Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Opening of the "new" MCA - 28 March

So the new MCA is ready to open, although not that you can tell from the outside. I don't really like the boxy exterior. But then I guess I am little disappointed they didn't run with my idea for a Big Lamington. Tonight was the big opening party and yours truly was there to scuff the polished concrete floors for the first time ....
First impressions are that it is a pretty good space. The layout seems a little clumsy in places but it is obviously bigger and better than what they had before, although it's no MONA. Opening night was a bit of a hoot, quite a few punters all glammed up and even a few contemporary artists milling about (Danie Mellor, Richard Bell, Shaun Gladwell and Nell). The art on show includes selections from their permanent collection (some standouts here include the Daniel Boyd pirate, a Gordon Bennett work Dismay, Displace etc, and a big Richard Bell piece) and a show called Marking Time (which didn't really grab me although I did like Katie Paterson's light bulbs). The big highlight is a movie called the Clock by Christian Marclay (who is himself represented in the Big Lamington collection courtesy of the 1996 Peter Norton edition). I've been aware of this work for a while (good NY Times article here) and it was apparently the star of the show at the last Venice Biennale (Christian won the Gold Lion for Best Artist work there). The movie itself works as a real clock. Each minute in the 24 hour movie features a film clip that has a clock or watch in it somewhere with the actual time in it, for example if you are sitting in the MCA at 6.50pm you will see a clip from a movie where it is 6.50pm. It is quite addictive, in a pop culture 'recognize that movie' way. I sat through about 30 minutes and picked a number of references, favourites being a couple of James Bond clips (2 x On Her Majesty's Secret Service), Hitchcock's Notorious, Cocktail and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (all these are between 6.50pm and 7.30pm).

Points - 3 to Christian Marclay for the Clock. Really addictive, having seen 30 minutes so far I will need to come back for more - apparently all the James Bond's are in there somewhere. 2 points to Esme Timbury for the shell slippers from the permanent collection, they look great en masse (and if I am not mistaken you can get yourself a pair from the gift shop at the SH Ervin gallery) and 1 point to Gordon Bennett. There is also a kids space in the new MCA and my junior art critics will be around soon to check it out sooner rather than later.

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