A big Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective is opening at the Art Gallery of NSW. I spoke to two of his muses—including his last boyfriend, Jack Walls—for VAULT ahead of the show. Eyeball it.
Kate Tucker has been making new work, and I like it:
“In the last year, Kate Tucker’s paintings have shrunk. They have, in fact, significantly reduced in size—some, such as the small, rectangular Holding Pattern 13 (2017) are a mere 13×12 cm, both shorter and skinnier than a classroom ruler. In tandem with this palpable shrinkage, Tucker’s works are infinitely more complex, and arguably, more pleasurable to experience. They are layered with found imagery that is deconstructed or obscured to the point it becomes unrecognisable—another abstracted shape, a manipulated element that exists only within the whole—or with digitally printed cotton overlaid with acrylic and oil. Their canvasses are frayed and cut and bandaged in linen.”
Read my interview with Tucker for Museum. It’s the last installment of our series supported by Calvin Klein.
We’re running a four-part artist interview series on Museum, supported by Calvin Klein. I just spoke with Jonny Niesche for conversation #3—you can read it here.
The File came to visit my apartment in Chinatown, full of nice furniture that isn’t mine, and asked me some Very Invasive questions about my dubious skincare routine.
In champagne updates: to launch Issue 7 of Museum, we threw a party with BALLY in Sydney, creating a cardboard box warehouse in one of the rooms. This involved hand-folding more than 300 screen-printed cardboard boxes and installing a giant cardboard floor, one panel at a time. Party photos here. (Thanks to BALLY for the outfits.)
The new issue of Museum, themed Factory, is out now. There are two softcovers available and one super-limited edition hardcover (with only 100 copies worldwide). You can buy all three at galleries and newsstands through Australia, America, and Europe, or just order yours here.
I first watched Carry On Again Doctor three decades after its release, as a ten-year-old inheriting my parents’ guilty cinematic pleasures. I remember it well. It was December; summer holidays in Sydney, and the blistering, wax-melt yellow sun was stretched out like a Southern drawl. I was sitting in our living room—fan blasting, limbs spread across the couch—guffawing uncontrollably at jokes I half understood. And then, without warning, Barbara Windsor appeared on-screen, and the matron revealed her tawdry two-piece. Everyone on-screen was watching her. I fell immediately in love.
Wrote about the glorious Babs Windsor for The Paris Review. Read it here.
I selected some pleasurable (read: erotic) literature for the Par Femme book club.
You may not have been to the state of NSW, on Australia’s northeastern coast, but you’re likely familiar with its shiny, fabled imagery: the feel-good stuff populating Instagram feeds and thumbed-over travel brochures. You will have seen pictures of Bondi Beach dotted with glistening bronze bodies, of cheery lifesavers with zinc oxide smeared across their cheeks. These sugary images repeat ad infinitum, they reinforce a narrative of nationhood. They perpetuate myths about freedom and choice, about a certain kind of good life available in that sprawling continent at the bottom of the world. And yet, in this place of sundrenched freedom, women completely lack the autonomy to make choices about their own bodies.
I wrote about abortion—and why it’s still criminalised in NSW—for Teen Vogue.
Wrote about some of my picks from Frieze New York for Museum. (Below is one of them: Farhad Moshiri’s ‘Girl Tuning Violin’, 2017, hand embroidered beads on canvas.)
Athens-born Sofia Stevi—a graduate of Central Saint Martins—was a standout at Frieze New York. Her paintings were sensuous, muliebral, charged with hallucinatory intensity. Something about the lines felt like calligraphy. Below, one of her works on show: 2016’s ‘just like honey,’ made from ink, acrylic and gouache on cotton.
The new issue of Vault is out, and with it, my cover story on Harlem artist Tschabalala Self. If you are in Sydney, it’s vital you see her work at COMA’s new group show A Screen of Flesh. It runs from 26 May until 23 June.
What’s more disappointing than a young Victor Hugo’s uncanny resemblance to Taylor Swift? I’ll tell you! My favourite tidbit from Hugo’s biography—that he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the nude, under self-imposed house arrest—is likely untrue, or at best, an exaggeration. In more robust historical accounts, it’s noted he wore pyjamas or bed clothes while writing, locking his clothes away, thus ensuring he wasn’t tempted to abandon his deadline for the great outdoors. One particularly attractive alternative to full nudity has Hugo swathed, head-to-toe, in a grey knitted shawl, his fleshy bits airing underneath. Ravishing.
(Above: Hugo’s bedroom.)
Instant noodles bear all the hallmarks of a real meal without actually being one: they’re hot and almost filling, come with a slurpy soup-sauce, and necessitate cutlery unless you’re adventurous. I wrote a thing for New York Magazine’s The Strategist on Mamee Monster Noodle Snack, a common instant treat found in Australasian school canteens. Read it here!
Looking like a washed up Saturday Disney host for the good people at Chronicles of Her. Enjoy many photographs of me crossing my arms.
I spoke with Bangalore artist Sheela Gowda for Museum’s ‘Sorry… have we met?’ edition (an issue all about schmoozing, bad manners, social convention, role playing, identity and hoaxes).
Read it here.
Interviewed two of my favourite booksellers (Raquel Caballero and Emily Hunt) for the new issue of Vault: Australasian Art and Culture. They run Big Ego Books, which you probably know about if you live in Sydney and enjoy buying rare literature and photo books on art, design, architecture and erotica. If you don’t, well, it’s best described as the online-come-physical bookshop of your ACTUAL DREAMS. The headquarters are in a carpark.
The pair have a knack for finding the impossible. I am currently enamoured by the look of this 1995 hardcover, Scarecrows, by Colin Garratt.
The new issue of Museum—the magazine I edit—is out now, and available in stores around the world. We made a limited edition hardcover version, which you can find in Colette and at Beautiful Pages and Big Ego books and a few other other places. Or order one from us direct. (We only made 80, and there’s not many left.)
Here is a video of a very happy customer, Daniel del Valle, unwrapping his delivery one-handed and with gusto.
For Par femme, a new site about sexuality and sex and similar topic areas, I penned a history of the female orgasm, an ‘enigma’ whose very existence has been denied, suppressed and now, sort of embraced.
Wrote this piece last year on the complex, loaded imagery of Austrian ethnographer Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, who spent the mid-40s cataloging the ritual practices of Apatanis, Nyishis and Hill Miris.