Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

From Raw Meat to a Digestive Machine, It's Up to You to Decide

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

From Raw Meat to a Digestive Machine, It's Up to You to Decide

Article excerpt

THERE'S an episode of Ab Fab where Eddie decides to spend all her money on art, leaving it to the nation rather than her long-suffering daughter Saffie.

Eddie trawls London's most snooty galleries and spends hundreds of thousands of pounds on art - a toilet seat to hang on the wall, from memory, and a bunch of wire coat-hangers joined in a tangled mass. Modern art. Outrageously expensive.

She displays it in her living room.

In the same episode, Eddie's father dies and unbeknown to her, Eddie's delightfully dithery mother, played by the marvellous June Whitfield, arranges to have his body displayed in an open coffin in Eddie's living room among the art.

When Eddie and her mate Patsy stumble drunkenly into the living room late at night and come upon the dead father in the open coffin (near the coat hangers) Eddie leaps back in horror, saying "this is a sort of corpse in an open, oaken, oblong coffin". Patsy, always by her side, peers into the coffin and says "Yeah, but is it art?"

I repeated the line to myself as I approached an entire wall of meat carcasses at MONA museum in Hobart recently. For a moment I thought I was in a warehouse cold room, a place where Rocky might go to use the carcasses as punching bags. But, no, I was in a gallery/museum, and yes, there was an entire wall of meat calling itself art.

It was real meat, not some mocked-up installation. Raw meat, hung in the gallery every day, stored in a chilled room at night.

"Is it art?" I said to the nearby attendant. She certainly thought it was. She gave me a detailed explanation about feeding the poor or some such. She obviously got it. I did not. And that was cool.

What a wank, I thought, and I believe the man who founded and built MONA, David Walsh, would probably have agreed with me.

He has "art wank" explanations on the gadgets you are given as you enter MONA to guide you through the underground gallery and read what each exhibition represents. …

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