The Null Device

Outlandish Exhibition

This evening, I caught a train to North Coburg, getting off at Batman station (yes, to the Americans in the audience, we do name our railway stations after superheroes here, because we Australians are weird), and walking through darkened streets, with the occasional desultory-looking art-decoish bungalow that has seen much better days, looking for an art gallery located at 8 Lyon St. After considerable walking through this wasteland, I started wondering "what sort of art gallery would set up here?". Eventually, I found it, in a former factory/mechanic's shop/similar, across the road from the only other sign of life in the neighbourhood, a bikie clubhouse (the Foolish Few Motorcycle Club, I believe), some of whose members mingled with the hip young artists and miscellaneous troublemakers.

The art varied; it was mostly "underground" art of various sorts (think "ooh, am I OFFENDING your BOURGEOIS SENSIBILITIES? Good. *Fuck* *you*, SUBURBAN YUPPIE PIG!"). A lot of stencil art (some very intricate), done on old car doors, some of that homie graf/stencil/sticker hybrid stuff that's going up all over the city (there was one piece by "Monkey" and someone else, depicting a fantastic world, with their tags all over everything; got to love the hip-hop culture's tendency towards self-mythologisation), underground comics from members of Silent Army, someone's set of nude drawings of female artists (done as a set of postcards, yours for $10), and underworld hitman-turned-artistic cause celebre Chopper Read's own paintings, showing crude figures of big-breasted women with Ned Kelly helmets (alas, I'm not sufficiently well-versed in contemporary art to tell whether Chopper's art is a work of postmodern genre-crossing genius, a curiosity of "outsider art" notable more for who made it than its own virtues, or a publicity stunt). Chopper didn't seem to be there, though there were quite a few bikies with short-cropped hair, tattoos, big bushy beards and, in one case, Nazi patches. Which, I suppose, made the whole thing a lot more edgy and hardcore and "keeping it real". Oh, and Cameron Potts was there, in his "Osama Bin Laden World Hero" T-shirt. Meanwhile, a band (consisting of members of Jihad Against America and/or The Eggs, I'm told) made noises with distorted guitars and a theremin.

Many of the artworks had prices that wouldn't leave much change from a grand. I wonder whether many well-heeled collectors will trek out in their BMWs to the industrial wasteland to pick up a stencilled car door for their open-plan loft in St Kilda or wherever.

There are 11 comments on "Outlandish Exhibition":

Posted by: Alexander Sat Jun 5 01:12:53 2004

Your stations are named after superheroes?! Next time there's a poll for a new station, don't forget to suggest "Pants-Man", "Flea-Man" or "Atomic Fly".

Posted by: acb Sat Jun 5 03:49:35 2004

I'll keep that in mind.

(In all seriousness, it was named after John Batman, one of the founders of the city, whose name is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, and not "bat-man".)

Posted by: Alexander Sat Jun 5 14:32:51 2004

Does that mean it's the only station with a superhero name?

Posted by: acb Sat Jun 5 17:44:44 2004

As far as I know, yes.

Posted by: Alexander Sun Jun 6 01:51:09 2004

How disappointing

Posted by: Ben http:// Mon Jun 7 02:31:22 2004

I think RRR is up there somewhere now also? Up the arse-end of Nicholson Street, where even the trams won't go.

Posted by: acb Mon Jun 7 03:25:58 2004

No, not quite that bad; it's moving near the end of the tram line, AFAIK.

Posted by: K http:// Wed Jun 9 01:48:34 2004

RRR is going to be at the end of the Nicholson street tram line, so it's still relatively easy to get to. And Chopper did arrive at the exhibition, for about five minutes, with a group of paid "heavies" in black suits. Also, the legendary band The Sailors took over the band equipment at one point and played with LCD. and we priced the work that way cause it was damn well worth it. Sick of the art scene, so fuckemall....hohoho...

Posted by: acb Wed Jun 9 03:01:44 2004

Must have been after I left. (There was a gig on that night I wanted to see.)

Posted by: braddock Fri Jun 11 05:25:51 2004

have a nice pay day!

Posted by: michael http:// Mon Jun 14 02:16:36 2004

hey kieran, the artists actually named the prices for their work themselves, remember? we only sold books! if anyone cares here for particulars LCD on the night was only the legendary PIGMEAT (Elron was outta town) with assistance later from STEPCHILD. Rumour has it RRR will be there in October - with a two week party in tow. And remember -