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THE SHILO PROJECT
ere are some exhibitions that are so predictable you can almost
plot them out in your mind before you arrive at the gallery. en
there is e Shilo Project.
When curator Chris McAuliffe found two copies of Neil
Diamond's 1970 album Shilo in a Rotary Club opportunity shop
in Rosebud three years ago who would have imagined it would
lead to a major exhibition of the work of 100 artists all tackling
the join-the-dots portrait of Diamond that graces the cover?
Who would have imagined such a find would prompt a review of
Diamond's recording history and the pivotal role of this record in
charting the deteriorating relationship with his recording label?
At the same time it would have seemed an unlikely catalyst for an
examination of the decline of portraiture in the last decades of the
20th Century and a celebration of artistic intelligence and skill.
Yet all this is delivered from that spark of discovery of two copies
of Shilo, one pristine and one completed by an anonymous fan.
e great promise of this exhibition is that wonderful mix
of expectation and surprise, of the unique twist that opens
up new avenues of interpretation, of the window into artistic
interpretation and playfulness, of the desire to see how a cohort
of the nation's most interesting artists tackled the task of filling in
the blanks and joining the dots.
ere is also that delicious sense of melancholy and nostalgia
that pervades the idea of this show; the celebration of pop music
and fandom, the 70s recreated with all its shag pile, bean bags and
psychedelic patterns, of Countdown and a time when music really
did shape our lives. And there's more.
Neil Diamond has approved the project and is reportedly
looking forward to viewing the exhibition when he is on tour in
Melbourne in March 2010.
Until March 14, 2010
e Ian Potter Museum of Art, e University of Melbourne
IMAGES: Chris McAuli e
SING STAR: (from top) Fiona
Cabassi Shilo sleeve: synthetic
polymer paint, cut-out 2009
© Courtesy the artist,
Rob McHa e Shilo sleeve: oil paint
2009 © Courtesy the artist.
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