Tag Archives: politics

Franck Gohier: Target

Sold Out

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.

Oi Oi Oi

Welcome to the Tropics



3 minute warning

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


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Alasdair Macintyre: Playtime

Henson vs Rudd

Playtime is an innocent title for an ominous exhibition by Alasdair Macintyre, opening this Tuesday at my favourite Sydney gallery, Sullivan + Strumpf.

The series examines contemporary themes inclusing the Bill Henson debacle, and the hysterical, ill-considered response of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, depicted as a startlingly life-like figurine who has just slapped his own campaign sticker over the young girl’s bare breasts.

In other works, Macintyre uses the familiar figurine character known as ‘Aecap’ (a possible cousin of Tin-Tin) to comment on issues as diverse as poker machines (with red sludge rolling from the opening, suggesting that any winnings are ‘blood money’), the self-destruction that contemporary artists are prone to inflict, and the loneliness of life as an artist.

Far from its innocuous title, Playtime is an exhibition that is somewhat humourous yet highly political and very, very timely.




longer lasting

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Posted by on June 2, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Sydney Gets Her Noise Back


Sydney’s been a pretty quiet place for the past decade-or-so.  A post-Olympics rut (due to overspending) and a staggeringly incompetent state government has led to abysmal business confidence, as well as a government with little money (and inclination) to invest in any form of infrastructure or public transport.  So it’s exciting to see that, despite the GFC, work has begun on the city’s first green skyscraper in nearly a decade.

1 Bligh Street (aka Space) was designed by Architectus. Its elliptical design maximises harbour views and allows 60% of the floorspace to be within six metres of the facade, an impressive feat that reduces electricity consumption and the need for artificial lighting.  There is also a central atrium that allows additional light penetration and common areas on each floor.  At ground level, additional public space will be created, providing shelter from Sydney’s oft-windy glass canyons.

Ironically, the building’s opening is due for completion in 2011, just in time to welcome in a new state government who will hopefully bring some construction noise back to downtown Sydney.




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Posted by on May 13, 2009 in architecture, building, politicking


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Looking: Jacob Silberberg

Photography is considered a glamorous profession, what with all the big lights and beautiful people. So much so that we often forget that some photographers have one of the most important – and dangerous – occupations on earth.

People like Jacob Silberberg, the NYC-based photojournalist whose coverage of unknown horrors such as the Liberian civil war, or Nigeria’s oil wars, would be left untold if not for his ballsy determination to document and share his experiences.

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Posted by on March 31, 2009 in looking, photography, photojournalism


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Looking: Penny Byrne

Penny Byrne is angry. Not as angry as this woman, but still pretty damn angry.

And there has been plenty to get angry about in recent times, like Sarah Palin, horse flu, George & Laura Bush and Guantanamo Bay, to name but a few.

By turning innocent figurines into sometimes bloody, always ghastly recreations of themselves, Byrne shocks and surprises her audience into actually giving a shit about world events.

Two of my favourite Byrne pieces are Hiroshi and his friends are having a whale of a time (2006, above), and the heartbreaking How much can a polar bear? #2 (2008, below). Byrne is represented by Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art, Sydney.

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Posted by on February 18, 2009 in art, looking


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Listening: My President Is Black

Young Jeezy of all people has come up with this rousing ode to the USA’s first African-American President.

I’ve pasted my fave part of the lyrics below:

Tell him I’m doin fine, Obama for mankind
We ready for damn change so y’all let the man shine
Stuntin on Martin Luther, feelin just like a king
Guess this is what he meant when he said that he had a dream

My president is black, my Lambo’s blue
And I’ll be goddamned if my rims ain’t too
My money’s light green and my Jordans light grey
And they love to see white, now how much you tryna pay?
Let’s go!

Yeah, our history, black history, no president ever did shit for me
Had to hit the streets, had to flip some keys so a nigga won’t go broke
Then they put us in jail, now a nigga can’t go vote
So I spend doe, all these hoes is trippin
She a ain’t a politician, honey’s a polotician
My president is black, rolls golden charms
Twenty-two inch rims like Hulk Hogan’s arms
When thousands of peoples is riled up to see you
That can arouse ya ego, we got mouths to feed so
Gotta stay true to who you are and where you came from
Cause at the top will be the same place you hang from
No matter how big you can ever be
For whatever fee or publicity, never lose your integrity
For years there’s been surprise horses in this stable
Just two albums in, I’m the realest nigga on this label
Mr. Black President, yo Obama for real
They gotta put your face on the five-thousand dollar bill

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Posted by on January 20, 2009 in politicking


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Thinking: Arts in the USA

I was surprised to learn that the United States doesn’t have any representation of Arts at the Senate or federal level. Although this is the land of Paris, Britney, Miley, and many other “artists” who have saturated the world’s airwaves knows on a first-name basis, it is also home to one of the world’s most dynamic contemporary arts scenes, particularly in Los Angeles and Miami, and, of course, the stalwart that is New York.

With Barack Obama’s imminent inauguration, the calls to introduce a Secretary of the Arts are becoming increasingly loud. Arts advocates see Obama – who is said to be the most depicted president-elect in US history and has an iPod stocked with artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, John Coltrane and Bruce Springsteen – as their greatest chance in decades to make this happen.

Although we in Australia are not seen as being particularly cultured (despite our self-view – perhaps this is the very symbol of being uncultured; when we think we are despite evidence to the contrary), we have federal arts representation sitting within the menagerie of responsibilities under the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. The Arts component is mainly responsible for literature, film, indigenous arts and administering tax incentives.

It is hoped that a US Secretary of the Arts will be able to increase awareness of America’s diverse arts amongst its own people, as well as administer grants, educate young people on art history

However with the country in the midst of an economic crisis, the possibility of Obama adding a new bureaucracy, no matter how committed to the arts he is, seems unlikely.

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Posted by on January 19, 2009 in art, politicking, thinking


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