Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car; NGV
The difference between art and design is that with design, it’s generally easier to test if it’s any good and there’s a purpose that can be evaluated. The difference between art and (propositional) architecture is whether or not Callum did it. If Callum did it then it’s art.
Art, design and architecture are presently cannibalizing each other at such a rate, you can’t tell which mouth is swallowing which tail and it’s nearly impossible to tell one discipline from another. Which is what the best art does: forces us to question our own lazy brains down to stem core. You’re like: “Is that model of a building, art, design or architecture? Or is it craft?”
The best way to make friends with an architect is to begin to describe the parcel of vacant land your family has down past Lorne. It’s on the coast, on top of quite a high cliff, and from up there all you see is the ocean, you can’t even see the neighbour’s farm. When your Pa’s estate is finally settled (unfortunately it’s being contested by a greedy cousin in a terribly long and dull court battle), then you’ll begin looking for ideas. You believe in destiny here, it will all sort itself out, the only thing you know you definitely need is an infinity pool. And maybe a small self-contained pavilion for when friends stay for the weekend.
If the architect you’re trying to talk to is more into designing big tall buildings or buildings like nobody’s ever seen before ever, then Ayn Rand is your gal. Sure, she got herself addicted to prescription speed (it helped with the long work hours) and she fell in with a bad crowd, sure, poor Ayn. She got herself a bit too carried away down several paths of conceptual inquiry too, and that may have resulted in Greenspan selling the free market economy to Clinton, but hey, if you need proof that real life is stranger than any fiction… There’s no denying the appeal of Fountainhead’s original, non-compromising, misunderstood genius, Howard Roarke, he is the stuff of University student wet dreams. Here are 2 short excerpts from the film, starring Gary Cooper as Howard, both worth watching-
The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand), scene 1, Expelled, 1.30mins
Artistic compromise- A Touch of the new, a touch of the old scene, 3.30 mins.
We went to Maxine’s primary school Art Show. We were checking out her work (which she was proud of) and she asked me if I liked it.
I said: “Yeah, sure sweet, but it’s not art, it’s design”.
She said (eyes rolling): “No, it’s art, we made it in art class”.
And I was like: “Sweetheart, your whole class made work that’s the same as each others”.
She was getting pissed off with me now: “No. We got to choose our own colours!”
I gave in. I was like: “OK Maxine. You’re right I’m wrong. I don’t want to fight over it.”
Maxie was like: “Damn right you don’t…”
Real Good Art allows for many interpretations. Like when people say to me: “I like your blog Nat” and I say: “Thanks, but its not a blog, it’s an ongoing neo-Situationist performance with an online outcome! I’m reflecting the artwork network back on itself, singing them their own song. Perhaps even attempting to do what Hal Foster recently suggested: “make the petrified social condition around us dance again!” And they go: “oh” with the glazed-over-eye expression and you know you’ve said way too much crap all at once and now they’re re-evaluating whether they like your blog anymore. Or you for that matter, given they’re the same thing.
The NGV launched a new Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture last week, to help guide us plebs through the myriads of new thinking within the fields. Ewan McEoin is Senior Curator and Simone LeAmon curator. The art bookshop is now rebranded as the NGV Design Store. Launching this September, a new annual commission for Ephemeral Architecture at NGV International, the inaugural commission by John Wardle Architects is a project entitled ‘I Dips Me Lid’, a saying I once sacked a boyfriend for, after he uttered it in bed. And a new show opened: Shifting Gear: Design Innovation and the Australian Car, just in time for all the rev heads who land in Melbourne each year for the Grand Prix.
This very elite, travelling circus (owned by sinister Bernie Eccleston) visits us here in Melbourne (and we should be grateful they do), bringing fast little cars and hot young godlike man-boys to drive them round the Albert Park Lake as fast as they can, without killing themselves. They make an almighty racket speeding round the track, I guess they don’t like the idea of anyone not knowing they’re here. At the end the winner kisses the model and shakes up the champagne and sprays it out onto the crowd in reckless euphoric abandon. And they all cheer and take selfies. There is nothing Freudian going on.
Career opportunities for Women at the Grand Prix are abundant for suitable applicants, although the organisation seem to have stringent requirements for female staff:
Can you smile for ages?
Do you have a proven swimsuit background?
Can you thrive in a colourful photo environment, which might include the hood of an exciting car and gal pals?
No? Well, hostesses at the myriad of Corporate Boxes on track also do well. As do numerous PAs, who act as nannies for a variety of wealthy, time-poor men, performing the vital role of organising daily appointments, accommodations and occasionally wiping cake off messy mouths at one of numerous luncheons. We hear a lot about the run-off of tourism money for Melbourne from the Grand Prix and female entertainers at Melbourne’s Premier High End Gentleman’s Clubs do a roaring business throughout the Grand Prix Weekend. Newly forged corporate relationships can be further cemented, at reputable/disreputable establishments on King Street or a variety of nitespots. Ritzy sleaze isn’t creepy. It costs too much!
Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car
6 Mar 15 – 12 Jul 15