Sunday, 20 April 2008


Every Sunday afternoon at 5pm on the ABC a program called Sunday Arts airs. It is broadcast nationally and even has it's section on the ABC web page. It is one of the few television programs in Australia that cover the arts. The commercial stations seem to be devoid of all arts coverage and generally anything of any depth, except SBS which airs a variety of foreign films and documentaries including some arts coverage.

What is curious in Australia is the division between the general public and arts in general. The general public understand popular music to a certain degree but when confronted by a modern painting, seem unable to come to terms with what they see. To some degree I believe commercial television, newspapers and the majority of magazines at the newsagents have made the general public a bit ignorant on arts.

It's interesting to note that the Andy Warhol exhibition that was at the GOMA in Brisbane was a roaring success - is it possible that the general public have an interest in the arts and culture but the media curtails their appetite.

This week on Sunday Arts they aired a short documentary on a group of artists who mangled and rearranged Grenda's Bus Depot in Dandenong, Victoria. They have their own blog that covers the creation/installation process. The blog also has links to each individual artists contribution via separate blogs.

What I found interesting were the responses of one of the men who use to work at the Depot. Initially he found the artist work strange and didn't quite understand why they were doing it. But when he came out to the final installation and listened to the reasoning behind the artists work, his eyes began to open and he responded more positively.

Why is it that a conservative person can respond positively to the texture and grain in a piece of well finished, timber furniture or relish the beauty of the patterns formed by clouds and sunset, yet balk and react with indifference when confronted with a beautiful abstract painting.

Maybe exposure and education is the key. In some ways the installation at the Depot tries to transform the mundane and normal (but important transport depot) into something more, by spotlighting the history, humanity and function of the depot. In some way art acts like a spotlight - highlighting the apparent and drawing out the not so apparent.

Here is a short video from 'The Depot' of the artwork 'Binary opposites IV' - Roj you might be interested in this.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh yeahhhh.... brilliant sound track too.


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