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MY FELLOW AUS-TRA-ALIENS at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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by Sydneyfunmum (subscribe)
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Humorous modern art exhibition by Aleks Danko
Aleks Danko Museum of Contemporary Art
Aleks Danko - stone heart in a box

It's been a while since I last went to the MCA. I've seen some amazing exhibitions there, and also a few which left me cold. So I wasn't sure what to expect this time round, but I was drawn to this particular exhibition because of its title (references to aliens usually catch my attention).

While there were no aliens, it was an exhibition which entertained me and made me do a few double-takes. As a person with a limited appreciation for modern art, I found this exhibition accessible and humorous. It contains a wide array of art, sculpture and installations drawn from almost five decades of Aleks Danko's work. There are minimal explanations of each piece, as he prefers viewers to reach their own conclusions about each piece's underlying meaning. I enjoyed being given free reign to come up with my own explanations for each piece - and it wasn't hard.

Aleks Danko Museum of Contemporary Art
Aleks Danko installation

Aleks Danko brings a lot of humour and wordplay into his art. His pieces are playful with a slight edge to the humour. I don't know that I understood exactly what he was getting at with a lot of his pieces, but many made me chuckle before my brain caught up to why they were funny.

Aleks Danko Museum of Contemporary Art
Aleks Danko artwork

The works themselves frequently incorporate words in some way, and as such give a viewer a better handle for trying to decipher a meaning than some amorphous blobs that pass for art (yes, I may possibly be a complete troglodyte when it comes to modern art). If you would like some more guidance on what Danko's pieces mean, volunteers give free tours at 1pm on weekdays and will happily give you a more detailed explanation of particular works in his collection.

Aleks Denko Ambivalence Aus-Tra-Aliens
Aleks Danko's "incident - ambivalence"

I joined a tour briefly, and I learned that the artwork above has apparently become something of a symbol for the MCA. As the guide then went on to say that Danko describes the face depicted here as being that of an idiot and is a commentary on the unthinking and unblinking conformity of the crowd - I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions, as I think I may have missed some important nuance in the guide's explanation.

The giant candy heart in a box with the inscription "drop dead" was a favourite for me.

In summary, I think this is a great introduction to modern art for those who are a bit scared they won't grasp what they're meant to be seeing and who like art which has a sense of humour. It's free, beautifully laid out, and with such a large range of works in the collection, you're bound to find something that will amuse you. I know I did.

For more information about Danko's exhibition, see the MCA website.
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Why? You like your modern art with a dash of humour
Phone: (02) 9245 2400
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I too find modern art confusing...3 basketballs in an empty fish tank or bicycle wheel on a stool. I guess to each their of art:)
by Maria M (score: 2|661) 1812 days ago
Saw this yesterday. Great exhibit of works. A friend who doesn't connect well with modern art loved it because of the word play.
by trace (score: 0|2) 1807 days ago
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