Saturday, March 10, 2012

Of Laurels And Ivy

AT THE Billabong lately there has been a bit of talk about gussying-up the front lawn, which some topiary would certainly enhance. As hedges take too long to grow, a shortcut involving ivy on a chickenwire frame is being seriously considered. Several neighbours have won municipal awards for their plantings, and the object would be teach them a lesson in the right way to go about getting real attention. Bunyips are infamously artistic, so there is no shortage of inspiration, nor any fear of criticism should fuddy-duddies find the end result distasteful. As dauber Rodney Pople explains by way of defending his prize-winning picture of Port Arthur mass murderer Martin Bryant, good art “doesn’t pull any punches”.  So something like this, perhaps…

One idea, a fashionably transgressive notion, would depict the ivy’d likeness of our current prime minister as the very meaty filling between a leafy Bruce Wilson and a prickly Craig Emerson, perhaps with the subsidiary figure of a trouserless Craig Thomson trussed to a chair. Whether ivy could be trained and trimmed into a work of such subtlety is doubtful – Thomson’s ball-gag and credit card would be very hard to render – so other subjects are also being considered.

Pople did rather well did rather well by depicting an altar boy astride a bishop, a work which earned him more of the accolades arts-industry professionals enjoy bestowing on those whose repute is based on their distance from, and disdain for, the tax-paying philistines who underwrite the galleries in which their works are exhibited. What is the essence of true art, after all, if not the obligation to impress luvvies in the Fairfax press? Well modern, publicly supported Australian art anyway.

So the leading notion at the Billabong is this: a topiary minaret above the image of a homosexual or loose woman being stoned. It’s multicultural, right? It’s brave and daring, right? And surely Christians have been done to death by now. Who could object!

That settles it. The Professor is off to Dimmey’s for a beret and an all-black set of gardening duds. The praise and prizes will start rolling in almost immediately.


  1. Very daring, prof. Too daring, maybe. Why not do a little parade of pigs and let passers-by and art critics draw their own confusions?

    1. Jen: That's not a bad idea. And in the summer, when watering is allowed, I could call it "Days Of Swine And Hoses", which would be sure to snaffle a grant or three.

  2. Um, Prof., you'll probably get a few of these but I think you've got Pople's name wrong.

    Great article.

  3. PhillipGeorge(c)2012March 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    allah could be useful where Liberals aren't Prof.
    Have you heard the rumour that Qur'ans are being burnt in secret ceremonies at the Desal Plant? Is it true that Zionists have invested heavily in Desal plants and Qur'an burnings happens there regularly?

    There multiculturalism has un up side!

    Or what? Let the Chinese do it for us?
    Think about - Australia could finally be "One Nation" - three systems.
    We'd have cheap electricity again, growth, a manufacturing industry.

    And if we off-shored Canberra we could run the public service for a fraction of the Price. Finally the Communists could re - introduce some free market economics into Australia and dislodge the iron grip of socialists.

  4. When you get your beret and shears professor, may I advise you to study the Masters for inspiration. If that doesn't work then this bucolic scene by Larry Pickering may earn you a few commissions if you can get the profiles done right:

  5. The veiled pig can be but a Blue Period away.

    With edgy, socially challenging arteests, you.

  6. Prof, I made an observation about Pople's painting at the Cat overnight. In an ABC article on the prize, it was noted that neither the judges nor Pople viewed the painting as intended to offend.

    What a bunch of mealy mouthed liars.

    I wonder again, as I did at the Cat, whether the judges would have been so open minded if the picture had depicted Bryant giving Bob Brown a piggy back ride in the nude.

    Hell, why not a pagan fairy ring featuring Brown, Bryant alongside some of our great intellects, such as Manne and Marr. All in the bollocky engaged in Heironymous Bosch style eye watering acts of concupiscence?

    The intent, of course would not be to shock. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.

  7. Professor, I have faith in whatever you decide, but I thought you should know that higher forces are taking an interest in your welfare. "Creator's quiet fight for Billabong", a headline in the Australian declared today, though I have no idea what a story about the nation's soul was doing on the business pages.

    1. I too was taken by that headline, Tom, and it got me thinking. We do leave the Prof to do so much of the heavy lifting himself.

      Thus Professor, I wish to commend to you the Lady Elizabeth B's House of Topiary and Hairdressing, an establishment with high commendations for the provision of assistance to garden enthusiasts and distressed gentlefolk looking for the next new thing. Your first suggestion from us is entirely free, and how could you resist?

      As a scholar, you will have heard of that pagan figure the Cerne Giant, carved maximally into the hillside in the chalklands of Dorset. This chap is a giant of a man where it really counts. He is obviously enthusiastic too. Available to those wanting a memory of this eye-catching feature is a special clock in the local souvenir shop, depicting in full the Giant while utilising his erect member to while away the hours in a pleasing circular fashion.

      What a treat for your street to produce a Craig Thommy Tell-the-Time piece in flowers and chalk-filled ditches for your front lawn, along with the topiary you suggest. (You can see, Sir, that at Lady Elizabeth B's House we go way beyond topiary itself to achieve our best). Surely, with the minarets, a mutli-culti attraction arises? Little ones may ask awkward questions, but that is the nature of parenthood, is it not? A great advantage is that visiting Islamic folk would be glad to learn something of ancient British traditions. With this cornucopia, as it were, fronting your home, you would signal also your serious reputation in Etruscan semiotics. As you have extensively shown (it may be time here to link your newer admirers to your oeuvre), the Etruscans were admirers of the Herma too.

      But that's not all, Professor. As they say on TV, there's even more. If you take up our free offer of the clock, our Balding Head Department can throw in a topiary tribute to our Prime Minister's friend, Tim of the Shed, brandishing his scissors in an attempt to cut his own throat. This is enticement for you to consider purchasing our twinned-with-Tim latest Patented Folly, a pleasing Prime Ministerial summer house made of dung - so ethnic, I always think, - or our Roman-style topiary of penis with wings, semiotically signifying a free-flying Craig not yet in the legal hand. We can also do this Craig topiary with legs instead of wings, offering the suggestion that it should walk.

      We have many more interesting possibilities to discuss, so do please give us a call. Our body topiary comes with recommendations from a very hirsute Irishman indeed, on whom we are much practiced, should you be interested in our other line of work.

  8. Speaking of art prizes, the Archibald Prize for 2012 is about to be announced. The Archibalds are interesting (a) because of the, er, varied quality of the work and (b) because the subjects of the portraits that get to be hung, as well the actual winners, tend to be 'progressives'. The last time I saw the exhibition - in 2010 - the winning portrait was of another brave iconoclast - Tim Minchin - while the runners up included a smirking Ross Garnaut, Malcolm Fraser - with an accompanying panegyric by the artist about the old boy-conscriptor's 'compassion' - and a daub of Peter 'Papa Hemingway' Fitzsimons. This last one was a real piece of crap, not just because of the subject but because the painter's draughtsmanship was incompetent.

    Of course, a portrait of Margaet Olley won the 2011 prize, and she wasn't, as far as I know, a public progresive. On the other hand, I can't imagine a portrait of Alan Jones or Keith Windschuttle ever even being hung, let alone winning.

    If I get up to Sydney to see the 2012 exhibition, I'll report back.

    Consuela Potez

  9. Put a red star on your beret, and you'll be through to the semis without dropping a set.

  10. As Mr.Pople well understands, you will also need to look like a total ponce, Bunyip.

  11. Professor,

    For your artwork to qualify for a grant, you need to rethink your creation. May I suggest two weeping women in a sobbing embrace, a child and an upright figure holding the child's hand, seemingly walking away from the women.

    Your artwork would be titled "Indigenous Lesbian Couple Weeping as Child is stolen by Zionist Christian White Male Pig". There's got to be a quick quid in that.

    To qualify for a double bonus grant, you could let the whole creation wither in the ground without water and add "during Global Warming" to the title.

    What or where is Dimmeys? Is this a gardening shop run by the worshippers of allah to fleece their dhimma slaves (the Dhimmis)? Do they sell only Halal plants?

  12. Dimmey's is an ultra-low cost department store. No connection with the Prophet.

    1. I still have a T-shirt purchased at Dimmeys in Geelong around 10 years ago. Military olive green with a camouflage pattern commie star on the front. It would go a treat with a Red MPs beret or a maroon 3RAR beret. Corps badge replaced with a Che Guevara badge, or even better, a Hugo Chavez badge.

    2. With a remarkable rococo clock tower!! Can't seem to doo a link, but you can google dimmey's clock tower

    3. We need to be sure Bunyip can differentiate between Rococo, Baroque, Gothic and Art Deco before we send him on this mission. The hairdo, the clothing, and the accessories are the easy bit. The aforementioned is what's critical.

  13. It's a bit late, and only Pople understands the connection I guess, but Kurt Cobain played his guitar left-handed.