While reading my earlier blog posts as research for a new entry, I noticed references to John Buckley, former art consultant and gallerist, former director of Institute of Modern Art, former director of Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and a former teacher and housemaster at Geelong Grammar. I knew John Buckley briefly, in 2004. I was represented by his gallery for a few months and left after my first solo exhibition there. I haven't seen him since. However I mentioned him here several times, in passing or in recognition of his accomplishments in the arts.
As part of my return to the world I am updating my overview of past associates and new art. I clicked a link to the John Buckley gallery to see what he was showing now. But the website no longer existed. I thought the gallery name may have changed, so I googled "John Buckley art Melbourne".
The title of the first article on the page read Famous art dealer abused boys when he was a teacher at Geelong Grammar. It was written in July, 2015. John Buckley had been found guilty of paedophilia. In September 2015 he was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for thirteen
charges of child abuse while he was a teacher. He also pleaded guilty to
possessing child pornography relating to 96 photographs of the
boys. He is currently in prison and will serve his
sentence in protective custody.
I have no sympathy for John. I condemn his actions absolutely.
I feel compelled to address the fact that I have previously written about him in a positive light. It is very difficult to reconcile that someone's
abhorrent personal actions exist parallel to their significant career accomplishments. It
is also important to acknowledge that accomplishments do not absolve
anyone of their crimes.
Although I am revulsed, I see no benefit in deleting my past mentions of John Buckley or the record of my exhibition at his gallery. Attempting to erase a past association would be disingenuous. I
can't help but think of how someone he abused may feel if they saw a record of
his great reputation in the arts here with no mention of his crimes. Or if they had
read my mentions of him or his art career before, then discovered I had erased
them with no explanation. I believe it is appropriate to acknowledge
John's criminal convictions here, in the same archive where I previously
mentioned his career accomplishments.
Above all, my heart and thoughts are with the survivors of John Buckley's abuse.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
The idea evolved after my best friend and unexpected muse Adam – a long-serving military veteran with whom I often talk strategy and power – sent me this cartoon of Trump grabbing the Statue of Liberty by the pussy. I don't know who the artist is, but they're good. The image made me think more on liberty, women's rights (and responsibilities), autonomy over our bodies and freedom of choice. And, of course, the problematic and now-globally-known phrase 'grab by the pussy'. I wanted to shift the meaning of the phrase from invasive and threatening to defiant, humorous and – above all – pro-active. Regardless of who holds political power.
I was surprised by the strong, positive reaction to my poster – from both men and women. I realised that text-based, high quality, 'autographed' posters are a way to make a print series that is conceptually strong (rather than just a reproduction of other work) and widely accessible. They're a solution to an idea I've thought about for over a decade.
So, in response to requests, I had Grab Your Future by The Pussy! made by a specialist company as an unlimited edition of A2 size posters, digitally printed on premium photo gloss 255gsm paper with black lettering and a white background. My signature and the year are hand-written on each using a Posca acrylic paint pen in black or pink.
My posters are $A99 (Australian dollars) each. Single shipping is via DHL courier: $A25 within Australia, $A45 to all international locations, with estimated arrival before two weeks. Posters are wrapped in archival tissue and a plastic sleeve, packed with care in a cardboard tube and shipped via courier to ensure they arrive in excellent condition. If you would like to receive your order faster or before a specific date please let me know. Shipping for large orders will be quoted individually.
Pricing covers production, packing, shipping, administration, GST (within Australia) and a very small profit margin – my posters are as inexpensive and accessible as my work is ever going to get. The price does not include taxes and duties on arrival for international orders, or insurance on shipping (though the latter can be arranged on request).
If you are interested in one (or more) of my posters, please email me at email@example.com. The cut-off order date for posters to arrive before Christmas is Thursday 15 December.
Over time, I will add new posters to this series. However please note that these works should be bought for love, not investment. They will look beautiful framed or cool pinned to the wall and I hope they'll incite and energise you as they do me. But they will not increase in value over the years in the same way as my other artworks. Please also note that – aside from one limited edition etching in 2001 that sold out long ago – these posters will be my only series of prints. In addition to the ongoing Dooney Lives series, my primary focus from next year onwards will be large paintings and installations, with smaller one-off studies made during the creative process.
Above: Examples of Grab Your Future By The Pussy! posters in my studio, signed and dated in pink and black acrylic paint pen. Each poster is A2 size: 42 x 59.4cm (16.53 x 23.38 inches).
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Candid snapshot, taken yesterday. It's out of focus (except for the bookshelf) but aside from having more defined smile lines around my eyes, it's an accurate depiction of me now – in a private, unguarded moment with a friend.
I haven't posted many photos of myself recently because they're not relevant to my current work. I also wanted more time to heal in private. However I'm aware that people wonder how I am, given that I still go to the private psychiatric hospital for maintenance treatment.
In layman's terms I'm still crazy. I am not symptom free and it's unlikely I ever will be. Yet my psychiatrist describes me as being in 'partial remission'. It means that although I still experience symptoms of bipolar and comorbidities I have enough insight to manage them (most of the time). I do so with skills and strategies I've learned over the years, ongoing assistance from psychiatric specialists and periods of respite in hospital. It's a delicate balance. It will still take months, perhaps another year, to rebuild my physical strength after muscle atrophy caused by a long-lasting dystonic reaction. But I am making progress.
Saturday, December 03, 2016
The curatorial aim of the exhibition is "to examine the channels of exchange between artist and institution".
My artwork bypasses the institution to reach viewers directly. A Lo-Res Letter To You explores DIY artistic production and direct dissemination using accessible tools: social media apps, a basic smartphone and internet connection. The flyer was made using an eight-year-old digital camera, cheap scanner, borrowed digital imaging software and an office supplies store print-shop.
As usual, my ongoing series A Lo-Res Letter To You is available to view via Snapchat and Instagram Stories. From Wednesday 7th to Saturday 17th December, images will be created specifically for the exhibition. My 'physical' contribution to the show is a stack of fliers with details of the exhibition and information on how to view the series. The fliers will be displayed on a plinth in the gallery for viewers to take. They are also being distributed in inner city areas of Melbourne this weekend.
Curtain Call, 1000 2000s S.O.A.P runs from 7th to 17th December. Opening night is at 6 to 8pm on Thursday 8th December at Blindside, Level 7, Room 14, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD.
Above: Fliers for A Lo-Res Letter To You, 7 - 17 December, 2016.