I made my way down to help out with the opening of Urban Intervention last Friday night at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery, and was pretty impressed by the whole affair (sure, I’m helping volunteer for the festival so maybe I’m a biased, but fuck it, I like what I like). The curating, by Anna Briers and Kelly Madigan, was excellent, the attendance was fantastic and the whole interactive nature of the show itself was, as Junky Projects mentioned in passing on the night, something different that hasn’t really been seen much of here in Australia, or even elsewhere around the world.
The sculptures in the show were varied, from the political to the ephemeral, there were some great light paintings, a cool walk-through installation off to the side, and it was just generally great seeing this part of street art on display to such a wide cross section of the community – and those at the launch were as varied a group as any I have seen at these events so far.
As I mentioned before, one of the parts of the show was the launch of their interactive Urban Intervention Art Trail map, a very cool trail that leads you through the streets of Collingwoodcool and Fitzroy and covers a bunch of its artistic treasures, some existing and some that were created for the show itself. As its an interactive map, people are encouraged to go through and tag and add their own work to it – so if you have something up on a wall around Melbs, get to it.
Here are a couple of not-so-professional-shots from the opening night …
Melbourne Art @ Culture Critic also has a mention of the show here.
On a side note here – one thing that has impressed me over the last week or so of Sweet Streets has been presence of the Yarra City Council at this, and various other events of the festival (I’m pretty sure it was Cr Geoff Barbour that been representing last Friday night). I am often pretty skeptical on the views of both government and local councils in regards to their approaches to street art – on the one hand there are tough penalties for even carrying a damn spraycan around in a bag, on the other they use street art as an attraction (yada yada yada you’ve heard it all before), and I guess I’m the kind of person that always thinks “Instead of constantly buffing that wall all the time, why not get some artists to come and paint it for a tenth of the cost of constantly painting over it, and a hundred times the coolness factor of a boring blank wall?” – but, that said, its genuinely great to see a councilor get up and do an opening speech, and actively be a part of the discussion, and looking towards implementing fair and reasonable guidelines and practices in conjunction with the street art community.
Its nice to see them taking a progressive approach that I still dont see in too many other places, apparently its part of that State Wide review thats been going on to assess the cultural value of street art in Victoria, or whatever that all means, so we’ll wait to see what the report comes of all that before commenting on it more.
Anyways, this is a gentle tip of the hat to Yarra City Council for their willingness to actually engage the street art community, and not just write it off as “those fkn vandals,” and to start looking at the work adorning the streets as a significant part of Australias artistic, cultural and creative heritage.