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Reality & Art Criticism

People have been asking me: “are you going to see the Dali exhibition at the NGV?” It is a fair question, particularly as I have been interested in Dali ever since reading his Unspeakable Confessions in my high school library. However, I really don’t know if I will and if I do I will probably not write a blog entry about it because blockbuster exhibitions are not the focus of this blog and so much has already been written about Dali. Art Blart managed to write and photograph  the exhibition before any of the other blogs (kudos to Marcus Bunyan). And Melbourne Jeweller also reviewed the exhibition.

The reality is that I get asked if I’m going to see a lot of exhibitions. I welcome all invitations to attend art exhibitions and other events however, I can’t promise to attend or write about the exhibition. The reality of my visits to art galleries and other events is dependant on a large number of factors that have nothing to do with the exhibition. It depends on so many things: my wife, my friends, Melbourne’s extreme weather and the location.

The location of the gallery does play a part. The gallery’s proximity both to me and to other galleries will influence my decision to visit. Trying to explore the numerous aspects of Melbourne’s art world is like an urban orienteering adventure. And although I am fond of urban exploration and I do want to write about new galleries I have to take into consideration the time it takes to find a new gallery in a strange location which may means that I don’t have time to see other exhibitions. Melbourne’s poor public transport system makes it difficult for me to get to some galleries, even some of those in the inner north, like Northcote. I have also neglected to write anything about the galleries in Armadale, Ivanhoe, Hawthorn, Prahran, and St. Kilda for the same reason. I do try to rotate the galleries that I write about along with the variety of types of art that I write about from sculpture to street art.

Sometimes I go to exhibition openings but mostly I don’t; I’ve been to many in the past. Attending art exhibition opening is useful and fun to drink and talk with the artists and other people. However, I can only attend one or two openings in a day or night and the exhibition is sometimes difficult to see the art because of all the people.

Sometimes I see an exhibition and for a variety of reasons that may have nothing to do with the quality of the exhibition I don’t end up writing about it. I may try writing about it and fail to find the right words. Another story may be more news worthy and so another story never gets written. Sometimes a gallery is inexplicably closed when I visit so I never get to see the exhibition.

Today I went to East Richmond, photographed the aerosol art in around the train carpark and looked at most of the galleries on Albert St. I was delighted to see Tracy Potts exhibiting at Anita Traverso Gallery because she was one of the first artists that I reviewed in my first blog entry in my old blog. I am currently reading Will Self’s novel Great Apes so Lisa Roet’s latest exhibition at Karen Woodbury Gallery had additional resonances. (See Art Blart’s review of her opening). I talked with Daniel Doral at John Buckley Gallery and looked at the paintings by Gareth Sansom there.

These maybe the only exhibitions that I get to see all week – I check my diary and the weekend is looking busy with family. I will have to do more research and writing before I publish anything about what I saw today.

These are some of the realities of art criticism.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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