Pierrot at the Show

November 14, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, PETER'S WRITING | 0 Comments |

(By August Macke)

[In the fashion of online construction, transient and elusive as painting fresco – see The Faerie Queen of Estonia – we offer our arts wrap ups in the Great Poet‘s invention, terza rima]

Pierrot by Amandus Faure (1909)

Pierrot by Amandus Faure (1909) (photo:http://auktion-bergmann.de/)

Dear Calliope, I am not all that keen

To finish up this long account

And serve as a meal not fit for a queen.

Hesiod and the Muse by Moreau (1870)

Hesiod and the Muse by Moreau (1870)

So from my high horse I dismount

And warily survey the scene,

An open mind is paramount,

high_horse1890And hopefully, a brain washed clean

(Not confused with an empty mind)

To precisely process the heard and seen

Within the Kingdom of the Blind,

Where prejudice wears its dark niqab,

To seek and strive to know and find

And learn to understand the drab

Along with the decorous gem –

So come on, then: let’s have a stab.


By Charles Leandre (1899)

Before we set out to condemn,

Congratulate ourselves for good,

Gloom is not our stratagem

And Gusto is our neighbourhood.

We reject Favour; laugh at Fear,

But flee from the misunderstood.

Melpomene (50BC, Louvre)

Melpomene (50BC, Louvre)

So Melpomene, start with King Lear;

With Geoffrey Rush as the senile King,

Playing in Sydney at New Year.


Rush in 2008 (photo: gdcgraphics)

Rush is a star but the play’s the thing

And we will be there, upon the Eve

When mummers aren’t delivering

For, you wouldn’t just believe,

They cancelled the performance

On New Years; the party’s not to leave.

‘Tis probably against romance –

To stage this bleak and chilly tale

Mid the happy harbour’s elegance.


(Photo J.W.C.)

While the yachts enjoy full sail

And the pyrotechnics flare

Shakespeare has the World bewail.

We’ll leave our views up in the air

And evaluate the recent past,

If you disagree, then please still share.

Terpsichore, be not aghast,

Dance is not  our strongest suit,

In fact, our ignorance is vast.

“Rough Air” (Irish Modern Dance Theatre)

So we’re slow to start dispute

With physical theatre’s opaque charm

And kindergarten overshoot.

“A blindfold and a broken arm”,

Writhing – shrieking – furious grins,

None strong theme shall come to harm.

Take the Seven Deadly Sins,

(Brisbane Playhouse, Expressions Dance)

No theme for these disciplines

Of sin and drama, circumstance,

Air-chopping ‘Greed’ and Sinuous ‘Lust’,

Can only resonate by chance.

All other tropes fast turn to dust,

In NYX a big children’s tantrum

Leaves the onlookers nonplussed.

So it goes, from High to Humdrum

Despite Cry Jailolo and the like

We’re served an array to benumb.

There’s something, now, of a gallery spike

Which we honour, and applaud,

From MONA to Albury, lots to like

Albury Art Gallery (original photo by Mattinbgn)

Albury Art Gallery (original photo by Mattinbgn)

Or not but it must needs be explored.

Whether Russell Drysdale or a poo machine,

If you’re live you are never bored.


Photo of George Russell Drysdale by Max Dupain






We won’t touch on, to vent our spleen

The art market and its gnostic laws.

It is a Tad too easy to demean –

Robert Hughes exposed the flaws

In the market’s taste, where a flashy nude

Will see gnashed teeth and nibbled paws.


A (Met) Modigliani Reclining Nude (1917) – one featuring the lady’s front recently fetched $170.4m







From painted greed to Opera. Rude

Are we to again slam E.N.O

But they ask for it, in their grim and lewd

Renderings.  Now they’ve Mimi on the Blow

And to make Euterpe yet more sick,

They give strong hints they do not know

That magic realism does the trick

Only when some humour’s planned

Or a Book of Sand‘s not worth a lick.


Photo of Keith Michell in London by Allan Warren (1973)

Time to set upon a stand

The bust of departed Keith Michell,

Whose work in theatre nicely spanned

The post-war decades, and full well.

His Henry VIII was miraculous,

Suggesting ‘mid domestic pell-mell

His clear vision and unscrupulous

Deploying power of a haughty King,

and a high-mind, yet scrofulous

As his well-worn, shrivelled ding-a-ling.

He seemed as if a bag of wine

About to burst, spate covering

Every tortured line.

Degas was, equally, a scoffer

Of women; but his work was fine,

Albeit unwholesome to proffer,

Little girls in their tutus,

Gorgeous but not apt to offer

'Ballet Rehearsal' by Degas (1874)

‘Ballet Rehearsal’ by Degas (1874)

To a mind that often skews.

Ask Bill Henson – show the young

And reputation fast unscrews.

Hanged, he is and thus well-hung,

With bulging eyes and blackened tongue,

Will he miss the paint pot flung?

Hanging out...Felicien Rops (1867)

Hanging out… Félicien Rops (1867)


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