Tag Archives: blogs

End of 2011

During the year I have reviewed about 70 different galleries (only about 30% of the total number of galleries in Melbourne) and even more exhibitions. I have tried not to have a favourite gallery; I have tried (unsuccessfully) not to review the same gallery or artist more than once. And there are more to see and write about than just art exhibitions; there is the street art, fashion and other aspects of Melbourne’s culture.

Statue of Sun Yat Sen, Little Bourke Street

I saw a new public sculpture only this week when I walked through Chinatown – a bronze statue of Sun Yat Sen standing in Cohen Place Plaza on Little Bourke Street. Fortunately this is only a life-sized statue and not the 3.7-metre statue first proposed by Melbourne’s Chinese community in 2008. Why a statue of Sun Yat Sen in Melbourne? Well there are memorials to JFK, Elvis, Robbie Burns and General Gordon in Melbourne, so why not Sun Yat Sen? (The name of Cohen Place Plaza is coincidental and does not refer to Sun Yat Sen’s bodyguard “Two Gun” Cohen.)

It is an exhausting activity, all this writing and research – it is sort of masochistic. So I can understand why Deidre Carmichael has decided to stop writing the Art in Geelong blog at the end of this year. It is almost exhausting just reading and looking at what Arty Graffarti and Melbourne Street Art on Facebook add daily. Both have plenty of photographs of Melbourne graffiti and street art on a daily basis and Arty Graffarti does review street art exhibitions.

I met some of the people behind Melbourne Street Art on Facebook at the Blender Studios Christmas Party – that was a great party, art, music, open studios and fantastic people. It was an excellent way to end the year.

HaHa, Stevenson Lane

Between Christmas and New Year most of the galleries in Melbourne are shut but there is still plenty of great art to see in Melbourne’s laneways both the official, Melbourne’s Laneway Commissions, and unofficial Melbourne’s street art. When I was in Chinatown I found Yhonnie Scarce’s “Iron Cross” in Brien Lane. It is a symbolic memorial to the 50 years that her family’s life was controlled by Christian mission where “they were told what to wear, how to speak and when they were allowed to leave the settlement.” This year the Laneway Commissions were all by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Yhonnie Scarce, “Iron Cross”, Brien Lane

Near the beginning of this year I re-branded this blog to “Black Mark – Melbourne art and culture critic”. It wasn’t a very painful process except when it came to being indexed by PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive; for some reason the name change caused lots of confusion there. I would like to thank everyone who has read Black Mark and especially Evangeline Cachinero, Peter Symons and Catherine Voutire for their help and encouragement over this year.

Looking forward to 2012. Happy New Year everyone.


Bloggers

On Sunday I meet up with some other bloggers in Melbourne at the Workshop Bar on the corner of A’Beckett and Elizabeth Streets. The Workshop Bar had New Zealand beer on tap and a small temporary exhibition of paintings of faceless figures by Kirsten Benson. It reminds me that I still have to write an entry about Melbourne’s art bars and bars with art exhibitions. Michael, who writes My Aching Head, reviews cafes, restaurants and drinks, had organized the event.

I was pleased to meet Brian Ward, who writes Fitzroyalty and several mash-ups about Melbourne suburbs (see the end of this entry for a complete list). I have exchanged emails with Brian Ward but this was the first time that I had actually met him. It is a strange experience meeting people who you have only emailed for the first time but Brian was more even more friendly in person than his emails.

There were a few other bloggers at the meeting including the beautiful sisters who write I Found You In Melbourne, the guy who writes Electrorash, illustrator Ben Zen  and a few other people. It was simply a chance to know people and exchange a few ideas. I was told about other blogs of an even more diverse cultural aspects like Op Shopping ( I Op Therefore I Am ) and one of the oldest blogs in existence Kottke.

The impact of blogs is growing. Contrary to the mainstream media blogs are not simply source of gossip and unsubstantiated claims. Many blogs contain first hand reports from educated and informed correspondents. Many blogs appears to be the very essence of traditional journalism. In the golden age of print journalism there would be writer at every play, exhibition and concert. Now, in the dying days of print journalism unless a blogger reviews it, it is unlikely to be reviewed.

I would encourage anyone with an interest or interesting experiences to write a blog about it. The most difficult part is the writing; technically writing a blog is only a little bit more involved than using email or shopping online. I have even managed to get my mother to start two blogs about her local history interests: Victorian Chinese History and Bendigo Heritage Cemeteries.

There are many artists with blogs. I have just been exchanging emails with the artist Peter Tyndall who has incorporated blogging into his art practice. He also mentioned a local friend and artist’s blog, workmanjones’s Garden of Self Defence that features a great video of body art meeting street art.

I am glad that other blogs reviewing or commenting on Melbourne’s visual arts and that sometimes now we even review the same exhibitions. There are more art and culture blogs in my blogroll this year – the more critical voices the better. I have just found Melbarts, reviews films, books, exhibitions and theatre, and I am considering adding it to my blogroll.

Brian Ward’s mash-ups are syndicate and aggregate posts from over 100 local bloggers blogs. They are:

Fitzroy and North Fitzroy 

Brunswick and East Brunswick 

Carlton and North Carlton 

Collingwood and Abbotsford 

The inner north (Clifton Hill, Northcote, Thornbury, Fairfield and Alphington) 

Central Melbourne (CBD, Docklands, Southbank, North, East, South and West Melbourne)


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