The 'Improved' Body: animals & humans
Vol 22 no 1, 2002
The implications of the new biotechnology for the human body and for the future of the species is visualised. Recent revelations that genetic makeup of animals is much closer to humans than was previously thought and possibilitues of trans-species hybridity is no longer just the stuff of myth or science fiction. Artists ask: how do we feel about becoming even closer to the animals we share the planet with? Current trends in surgery for transgender and cosmetic changes challenge notions of bodily identity. Writers include WJT Mitchell (Chicago) on Biocybernetics, George Alexander on Julie Rrap, Victoria Ryan on cosmetic surgery and art, Jane Goodall on Ella Dreyfus, Bronwyn Platten on bestiality, Anne Quain on transgenic pets.Also beautifully illustrated features on the works of Monika Tichacek, Sharon Goodwin, Michele Barker, Lynne Roberts-Goodwin, Juan Ford, Stelarc, Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts, Ray Cook, Helen Kundicevic, John Kelly, Jane Trengove, Stephen Holland and Tiffany Parbs.
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Hand in Glover
The directors of a group state art museums have been told by a government body that they acted imprudently in seeking to save the taxpayer money in agreeing not to bid against each other for John Glover's Mount Wellington and Hobart town from Kangaroo Point which came up for auction late last year. It was knocked down to the National Gallery of Australia for the reserve price $1.5m. The ACCC and its Chairman Allan Fels says if they want to engage in this kind of action they should seek authorisation from the government, which would give them immunity from the Trade Practices Act, not take matters into their own hands.
The Australia Council has found that for some years there have been less applications for arts grants from Queensland than would be expected on a population basis. It is thought it may relate to the fact that the population is more dispersed than in any other state. However, those that do apply do better than average. A lucky Australia Council staffer has been sent to work in BrisVegas for 12 months in an attempt to find the answers to this conundrum and ways to redress the balance. Air-dropping application forms across remote areas?
There is disquiet in the ranks at the sudden announcement last December of an Australia Council enquiry, headed up by John Freeland, into the Crafts – at the same time as the major federal government enquiry into the visual arts was in progress (the Myer Enquiry, headed up by businessman Rupert Myer). The timing and rationale for this is baffling, and in addition the terms of reference seem to have shifted unaccountably from an examination of potential overlap between the peak bodies of art and craft to a crusade to create a whole new, more 'representative' national infrastructure. The report is (unusually for a report commissioned by the Council) very critical of the Australia Council's record over the years on dealing with the crafts. There is some scepticism in industry circles about the reliability of these findings. Altogether the Freeland Report seems to have been an idea which backfired.
" An interesting new co-sharing arrangement of eight galleries in the inner-city Sydney location of 2 Danks St Waterloo brings together Brenda May, Conny Dietzschold, Gallery SP, Gow Langsford, Phyllis Koshland, Multiple Box, Stella Downer and Utopia Art.
" Niagara Gallery in Melbourne has had a facelift designed by Peter Corrigan and Maggie Edmond.
" Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery celebrated 20 years of business this year with a special show of 'artists past and present' in February
" BMG has moved to custom-designed new premises in Adelaide's arts precinct in the inner west end after many years in North Adelaide.
" Aleks Danko and Jude Walton have been chosen to make a large public artwork designated as the western gateway to the city of Adelaide from the airport. It will comprise a number of dome-shaped stone structures.
" The Land and its People is a monumental tapestry recently completed as a Federation project for the Melbourne Museum by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop.
EXHIBITIONS TO WATCH
NEW SOUTH WALES
" The Sydney Biennale Program details are still being confirmed at time of writing, but an almost certain inclusion will be one of the largest pieces at the 2002 Biennale, Owitness by Susan Hiller, a massive piece comprised of thousands of small loud-speakers hung from the ceiling in the form of a giant disc. Director Richard Grayson says of this work: 'As a viewer, you walk down the avenues that penetrate this mass towards a clear area in the centre, acutely conscious of the sound of chatter – waves of sound in a Babel of languages - German, French, Japanese, English, and numerous other tongues. Listening carefully we can pick out fragments;
" Two brothers and I were driving from Perth to Melbourne. We were going to drive straight through in shifts and we were planning to cross the desert at night when the heat wasn't so bad. As we got closer, a yellow light seemed to be emanating from an egg shaped object hovering just above ground level."
"I had finished my work at the Fagerudd conference center to the south of Enkoping,,,,, I started my Volvo to drive the 250 kilometers. I sometimes wonder what I saw; it resembled an oblong football with spikes turned upwards"
'The voices are telling stories of people's encounters with UFOs and anomalous lights drawn from around the globe. The stories were sourced from the net, from the responses to adverts that Hiller put in newspapers in different countries, and then these stories were spoken and recorded. Every now and then the mass of noise drops in level to leave one voice revealed, which is then lost again as the other voices surge forward. Obviously, initially the work is to do with the UFO phenomenon, but it moves beyond that starting point to pose questions about our need as a species to believe. It is almost as if there is a necessity to project something outside of us, hard-wired into the nervous system, which if we try to deny it, pops up elsewhere, like compressing water. Here, in the rationalist west fewer and fewer people are going to church, and more and more are seeing flying saucers and extra-terrestrials.' Susan Hiller has made the exploration of what she calls 'the subconscious of culture' one of the central foci of her complex practice, and this is one of her major works. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Museum of Contemporary Art, Object Galleries & City Exhibition Space, Customs House, The City of Sydney – outdoor works, 15 May – 14 July 2002.
" Lloyd Rees Sketchbooks shows a series of sketchbooks from Rees' European sojourns between 1953 – 73, mainly France and Italy. He never owned or used a camera and his in situ sketches were an important part of his practice. Art Gallery of NSW until 28 April.
" Tracing the Shadow, Hossein Valamanesh Recent Works, a
collection of key works spanning the past decade of the artist's career. Valamanesh will also recreate his 1981 installation Earth work on the Circular Quay exterior forecourt. Museum of Contemporary Art until 28 April 2002
" O Soul O Spirit O Fire curated by Rosemary Crumlin, celebrates 50 years of the Blake Prize, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington 18 April – 25 May.
" Compound Eyes is new video work by five artists from China curated by Binghui Huangfu, a touring show from Earl Lu Gallery at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 31 May - 6 July.
" Imants Tillers: not yet, post Aboriginal has been organised and is showing at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Art Centre, 6 April – 2 June.
" Sydney by Ferry shows photography, paintings, ferry models of the story of Sydney's ferries, at Museum of Sydney, 13 April – 4 August
The Holocaust: Learning from Humanity's Greatest Tragedy comprises displays from the collections of the Sydney Jewish Museum, on at Wollongong City Gallery 18 January – 17 March.
" Love & Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria, 70 paintings from collections in Australia and NZ, curated by AGSA, Art Gallery of NSW, 16 March – 12 May (see review this issue)
Witness: Australian Photojournalism reaffirms the power of this genre, Australian Centre for Photography, 22 March – 28 April
" New Traditions: Contemporary Art of Vanuatu, artists looking at old art forms, Australian Museum Sydney until 31 March.
Reflecting the 2002 theme for the Humanities Research Centre at the ANU, there will be four exhibitions this year of contemporary Latin American art at the Drill Hall Gallery of the University including Omar Rayo, an artist from Colombia, 14 March – 14 April.
The fourth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art opens at the Queensland Art Gallery on 12 Sept 2002 and runs until 26 January 2003. Curated by QAG staff Doug Hall, Suhanya Raffel, Rhana Devenport, Anne Kirker and Julie Ewington it will offer a change of pace with fewer artists and a larger selection of the work of each artist being shown, including earlier works. High profile artists who are already confirmed are Nam June Paik, Lee U Fan, Yayoi Kusama and the work of the late Montien Boonma will also be featured. There will be talks, performances and symposia in the opening week. The curatorial structure breaks with the expansive approach of the past where dozens of curators across the entire region were involved, and perhaps reflects a sense of greater authority in the home team, as well as a desire to bring the APT more in line with the way other international biennales work. There are many who mourn the loss of what was an extraordinary diversity of voices possibly unique in such a large international event but Realpolitik in the end prevailed.
" Fathoming will comprise mostly newly commissioned sculpture by seven women: Bronwyn Oliver, Sarah Robson, Marea Gazzard, Donna Marcus, Krista Berga, Hilarie Mais and Lucky Kngwarreye providing a counterpoint to the male dominated tradition of sculpture. Co-curated by Kerrie Ann Roberts and Alison Kubler, it will tour Queensland, NSW and Victoria with Visions of Australia funding from May 2002 to December 2004 starting at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery on 24 May.
" Islands in the Sun, indigenous prints by artists from the Top End, the Torres Strait, PNG, and the Pacific, Cairns Regional Gallery 22 march – 28 April.
" Ritual of Tea includes the work by a large group of craftspeople who have something to say about tea, the way it can be a link across cultures and what we drink it out of. Also an installation by Helen Fuller on the rituals. JamFactory Craft & Design Centre, Adelaide until 12 May.
" Eden and the Apple of Sodom comprises specially commissioned work by Lauren Berkowicz, Antony Hamilton and Janet Laurence to reflect themes of ecological sustainability and the environment. University of SA Art Museum, Adelaide, until 6 April.
" Transition and Resilience works by Beth Hatton and Gray Hawk reflecting on environmental and cultural values through fibre, ceramics and timber, JamFactory Craft & Design Centre, Adelaide 18 May – 14 July.
" The Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, an outdoor exhibition of 22 sculptural works, the finalists and winner of this $80,000 prize, is on at Werribee Park outside Melbourne until 30 April 10 am – 4.45 pm ph (03) 9654 0299
email@example.com ph Michele Campbell (03) 9650 6386, 0410 614 433
" The Mambo Flags is a show of 10 new flags by 10 artists who work for the surfie design group Mambo who were invited by Melbourne textile artist Stewart Russell to create a flag in response to the centenary of Federation. Craft Victoria 7 – 28 March
" Probe by Tiffany Parbs will be on show at Craft Victoria in Flinders Lane 4 April – 1 June
Three international video exhibitions: Around Now, works by Irish artist Grace Weir, Kitsune by Joao Penalva from Portugal, and Tokyo TV, a 50 minute mock 'pilot video' for a future TV station, made up of sequences by 25 different artists or groups and put together by Nicolas Bourriaud and Jerome Sans for the new Paris art space Palais de Tokyo. John Curtin Gallery, until 24 March.
Awards & Prizes
Cath Bowdler (SA) has won the $40,000 Ros Bower Award recognising outstanding work in community arts.
Banduk Marika (NT) is the recipient of the Red Ochre Award for her service to indigenous arts.
" Keith Marshall (furniture) and Patricia Casey (photography) are joint winners of the $5000 TAFE NSW Arts & Design Prize.
" Noel Frankham is the new Head of the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart, after a brief 3 years as Head of the SA School of Art.
" Louise Doyle is the new Director of Cairns Regional Gallery.
" Melissa Chiu, previously Director of Gallery 4A in Sydney is now Curator at the Asia Society in New York.
" Brenda L. Croft has left the Art Gallery of WA to become the Curator of Aboriginal Art at the Australian National Gallery.
" Robyn Daw is Curator Public Programs at QUT Museum of Art in Brisbane. She was previously a curator at the Queensland Art Gallery.
" Julian Bowron is the new Director of the Mildura Arts Centre replacing the energetic Ian Hamilton who is resuming his career as an artist, novelist and independent curator.
" Angus Trumble, Curator of European Art at the Art Gallery of SA is making a premature departure from his position there - to finish writing a book.
" David Bradshaw is the new Director of the McLelland Gallery outside Melbourne, with Robert Lindsay as his new Deputy Director.
" Charles Green has been appointed on a year's contract as an Adjunct Consultant to oversee the work of all the curators of the post-1940 contemporary and international collections in the task of designing and organizing the displays for both arms of the new National Gallery of Victoria, including publications. The building program is scheduled to be completed by June 2002 but there is scepticism in the corridors about the likelihood of that.
" Patrick McCaughey, previously Director of the NGV, has been given a year to move on from his prestigious job running the art museum at Yale, and is currently on a fellowship.
" The New Wave: entrepreneurship & the Arts is a symposium put on by Deakin University's Faculty of Business and Law and held at Melbourne Museum 5 – 6 April 2002. Topics include the American system of cultural patronage, the artist as entrepreneur, regional regeneration through the arts. Registration details firstname.lastname@example.org
" OZeCulture Conference 2002 is a conference of culture, new media and eBusiness, and will take place in Sydney coinciding with the Biennale of Sydney, the Sydney Writers' Festival and the Sydney Film Festival. Australian and international speakers will discuss the creation of art using digital media, and the use of digital media to market and distribute cultural products and services. There will be an associated trade fair showcasing products and services suitable for cultural organisations working on the web. 28 - 30 May 2002 in the City Recital Hall at Angel Place. For info email email@example.com
" Fathoming Contemporary Sculpture: A Gold Coast City Art Gallery Symposium will look at women sculptors and the issues surrounding their practice; commissioning and realising public sculpture; the sculpture walk; balancing business and artistic skills in today's commercial environment. The panel: keynote speaker Benjamin Genocchio, with Courtney Kidd, Sally Couacaud, Katrina Rumley, Geoffrey Edwards, Michael Hedger, Matthew Tobin, Michael Rayner, Elena Taylor, Jackie Dunn and a panel of artists. Evandale Sculpture Park, Gold Coast, 24-25 May 2002. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
" High Beam is being recognized as one of the world's major events in the global disability culture movement – a 10-day feast of shows and cabarets, exhibitions and installations, workshops, masterclasses and discussion forums around arts and people with disabilities. Participants are coming from Nepal, South Africa, Russia, Canada, UK and Ireland. Festival Director is Tony Doyle of Arts in Action (SA) 3 – 12 May 2002 contact for a program: email@example.com
" Australian artists Joan Grounds, Noelene Lucas, David Jensz and Wendy Teakel will produce collaborative works with four Thai artists based at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chaing Mai University as part of a month long residency organised by Asialink. Both sets of artists have worked in each other's country previously and the overall project aims to improve long term bi-lateral relationships between the two nations.
Getting Art There: An Artist's Marketing Manual by Su Hodge Enterprises is 100 pages of knowledge which could preserve you from a lot of trial and error. $44 from the publisher, National Association for the Visual Arts ($33 for NAVA members)
After three years of incredibly hard work and a raft of achievements, my intrepid co-worker Belinda Daw is leaving Adelaide to take up the job of Administrator at the National Association for the Visual Arts in Sydney. Belinda started with Artlink in 1999 at 3 days per week and ended her term working full time as well as undertaking studies in art history and theory in her spare moments. She has been a wonderful asset to Artlink in our recent period of growth and expansion, which her talents have greatly aided and abetted. Her exceptional skills in the art of juggling, handling as she did all the administrative and business side of Artlink's affairs as well taking on the tasks of Managing Editor, with great equanimity and good humour, mean she will be sorely missed.
June 2002 The changing nature of place in a society where being in touch no longer requires people to live in big cities, has created a new view of 'place'. We ask what does this mean for a tradition of landscape art? Some artists are involved in defining an 'ecology of landscape' in which the old understandings of 'remote', 'exotic' or 'iconic' are seen as everyday or intimate. What does mobility do to peoples' allegiances to places? Is there a major revision of Australian notions of landscape? Guest editor is Stephanie Radok: for quick expressions of interest - firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2002 Entrepreneurship in the visual arts. Examples of ways that self-starting artists, curators, galleries and other enterprises find ways and means of getting their projects up and their work out there, sold and making money for them. Overseas exhibitions, residencies, prizes, the changing face of funding and sponsorship. Is the Australian Business Arts Foundation delivering the goods for smaller entities? The galleries which work hard for their artists and those that coast. The role of outstanding people in kick-starting new mindsets. Guest editor is Dorothy Erickson: email@example.com
Stuart Sherman, New York performance artist and warm, wonderful, eccentric human being, died suddenly on 14 September 2001 in California. He had been living with undiagnosed HIV for some years and contracted pneumocystis. Sherman emerged in the seventies with the likes of Laurie Anderson as a performer of arcane but extremely engaging rituals which he created on a small tray in front of him with suitable sound effects. He went on to make dozens of adaptations from Chekhov and other modern dramatists, which were performed in alternative theatres, art museums and performance spaces internationally. Whilst owing something to Dada and Fluxus he developed a genre which was all his own. He visited Australia in 1986 as an artist-in-residence at the SA School of Art and appeared at Artists' Week in the Adelaide Festival. His obituaries appeared in the New York Times, le Monde and The Independent.
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Articles in this issue
- Artist profile: Jane Trengove
- Artist profile: John Kelly
- Artist profile: Lynne Roberts-Goodwin
- Artist profile: Michele Barker
- Artist profile: Monika Tichacek
- Artist profile: Ray Cook
- Artist profile: Steven Holland
- Artist profile: Tiffany Parbs
- Artrave: Artrave
- Editorial: The 'Improved' Body: Animals and Humans
- Feature: Animal Love and Bestiality
- Feature: Animal Magnetism: Sharon Goodwin and the Eternal Romance of the Bestial
- Feature: Carnophilia
- Feature: Improving Their Bodies, Improving Our Bodies
- Feature: On Humans and Other Animals 'Becoming' Each Other
- Feature: Polemic: The Undoing of Art History (Part II)
- Feature: Sex in the Cyborg: Julie Rrap's Overstepping
- Feature: Similarities, Gen-et(h)ic Boundaries, and Respect for Otherness
- Feature: Sympathetic Magic: Skin and Canvas
- Feature: The Extra Ear (or an ear on an arm)
- Feature: The Surgical Fix: Physical Capital, Self-Improvement and the Body Beautiful
- Feature: The Theatrics of Cloning: The Recent Paintings of Juan Ford
- Feature: The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction
- Feature: Uglielands: The Fremantle Festival 2001
- Feature: Willing Tenants: Ella Dreyfus and her Models
- Review: Hema Upadhyay, The Nymph and the Adult, Sung Kwon Park, (un)real, Eugene Carchesio, On Contemporary $ilence
- Review: In correct syntax, Greg Leong, Mammad Aidani and Matthew Ngui,
- Review: Love and Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria
- Review: Morphologies
- Review: Neo Tokyo - Japanese Art Now
- Review: Petr Herel: Drawings, Prints and Artist's Books
- Review: Play: An Exhibition for Children, Queensland Art Gallery
- Review: Sally Rees: A Loft
- Review: Singapore Nokia Art 2001
- Review: The Bank West Inaugural Contemporary Art Prize, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
- Review: Touching from a Distance
- Vis.arts.online: Vis.Arts.Online