Lucas Ihlein is an artist and member of Big Fag Press and Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.
It’s now been five weeks since EXTRA!EXTRA! was born. Throughout the entire lifespan of the newspaper, Sydney has been enveloped in a pall of bushfire smoke, the intensity of which has never been seen before in this city. The location of our pressroom within the bowels of the Art Gallery of NSW in the heart of Sydney means our focus has spiraled out from the Making Art Public exhibition to encompass pressing issues in the wider world, including climate change, land rights and social justice. This week in the paper, Wendy Bacon covers the important and problematic dismissal of Aboriginal academic Tess Allas from University of NSW Art and Design. As Bacon demonstrates, as well as being an accomplished curator, Allas has made a crucial contribution to the pastoral care and education of Indigenous and minority students over many years, and serious questions are raised about the process of this dismissal.
Shags is an artist who’s a fan of kindness, asking questions and spruiking empathy.
Caren is one of those people who believes knowledge is for sharing rather than holding out of reach.
An invitation to respond opens us up and we only have a few hours. We came in cold, wanting no expectations to pre-wrap our curiosity, and found ourselves staring at shrouded trees, wondering if they represented more than they were meant to. We worked our way, scribbling, through the unboxed/reboxed archive, mostly sticking together after Caren wandered off and had a small childhood-memoried panic attack from once losing parents temporarily in a strange overseas art museum. Each walled room held traces of trying to reach people, but which people? Our mutual love of text, and an awareness of the historical ‘look of information’ in contemporary art kept us coming back to the chaotic warmth and continual growth of Landy’s Post-it notes: democratic notes to self and to others breaking up into shards of words through the insect-like clusters. The other walls we were attracted to held hand-drawn lines of plans and ideas and sharp areas of bright colour. Sometimes we were transfixed by sound and music. We liked lists that told us what to do, even though the moment to do it had passed. We asked ourselves: if we had a room, what would we do with it? Then we realised that we did have a room: we had a double spread of a room. We wanted to help people feel things about art, about making, about saving, about each other. The arts are precarious, never more so than now. All we can do is suggest instructions for a way forward, through egos and attitudes. Everything about that day seems easier with hindsight.
If you catch a ferry from Circular Quay in Sydney to Woolwich Pier on the Hunters Hill peninsula and take a short walk, you will find a small nature reserve on the coast called Kellys Bush.
At a lookout, you will discover a plaque commemorating the handing over of the reserve to Hunters Hill Council in 1993 by NSW National Party Minister Robert Webster and then local Liberal MP Kerry Chikarovski. It notes that a local group called the “Battlers for Kellys Bush” fought to save the land; it was the site of the first Green Ban; and the land was purchased by the NSW government in 1983. If you venture into the bush, you will see another small faded metal photo of some of the 13 “local housewives”: the Battlers who saved the bush along with Jack Mundey, the leader of one of the unions who imposed the Green Ban in 1971.
I’ve always avoided Anzac and Remembrance Day Ceremonies. The men in my family avoided them: they did their duty, then they turned their thoughts from war. They didn’t march, they didn’t identify as ex-military, and the further in the past their service the less comfortable they were with Anzac Day.
Until Kaldor Public Art Projects came along most of the public art in Australia took the form of memorials of one sort or another designed to preserve the memory of a person or event. It was a starkly instrumental view of art that valued it mostly as a reference to something else rather than something to be admired in its own right. Even a sculpture as hypnotic as the Archibald Fountain (in Sydney’s Hyde Park) was actually intended as a war memorial commemorating the relationship between Australia and France in the First World War.
Chris Nash was Professor of Journalism at Monash University, and previously Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS.
Image credit: Hans Haacke, Der Bevölkerung, 2000. Photo by Richard Alois.
In his final article for EXTRA!EXTRA! on the work of Hans Haacke, Chris Nash delves deeper into the art/journalism divide. Intriguingly, Nash argues that Haacke’s art work is “replicable” in the sense that scientific research or journalistic investigations are replicable, because the artist asks very explicit questions which shape each of his projects. It is in the playing out of these questions in specific circumstances that the work’s impact is made. As Nash points out, “meaning resides in the social reaction to an artwork, whatever its form and substance, and is not intrinsic to the work itself” – and this is also something that is clearly evident in the most significant of the works in the Making Art Public exhibition.
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.
Thirty artists and academics, including several significant Indigenous artists, have vowed to boycott University of New South Wales galleries unless they reappoint long-term Indigenous staff member and Director of Indigenous Programs Tess Allas, whose contract was terminated in October.
Tess Allas, who has worked at UNSW Art and Design for more than 13 years, was told by the Dean of Art and Design Professor Ross Harley in October that her contract would not be renewed. Allas has been responsible for teaching courses about Aboriginal art and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other students. She is a practising artist with a Masters in Curatorial Studies.
Amber is an interdisciplinary performance artist, theatre-maker, and journalist
IMAGES: Tree wrapping campaign run by Save Newtown from WestCONnex to try and save as many trees targeted for destruction and replaced by a tollway. Credit and copyright Lorrie Graham
Lorrie Graham is a photojournalist. And a bloody talented one at that. I had the pleasure of sitting down with her to discuss her work, why photojournalism isn’t recognised within major arts institutions, and why without institutional support we are in danger of losing our digital archives.
Lorrie Graham broke the glass ceiling in the 1970s when appointed to a photographic cadetship at The Sydney Morning Herald. Dozens of women followed her in years to come. Lorrie’s work has appeared in most of the greatest international newspapers and magazines, and features across all Fairfax titles in Australia.
Kaldor Public Art Projects critiques own legacy as artists produce a newspaper in the Art Gallery of NSW.
Lucas Ihlein and The Rizzeria collective have created a newsroom in the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Kaldor Public Art Projects 50th anniversary exhibition, Making Art Public. Led by Lucas Ihlein, a team of artists, journalists, designers and print makers have teamed up to present EXTRA!EXTRA!, the latest artist take over of the Kaldor Studio.
Until 15 December 2019, the press gang is working around the clock to produce a weekly newspaper on a risograph printing machine. The project is the brainchild of Wollongong artist Lucas Ihlein, who leads the pressroom as editor in chief. The EXTRA!EXTRA! newspaper has been commissioned as a playful and critical plug-in to Making art public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects, an exhibition created by Michael Landy in response to the organisation’s rich history and archive, beginning with Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 1969 project Wrapped Coast.