All posts filed under: Columns

Mother’s Ruin: Being Cool

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour.  ________________________ I wasn’t always the mother with the mum-bun and the muslin cape. I remember existing as a singular creative person, doing things as decadent as drinking a bottle of Fat Bird for a creatively inspirational breakfast. The other week my baby girl suddenly started to poo frothy dark green explosions. Her ass became a little saagwala paneer cannon and I was terrified. She was vomiting and suddenly the coziness of her skin felt a little too warm and I was sure she was sweating, she was definitely sweating and were her eyes glassy? Her head floppy? Was she cross-eyed? Was that a rash?  Oh my bloody Jesus. Sierra. Hotel. India. Tango. Briefly I had a flashback to a night of drinking red wine, smoking out the window, and watching Bridget Jones’ Diary in my underwear. For Inspiration. It’s not like I could just …

Mother’s Ruin: PPS How come you have never heard of me?

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour.  ________________________ He is old and grey and barely put together. I think he is wearing a zany hand knit jumper and loafers. I’ve seen him laughing amicably at my reading and nodding along. I’m standing here holding a paper cup of pop. Well at the moment it’s probably 60% pop. It’s rapidly becoming a spittoon filled by his manic anecdote about Susan Sontag. He’s never heard of me but he likes my work. I’m not pretentious- I’m easy. I have very pretty eyes. Stunning. So round. Warm. I’m awfully lucky as a pregnant woman; I don’t appear to be very large at all. Have I ever heard of an epidural? His wife had one of those. He recommends it profusely. Is it a boy or a girl? Are we going to try cloth nappies? You need about 36; 12 for the day, 12 in …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Everybody wants me to work at McDonalds

Part Ten Everybody wants me to work at McDonalds.   So, I moved to Brisbane.  I don’t know how long it will last but here we are.  I have lived here before but this time I’m told I have a month to secure a job or I will officially be a failure at life.  Having recently acquired an illustrious Masters degree from the exceptionally exclusive Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, I find myself in a difficult position looking for a job.  I am probably too inexperienced to actually pursue a Curator position, yet I have curated and have it listed in my resume.  I could take my resume to McDonalds but looking at my very art directed work experience and education, they will say ‘Why do you want to work at McDonalds?’.  To which I would reply, ‘I don’t.’. I am feeling increasingly pressured, even at age 31, to cold call and drop my resume off to any place that has available employment. If I don’t, I won’t have any fucking money …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Happy Easter Dicks

Part Nine I’m the biggest dick of all sometimes.  I will prove this by stating the Top Four Archetypes of Art School in the following paragraphs, thereby minimising the role of artists and reinforcing black and white extremities. Actually, it’s just light fun, please don’t hate me… There is a film character named Roberta Allsworth from the film version of the graphic novel/comic Ghost World. Upon meeting a class of unenthused teenagers, Roberta shows a self-produced video work entitled Mirror Father Mirror ‘made possible’ by ‘The Federation For the Advancement of Mature Women in the Arts’/’The Struggling Artist Foundation’/’The Why Not Me Project’. Roberta represents the Artist-Light Background, Well Educated Woman Very Interested And Concerned About Traditions Of Art But Not Quite Sure How This Works In The Physical Form Of Art(1). Male Artist Taking The Piss But Probably With A Very Serious Undercurrent(2) knows his shit.  He’s aware of the system and how it caters specifically to his gender (and sometimes his race), but ya know, instead of contributing to society, he chooses to …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: The WMA edition

What’s your WMA dick story? There is a WMA who is in a lot of press lately and winning awards etc.  He was given a solo show at a dealer gallery here and I bumped into him I asked him ‘How was the opening?’ and his surly and drunk response was ‘I didn’t sell anything’ and then silence followed It just irritated me that instead of being grateful for having a show, he was only concerned about selling work. Yeah, he sounds super entitled.  Do you think the art crowd in Syds are aware of the white male artist entitlement? WMA is huuuuuge here – perhaps because of a larger population…I don’t know I was talking with a friend once (a mixed race male artist here in Sydney) and he was telling me how it’s almost like a joke here that the WMA privilege is so strong We also talked about the Chuck Close exhibition which just closed at the MCA recently and how it was basically just another WMA getting a huge show when …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: SUCK IT: BULLIES & BRAVADO

Part Seven SUCK IT: BULLIES & BRAVADO An unfortunate encounter with a more senior artist A Billy Apple exhibition at Artspace OTHER stuff I’ll be frank.  Very frank and very blunt.  Bullies.  I’ve talked about them before.  This week though, I thought I’d speak specifically about generational bullies.  Bullies that are territorial about what they have accomplished; marking their spot with their territorial pissings.  These generational bullies don’t necessarily belong to a particular age group.  Rather, they represent a particular value system about art that is associated with a particular timeframe. An artist that I had only met hours earlier, gave me some advice this week about an exhibition I curated.  We were at the opening of said exhibition.   I was so gobsmacked that I didn’t defend my actions nor did I see the need to.  I was generally disappointed by the way this artist timed their advice so that surrounding people of importance could hear this discussion.  I appreciate your, I’m sure, well-intentioned calculated advice, but actually fuck off. The premise of the …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Dicks in the Parade

Part six Dicks in the Parade I didn’t actually go to Saturday’s Pride Parade in Auckland. This wasn’t an intentional snub but I figured if the parade was anything like the Santa Parade, then it wasn’t going to be very good.  By ‘anything like the Santa Parade’ I mean it was about anything but Santa and likewise the Pride Parade was about anything but pride.  (Also I had a sore throat and I was watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia 2014 at my Mum’s house.) When I was younger, my sister, my cousin, a family friend and I went to the Hero Parade.  The Hero Parade was exciting and thrilling.  I wasn’t even old enough to really understand and enjoy the parade, I was just excited to be in town at night.   But even then I was aware it was a more sincere celebration of the different personalities that existed within Auckland.  It just seemed less filtered and for some reason less dangerous to be whoever it was you wanted to be.  I don’t recall seeing any …

Annette McGuinness on dicks: ILD: pls txt me, k?

Part Five On Unrequited Reading and Unrequited Writing AKA The Recalled Book The year was 2012. A friend set me up with a book. Actually, I don’t remember who recommended the book, probably someone in my class, or maybe my tutor. There’s an outside chance that I stumbled upon a reference to it in independent research – it’s been known to happen. At the time, I had a university library account with 25 slots to burn. “What the hell, take a chance”, I thought. So I logged onto my account, and  “recalled” Chris Kraus’ “I Love Dick” from whichever sap currently had the book of my dreams. I soon became that sap. Let me just say, this book gets around. I started it about four times. Every time I got about two thirds of the way through, and every time I had to return it before I had finished, since some cruel person – some faceless third party – had recalled my book. I have been doomed to love “I Love Dick” from a distance. …

Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Dick Owens – Stunt Queen

Part Four It might not be immediately obvious but as part of my own creative fulfilment, I’m very keen on fashion.  I get the kind of adrenalin from buying clothes that you would from having a crush on someone so for me fashion and lust are intricately intertwined.  I get a kick out of fashion based art practices and I have my favourite t-shirts that I will never throw away despite holes, stains and thinning material.   Now I’m done with stating my love of fashion, I have a special place in my heart for fashion designer Rick Owens.  That guy is really good at fashion dick. You may have seen headlines last week like ‘Penises on the runway – a flesh flash too far?’ and ‘Rick Owens Models went commando down the runway’.  Rick Owens’ Menswear Fall 2015/2015 collection caused some controversy in the form of ‘free-balling’ models aka pantsless male models, apparently leaving some front-rowers shocked at unexpected full frontal nudity.  It is from this collection that Rick Owens has earned a new …