Dispatches from the future (a.k.a. Australia)

May 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

The irony of the situation in which I find myself isn’t lost on me: I spent the spring semester teaching a course at ASU about writing art and design criticism, much of which we spent discussing the demise of the newspaper as we know it and the uncertain state of art criticism in general, and here I am, in Sydney, Australia, to write about art.

This grand experiment is courtesy of ASU, but I should note at this point that all the opinions here, particularly the ones anybody finds offensive, are mine and mine alone.

I would also like to point out that I am  jet-lagged in a way that redefines jet-lag for me, as traveling into the future is no small matter, and to apologize in advance for all lapses in spelling, grammar, logic, etc.

So, on to Blog Post the First, in which, on the shuttle from the Sydney airport to the hotel, I sit next to an independent curator and artist named Leah Gordon, who co-curated The Ghetto Biennale (http://www.yoonsoo.com/ghetto/files/about.html) in Haiti. She’s here to speak on a panel about poverty, freedom, and rights, with none other than Enrique Chagoya, among others. (A side note: She’ll be curating a show in Los Angeles next year, which will no doubt be worth the road trip from Phoenix.)

Here’s a photo of Leah at the airport wearing sunglasses, which are as essential here in Sydney as they are in the Arizona desert:

Biennale Artistic Director David Elliott selected 166 artists from 36 different countries, and not just one but two of those are Phoenix artists — three if you count Enrique Chagoya, who is represented by Scottsdale’s Lisa Sette Gallery and has a connection to Marilyn Zeitlin and the ASU Art Museum. The beauty part of the three artists selected is the fact that two of them, Chagoya and Claudio Dicochea, were born in Mexico, thereby underscoring the very rich Arizona-Mexico connection that people like Russell Pearce (co-sponsor of SB 1070, the new Arizona immigration law) would like to ignore, if not erase altogether.

It was sad but not surprising to learn that Arizona’s new law made the papers in England, where Leah read and wondered about it, but it made me proud to talk with her about the fine and original work that Chagoya, Dicochea, and Angela Ellsworth are doing. In a not-so-small way, Arizona’s presence here in Sydney will help give the world a different impression of what Arizona is. Now all Arizona has to do is live up to that different impression….

Speaking of impressions of Phoenix: We were able to follow the Suns game here via text message updates, and I’d just like to say: a) Steve Nash is some kind of one-eyed superhero, and  b) viva los Suns!

– Deborah Sussman Susser

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Blogging Down Under – From the 2010 Sydney Biennale If it’s Tuesday, it must be media preview day


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