Covid-19 restrictions may be easing slightly – with variations state by state – but galleries are offering a dazzling array of art experiences online, from virtual exhibition tours and podcasts to live artist interviews, videos, and more. Watch this space. Each week one of the Art Guide editors will bring you a selection of online art highlights.
Sidney McMahon: Of hope and longing
At Goulburn Regional Gallery, images from Sidney McMahon’s exhibition Of hope and longing can now be viewed online. For tender cowboys of all genders, McMahon’s poem, drawings and installation touch on a yearning that reaches across distance and towards an unknown future via the familiar twang of a country song. Flowers balance on a hacksaw, a posy is buckled together by a leather belt, a scarf floats gently from a heavy chain.
Expanding and activating the exhibition, McMahon is undertaking a series of digital performances on the next three Friday evenings. Episode One kicks off tomorrow, Friday 22 May, at 6pm.
Next Wave launches ASSEMBLE!
Also on Friday 22 May, the Next Wave team is launching ASSEMBLE!, an epic ‘online gathering’ (22 -31 May) created in response to the strange times we find ourselves in.
For your soundtrack there’s RadioWave; for your essential supplies (and art swag) there’s WAVEmart; and to stimulate your senses, braincells and emotional register there are a host of digital projects produced by many of the artists whose works, as per the original 2020 festival timeline, would have been debuting right about now.
White Line Fever presents Pigskin Necromancer, by Matt Aitken and Lyndon Blue, merges the rituals of football and witchcraft. Make or Break are writing the feminist internet. Libby Harward’s deadstream project grieves and rages for the water systems in strife. Tal Fitzpatrick’s Signs for Our Times is the craftivist call to action we need at this moment. Don’t miss these critical, crucial works.
Virtual art jigsaw puzzles
In a stroke of isolation genius, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery has transformed several works from its collection into virtual jigsaw puzzles. While nothing can replace the tangible joy of a 1000-piece Ravensburger puzzle, these will divert your attention between emails or while waiting for your Zoom meeting to start. Drag the pieces around the screen and hear the glorious thunk of a piece connecting to its neighbour: beautiful.
I completed one for research purposes, and after about 10 minutes it resolved into William Boissevain’s Man and Boy on a Seat, accompanied by the sound of trumpets. Despite a worrying lack of social distancing in this painting, I can report that it was a thoroughly satisfying activity.
Live performance by The Bait Fridge
The Bait Fridge is a rambunctious, explosive collective of mavericks who have been undertaking a residency at The Mill—virtually, of course. The 15-person Adelaide-based group works across numerous disciplines such as theatre, music, art, costume and otherwise unexpected forms of performance. “All of our individual practices have been challenged and mulched by the collective environment of the Bait Fridge,” says ‘Baitie’ Emmeline Zanelli.
The residency will culminate in a 10-hour-long virtual performance across Zoom and social media on Sunday 24 May. “The manipulators of this wet, hyper-colourful landscape are bound to no laws except visual, sonic and social evolution,” says Kaspar Schmidt Mumm. “Live stream tentacle juice cocktails, miniature giant slapping vibraphone melodies and a gentle watercolour sunny-side-up egg osmosis.”
We’re not sure what this means exactly, but we look forward to finding out. You can prepare for this mind-bending sensual feast by listening to a podcast conversation produced during The Bait Fridge’s residency.
Contemporary Art Tasmania’s online platform, Journal, is publishing a series of lockdown-responsive texts. In commissioning writers from Italy, Colombia, Indonesia, Australia, and South Africa, the project reflects the weird paradox of global isolation, bringing attention to the specifics of each geographic locality, each individual bunker. The first text by Massimo Ricci is up now.