I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but one day I plan to write a novel entirely from overheard conversations. ‘It’s actually transitional’ is a line I overheard at, but would not use to describe, Art Melbourne 2009, a show that gets worse every year.

artmelb091 it's actually transitional (Art Melbourne 2009 is terrible)

I went last night, and while I’m pleased to report a decline in faux Basquiats compared to last year, the number of paintings of dogs riding bicycles has increased significantly. And the alleged musician mutilating songs by Oasis and The Beatles needed to be taken out and drowned in the fountain.

Whatever you do, don’t pay $20 for a ticket. Go to a gallery on Smith, Gertrude or Brunswick streets and get a free pass. They have many to give away. When you get there, you’re supposed to ‘validate’ your free pass by writing your contact details on the back so they can spam you later. I refused, and drew a line through the form before handing it in. The security guard chased after me and stopped me from entering. I eventually wrote ‘smurf’ on the form and he let me in, recognising that there was no point making me fill in the form with what he knew would be fake details.

artmelb092 it's actually transitional (Art Melbourne 2009 is terrible)

The best two works I saw are this sign (above) and this whimsy (below) by Julian, who I met a week ago when he was sitting Helen Mentha’s Get Stuffed at 69 gallery. Don’t go for the art unless you’re in need of some low humour. Do go for the talent though; whatever your preference, there were many fine people enjoying the passeggiata.

artmelb093 it's actually transitional (Art Melbourne 2009 is terrible)

it’s actually transitional (Art Melbourne 2009 is terrible)

2 thoughts on “it’s actually transitional (Art Melbourne 2009 is terrible)

  • 19 April 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Did you see Off The Wall, the emerging artists showcase? I heard there was some great stuff there.

    • 19 April 2009 at 9:07 pm

      I didn’t notice it as a separate section. There was some strong work there, but a large part of it seemed to be bland beige interior decorator items rather than contemporary art, and there’s no point showing $20,000 works. The show attracts people with a broad range of engagement with the arts, some who don’t regularly go to individual galleries, so it should be approachable and affordable…


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