Sunday, May 26, 2013

Poo-bahs of the arts

When Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair this morning noted the remarkable dance performance choreographed by Sydney University's Mikala Dwyer, who encouraged her players to empty their bowels on stage, the reaction at the Billabong was not shock so much as a warm nostalgia and hope for the future.

You see, many years ago, when the Professor was a youngster heavily into anarchic leftism and punk (and meaningless euphemisms as well), a particular hero was an American rocker, GG Allin, who was known only from reports in the underground zines and newspapers available via outlets like Euphoria Records and the Third World Bookshop. Allin certainly sounded just the shot to outrage bourgeois sensibilities, which is what being young and stupid is mostly about, as his party piece involved beating up random audience members and then voiding his bowels on stage.

American authorities were in the habit of arresting Mr Allin, the original scat singer,  who eventually took his own life and thereby missed seeing the fruits of the revolution he inspired. These days, exponents of the brown arts can get themselves on the government teat, where the lactations are very rich indeed. Ms Dwyer's grant -- one of them -- is on the bottom line:

For those whose eyes work not so well as once they did, the entry reports that Dwyer scored her $90,000 for promising to "create series of works that extend investigation into material responses to conceptual frameworks".

Apparently that translates as choking a darkie in a perspex bucket.

The first reaction of most will be outrage, but that would be a mistake. The arts community will trot out all sorts of dills, many in bow ties, to assert that the majority of their countrymen are philistines and cannot appreciate the transgressive beauty of a fresh-laid log. Our nation will become a laughingstock, they will continue, if hip cadres cannot afford to extrude meaningful works. Mind you, the Italian sculptor Adriano Cecioni manage to cover this territory without benefit of grant more than 130 years ago. That's his sculpture at the head of this post.

Well let them say all of that and more, and let them continue to snaffle their grants until a new government sets to work on both the arts and the ABC. In the meantime, and clearly inspired by the likes of GG Allin, we must urge the transgressive elite to take the next step and begin beating the daylights out of their black-clad audiences. Two-fisted luvvie-on-luvvie action, with elbows, man-bags and poo buckets flying everywhere! Black eyes and bleeding scalps all over the shop -- and no doubt worth at least another $100,000 or so in tax dollars. Won't that be fun.

For those interested, poo-art pioneer GG Allin explains his oeuvre below:

UPDATE: The Age, where shit for brains is a pre-condition of employment,  gives Dwyer's exercise in "material responses" a predictably sympathetic gloss.
ACCA director Juliana Engberg said the centre exists to support each exhibiting artist's vision. ''Of course, contemporary art is sometimes very challenging, but ACCA's role is to work with challenging ideas,'' she said.

''When Mikala brought this idea of a performance and film dealing with material transformation and ritual to us, we evaluated it as a key and bold move in her practice, one that links to a long artistic legacy looking at alchemical transformation and magical performance. The work, while challenging taboos, never becomes sensational or gratuitous. It's wonderful, powerful work.''

ACCA did extensive public and occupational health and safety risk assessments.

The transparent seats were covered at all times during the performance and exhibition opening. They were partly emptied, disinfected, sealed and returned to the gallery after the performance and no staff handled them.

The exhibition runs until July 28.


  1. Bring back the good old days of hefty government grants for Lesbian Puppetry...

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.May 26, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Mozart, I have been told, was a coprophiliac, but that is not something that shines forth in his art.

    1. It was rumoured that Hitler was, too. His self-described "only true love", Geli Raubal, his teenaged niece, once said: "You wouldn't believe the things he makes me do". We can only guess her meaning. She killed herself. Who could blame her?

      The art world are late to this shock-horror. The pornographers are way ahead. Although, the difference between art and porn today is discernible only by those handing out government grants.

      Pedro of Adelaide

  3. This artist is behind the times. The days are past when this sort of thing was shocking. Now it's rather offensive but that's all.

    As art, it's a bit old fashioned and contrived. Not very original. And rather obvious too. "How can I shock the bourgeois? I know, I'll crap on stage."


  4. Wow. So hip. "It's wonderful, powerful work."

    If you're a savage.

    Just another baby step by the left in its never-ending quest to outrage the civilised and destroy the culture, which is now getting to an advanced stage with ultimate victory so close. ("...she hoped ACCA visitors would think and talk about something we have been socialised to consider dirty and shameful, and have historically hidden from view, even though it is perfectly natural. In turn, they might transform other institutionalised ideas about the world." Yeah, right.)

    When their brain-damaged heroes are running the country, it's a frenzy. The election of adults in September to stop the delinquents Destroying the Joint™ will be only a temporary setback. They still run the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the media and academia.

    But the left can’t function without our money. When will we say “enough”?

  5. The possible reason that taxpayers are forking out for this type of, er, shit, is that noone in their right mind is going to pay to see someone take a dump.

  6. Real punk. I love it! Thanks for that, took me back. That attitude is all but dead, buried under the weight of the arts grant parasite poseurs.

  7. Comedians should be up in arms because there's no room left for parody. How to take the piss out of taking a shit?

  8. GG Allin? Prof, you're harder than hardcore!

  9. Closer to our time, school kids could buy small alloy models similar to Cecioni's crapping dog from "Weirdo's Magic Shop in Sydney. They cost about $7(in today's currency)complete with small mercury fulminate (?) pills that fitted into the dog's backside and produced copious amounts of tubular ash when set alight with a match. You had to be about 7 years of age to appreciate it.

  10. One of our teachers at school described individuals who spend their lives delving into manure heaps only to emerge proudly to display the biggest maggot they can find - calling it "Art". That pretty much describes this crowd. What fertile ground they give Muslim fundamentalists to teach that the West is decadent and should therefore be destroyed. I sincerely feel for the victims and for struggling people in the real world who work hard only to have taxes ripped off them and given these useless, phoney lay-abouts in the name of their so-called, "Art".

  11. Iggy Pop (AKA James Osterman b. 1947) was no GG Allin. On the contrary he was very sedate and mainstream, even to the extent of having a baritone vocal range and actually using it - think Frank Sinatra or Leonard Cohen. Even he wasn't above snapping one off during a set.

  12. Life imitates art... or rather, lifer imitates art ...