The Brave New World in Art Direction

10th February, 2011.

Beat Streuli -
a Willy Wonka Scholarship winner
Beat Streuli isn’t street really!  And yet this darling of the contemporary art movement includes amongst his body of work, pictures taken candidly in the public domain, pictures not terribly dissimilar to yours: mine, Barry Pascoe’s, or the stuff by that other person hovering just over there. Perhaps it’s the black skivvy, Allen Ginsberg kind of Christian name or maybe he scored one of those gold Wonka passes in his 10am carob fix, a shimmering code revealing the secret, contemporary art handshake … I’m really not too sure … more likely it’s the fact that he prints em up bigger than South Australia – contemporary art is after all the ‘footy mole’ of all art movements, i.e. uncontrollably hot for anything with rippling size, brash arrogance and a vacuous late night loudness.

Whilst remaining clueless to the Beat, I stumble and bloody my nose at what makes contemporary art contemporary whilst other current creativity is mysteriously deemed not contemporary. This conundrum has bounced about the Nowhere Man cranium for many a long age - naivety first giving way to hazy befuddledness, before a more current, snarling kind of animosity took hold, an atmosphere of pro activity setting beyond my left clavicle like an umbrella-less Molotov cocktail fusing in a particularly dirty glass.

Obviously something you find
at a natural history museum.
Turning toward academia I notice that Art dude Terry Smith has written a fairly current book entitled “What is Contemporary Art ?”, and whilst I haven’t read it (big words- ughh), I did browse a review of it in “Art&Australia” by Charles Green.  Now apparently contemporary art began in the 70s with Green/Smith adding, “Post modernism was an intermediate phase blurring the death of modern art in the late 60s, all of which has now subsumed within the capacious, globalised rubric of the contemporary”. This flickered the barest glint of an idea and yet I temporarily suppressed my ‘Eureka’ moment, continuing on with the review in the outside hope of receiving an answer to the book titles all encompassing question – much masturbatory meringue followed and yet predictably, no satisfaction was forthcoming.        

Upon reaching the ultimate dot of this wordy inconsequence I experienced an explosion of pent up frustration, an obstruction suddenly blurting free as I threw the magazine across the Borders sandpit in disgust. With fire in my gaze I eyeballed the fast moving security frenzy to my immediate right, before bounding into the open air like a somewhat arthritic wallaby with a middle ear infection. And just at the very instant I thought I’d made good my escape I garnished the moment by shouting back, “Youse Can All Get Rooted – I’ll Start Me Own Movement – You’ll See!”. The mad smile which accompanied such bravado was impressive, however quickly wiped from my face, as in my next stride I caught a rogue shoe lace in the crack between escalator step and oblivion and was forced to battle manfully over the proceeding ten minutes to ensure I did not end up as shopping mall sausage meat deep within the unrelenting workings of the sleepless staircase.    

 And that ladies and gentleman are the revolutionary origins of Art Vo-Veau, the latest, most all encompassing movement in the history of doing creative stuff. And just to keep those studious, steel rimmed bi focalites happy, I’ll proffer that the movements family tree has trunked, barked and branched from the Dadaists through Breton’s Surrealists and on and upward through the cheeky twigs of the Childish Stuckists. This is an art movement that questions reality, relinquishes structure whilst fully embracing the rapid demise of all that luvee luvee pretentious contemporary art drool. The Vo-Veauists will fight for the removal from galleries and art musuems of the ‘Novelty Meccano Installation’ (you know the flashing light bulb, technology based, oh ain’t that f**king clever kind of boys toys exhibit) as well as the ‘Marginalized Shock Tactic Piece’ (the used tampon on an unmade bed juxtaposing the sheep’s head set in a bath tub of verdantly fluoro jelly – sort of stuff). Basically it’s about a fair go for all non scientists (Einstein was not an Impressionist - although I have heard he was very good at charades).

Breton Girls Dancing -
Paul Gauguin was clearly a Vo-Veauist ahead of his time

The movements name is derived from the coupling of the French term for ‘meat of the calf’, with an earthy mimic, the famous Australian morning tea biscuit, the Iced Vo Vo. This pink fondant, coconuty strawberry jam staple is seen as a symbol of understated quality and is held up as a bold and contrasting metaphor to the ‘crass obviousness’ of current art practice - for when served on a plate alongside the chocolaty Tim Tams or Mint Slices the Vo Vo is invariably pushed to the side, ignored, even ridiculed – and yet unlike these flashy brown treats, the ‘symphony in pink’ can be consumed by the half packet without regret. In short Art Vo-Veau embraces a fresh and honest view. New and yet substantive – mains and desert – well rounded – profound.  Flashiness and superficiality need not apply for the latest chapter in art direction is hell bent on wresting back just a smidgen of credibility. Art Vo-Veauists embrace a charter of inclusiveness with an aim to relating emotionally (even spiritually) to as wide a range of socio economic and cultural clusters as individual taste permits. This is not lowest common denominator popularism, it is however an open front door and a welcoming pair of woolly lined slippers. Please let your rest be assured for Art Vo-Veau is the only art movement claiming to be 100% botox free.      

Contemporary Art is really just waiting to be put out of its own misery.

So there you have it – The Vo-Veauists have arrived – and all that is left to do is to spread the word, to grow our numbers and to use our universal inclusiveness (excepting of course, scientists, wowsers and anyone prone to use the word ‘narrative’ when clearly ‘story’ would do) to see off the final, convulsing death throws of those obnoxious and trite decades, an era art historians will remember shame facedly as the great contemporary morass.

We need a plethora of talented artists to put their names behind our cause – already the list includes a trinity of dedication -The Nowhere Man, L.M.Hemsworth and Andrew Stark – impressive? I agree. So let’s grow that list and shake the very foundations of this disgraceful art world deceit.  

Please feel free to voice your support for Vo-Veauism in the comments section below and please also visit the organization’s official Facebook page at  Art Vo-Veau


Phill said...

This type of "street photography" is kind of pervy and invasive in a strange long lens, fat aperture kind of way. IMHO, of course...

But damn, don't the peeps go gaga for it. Who knows? They lovin' the bokeh perhaps...

There's a dude on FB that's got the troops in a frenzy of hyperbole over his shots which are exactly the same. Tightly cropped shots heads taken with a 100mm lens or summit' like that.

God help us all if that's the future of Street Photography as decreed by the Art World.

We'll all be rooned...

Me, I love Iced VoVos. They're classy. I would take them in a heartbeat over the loose Tim Tams or the cheap arse promiscuity of the Mint Slice.

Andrew Stark said...

Yeah Phill - I wasn't so much looking to run anyone down - I just get confused why some work is deemed 'contemporary' and other stuff not... but in saying that, I don't disgree with your points.

Kent Johnson said...

Classic stuff; did you see that video Dougo & I made cira 1983 about the Iced Vo Vos, just wondering?

Andrew Stark said...

No Kent - is it on line somewhere ?