Friday, April 22, 2011

Real Estate: Mini Graff and Jason Wing

I just managed to catch Mini Graff and Jason Wing's exhibition Real Estate at the Cross Art Projects before it closed. Small but cool.

I especially loved Mini Graff's Superhero Poster. Quite rightly, Mini has a bee in her bonnet about the City of Sydney's approach to graffiti and street art. As the exhibition flyer tells it:
She parodies and challenges the might of the advertising industry and the brand names that invade and claim streetscapes, parks, and schools. While corporations gloat, artists are forced into humiliations of form filling and attending to overseers of 'official' artworks, a censorship not tolerated by any other professional group. Councils wage a continuous censorship vigil and veto art on our streets, temporary hoardings, nooks and crannies - unless deemed 'decorative' or de-facto advertorial for municipal fiat. Mini Graff champions the paste-up brush of street art as an act of daily civil libertarian heroism.
'Humiliation' might be just a little strong as a description of what it's like to fill in a bunch of forms to be assessed by a faceless panel of bureaucrats to put up a work of art ... but I get her point! The City is Sydney talks a lot of talk about creativity etc, and commissions lots of temporary street art if it's part of some event promoting the city, but its processes are overly bureaucratic, and it simply refuses to allow the streets to be mobilised independently of official place-promotion projects.

With its critique of the Council, the poster also reminds me of another great performative critique of the City of Sydney's street art hypocrisy ... check out this video of the 'Scratching the Surface' performance piece by Beastman, Max Berry, Numskull, Phibs and Roach at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Watch until the end. So brilliant.

Scratching the Surface from [weAREtheIMAGEmakers] on Vimeo.

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