Descending nude

My second movie! Where's the red carpet? Oh well...look on the bright side, it's only a minute long, the soundtracks groovy and it does feature June Palmer...


Enough of the pontification! Who really cares about the state of art? Well, I do but I am not going to let it get in the way of my primary interests! After all, what can be more endearing than a beautiful derriere and seamed stockings? And I just love the look on his face...

Bob Georgeson, ...mmmm, 2010, Photomontage

Too many curators spoil the wrath

Raoul Hausmann, The Art Critic, 1919-20, Photomontage, The Tate, London.

Regular readers would already have noticed I have 'issues' with curators, and being curated. After 45 years of looking at, studying, thinking about, and occasionally making art, I think I have a pretty good idea what work of mine should be seen, how it should be presented, and to whom. Therefore I now blog where I have control over these factors. I don't need a curator. However these days it is hard to go anywhere in the art world without seeing the result of curatorial input. Do curators add value to the art experience, or are they stifling it?

I don't want to tar all curators with the same brush. There are curators who bring scholarship and innovation to the process. One example is Simon Gregg at the Gippsland Art Gallery, who in a recent exhibition Dreamweavers showed he could draw together diverse artists across continents and decades who might not have seen the links between their work, and present it all in an intelligent fashion. He also has the capacity to write about it in a way that is easily understood. (More about this show later).

I find I am not the only person considering the curatorial dilemma at the moment. How have we reached a stage where the curator is more important than the artist? And where one can do a curatorial course without having a prerequisite understanding and knowledge of art history? Well, certainly the arts organisations have not helped in their penchant for bringing in overseas curators, directors, conductors, principles, etc. at the expense of local talent. The grass is always greener syndrome. Only trouble is these people have to waste time learning who the local talent is, and then bow to corporate sponsorship which often results in treading a very conservative path and one that can exclude anyone outside the establishment scene.

In the latest issue of Broadsheet Contemporary Visual Art + Culture Vol 41.1, Brad Buckley and John Conomos (Associate Dean & Associate Professor at the Sydney College of the Arts) have written a polemic called 'The Delinquent Curator: or how curators shafted Australian art'. In it they say:
And yet who today, among our curators, is looking, and is not strictly governed by a non-risk taking, self -congratulatory and self-perpetuating ethic of more of the same? After all, looking should be one of the cardinal points of our compass of artistic creation, exhibition and understanding...
Sadly, what we have locally is a proliferation of curators who wish to be media circus stars and celebrities, and who are lost in the contemporary art scene's aesthetic of razzmatazz and the spectacle.

No wonder many artists today, myself included, are choosing to turn their backs on the traditional gallery, museum, it's who you know, brown-nosing, artist as performer scene and exhibit in public places where artistic integrity can be maintained. Curators take note...the white cube may be suddenly empty.

Big Day at Camel Rock

Bob Georgeson, Big Day at Camel Rock, 2010, Photomontage, Private Collection

Sometimes you have to remember your roots, and this work was inspired by my love of, and obsession with surfing (when I was young enough to get out there!). It is also an acknowledgement of honesty when it comes to big swells, new technologies and the 'philosophy' of surfing, a point maybe lost on today's young guns who sometimes forget in their desire to get aerial that there is a serenity and balance in functional surfing that has at its heart being 'at one' with the forces of nature.

However on this day who needs Pipe when the Rock is pumping perfect lefts at 4 metres?

The crowd watched as a lone knee boarder entered the water...

The Quarrymen

Bob Georgeson, The Quarrymen, 2012. Installation view, Eaglehawk Quarry, Bendigo, Victoria.

In interview discussing I Am The Walrus, John Lennon said he was writing nonsense lyrics in response to a teacher getting students to analyze the words to Beatles songs. He also commented on Bob Dylan's lyrics saying he "was getting away with murder" and added "I can write that crap too". Of course Lennon was following his already established tradition of montaging phrases from a  wide variety of sources.

I often look through art magazines, shake my head in wonderment, and think I can make that crap too...

...and for John Lennon's final word on Bob Dylan: after Bob had gone all Christian on us Lennon did his piss take on Gotta Serve Somebody, called Serve Yourself...John at his acerbic best...

World's problems solved!

Spotted in Bendigo...Jesus of Nazareth Mongolia! 

This revelation raises all kinds of longer do we have to put up with Christians fighting Jews, Christians fighting Muslims, Christians fighting Christians. Move Israel to Outer Mongolia, free Palestine in the process and move the Vatican to North Korea. All sorted. Yin and Yang...

Fashion victim

OK, enough of the wholesome 'girl next door' stuff, time to get back to what we are really interested in...

Bob Georgeson, tighter baby tighter, 2009, Photomontage

How come so much of women's fashion is about constriction? A curious feminist contradiction: fashion as erotic weapon or victims of a cruel joke? Who knows...but it even pervades the wedding ensemble...

Grace Kelly

In Bendigo at the moment it is hard to avoid Grace peering at us over her shoulder. She is everywhere, and the exhibition Grace Kelly Style Icon at the Bendigo Art Gallery has been packed out since it opened. It seems her popularity never wanes, and yet who is, or who was, Grace Kelly? I have no idea...and the show reveals as little of her personality as her wardrobe reveals of her flesh. It is an interesting fashion journey from the tailored, almost matronly suits of the Fifties through to some attempts at modernity in the Seventies, and as such reflects the moral standards of the passing decades, but nowhere do we get any indication of what Grace thought or what her motivations were. Famous yet anonymous, and one wonders in today's tabloid and Murdoched world whether such a feat would be possible.

However we do get to see the great fashion designers at work for what must have been their most prestigious clothes horse. Yves St Laurent's tent dress inspired by the painting of Piet Mondrian is pure perfect Sixties, thankfully he didn't use Picasso as a point of departure! Edith Head's little black number from Rear Window is probably the closest we ever get to sexy, and Cartier's jewellery comes from a period when a rock looked like a rock...

Personally Grace is not my kind of gal, but I don't mind this photo that captures the undeniably classic beauty with the untouchable virginal princess...

Photo by Howell Conant


Bit of a lag in posts recently while touring regional Victoria. This is the facade of Latrobe Universities Visual Art Centre in Bendigo...most annoyed when I saw it because I had a similar idea and she's beaten me to it!

Jenny Pollak, Threshold, 2011, Digital photos

Jenny says:
'On the margins of experience
at the edges of understanding
-right there at the periphery of perception-
there is a point of entry
a threshold...'

...and that's a nice intro to some future posts about arts in Victoria, where art is valued, nurtured and supported by Government, councils, communities and even business...