Gawd Help Us

July 19, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | OPERA, Ulalume |

Their night of nights

The Helpmann Awards (Australia’s answer to the ‘Tony’) are named for choreographer, dancer, theatre director and ham-actor (think 55 Days at Peking (1963), and Patrick (1978)) Sir Robert Helpmann. Awards are a concept well past the use-by date, now rapidly putrefying.  Even so, it is stunning how they can go so wrong. We suppose that the readiness is all… Recently, 4 Helpmanns went to that giant piece of dreck, Hamlet – The Opera.  The Varnished Culture is on record about this faux-est of all faux operas, so we’ll just list the winners, without much further comment: Best male performer in an opera –…

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The Worst Sculptor in the World

June 4, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, CRIME, Ulalume |

We celebrate Robert Jacobsen (4 June 1912 – 26 January 1993), Danish creator in the realm of the plastic arts. Robert inhabited the artistic niche of great sculptors such as Alexandros of Antioch and the ancient Greek masters, and moderns such as Auguste Rodin. Jacobsen’s claim to fame is as the Worst Sculptor in the World.  A modernist (naturally) who enthusiastically embraced the avant-garde through the toxic COBRA movement of northern Europe, working with welder, mask and subsidized iron, he and his ilk dispensed with hard work and consideration of structure, theme and aesthetics, preferring to hide their laziness and…

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More Gems

May 24, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume |

Further samples of Art’s decline…or, “Political and social activism as a mediating tool in a cultural context…”    

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Dollars for Dali

May 16, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume |

The Varnished Culture’s offices have its share of Dalí fans, certainly.  Yet we doubt that Trilogy of the desert: Mirage (1946) is one of his best pieces.  Still, Dalí is Dalí. In the wake of the artist’s 114th birthday on 11 May, the NGV has launched a crowd-funding campaign to acquire the piece, which might be a first for a major Australian gallery (we suppose that the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has, like all socialists, finally run out of other peoples’ money).  Here’s their pitch: “The National Gallery of Victoria has an extraordinary opportunity to become the first public collection in Australia…

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All That Glisters is Not Gold

May 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, Ulalume |

Archibald Prize, 2018 The Varnished Culture has already dripped its contempt over the Nobel Prize for literature. Now we can pronounce last rites for the Archibald, which this year is ‘won’ by Yvette Coppersmith, for her self-portrait (after George Lambert).  But George W (1873-1930), whose portrait of a lady is the main image to this note (see above), knew how to paint. This latest prize-winner (see below) is a real shocker, not worthy of an art student, a vacuous, slapdash, iridescent cartoon… The pallbearers for the Archibald call themselves the “Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees”.  They comprise: Mr…

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