Bein’ Narly is a group exhibition set up to run parallel with the Biennale – but it’s not a protest says curator Glenno Smith.
“It’s not a protest,” Glenno insists. “I don’t care about the Biennale, they don’t care about me. I’ve been to many of them and I hate 90 percent of it – just like most Australians.”
Running for two days – Friday, June 17 at 6pm and Saturday June 18 at 4pm – at the Alpha Gallery in Erskineville, Bein’ Narly will feature the work of more than 30 Australian artists.
“It’s just a show full of diverse artists, mainly friends and people I respect that are doers,” Glenno says. “It’s sort of a pisstake/casual side to art that the Biennale tends not to encapsulate.”
Since there’s a Young Henrys logo in the bottom corner of the Bein’ Narly poster, we’ll assume Friday’s opening night will be a biggie, while the Saturday afternoon session is planned as a sort of recovery BBQ.
It should be a little more chilled than your average art gallery experience, which is all in the spirit of the “inclusive” and yet marginalised Glenno art seeks to showcase.
“Lowbrow is a term that people have settled on to make the difference between high-brow/academic art more obvious, but I don’t see a difference – art is either good or bad, or whatever,” he says. “Folk art or craft is my thing. Over history, the stuff that was made to connect to people of all classes is the stuff I like.
“Australia has spawned some great artists, but in recent years, people think of tax dollars getting wasted on stuff that doesn’t resonate with their personal experience or sense of wonder. I hate that. It makes it harder for this country to get up to speed with Europe, and even America, who have an older/richer tradition of supporting and cherishing art and culture.
“Apparently it makes more money for a country tourism and innovation wise than sport. [Artist] Ben Quilty said something cool on Twitter the other day. @BenQuilty: ‘Why does sport enjoy a privileged place in Australia?’ @BenQuilty is right! HECS should apply to AIS athletes.”
Bein’ Narly is on Friday, June 17 at 6pm and Saturday June 18 at 4pm at Alpha House Artist Co Operative, 226 Union Street, Erskineville, Sydney.