Ian Milliss is an artist who worked on Wrapped Coast.
One of our principal objectives in producing this newspaper has been to present context, hence the name EXTRA!EXTRA!.
But there are many different types of context.
In this issue Juundaal Strang Yettica continues her reflections on how projects can be read from an indigenous viewpoint. She sees Jonathan Jones’ Project 32 barrangal dyara (skin and bones) (2016) as a major turning point in Kaldor Public Art Projects. The ethical processes underpinning Jones’ work should lead to an acceptance that all Australian cultural activity happens on Aboriginal Land. Strang Yettica hopes this will grow respect for Country and traditional protocols, and guidelines about how artists, especially land artists, should behave in relation to the Land. So do we.
I flicked through your issues in the Art Gallery of NSW, and I was very impressed by what you were doing, especially in regards to land art [“Trees in Coffins”, 19 Nov 2019].
I’d love to see an article on the impending Climate Change Crisis and how it affects the art of this society. I think it’d be a very interesting read.
The Editor Responds:
Thanks for your letter, Vi.
Have a look at the article “Filtering Disinformation” by Wendy Bacon and Chris Nash in Edition 2 of EXTRA!EXTRA! – that piece discusses the ethical role of journalism in reporting on climate change over recent decades. In my own experience as an artist and a university teacher, artists are increasingly engaged with the problem of the climate crisis. The big question is how to respond in a meaningful way to an issue of such an enormous scale. My own personal favourite artists in this field are the Harrison Studio in California – look them up!
Chris Nash was Professor of Journalism at Monash University, and previously Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS.
In his third article on the convergence of art and journalism, Chris Nash examines the debate that followed the censorship of Haacke’s real estate works. This debate, about the nature of what activities can legitimately be regarded as art and the relationship of art institutions to those activities, is now even more loaded than it was fifty years ago, as artists increasingly work in social and media spaces rather than physical institutional spaces.
Guggenheim Director Thomas Messer set out in detail his concerns with Haacke’s work in a guest editorial for Arts Magazine in 1971, and made the link with journalism:
Where do we draw the line? With the revealed identities of private individuals and the clear intention to call their actions into question, and by a concomitant reduction of the work of art from its potential metaphoric level to a form of photo journalism concerned with topical statements rather than with symbolic expression. …. To the degree to which an artist deliberately pursues aims that lie beyond art, his very concentration upon ulterior ends stands in conflict with the intrinsic nature of the work as an end in itself. …. The tendency within this contradiction in the work itself transferred itself from it onto the museum environment and beyond it into society at large. Eventually the choice was between the acceptance of or rejection of an alien substance that had entered the art museum organisation. …. The incident at the Guggenheim Museum is, perhaps, the most dramatic among similar conflicts but by no means an isolated one. Parallel developments have occurred in other museums and more of the same may be predicted unless there is a change of attitude among artists as well as among museums.
I deliberately have not spoon-fed a description of the extensive foundational processes behind Jonathan Jones’ artwork here because I think that is for you to investigate and learn. I think the integrity of your engagement with his work, in this place, upon this land, today, sits with you.
Amber is an interdisciplinary performance artist, theatre-maker, and journalist
Last Tuesday students from Bourke Public School and Wilcannia Central School travelled eleven hours from inland western NSW to join us at the Kaldor Studio. Bourke and Wilcannia are both engaged in Your Public Art Project – an upcoming intitiative by Kaldor Public Art Projects. Connecting with primary and secondary schools across NSW, the program has extended its engagement with students from Dubbo, Parkes, Western Sydney, and Sydney’s inner west.
The Kaldor Public Art Projects’ physical archive serves as an introductory tool for the program, enabling students to understand diverse approaches to public art-making. The gallery recently held a major program launch and student showcase event, inviting student representatives and teachers from participating schools to discuss their own art project.
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.
A massive groundbreaking work that engaged huge audiences both in Sydney and internationally. An art process that took effect not in a studio or gallery but outside on the land, and then disappeared. Decades later, this is how art historians and critics have described Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Coast.
Rebecca Coates, Director of the Shepparton Art Museum, argues in The rise of the private art foundation: John Kaldor Art Projects 1969-2012 that Wrapped Coast was a key cultural moment. The significance of the awe-inspiring work that briefly covered the Little Bay coastline lies partly in its relationship to the public. In this sense, the realisation and aftermath of the project can be seen as part of the work itself.
The journalism around Wrapped Coast is evidence of some of the public response to the work. It’s also a glimpse into the specific time and place in which it was produced.
Lucas Ihlein is an artist and member of Big Fag Press and Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.
This week theEXTRA!EXTRA!team was joined by Boni Cairncross and Louise Curham, who completed a “one-day-residency” in the gallery. Artists who engage with the problematics of live art, Boni and Louise were tasked with coming up with a rapid response to Making Art Public.What happens after an ephemeral, site-specific work is finished? How can we experience it after the fact? What works and what doesn’t? And how can we activate the archives so that the public can “feel” what the original experience might have been like? In an exhibition like Making Art Public which consists of a range of diverse “leftovers”, these are pressing questions for audiences and art historians alike.
Here at EXTRA!EXTRA! we’re exploring the links between art and journalism, between the conventions of aesthetics and the rules of the world beyond the art world. Artworks do not appear miraculously in a vacuum, isolated from the social, political, and environmental goings-on of this planet – but sometimes we act as if they do. EXTRA!EXTRA! takes seriously its responsibility to remind visitors to the pleasantly air-conditioned Art Gallery of NSW that we are all connected to the climate crisis, the dominant narrative of our times, and this is tackled by Wendy Bacon in her enquiry into the ethics of reportage on global warming.
Boni Cairncross is an artist interested in temporality and archives.
Louise Curham is an artist, archivist and filmmaker, and a researcher at University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research.
The exhibition Making Art Public has been created from archives, remakes and documentation of past Kaldor Public Art Projects and is itself Project Number 35: Michael Landy. Unlike most exhibitions, in this show the residue of earlier temporary public art is used to create a new kind of artwork, one that describes the original work but is not itself that original work (even though it may contain fragments). In this article, Boni Cairncross and Louise Curham reflect on their experience of the exhibition, and their attempt to create an archive of intangible experiences in the form of instructions that allow momentary experiences to be recreated and shared.
We (Boni and Louise) decided to make an “experimental archive” of Making Art Public in order to respond to their questions about archives, evidence, sets of criteria and reimaginings of archival material. Making Art Public is both a major survey exhibition of the 34 projects staged by Kaldor Public Arts to date, and the 35th project in which artist Michael Landy worked with the archival material to present this overview.