No Longer Just Kids

I feel very close to Patti Smith.  She has shared with me the most intimate details of her life, her upbringing, her struggle as a young woman discovering art, life and love, and the inner workings of her mind through her writing and music.  I grew up with her as I bounced around my bedroom to Because the Night and Free Money. Together we shared a beautiful moment, her daughter performing live at Carnegie Hall in New York where Patti was moved to tears.  We share many of the same tastes and obsessions, Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolfe, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, and  the films of Akira Kurosawa.  And we have the type of friendship where I can absolutely trust her judgement when she recommends films, television shows and books to me. Continue reading

The S Word: Lurid Beauty at the NGV

Siamese shoes IBarry Humphries,Siamese Shoes I, 1958, remade 1968.

Shoes

There is nothing like the seductive beauty of a tapered stiletto.  Why do we love them so much despite the agony they cause?  Originally high heels were worn by men but now they are predominately the refuge of women.  They are worn for a multitude of reasons.  Status being one of them, they put you literally eye to eye with men in height, and there is nothing like the flash of a red sole to show wealth, or fashion.  And then there is sex. Continue reading

All Dressed Up

Rosalie Ham was born in Jerilderie, NSW.  Haven’t heard of it? Me neither.  Yes, Rosalie Ham knows about small town Australian living, and it isn’t pretty.  Her novel The Dressmaker has been made into a film that has just been released in cinemas across Australia starring the insatiable force, Kate Winslet, the heart-throb Liam Hemsworth, the show-stealing Judy Davis and our beloved Hugo Weaving, reprising a variation of his fantastic role in Pricilla Queen of the Desert. Continue reading

It’s Just a Feckin’ Colour

Stumbling into The Enclave it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust, first to the dark, then to the layout, and then there’s the pink.  Elsa Schiaparelli would have called it “shocking”.  As a surrealist fashion designer working between the two world wars, this lurid shade was to become her signature colour.  Richard Mosse describes it as: “Ludicrously palleted bubblegum pink.” Elsa Schiaparelli described it as: “Life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a colour of China and Peru but not of the West.”  And in this instance a colour of the Congo, beautiful, life-giving, but violent in it’s assertion of dominance over the landscape and people.  But it is this beauty which Richard Mosse describes as “the sharpest tool in the box.”  Not only does in create a conflict for the viewer between horror and awe, but it highlights the limitations of photography and film as a documentary medium, the images we see are always heavily edited, selected, and often the real story goes on behind the scenes. “People are so offended by the colour pink,” Richard jokes, “It’s just a feckin’ colour.”  But how differently we would react if the images were black and white, or colour.  We associate black and white with “truth with a capital T” and yet pink highlights this inherent fallacy. Continue reading

Three Movies You Shouldn’t Watch with a Cold

Spring is finally arriving here in the Southern Hemisphere, and hopefully with it the end of flu season.  For those followers in the Northern Hemisphere I have some wize advice for you as you head into the cold dark depths of Winter, as learnt from my own experience.  Here I have compiled a list of three films that I watched while under the foggy influence of a particularly bad cold, and deeply regret.  Here are three films not to watch in the middle of Winter when you are unwell (but at any other time proceed with caution). Continue reading

Schoolhouse Horticultural Spectacular

Tonight has been a lovely night for secrets.  The crowds were out for what was a lively and exciting opening for Secret Garden, an exhibition co-curated by Sophia Cai and Caitlin Shearer.  This is an exhibition that, like the plants that inhabit it, grew organically.  With 22 artists represented it is a broad range of works all exploring the essential and magical relationship between people and their plants. Continue reading

David Bowie Is… Human

Walking through David Bowie Is… my brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare, I had to cram so many things to store everything in there.  This exhibition which has toured from the V&A to Melbourne’s ACMI plays on all the senses and encompasses all the elements of Bowie’s remarkable career.  From the clothes he wore, to his hand written song lyrics, books he carried around in his back pocket to look cool, to movie costumes, interviews, music videos, TV appearances, paintings, songs, artists who influenced him; a whole array of objects, moving image, sound, I never thought I would need so much Bowie. Continue reading