We did finally make it to ACCA for the Menagerie exhibition, although it was quite underwhelming. Having built it up for weeks, we ended up whizzing through it in 20 minutes. Polly loves animals, I love art, and yet neither of us were particularly moved by anything we saw, and I thought the curatorship and general layout of the gallery were rather atrocious. It was worth going however, as I noticed in their gift-shop the remnants of the Douglas Gordon exhibition the only way out is the only way in, which we were sad to have missed. Polly and I have a special thing for Douglas Gordon, ever since going to see a fantastic show of his at the Hayward Gallery over 10 years ago in London. The ACCA shop still had the Douglas Gordon show t-shirt which was so perfect for Polly, I had to get it for her: “i’ve changed”.
Since we were in the Arts Precinct, we walked over to the NGV and went to see a few exhibitions there too. Polly wisely suggested we start on the third floor and work our way down; why have I never thought of this? When your feet start to hurt, as they always do, at least you are guaranteed a glimpse of things on your way out, rather than never making it to the top.
We first went through the Contemporary Art gallery on our way to check out the Alex Prager temporary exhibit. There were some really interesting pieces tucked away up there — I was delighted by Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker’s Domino Effect, a video of antiquated bricks set up like dominoes toppling across Panama City and finally crashing down into the sea. It was simultaneously fun to watch, just as any large-scale domino scene is, and beautifully shot with so many historical buildings and streets, and yet it was physically painful at the same time, because you can’t help flinching as you watch and hear the ancient bricks crunch and smash into each other. I know that we can’t and should not conserve everything, but it was a really moving piece for me (AS A CONSERVATOR, DAHLING), exacerbated by reading that the colonial-era bricks are used as landfill in the UNESCO-listed town as contemporary urban development continues to gnaw its way across the city.
(photo from here)
Alex Prager didn’t really do it for us — I did feel awkward and unoriginal thinking how very Cindy Sherman it all was, but apparently Prager openly embraces what is known in the art world as The Cindy Sherman Effect. I still would have preferred to see some Sherman though.
Then we tried and failed to locate the Takahiro Iwasaki Itsukushima exhibit, so next up was David Shrigley. His work turned out to be extremely entertaining, and it’s a shame they don’t provide benches in that space as we would have happily spent far longer reading everything.
This piece is called “Eggs”.
I thought this one was very well suited to my blog…
…and I was amused by the juxtaposition of these two which reflects how Polly and I spend most of our free time: Yoga/Pizza
Shriegly also made this fantastic gate which I want.
Polly and I were slightly hypnotised by the gallery space and wandered into the dedicated Shriegly-Shop, where t-shirts, tea towels, coasters, soft toys, and all the usual swag all abounded. The fact that it had its own shop independent of the fantastic NGV shop, and that it was crawling with people earnestly trying on caps and clutching mugs eventually sunk into my brain, as did the pricetags which all said “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO TAKE THIS JUNK HOME” (or words to that effect) and I realised how silly it would be to buy anything at all!
So we have returned home, where I am ready to finish up the sashiko. Progress shots below: