The race to be the first celebrity: Jack The Ripper versus The Elephant Man, 2011
Because in the 1880’s Darwin had convinced most people in England that the process of evolution meant that the next generation (babies) would make their generation look like monkeys in comparison, people in the 1880’s were determined to celebrate regressive rather than progressive character traits. They wanted to celebrate the parts of people that they considered backward and retarded.
The local government replaced all the statues of heroes with statues of toilets, irons, and vacuum cleaners. In the afternoon, people lined up along the driveway of the mental home to applaud the new inmates being dragged in. They also lined up along the hospital driveway to watch those maimed in factory accidents crawl to the hospital door. The trail of blood they left behind started the tradition of the red carpet for celebrity arrivals. Many formerly famous people had to make their achievements even more spectacular to keep up with the new disabled celebrities. Dr. Livingstone tried to convince his audience that everybody and every animal he met on his adventures was a cannibal. He did this by starving baby animals and then stuffing the mother’s skins with fresh meat.
But the more emotionally and physically disabled you were, the more your celebrity became invincible. As more and more machines convinced people that they were becoming evolutionarily obsolete, people became more attracted to the most human of humans: prostitutes, natives, mental patients, criminals, and cripples. The two greatest celebrities of the age combined crime, mental illness and prostitution: crime and mental illness with Jack the Ripper and physical deformity and nativeness (mother squashed by an elephant) with The Elephant Man.
The rats in the monkey’s cage, 2011
At the Mumbai Zoo the star attraction is the rhesus monkeys, and because of this, the zoo management has given them the biggest cage proportionate to their size. They are fed the best by the zoo staff and the visitors who ignore the “Don’t Feed the Animals” sign. The monkeys hang on to the ropes and cling to the car tires tied to the bottom of the ropes.
If you throw some food onto the cage floor, the monkeys will lean down from the rope and stretch for the food. The rats lay in wait for the monkeys to leave their rope prisons and to go for the food. They attack instantly and, all together, chase the hungry monkeys back up the rope or up the cage walls. Then you notice the bloodied bandages around the feet and hands of the monkeys, the faces of the monkeys that never sleep, and their stomachs that never get filled. The rats in India are the meanest in the world, and in the zoos they are the fattest. They bully all the animals in the zoos from the elephants to the lions.
This painting is about the many star attractions in the world which are really miserable and under the control of the rats under the surface.
I’m in a group show called Botanica Humana in Melbourne with 12 other artists. It opens on Thursday 3rd May 6-8 pm, 424 Smith Street, Collingwood at Here We See – Gallery There. It is on until May 27th, 2018. Here is some more information:
The painting is: Cameron Hayes | In the end they wanted even cats to know them | 2017 | Oil on linen | 198 x 254 cm
Schopenhauer said life is a choice between loneliness and vulgarity. In this picture the most congested area of traffic is the red carpet. To get people to move in this painting you need to lure them with red carpet despite the carpet being draped over a rickety skeleton of a disused theme park.
Because of facebook, twitter etc… everyone can get everyone to know them. People are now left with only cats to impress. Cats are the least impressed by people and therefore become the most powerful of all animals. Soon cats run the world, people work to build giant scratching poles and perches with windowsills. Because cats communicate through smells people are forbidden from cleaning and wearing facemasks and nose plugs. Big brother cat face posters control people from every corner.
Other animals are now trying to get to be known by strangers as well and jungle animals are climbing with their information plaques (facebook pages) to get into the zoo cages so they can be seen by more people and tuna fish are hiding in tins so that they can get into their red carpet – the supermarket.
People aren’t wearing pants to show that they could be on T.V, post boxes are overflowing with sent letters no-one wants to receive, planes are being loaded with people’s facebook pages (information plaques) while the owners wait on luggage trolleys.
Like the animals fighting to put their information plaques in the zoo cages, priests are fighting to speak from the one pulpit while men and women dressed in diapers fight to reclaim the bed where they were nurtured by their mothers and made to feel that the whole world was interested in only them.
Ronald Feldman Gallery will exhibit a series of figurative paintings by the Australian artist, Cameron Hayes, for his fourth exhibition at the gallery. The paintings evoke the phantasmagoric worlds of Bruegel, but his scenes address the contemporary world. The paintings, some as large as 6’ x 8’, are visually complex, depicting groups of manic figures in absurd scenarios. Hayes’ vision of the human condition is comic and bleak, yet laced with poignance. The detailed paintings reward a close reading.
Join Cameron who will be in New York to attend the exhibition reception.
Ronald Feldman Gallery
31 Mercer Street , New York
Exhibition reception: Saturday 6th January 2018, 6 – 8 pm
Image: Martina Navratilova versus Chris Evert Lloyd
Oil on linen, 194 x 254 cm
Martina Navratilova’s dad left her family when she was three and committed suicide when she was eight. Her first coach was her stepfather. She grew up in communist Prague where even if you had a father he was horribly emasculated by the government system. In her mid teens, Navratilova took her complicated psychology to the women’s tennis tour of the late ’70s where players were given mops and aprons for winning tournaments.
Chris Evert’s dad was a tennis coach. As the women’s tennis tour grew, it became clear that women playing for money and fame could not compete against an opponent playing for her father’s love.
Elmyr de Hory was a prolific art forger. During the 50’s and 60’s he specialised mainly in the fauves ; Matisse, Dufy ect… Fernand Legros was an illegal immigrant from Egypt and a ballet dancer , who with his lover Canadian backpacker Real Lessard sold de Hory’s forgeries to some of the biggest art museums and most of the biggest art collectors in Europe and the U.S. During the 1960s, they proved the fine art world was as brand gullible as any bunch of teenage girls in any suburban shopping mall.
In 1820, Gregor MacGregor made up a fake country called the Republic of Poyais. He opened offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London where he sold Poyais real estate and exchanged money for the Poyais dollars his mate printed for him. After months in a boat doing laps of Central America, the few Poyais investors who had survived realised there was no Poyais but refused to accept they’d been duped.
This is Fernand Legros, so desperate for money and so contemptuos of his art buyers he often couldn’t wait for his fake Matisse’s, Duffy’s ect…to completely dry before he showed/selled them to his clients. Here he sells his art to backpackers off a clothes line with one of his young men/boy assistants who he always dressed in expensive suits. To his right is one of the partys he threw with fake celebrities – european royalty.
Here nuns sell fake holy relics in front of their cardboard church. The nuns sell milk from the Virgin Mary with two cows suspiciously grazing behind them along with a Matisse painting by naked women trying to selfie themselves while struggling to include all their fake handbags. The scene is made credible by the velvet rope surrounding it, which is rolled out like electric cable by workmen.
People in Poyais weren’t interested in the painting – just the brand so they showed of their art collection by hanging them on the outside of their houses. To make the crude seem classy, opening champagne arrives in wheelbarrows.
Evolution is an adaption to enviroment, what happens when all enviroments have air conditioning, when food, medicine and clothes are flown in from other enviroments and when the same TV and music and film are experienced everywhere? What happens when people can drive, train, fly to other enviroments? Where does all that evolutionary energy go when there are no longer predators and prey, no longer dangerous climates to adapt to?
In May in Hosier Lane, Melbourne there was the case of the three Banksy claimants (three street/graffiti artists) who claimed to be the faceless street artist Banksy.
Evolution is now an arms race between deception and lie detection, a struggle between finding biographical solutions (LIES) to counter systemic reality (TRUTH). People through imposturing (lying) are working their way up the evolutionary ladder. Truth is heavy and can be a burden for climbing. Lies are light and easily disposable. There is more information in a daily newspaper (lies) now than a medi-evil farmer collected (truth) in his/her entire life.
As our enviroments become both physically and culturally the same so to do the top rungs of the evolutionary ladder. Everyone is imposturing their way to be the same person.
As if by putting a microphone in front of someone makes them worth listening too (and a rung higher), so too does having your work seen make you worth knowing (and a rung higher). Hosier Lane for artists is the shortest evolutionary ladder with the fewest rungs.
In the centre of the picture there is the three Banksy impostures being examined by experts. They look through the impostures’ drawings and notes but it is the lie detector- polygraph, which lurks behind them and which will decide the matter. Polygraphs fill the streets like telephone boxes used to and their paper read outs are first like telephone lines in the air then like streamers on the ground.
Animals are the first to respond to evolutionary needs and they have moved into Hosier Lane. Crocodiles disguise themselves as big skip bins so as to be regularly feed rubbish, giraffes stretch themselves to look like electric poles and stick out their tongues to impersonate the wires so that birds will sit on them and be licked into the giraffes’ mouths. Snakes swarm into Hosier Lane and they form themselves into groups so they can impersonate tags and graffiti patterns so as to be photographed and moved up the evolutionary ladder. What looks like flowers hung in garlands from the sky but are birds, which have evolved in to half flowers to catch pollinating insects. Those birds, with better lie detectors, see the snakes impersonating graffiti and feed on the snakes’ greater protein. The sky is full of fake graffiti being flown away by colourless birds.
Inside the forum theatre mothers queue up for their chance to move up the ladder via a microphone while their babies circle them in confused panic trying to recognise their mothers, as the mothers evolve into the same person in front of them. Behind the forum at Flinders street station fathers queue for lost luggage so they can imposture their way up the evolutionary ladder. On the train platforms the passengers wait and are so believing their own lies they look only at their own clocks which are different from other’s clocks, and so wait obediently but uncomfortably and endlessly. Others try to follow recipes timing with their clock they believe only to be engulfed in burning smoke. Back in Hosier Lane the day that was once all about you – the wedding day – has tip trucks impersonating luxury cars queuing up then tipping wedding parties into Hosier Lane for their obligatory photos in front of fake graffiti.
The entire landscape is littered with the wooden planks of advertising billboards – the skeletal remains of industrial imposturing – they are being re-used and re-used in different billboards and like a lie they are ever increasingly complicating themselves. A baby climbs a rickety ladder to feed a skinny billboard model. Karate suits with black-belts are sold on every street corner, like professional soccer tops sold at the Victoria Market they grow from the ground like toadstools. The Melbourne Zoo is full of stuffed toy animals instead of real animals as they are easier to maintain and the visitors like their predictability.
Brightly coloured lures decorate the landscape, fish leave the water in order to chase down a truckload of them. There is a runway show of the latest fashion lures and people hang proudly from the latest most fashionable lures to have deceived and hooked them.
please visit http://artsy.net/artist/banksy.