Please Obergruppenführer Conroy, is the title of this post enough to get me banned from the interwebs? I so want to be a cause célèbre. If not, perhaps these images, from the current exhibition Get Stuffed at 69 gallery by artist Helen Mentha, are sufficient to offend against community standards. Like Hazel Dooney’s Sex Tourist at Art Melbourne07, the best part of Mentha’s show was displayed behind a curtain.

getstuffed7 plushie porn at 69 gallery on Smith St

The front room of the gallery facing the street features innocent plush works including vegetables and toast (titled ‘Future wives’.)

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The best part of the exhibition for me was the sexuality section, though even this was not entirely consistent. The bear works are particularly adorable, and the rabbits facing the guillotine (titled ‘Industrial revolution’) are absurd, but the dolls don’t really work for me. The exhibition closes on April 12 so you don’t have much time left to see it.

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plushie porn at 69 gallery on Smith St

27 thoughts on “plushie porn at 69 gallery on Smith St

  • 6 April 2009 at 8:15 pm
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    More degradation to our society, it’s no wonder those nice American chaps consider us “The Land of the Sodomites”.

    How much further must we slip into the mire in the name of “art”? Sharks in tanks, unmade beds, what next masturbating into our own faeces in the middle of the High Street on a Sunday afternoon? Clearly the work of a deranged individual.

    Concerned Armadale

    • 6 April 2009 at 8:45 pm
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      Hmmm, that would certainly make High St more interesting, but what’s that got to do with it? I’m going back to my unmade bed.

  • 7 April 2009 at 12:44 pm
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    I think Concerned Armadale needs to get out a bit more!!
    And exactly why we need more shows like this – get a life!

  • 7 April 2009 at 2:54 pm
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    Now that’s what I call “soft porn”!

    Concerned Armadale, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how spiritually uplifting moral depravity can be. I bet you’ve always wanted to urinate on that Monet print I know you have on your wall. If you won’t, I’d be happy to.

  • 7 April 2009 at 3:05 pm
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    I think that Armalade has missed the point. Helen Mentha has, at one moment, shown that sex is a subjective experience. For some it is innocent, fun, diverse, experimental and normal. At the same time, for others, sex can be degrading, traumatic and dangerous. It all depends….

    Ps. Those so called “nice Americans” are not really so nice.

  • 7 April 2009 at 4:03 pm
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    Thanks for your advice Janice, however I do, as you so succinctly phrase it, “get out a bit more”. I fail to see how my travel plans impact on such moral depravity masquerading as art, feel free to explain.

    The desensitising affect such ‘images’ have, when becoming mainstream, will surely lead society deeper into the stinking low moral morass we have entered since the 1960’s. A society where casual sex, unwanted pregnancy and single mothers are the norm.

    Art for arts sake?

  • 7 April 2009 at 8:35 pm
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    Casual sex is normal. Unwanted pregnancies on the other hand are usually caused by two stupid people. Single mothers are also normal. And what’s your problem with sodomy?

  • 7 April 2009 at 10:45 pm
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    Cute plushies! Though the self-harming one with the coat hanger is a bit disturbing… :-)

    Oh, and shhhh, don’t feed the troll (unless you want it to keep biting, that is!).

  • 8 April 2009 at 9:55 am
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    Firstly, Concerned Armadale, I’m finding it difficult to believe you’re real and not the fevered invention of a Fitzroy zealot working the Armadale cliche. If I’m mistaken kudos on so perfectly encapsulating your demographic.

    Secondly, what the comments thus far seem to have missed is that this just isn’t very interesting art. Indeed there’s more than a whiff of the Emperor’s New Clothes about it. Plushies with strap-ons!! As boring and obvious as those T-shirts featuring bunnies/teddies/whatever in 20 or so different sexual positions. I went to 69 gallery and all I got was this lousy exhibition.

    • 8 April 2009 at 10:48 am
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      I’m not sure how real Concerned from Armadale is either, and as you can tell by my fairly non-commital review, its not a great exhibition – too many different things thrown together with nothing in common. The sexuality part was the most coherent, with safe sex, legalised abortion, porn and the politics of being sexually active all referenced.

  • 8 April 2009 at 5:40 pm
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    OMG. Boys! I checked out this exhibition. The work is a bit patchy and kind of odd, but it’s blind staring obvious that the common theme across both rooms is about sexual politics and identity from a woman’s point of view. Did you need a note from Mummy to explain it to you?! Or didn’t you get it cos it wasn’t actually about you?

    Concerned – I’m serious, anytime you want me to piss on your Monet, I’ll be there.

    • 8 April 2009 at 5:45 pm
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      Yes, I think I got it but I’m speaking only for myself :-)

  • 8 April 2009 at 6:26 pm
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    Congratulations Alex Kerr, and thanks for the compliment, I am only sorry that there is no prize for you. I consider myself as busted as capitalisation.

    Yours as always

    Billy Budd

  • 9 April 2009 at 10:28 am
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    Umm, Claire, I’m a woman, at least last time I checked. Still think it’s shite.

  • 9 April 2009 at 10:29 am
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    Oops, sorry , the last comment was for Cheeky Chicken. Apologies Claire.

  • 9 April 2009 at 12:25 pm
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    Too funny! Yes, I’m responsible for the cute-immoral-boring-feminist-schlockhorror fluffies. You like it, you don’t, you find it superficial, you relate to it on multiple levels, it’s entirely up to you. Don’t you just love that about art? ; )

    • 9 April 2009 at 12:58 pm
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      I also like ‘Future wives’ the toast is a wry comment on domestic roles.

  • 9 April 2009 at 3:36 pm
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    Ooooh! Can I look too, Miss Alex?

  • 10 April 2009 at 2:34 pm
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    The innocent simple fluffy artwork in the front room does not prepare you for the initial surprise in seeing soft toys displaying not-so-innocent actions in the second room. Initially it seemed out of place to see a brief history of sex using cute teddy bears but then again, why not? The two teddy bears being first aware of their sexual pleasure is amusing and thought-provoking. The wonderful blue bunnies are exquisite and their demise seems wrong but it’s funny at the same time. The artwork titles are witty and suit the assumptions and contradictions of these appealing and creative soft toys exploring natural human emotions. Interesting to see the themes and presentations evolve from the simple fake fur flora to the well crafted, imaginative and insightful set pieces created by the artist Helen Mentha.

    Highlight: The blue bunnies and the ‘Eve n Adam’ teddy bears.
    Not So good Bit: None, except maybe the shower curtain. Photos had more pontential.
    Quote: I’ll never look at another teddy bear the same way again.

    Last chance to visit the Exhibition before it closes 5pm this Sunday. Pop in if you’ve got 15min. Almost a week later I’m thinking of the artwork and I cannot help but smile.

  • 14 April 2009 at 7:18 pm
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    Hey, thanks for the review, heart4art – that’s a cool response, very thoughtful and picking up on a lot of where I was coming from. I’m still quite partial to Alex’s fabulously blunt “it’s shite” – gotta love an opinionated woman.

    The exhibition is well and truly over now so keep an eye out for my next one. I’m thinking of a series of soft toned pastel drawings of angelic looking children with kittens…

    • 15 April 2009 at 9:37 am
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      Hi Helen, I think you should be pleased with your first solo exhibition. I could not make it to the opening but I hope you have received some informed feedback and know what you want to do next.

  • 15 April 2009 at 2:57 pm
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    Cheers! Yeah, once the work was installed it was like standing inside my own head, only a lot tidier and way more polite.

    You don’t think I should draw the kittens? What about vases of tupips? Bowls of fruit? Ah… got it! Dolphins with rainbows. Definitely. With butterflies.

    Watch this space.

    • 15 April 2009 at 5:05 pm
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      Maybe dolphins with frickin’ lasers on their heads…

  • 20 April 2009 at 2:47 am
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    First – funny sarcasm is good!

    Second – how good is wine tasting? Sampling fine wines and food on Saturday at several wineries and browsing artworks at Art09 and other Galleries on Sunday.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I mastered ‘abstract painting’ in fifth grade. Best 3 years of my life.

    Seriously though, I may use less brain cells looking at cutesy artwork but I do admit there has to be some technical skill to it – except maybe for rainbows and butterflies. I’ve seen worse in Art Galleries, like: blurry holiday pics of partners doing something silly or pics of babies in pumpkins; anything to do with frangipanis; furniture/household items stuck to the ceiling or wall; and paintings made my pets. In my younger days I attempted to draw cute baby animals in order to impress a girl. I couldn’t manage cute and sweet, only mischievous and cheeking which fortunately was enough. Cute and adorable is a skill I tells ya.

    To any person who has created original artwork inspired by their passions and exploring their capabilities and then displays it in an exhibition, should be congratulated.

    As with ‘Get Stuffed!’, I agree with Joel’s comments. It did surprise me how a number of people I spoke to about it had focused solely on the darker side of the pieces. I really liked the thinking and your sense of humour and I’ll certainly watch this space. I’m curious as to what topic or material you’re going to mess with our minds next.

    OK, now where are my pastels, I’ve got puppies and butterflies to finish.

  • 18 May 2009 at 2:21 am
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    Suffice to say I was a little inebriated whilst writing the last comment but thankfully no cutesy artwork was attempted and the world is a better place for that. During the week a very large billboard with the words ‘Get Stuffed!’ caught my attention on the corner of Hoddle & Victoria St. I was disappointed that it was advertising an all-you-can-eat establishment. Surely, if any billboard in the city needs a commando raid on it during the night to replace the pic of the boar with a large photo of naughty teddies – it’s this one. I’m sure the thousands of people stuck in traffic at the intersection would appreciate it. ; )

    Two exhibitions on at 69 Smith Street Gallery are ‘Alice in Tartland’ by Debbie Harman, and ‘Is that a shoe?’ by Monica Jackson. Would it be worth it if the Gallery had a printer to print out postcards for visitors who want a small memento of the exhibition for a price?

    • 18 May 2009 at 8:02 am
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      I don’t think it would be worth the money and effort – far better to spend limited time and money on marketing to get people to know about and attend the gallery.

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