We went to visit the “Gallery Of Modern Art ” yesterday and frankly I was rather under-whelmed by the experience. Sure there were a couple of rather cute experiences like the “bird room” but in all honesty even that was the sort of thing that you could probably see and enjoy better at a zoo where the environment was less contrived and frankly just a little twee. The other items that I liked was the “pool” which was rather cute and the exhibit that consisted of a very long table and thousands of white Lego bricks that the visitors are invited to fashion into fantastical creations. However so many of the exhibits left me feeling that Marcel Dechamp has a lot to answer for! There was just too much stuff that was little more than variations on his “ready-mades ” all guarded as if they were most valuable artefacts on the planet. The thought of that apocryphal tale about an emperor and a set of fine, but imaginary clothes kept coming to mind I’m afraid. The building itself is quite nice if a little too wilfully counter intuitive in its layout but I can’t helpt thinking that the whole thing is a monument to a Labor government who have been trying far too hard to be hip and modern at the South Bank precinct.
After the GOMA we went to one of the hip and trendy cafes at the bottom of the new State Library Building and the food was oh so bloody typical if the worst Latte Sipping watering holes with pretentious names on the menu efette waiters trying to look cool, you had to line up and order at the counter and when you food arrives you discover that it is in portion not big enough to satisfy a bloody sparrow. I ordered a “Mini Pie plate” for my daughter and what it consisted of was two little party pies and a square ceramic dish of tomato sauce but the kicker was that the sauce bowl was too small to allow anyone to actuality dip their pie into the sauce! And that cost $6.50 ! For my son I ordered “toasted cheese fingers” which consisted of two slices of white bread cut into fingers with some gelatinous cheese in between the bread at a tariff of $6!! My beloved wife had the Tuna sandwich which cost $9.50 and looked to me to be tinned tuna mixed with Mayo between a dark brown roll. My own choice which they had initially forgotten to deliver was a roast beef sandwich with horse radish. The bread roll thingy was not to bad but I swear that if they had printed out pictures of a slice of roast beef and added that to the sandwich it would have been more substantial and had more flavour that the offering from that place.
After leaving there the children and I went and looked around the Museum which was a bit more enjoyable and because we had found the “lunch” at the library cafe most unsatisfactory we went to the Museum Courtyard Cafe where I bought them some much need substance in the form of greatly appreciated hot chips.
When we got back to where we had parked our car and tried to leave the car park (under the convention centre) I discovered that the ticket machine would not read my ticket and allow me to pay for the parking. I had to use an intercom to summon a security guard who tried my ticket in the machine for himself before manually opening the boom gate to facilitate our departure. I was pleasantly surprised that he did not then ask us for the $14 we were expecting to pay for parking. Something that we felt was a pleasant counterbalance for the very over priced lunch that we had err “enjoyed” earlier.
I like Art and I think that it can move a viewer to think differently about our world but so much of what passes as “modern art” is just pretentious rubbish (literally in some cases ) that may have some small thing to say about modern life but not enough to justify the expense and nonsense that is so evident at the GOMA. The point of Duchanp’s ready-mades was to try to break down the distinction between the common industrial objects and object d’art intended only as pieces of display and contemplation. He was trying to show up the excessive deification of works of art that was evident in his own time and to point out the beauty of everyday items. Surely that point has been well and truly made by now and we don’t need a collection of plastic bags bigger than a house to reiterate it?