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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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Smithers

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

 

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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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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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Smart Light Sydney

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I’ve been seeing a lot of strange constructions around Sydney over the past few weeks.  They seemed to consist of fibre-optic cabling, plastic cups, and the odd fake animal.  It was only when walking home last night that I realised that all that work had culminated in a spectacular light show put on by The City of Sydney.

Welcome to Smart Light Sydney, a festival of installation-art around Sydney’s city centre.  Legendary British artist Brian Emo’s spectacular lighting of the Sydney Opera House is the main event, but I quite like the Argyle Cut scene by German artist Ingo Bracke, shown above, as well as the oh-so-sydney Weather Projection by Alex Haw. Check out the excellent gallery at news.com.au for more.

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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking, urban design

 

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Los Angeles and Paul Davies

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So I’m reading all about Los Angeles at the moment, in Mike Davies’ much-lauded tome City of Quartz.  It’s a fantastic read, and seeks to explain the inner workings of the city that is utopia to some; to others a “sunlit mortuary where you can rot without feeling it”.

The book is 18 years old now, yet still feels more relevant than ever.  Davies examines, amongst other things, the grotesque disparity between rich and poor – which, to be fair, exists in all urban cities – but nowhere near the extent than it does in LA.  He also questions the bizarre sense of transience, where “the nouveaux riches keep their bags packed, ready to bolt the city if it again catches fire or erupts in mayhem.”  The same nouveau riches are, in the meantime, content to live in their fabulous modernist houses with fabulous views high above the working city, their lifestyles supported by an army of cheap immigrant labour that will do anything from picking up their dog shit to parking their car in West Hollywood.

Paul Davies is now exhibiting at Tim Olsen.  Although he is an Australian artist his works have a distinct air of the Los Angeles of 1930s Neutra et al, with modernist houses and sublime swimming pools.  His work uses the juxtaposing techniques of delicate paper stencils and great swathes block colour to create an illusion of perfection.  Yet, vacant of people, I can’t help but feel there is something a bit sinister lurking under the surface.  A bit like Los Angeles itself, really.

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Marion Borgelt: Moonlight in my veins

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This week Dominik Mersch in Waterloo is launching a beautiful exhibition by Marion Borgelt.

Inspired by semiotics, and the link between culture and nature, Borgelt uses a diverse range of materials (including bees wax, duck eggshell, glass, paint, wood, metals and paper, to produce works that combine the beauty of vision with the power of sound.  Her images are rich with colour, such as the flourescent Strobe Series (above) and Liquid Light: Butterfly No. 3 (below centre), which is rich with texture and layers. The layered, thoughtful Moonlight Tsukimi (below bottom), is beautiful because of its delicacy and polish.

The latest edition of Art World describes Borgelt as equally analytical and sensual.  It also gives a peek inside Borgelt’s delicious Sydney studio.

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Posted by on April 24, 2009 in art, looking

 

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