About

Mark Holsworth with Melbourne graffiti

Mark Holsworth with Melbourne graffiti

Black Mark – Melbourne Art & Culture Critic

I started this blog in 2008 because there was a lack of critical discussion about Melbourne’s art world. There are over 200 art galleries in Melbourne and most art exhibitions go un-reviewed. There are many artists who exhibit but never get any critical review good or bad.  I want to provide a critical view of the Melbourne’s visual arts and other aspects of culture. I want to cast a critical eye on the whole for Melbourne’s visual arts from the major galleries to the ARIs and alternative spaces, from public sculptures to the street art, from art history to fashion.

I have a BA (Hons) from Monash University with a major in philosophy and minor in visual arts history and MA in philosophy from LaTrobe University. My Masters thesis was about Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and the art world.I am influenced by Arthur C. Danto and George Dickie institutional theory of art. I don’t have any essential characteristics for art. Art is that thing that is exhibited in art galleries, written about in art magazines or blogs, and, basically, what people call art. This is a slightly circular definition but it describes the social institution. For this reason I am more interested in looking at art in the context of life.

I like James Gleeson’s idea of the art critic as an explorer, leading others to new and interesting discoveries. Every week I see several exhibitions and walk the streets of Melbourne, as well as spending time reading and researching. I would like to see more art exhibitions but I can’t be everywhere – there is so much to see but Melbourne’s geographic sprawl does not make it easy for me.

Black Mark has been included in PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive.

Hear my radio interview on 3RRR Smart Arts with Richard Watts.

Or read my interview on The Art and the Curious with Celeste Hawkins.

Black Mark was previously just titled Melbourne Art & Culture Critic – see my entry on the rebranding. “Black Mark” was what my biker neighbours called me because I was then, and I am now, dressed in black. I thought that it would be a good name for the Melbourne Art & Culture Critic. The banner was created by Evangeline Cachinero, thank you Evangeline with my deepest gratitude.

Mark fighting with bronze crocodile in Brussels

Mark fighting with bronze crocodile in Brussels

Mark Holsworth – Writer and Artist

I have written articles, short stories, even poems for various publications. I was an editor with LookSmart Int., an internet directory, where I covered the arts. I have also written several plays, most notably, Sister Sister that was first performed at St. Martin’s Youth Theatre in Melbourne in 1983 and subsequently at the MCAE in 1985 and LaTrobe Uni in 1996. It has been performed often, principally because it is a play with two female and one male part. And I have written material for role-playing games and I still enjoy playing role-playing games weekly.

I have had solo exhibitions of my paintings in several Melbourne galleries, most recently at Viewing Space, along with participating in many group exhibitions. As a visual artist I have organised exhibitions, most notably Crypt Orchid, a goth art exhibition. I was on the management committee of 69 Smith St., an artist run initiative, for two years. In 2008 I was the volunteer co-ordinator for the Melbourne Stencil Festival and I was the secretary for the Melbourne Stencil Festival 2009 and 2010, when it re-branded itself as Sweet Streets. I have work in the collections of Dr Martens (Australia), Moreland City Council and private collectors.

I played keyboards and with technology in various bands. The first garage band that I was in, John’s Room had Richard Watts, now the compare of 3RRR’s SmartArts, as lead singer. After that there was Jabberwock, an experimental music group, then in Edie Sedgwick’s Overdose, a tribute band to the Velvet Underground with Ron Rude, and, finally, Dada Tribe #373 a techno band that was part of Melbourne’s Clan Analogue.

Mark Holsworth, Sancho Panza, 2006, oil on wood

Mark Holsworth, Sancho Panza, 2006, oil on wood

Mark Holsworth, Portrait of John Coleman, 2013, oil on wood

Mark Holsworth, Portrait of John Coleman, 2013, oil on wood

Publications

This blog is now syndicated in Crikey’s The Daily Review.

“Artist Acquitted of Obscenity, but Chill of Censorship Endures”  Hyperallergic (3/10/14)

“Justice, with one foot forward” Justinian (18/9/2014)

“The branding of Joel Gailer: Performprint SpectacularImprint Magazine (Spring, 2014)

“From Great Men to Landmarks – RMIT and Melbourne’s Public Sculpture” Revelations – Sculpture from the RMIT Art Collection (catalogue, RMIT Gallery, May 2014)

“A Century of Readymades” Art Monthly Australia (Nov. 2013)

Child p-rn – or art censorship by wannabe Tory polliesCrikey (5/6/13)

Melbourne’s Selfie MeccaHyperallergic (30/5/13)

Willl Coles – Concrete ChipsTrouble (March 2013)

“What the Hell Are We Going to Do With All This Junk?” Hyperallergic (23/11/12)

“Beware Street Artists Bearing Thought-provoking Gifts” Hyperallergic (7/11/12)

“Small Change for Big Culture”  Trouble (Dec/Jan 2011)

Mark Holsworth, History, 2008, oil on wood

Mark Holsworth, History, 2008, oil on wood

 


15 responses to “About

  • Jennie

    I’ve really enjoyed reading through your blog, especially the censorship issues (a topic close to my heart!)

  • rjs

    Thank you for the encouragement. It’s heartening to know that someone out there is interested. Check out my Artist of the Month. If not at my blog, swing by William Lamson’s homepage at http://www.williamlamson.com.

    RJS

  • bunyanth

    Hi Mark
    Thankx for your comments and pingbacks to Art Blart.

    Many thankx and keep up the reivews!

    Marcus

  • meika

    I found you through twittering links including http://twitter.com/samaramc

    Just like to let you know I’ve taken up sculpture and I agree that there should be more, and that there are too many painters and, yes, it’s harder to set up a workshop than a studio.

  • Paul Candy

    Hi Mark I have been really enjoying your posts, especially the maturation of your own work…I am looking at ‘plainwrap art’ at the moment on my wall, a concept driven work of yours from the early ’90’s. I just had a show at Electundra 2009…great to catch up recently. Hugz Senor

  • Graham Brindley

    I appreciated your comments and observations regarding my work in the VCA Graduate Show. Thank you. Regards Graham

  • paul

    hello

    where is the political art? good question. i live in texas and g.w. was fun but a new media smart suit rules.
    like you to point me to artist that you think are politically active. thank you for your time

  • Michael

    Hey there Mark, keep up the great work!

  • Daniel

    Disappointing to see what Melbourne City Council did to a large part of our laneway Art today in Rankins Lane (CBD)for apparently no good reason. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683732473#!/photo.php?pid=4108331&id=152629751175

  • graham brindley

    Hi Mark
    You reviewed my work in the VCA Grad. show last year and said to let you know when I am exhibiting.
    I am in a group show titled Substance, at Guildford Lane Gallery and opening this Thursday July 8th at 6 – 8 pm.
    Hope you can take a look.
    Regards Graham Brindley

  • Steve

    Hi Mark,

    Great Blog, any chance you could help get the word out about Upfest, Europes largest ‘Live’ Street arts festival? We are looking to accomodate over 250 artists at this years festival, details on registration can be found here, we’ve already have interest from a couple of artists from Oz, but would be great to see some more here in Bristol on the 4th and 5th of June. (Unfortunately we don’t have a budget for flights but if anyone applies I’m sure we can find them a place to stay…

    he festival is open to all abilities and styles :-)

    Spray in Peace

    Steve & The Upfest Team

  • Glenda

    Hey Mark,
    Just to let you know I have directed my VCE students to your site for their Unit on Discussing and Debating Art. Great for them to see current art issues in Melbourne being discussed and open for debate! Their assessment task will be based on Street Art…any suggestions on a pithy question for them to debate in their work?

    • Mark Holsworth

      Thanks Glenda. A debate topic on Street Art that I think needs to be discussed: that Street Art is really conservative and not as radical as it claims.

  • tessritchie

    Hey, yay this is good. I’m not in Melbourne but like it all the same, good idea :)

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