The Broccoli Maestro
The Broccoli Maestro
1. Art History/The salt works
[He’s not] academic.
[a punk and] intellectual [kind of attitude…]
[And it’s so] speculative.
2. Temples/The cemetery under construction
Like Vermeer, without the fourteen children, with his brushes and easel set up in the corner of a tiny flat or private hotel.
His practice is relentlessly domestic.
Did he use his index finger or his big left toe painting these peculiar images?
3. Recognition/Mortuary Station
Architecture shall again be the subject by which our premonitions of victory and defeat can best be conveyed. This may lead to harsher judgements
For architects, an Old World teaser:
4. Landscapes and Myriorama/The power station
The Myriorama landscapes were made to a formula and anyone could have done them provided they followed the formula.
It’s more to do with Barkly Street, pots and pans, and bins. It’s pure elbow grease Classicism, an aperitif.
It is funny that he uses broccoli to paint his vegetal forms. And there is spaghetti and hair stuck on his paintings, and paint applied with a cake decorator.
In fifteen years I’ve never been to any landscape with Tony.
5. Arabic Interpretations/The Albert Memorial.
the problem’s really how
to get survivors out,
and keep the empty buildings
as Museums of Themselves.
From City into Monument,
proceeding from the precedent:
al-Hamraa, the Red.
In my youth I lived in the part of Rome that was most like Canberra - the Fascist bit. There is no link between classicism and fascism, the column and the jackboot.
In relation to classicism, Nazi red herrings are always introduced. It’s the failure of the left that pushes people into the arms of the church, into the arms of right-wing politics and, to some extent into the arms of the classicist art. Classicism is a kind of final solution.
True classicism is not simply putting on a toga. Classicism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
6. Acquiescence/The amphitheater
the Cities are places
of collective Memory;
of objects and places,
as the City is.
THE FORMS, LANGUAGE AND APPARATUS OF ‘HIGH’ CULTURE ARE NOT OUT OF BOUNDS
7. Chinoiserie and Kufic/The gothic revival church
When Tony makes little Chinese temples out of plasticine and then paints them he is obstructing you.
8. Jasperware/The gate
The Jasperware is the wrong version of Jasperware. People can’t identify with it. They’d lose their mind over it.
There is no cameo. There is no Pegasus. There is no anthem. It’s just a piece of porcelain,
9. Mural/The cenotaph
The St. Kilda Library mural works because it is neither spectacular nor banal.
Most of the staff really hate this mural.
It’s nothing but a stylized rendition of a wall, which is a very slightly self-reflexive joke.
It is as good as Frank Lloyd Wright.
I met Nick Cave because he came to see Tony’s mural.
10. Manichean Heresy/The art gallery
And once there were Great Ideas
through the history of Cities
I stress that I cannot provide that antitdote - I am not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light.
My figure is present with its absence
11. Important Contemporary Sculpture/The theatre
Do you think he was cross when he made these?
The appropriation of a work by Eva Hesse is disturbing. I think he wants to be Hesse … and who wouldn’t want to be Hesse - I would.
But she’s dead!
He is cross-dressing through all these paintings … a deranged designer of textiles. A very multilingual process, in reverse.
12. Encouragement, Failure/The factory
with the moving skies:
that was language
the stable meanings
case with the skills
and various habits
of our body
is a body
As a true son of the professional middle class, I had always believed that it was the mission of the contemporary artist to campaign against all the tawdriness and hypocricy in the world, and that this should be achieved using formal means of the highest probity and integrity. Fine painting could not be the means by which any thing cultural or significant could be achieved in our time.
13. Stretchers/The suburban pavilion
I loved the show of stretcher bars at Anna Schwartz Gallery.
The paintings don’t appear to be careful.
It’s the economy of means.
If they looked like they were painstakingly done they would be kind of trivial.
The making of a very beautiful thing out of nothing is a very Melbourne phenomenon.
People responded really badly to the exhibition.
They have some quality like he hasn’t done any work, that he doesn’t give a shit about you, that he is trying to send you up and you fear that.
14. Painting/The ruined tower
Tony is trying to make painterly paintings relevant.
He makes a place for painting by almost negating it.
Tony’s interested in getting things wrong. He is interested in people’s work who get it wrong without even trying.
The “not trying” I am really envious of.
Trying is lying. He is stylish, a dandy … and he doesn’t try - the history of art is full of so much trying.
And rubbing out and leaving a mistake.
So he tapped into some other ability. He paints beneath himself.