always get you to do: “put your arm on your brother’s shoulder”, “Turn to your left”, “Look at the watering can”, “For god’s sake, just smile will you”.

The guys over at Art Fag City have taken me back recently with their link to awkwardfamilyphotos.com, a seriously disturbing, yet seriously addictive site showcasing the best and worst family photos of all times.  It’s all there – terrible 80s and 90s fashions, enforced ‘fun’, couples with matching clothes, and holiday snaps gone awry.  Take a look, if only to ease your mind that weirder families than your own really do exist.

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Posted by on July 30, 2009 in laughing, photography

 

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Louisiana, Denmark: Green Architecture for the Future

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You’ve heard of Paris, Texas.  But Louisiana, Denmark?

This sleepy satellite suburb on the outskirts of Copenhagen is home to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a stunning seaside building established in 1958 as a showcase for many of the world’s finest contemporary artworks and sculptures.

The museum is currently exhibiting Green Architecture for the Future, a multidisciplinary exhibition examining the pending, fundamental changes to three areas of design: The City, Climate & Comfort, and Metabolism.

The City examines the global population drift towards urban living, and various responses to this, both current and future.  It includes an ambitious Foster + Partners design for Masdar City – a purpose-built, sustainable city in the United Arab Emirates – as well as a Sarcozy-sponsored redesign for Paris by MVRDV, and the tree-like Tower of Tomorrow by William McDonough & Partners.

Climate & Comfort and Metabolism explore themes of renewal, rebirth and reappropriation, such as a building made from empty water bottles (now there’s an intelligent solution, Mr Rees).

Via Arcspace.

Masdar City

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Tower of Tomorrow

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United Bottle

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Brad Moore Photography

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Brad Moore takes wonderful photos of urban wastelands and isolation.  The images were taken around Southern California – the real SoCal, not the glamorised version that the state likes to portray.

Thanks to wrongdistance for the link.

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Posted by on July 26, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Lies, Damned Lies: Louisa Bufardeci

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Mark Twain once proclaimed, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.  Louisa Bufardeci explores this theme in her latest exhibition at MCA Sydney.

Bufardeci has always been interested in how statistics are able to succinctly portray a picture of the world at large.  Her work draws equal attention to inequity and diversity around the world, covering topics such as the mix of different religions in Sydney (on now at the MCA), to the direction of international aid funding for developing countries (Team Joy, shown above), to population movements (Ground Plan, below centre).

The artist’s works use playful, naive colour pallette, yet the colours often depict portray sobering statistics.  The audience gets the sense they are but a grain in the sand that is global population, and the anonymity is both liberating and overwhelming.

Check out more of Louisa’s work via her website.

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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking

 

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