Art and Journalism (continued): Part 2: The art world’s cover-ups

by Chris Nash

Chris Nash was Professor of Journalism at Monash University, and previously Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS.

The radical upheavals of the late 1960s generated by the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement soon created a searching critique of the entire social framework, and all social institutions found themselves under scrutiny. Art institutions were no exception, with radical formal innovation such as land art (like Wrapped Coast), video art (like the work of  Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman) and performance art (like Gilbert and George) implicitly undermining art museums’ exhibition models. Sometimes the museums were also under explicit political attack for their connections to conservative politicians, and it all came to a head when they moved to protect rich and powerful trustees from criticism. In part 2 of his series on Hans Haacke and the convergence of art and journalism, Chris Nash describes the build-up to Haacke’s infamous 1971 Guggenheim Museum exhibition. This is the story of a period of particularly fertile transformation in the New York art world which became a precursor to the institutional critique of much contemporary art, including the EXTRA!EXTRA! newspaper that you’re reading right now.

Hans Haacke produced and exhibited a wide range of natural systems artworks up until the late 1960s.  The best known to later audiences are the various versions of the Condensation Cube (sometimes called a Weather Cube), comprising a sealed plexiglass cube into which a small amount of water had been inserted. Because of the differential temperature inside the cube caused by light energy from the surrounding environment, the water vaporises then condenses on the inside walls of the cube, forming rivulets as it runs down to collect and vaporise again in an endless cycle whose visual patterns never repeat themselves.  

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That’s not an archive, this is an archive!

by Louise Curham

Louise Curham is an artist, archivist and filmmaker, and a researcher at University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research.

Australians are terrible at criticism. John Gillies made this point to me when I began postgraduate study with him in the year 2000. The arts community in Australia is relatively small, people don’t like to say anything nasty about each other, and if something nasty is said, we don’t know how to talk about it.  The massive down side to this is a) we have to read between the lines to gauge how our work really goes down; b) we all lose the skill of criticism which turns us into quiet australians.

There is a training in the public service called ‘giving and receiving feedback’ to upskill people at this process. It’s a hospitable approach, and that’s always the rub: if someone invites me to respond, I always feel I must be a good guest. However, I think we must evolve our idea of a good guest from a quiet  guest to one who is defiant in good heart.

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Trees in coffins

Image: Christo Two wrapped trees 1969 (detail), two Eucalyptus trees, polyethylene, tarpaulin, rope, Gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, © Christo

by Juundaal Strang Yettica

Juundaal Strang Yettica: “I don’t know much about much but the learning keeps me alive!”

Hello! hello!  It’s good to be with you again!

Now, where were we? Shall we pick up where we left off? Last week, the questions before us were, what is land art and is it important to society? 

I set about finding out and here’s some of what I’ve come up with…The definition of land-art according to the Tate in the United Kingdom, is art made directly in or on the landscape, manipulating the land or making structures on the land with natural materials…twigs or rocks… Land art is also referred to as earth art and artists are known for bringing the outside, inside the gallery, creating land art installations…It seems to me now that, this could catch on and be cool…especially given climate change and the pressure our environment is under. Where else better to advocate for nature but from within it? But that would be eco-art, yes?

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by Lucas Ihlein

There were two errors in the article “‘Society has changed’ – Gender representation and Kaldor Public Art Projects” in Edition 1 of EXTRA! EXTRA!

There was a production error in our listing of Asad Raza. While Mr Raza is the named artist, the project involved the following collaborators, including four male and five female artists: Daniel Boyd, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Megan Alice Clune, Dean Cross, Brian Fuata, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Jana Hawkins-Andersen, Khaled Sabsabi and Ivey Wawn. In addition, Wawn presented a choreographic collaboration with Ivan Cheng, Daniel Jenatsch, Julie Lee, Eugene Choi and Taree Sansbury.

The article quoted Jo Holder saying that the only time women appear was when they were naked on their knees. Holder remembered this as a reference to Vanessa Beecroft’s project, but in fact it was Xavier Le Roy’s Temporary Title, 2015, presented at Carriageworks in Sydney. Some of the women in the Beecroft work wore tights, although not all.

Filtering disinformation: climate change journalism since the late 1960s

by Wendy Bacon and Chris Nash

Wendy Bacon has been an urban activist and journalist since 1969. She is a non practising lawyer & was previously the Professor of Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney.

Chris Nash was Professor of Journalism at Monash University, and previously Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS.

Over the fifty years that Kaldor Public Art Projects has been running a lot has happened in the background. Events, issues, artists that at the beginning seemed insignificant slowly emerged as the most important. But there is no greater issue than climate change, and nothing more urgent than dealing with bushfires. Looking back it turns out that rising carbon dioxide levels were already being noted in the 1960s and the CSIRO was warning about increased bushfire danger in 1987.  Wendy Bacon and Chris Nash reflect on the biggest story ever and the biggest cover up ever.

It’s Sunday night in mid-November 2019 and there are 142 fires burning across NSW and Queensland. 

Four people, hundreds of koalas and many thousands of other animals have died. Incinerated wildlife includes species already threatened with extinction. In NSW alone, more than 500 homes have been lost. Millions have been immersed in hazardous smoke. The hidden health impacts of trauma and air pollution will be with us for decades. 

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Artists as Journos: The process of contributing to EXTRA!EXTRA!

by Amber Jones

Amber is an interdisciplinary performance artist, theatre-maker, and journalist

Art and journalism have been noted throughout history to have crossed paths and converge time and time again. During the French Revolution some images represented contemporary social conditions and politics began to appear in the works of artists like Francisco Goya and J.M.W. Turner. Both artists and journalists play similar roles within society bearing witness in some way to history or individual experience, both telling us the truth about our society – even if it’s what we don’t want to hear.

Throughout our time here at the Kaldor studio, we are manufacturing a weekly newspaper that responds critically and playfully to Making Art Public, while raising and addressing questions and concerns from our contributors as well as the general public. 

While our editorial team consists of many reputable journalists who have been established within the media industry for years, we have also invited artists to join the bandwagon to contribute a piece of content that engages with ideas that live within the exhibition, but also, ideas that resonate and communicate with their own creative practice and interests. 

Boni and Louise interacting with Project 3: Gilbert & George, The Singing Sculpture
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A note from Lucas, the “Editor in Chief” – EDITORIAL – EDITION 1

Lucas Ihlein is an artist and member of Big Fag Press and Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.

25 years ago when I was a student at a very small art school I became obsessed with screenprinting. I loved its bright colours, and its immediacy and versatility. You could produce dozens of copies of an artwork, paste them up on bus shelters around the neighbourhood, print them on t-shirts, hand them out at gigs, cover a whole wall with multiples of them. Screenprinting offered a mashup between artmaking, publicity, and information design. The paper was cheap, the inks were cheap, the equipment was cheap, the prints weren’t precious.

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On Land Art and Acknowledging Country

by Juundaal Strang Yettica

Juundaal Strang Yettica: “I don’t know much about much but the learning keeps me alive!”

As is Custom and before anything, I want to Acknowledge this Land we meet upon, the Eora Nation and the Gadigal people. I also give my respect to my Ancestors, to my Elders, past, present and emerging. My love and respect also goes to my Family, Mentors and Friends.

It’s lovely to meet you! My name is Juundaal and I am a Bundjalung-Kanakan woman who lives on the Land of the Wodi Wodi people, part of the Dharawal people and the Yuin Nation, known as Wollongong. I’m a mature-aged, creative arts student who hopes we, yes, you & I… will go on a walk together, of conversation and ideas about art made on the land…

In upcoming issues of EXTRA! EXTRA!, we’ll explore what land-art means to you and to different Indigenous artists, living or working in the city and its significance within culture to them. 

Along our walk, we’ll dive into what we think land art is and how it fits within society. We’ll look at some examples from within the Making Art Public exhibition here at the gallery and see where it takes us! 

So let’s get going and ask the questions… What does land-art mean to you? Do you think it’s important for society? 

I look forward to walking through this little journey with all of you!

Playing with facts

by Ian Milliss

Ian Milliss is an artist who worked on Wrapped Coast.

In a recent interview the American feminist theorist Donna Haraway commented on the necessity for play in the way we approach developing solutions to the world’s imminent environmental disaster. “Play captures a lot of what goes on in the world” she said. “We need to develop practices for thinking about those forms of activity that are not caught by functionality, those which propose the possible-but-not-yet, or that which is not-yet but still open.”

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“Society has changed” – Gender representation and Kaldor Public Art Projects

by Jenna Price and John Kavanagh

Jenna Price and John Kavanagh have been going to Kaldor Art Projects together since 1984. They’ve been journalists for longer than that.

In October 2019, the latest Countess Report was released. Created by Australian artist Elvis Richardson, the Report has published data on gender representation in Australian contemporary visual arts since 2008. The 2019 Report indicates an increased interest from major institutions in dealing with issues of gender inequity in the Australian arts sector. In this article, inspired by the Countess Report, Jenna Price explores the historical inclusion of women in Kaldor Public Art Projects.

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