Hey there. I’m Ziggy the Westie, you might remember me from my review of the great dogs and creatures in the ‘Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado‘ exhibition in 2012. I’m back to tell you that you must, absolutely, without question, get yourself to QAGOMA for two pawsome exhibitions.
At the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) there is a very hip show from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) called ‘California Design: 1930–1965. Living in a Modern Way’. Its got loads of amazing stuff in it including a big silver caravan called an Airstream Clipper which was made in the olden days — 1936 — and it’s kind of round and long and came across the Pacific Ocean on a big boat to be here in Brisbane. There’s also some very comfy-looking chairs and sofas which I would love to have a sleep on. My favs though are the very cool car called a Studebaker Avanti manufactured 1963–64 which looks like it would go very fast and a big yellow surfboard made by a famous surfer bloke called Greg Noll. There’s heaps of other things like clothes for humans, pots and jewellery (no dog collars though) and a gold statue called Oscar. There’s even special Californian-style food in the Cafe — the burger is great!
Over at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), a Chinese artist called Cai Guo-Qiang has made the most amazing art I’ve ever seen! This guy is something else.
There are 99 animals in Heritage 2013 all standing around a pool of water drinking and even though there are lions and tigers and wolves and bears and leopards and even an elephant — they are all just hanging out together drinking from the lake. It’s really peaceful and quiet — it’s like just so totally awesome. Apparently, Cai saw a lake on Stradbroke Island, just off the coast of Brisbane Queensland, which inspired him to make this massive artwork. The Gallery loved it so much they acquired it for the Collection with the generous support of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, he has also brought a huge tree into the Gallery called Eucalyptus 2013 and made another installation Head On 2006 of 99 wolves jumping and leaping about into a glass wall (what is this 99 thing?… the number of animals is symbolic: nine and 99 recur frequently in Cai’s work. Nine represents ‘long‑lasting’ in Chinese numerology, while 99 suggests for the artist something that is not quite complete, providing a sense of insufficiency and expectation). Now, I can’t quite imagine my ancestors actually doing this but I am told that this installation is symbolic of human behaviour … mmm … weird those humans. Now, just in case you are wondering — all these animals are not real — phew!
If you want to feel good, eat some great food, see some fantastic artworks and maybe think a little bit, then get yourselves to QAGOMA — hope to see you there. Just a reminder… ‘California Design: 1930–1965’ must close Sunday 9 February, so be quick!
‘California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way’ curated by Wendy Kaplan (Curator and Department Head) and Bobbye Tigerman (Associate Curator) from LACMA’s Decorative Arts and Design Department, presents over 250 design objects. ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’, presented by Tourism and Events Queensland and Santos GLNG Project, features four installations, including two newly commissioned works directly inspired by the landscapes of southeast Queensland
Ziggy, very special guest writer