The studio at the Art Gallery of NSW with EXTRA!EXTRA! – a weekly newspaper which responds critically and playfully to Making Art Public, 9 Nov – 15 Dec, 2019. Each week, editor-in-chief Lucas Ihlein and special correspondent Ian Milliss were joined by special guest writers and artists, who worked with the Rizzeria team to print the newspaper in situ, EXTRA! EXTRA! -https://www.extra-extra.press/.
Some of the EXTRA! EXTRA!, team at the Art Gallery NSW, 2019, https://www.extra-extra.press/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/20191105_150209-1200×675.jpg.
The opportunity to be part of this project in 2019, was both exciting and terrifying. I had a very limited understanding of what I had agreed to do and had not even learned to catch the train alone from Wollongong to Sydney yet! I was going to give it my best shot and my Lecturer Lucas Ihlein, that had I nicknamed The Kat in the Hat, assured me everything would be fine. You can read all the great contributions and editions of EXTRA! EXTRA! at: https://www.extra-extra.press/.
Now, ordinarily this post would be about what I had learned through EXTRA! EXTRA! and some recording or interpretation of events or articles, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, during the Kaldor Public Art Projects, 50th Anniversary of The Wrapped Coast (1969). There might even have been some analysis of the legacy The Wrapped Coast and Kaldor Public Art Projects have contributed to conceptual art in Australia. However, time has past and it seems more important in 2023, to recall the lesson I carry most from EXTRA! EXTRA!, while watching and learning from established, journalists such as Wendy Bacon, Chris Nash and Ian Milliss – have the courage of your convictions, speak, write or make about them because critical reflection is always necessary.
So, off I went and it was during this project, I first met the Two Wrapped Trees (1969) by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I already knew I had a critical mind and being Aboriginal has a lot to do with it but I was afraid of causing offence. However, I was more compelled to write about the Two Wrapped Trees, so I did.
Here’s a some of what I wrote back then: … the first work that calls my attention is, The Wrapped Trees (1969) by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Amid the chatter and giggling of school children, a long white box has been laid on the floor… it looks like a coffin without a lid. Inside the coffin-box, silent and still, are two trees, roots and branches wrapped and bound tight. This is land-art… the land has been brought from outside, wrapped and bound and brought inside. … I’m sure there’s a back story and a framework through which we are meant to view these trees. But I’m sorry folks, I’m not feeling it.
I am however, feeling very, very uncomfortable about these trees, wrapped and bound, brought from outside to inside, laid down in a long white box, like a coffin without a lid. I’m wondering was this feeling, this the artists’ intention? I want to know, were they alive when they were wrapped and bound, top and bottom? Were they pulled out of the earth by their roots for wrapping and binding? Did this artistic wrapping and binding suffocate and kill them?… EXTRA! EXTRA!, Edition #2, 19.11.2019, https://www.extra-extra.press/edition-2/, https://www.extra-extra.press/2019/11/19/trees-in-coffins/.
To sign off, I’ll leave you with this – We know that the future often comes back to judge and critique the past and hindsight is 20/20… I guess, it’s what we do and how we manage that critique, that determines whether we’re just judging from the privileged position of the present or whether we can combine our lessons learned and make actions today, for a future we might to be proud of…
Thanx for dropping by,
Juundaal & The Trees