March is Art Month here in Sydney. There are gallery tours, studio tours and talks aplenty. Last evening I attended a debate in Kings Cross (as part of the Art Month program) called Contemporary Art Is A Joke. I have no view as to whether or not contemporary art, as a whole, is a joke. Some is intentionally a joke; some is unintentionally a joke. I left wondering if what I had just experienced was a joke. I didn’t feel humoured, though the raucous laughter from the audience would suggest that I was the odd one out.
I won’t burden you with the details of the debate as this post is about how I felt. The venue was a Sydney City Council underground carpark in Kings Cross, which was, perhaps, a contemporary art joke. It was dark and gloomy. The ‘seating’ was a mixture of bum numbing folding chairs and milk crates guaranteed to impress upon one’s arse a fetching waffle welt. With my aching back and my funnybone remaining inactive I sulked off into the darkness of The Cross.
After the gloom of the carpark I needed air, if not fresh air (I was in Kings Cross), at least naturally occurring air. As I often do, I looked at the evening sky. Some trees caught my eye. I hadn’t realised that a garden sits on top of this carpark. It’s a lovely small park so I spent half an hour or so there in the fading light. To paraphrase a sign I saw many years ago at a country town nursery: When the world wearies and art no longer satisfies, there are always the trees.