Cover image of the review
Natasha Matila-Smith, _Love letter,_ acrylic on calico, installation view, 2017-2019, image courtesy of gallery, photo: Christo Crocker. )

I will never run out of lies nor love

27 Jul 2019
Bus Projects 10 Jul - 3 Aug 2019

π.o.—Melbourne's preeminent anarchist/poet/DIY art historian—has observed a deep gulf between literature and the visual arts in Australia and speculates that Ern Malley is to blame. Before Ern, so the argument goes, art and letters co-existed in a collaborative landscape, evidenced in no small part by Angry Penguins the wartime journal that printed Ern's hoax poems in 1944, and thus ground zero for the rift. Thumbing through the magazine's pages, a reader was as likely to encounter the reproductions of an artist who also wrote poetry, such as Sidney Nolan or Joy Hester, as a critical text or poem by Max Harris or Geoffrey Dutton. And so, when Angry Penguins published Ern's faux-poems, concocted by James McAuley and Harold Stewart one drunken afternoon with the aim of exposing the magazine's modernist excesses, the hoax embarrassed painters and writers alike. Friendships soured, commentators grew apprehensive, and a wedge was driven between poetry and the visual arts.

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