The Melbourne Festival Show at ACCA Framed Movements, curated by Hannah Matthews, opened on Thursday night. Lane Cormick presented a startling new work from the ‘Is it Art or is it Animal Cruelty’ genre, involving a live falcon, hood, perch, a circle of onlookers and witchypoo masking tape stuck to the ground. The crowd seemed somewhat divided on the issue.
Galleryist Helen Gory and husband Melbourne Art Collector Gadi Kolsky were so outraged that the RSPCA hadn’t been informed of the Falcon’s hooded performance, they turned into impromptu activists on the spot. A hasty sign was produced and they picketed the performance, adding new dialogues to the circle of bird art (see photographic evidence).
It’s good when art makes you think about stuff. The falcon’s presence within the gallery is an accurate portrait of Man’s present relationship with nature. A relationship in which a blindfolded wild animal, tethered to an indoor perch, is encircled by suburban gamekeepers managing interactions between bird and the adoring masses (Social Media snaps aplenty: “Here’s me and a hooded bird” or “HMAAHB”). This is us cherishing (and always utilising) the miracle of the animal kingdom.
Falcons and falconry remind my brain of the seminal ‘85 film The Falcon and the Snowman. It’s a movie based on a novel based on a true-life story. It has espionage, the Cold War, the CIA’s plan to depose Gough Whitlam, because he was eyeing up the US satellite tracking facility Pine Gap and the resulting Australian Constitutional Crisis. Fact is often stranger than fiction. Add quietly hot Timothy Hutton and naughty Sean Penn and its 1980’s essential viewing.
This is not America. No. Well not yet, hey?