Sunday, April 22, 2007


My weekend at Art Melbourne wouldn't have been complete without one last blow-up. A drone from Hothouse Media, the company handling the event's public relations, accused Metro 5 Gallery's director of having orchestrated "a successful publicity stunt". I already felt a little raw. I'd had my fill of snide, ill-informed and resentful remarks, sleazy sexual propositions, and weird email and blog rantings (accusing me of everything from fraud and prostitution – and not just in the creative sense – to bad art), so I phoned her to vent my spleen. I let loose with a week of pent-up vitriol that lasted several minutes before I realised I was just wasting my breath. "Oh, just fuck off!" I yelled. Then I hung up. Childish, sure, but it made me feel better.
Back at the hotel, there were more weasely emails from strangers. One accused me of ripping off Tracy Emin's My Bed. Whoever this was clearly hadn't seen my work,
Sex Tourist, nor did they have much of a grasp of art history – after all, Emin's 1998 installation was itself derived from more than one of Robert Rauschenberg's early works, including a 1955 piece, Bed. In Sex Tourist, the bed is just one element in the replication of a motel room which provides the context for a narrative retold in paintings (at Art Melbourne, a short series titled Kelly, The First Time, Nos. 1 to 5), writings, photography and (in a larger version) video. It was also implied I wasn't being as honest as Emin in my writings – which only confirmed my first impression of this twisted, barely literate spew: whoever typed it didn't actually know how to read at all.
I am heading to the airport now. I want to go home and paint and not talk to anyone but my boyfriend for several weeks.
(Photo above: My friends, Eugene and Ee-Lynn, and me, as temporary elements of Sex Tourist.)


Art News Blog said...

Here's a quote from Andy Warhol to cheer you up Hazel..

"Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches." AW


Anonymous said...

I was there, and I was under the impression that the directive to curtain the work came from the managemers of the venue, not the orgainsers. This was because some members of the public had complained that the work is not suitable for young children to view.
Even though I am a contemporary artist and have taken my own child to many shows around the world, at certain ages ther is a limit to what I would expose her to unde the age of 12. The cChapman brothers work "Two Faced Cunt" for example is not something I would like to explain to a 5 year old.
While I disagree with censorship, I do agree with people being "warned" of the explicit nature of some work so they can decide for themseleves wether to engage in it or not and think Metro 5 should have professionally handled this aspect for you.
By the way I really enjoyed the work and thought it was great to have such an outstanding contemporary artist exhibiting to an audience who laregely may not have the chance to see it.

Anonymous said...

I was also there, as one of the exhibitors – and while I was at once surprised and maybe a litle jealous of the publicity and attention lavished on Ms. Dooney, her account is accurate. Her show was curtained BEFORE the show opened and long before any 'members of the public' saw it. Besides, there were other, just as explicit works on general view in other spaces and nobody said a word about them – as Ms. Dooney pointed out.

John said...

Well done Hazel on punching through to the other.

I must say you tell a rollicking good yarn. It'd be great to see your comments on The Spin Starts Here one day - always looking for someone who can dish it up as good as they get.