Picture Perfect Political Art

published in UN No.1, Melbourne, 2004
reprinted in Un Reader anthology, Melbourne, 2017

Here's a picture of me. I'm on the right. I think this was taken when I was working on a public art commission. Maybe it was the one that was pulled down. Maybe it's the one you can still see down by the Yarra. Oh that's right: it's now down at Merri Creek. I think a lot of leftie-retro family BBQs are held there. They keep inviting me down cos they think my art is important because it was removed. I never reply to their emails.

See that woman near the left in the picture? The one with the Malvern bob hair-do? She's using henna, but you can't see the colour in this picture. See how she's pinching my right nipple? That's to make me political. It kind of works. It gives me a slightly tingly feeling that both hurts and exhilarates. We worked it out as an 'artistic strategy', a kind of 'think-global-act-local' deal. But this is an old picture. I'm really more of the 'fuck-me-fuck-you' school of politics. My nipples are tough.

I forget her name now. All I remember is how she crapped on about getting drunk with Gough Whitlam one night. Shame they weren't driving at the time. Really fast on a winding gravelly road during a thunderstorm. She ended up being a radio broadcaster for ABC. Drive-time: like, how Camilla Paglia. I swear you could hear her pearl necklace clink on air. She then went on to the truest form of the theatrical arts: she became a politician.

Here's another picture. It's her again. See how she's holding that poker? Obviously it's up my arse, but I'm only pretending to grimace. She's holding the red-hot end. She said she'd do anything to raise consciousness about - well, actually I can't even remember what this work was about. All I know is I got federal funding for this one. I guess I'm 'Australian'. She only agreed to this pic because it was federal funding. Man, all I can remember is that same whining po-toned voice going on and on about how important it is for art to be political. What word didn't she understand in the short sentence "Shut the fuck up"?

Now here's a pretty boring picture. It was taken after I gave a 'guest lecture' at some dorky art school. I remember getting there early. Of course there was no staff around. I pretended to be a student and grabbed an easel and 'pushed paint around'. I really 'worked my craft' for that hour. Then a fat bearded fart came up to me and sternly looked over my shoulder for 10 seconds. He made sure I saw his 'concentration'. He then mumbled through his smelly beard "Keep up the good work". I told him to shut his cakehole, do up his fly, and go back to dry-humping the female bimbo students old enough to be his daughter. Then one of the casual staff came and ushered me away while the beard suffered a mild stroke. He looked really funny puffing on the ground while a group of bimbos circled him in tears. "Keep up the good work" I yelled back. The bimbos started howling in romantic agony.

Back to this boring picture. It's after the lecture and see the kid on the extreme left there with a goatee? Well, he won the raffle ticket to be that year's graduating 'political artist'. Man, what a suck. The guy on the left won the 'sensitive gay artist' and the punky looking girl at the back won the 'feminine/not-feminine op shop artist'. (There was no 'multi-cultural cry-baby artist' that year.) The goatee dork is the one who bought up those crappy rugs which hang in banks but which are apparently based painstakingly on crappy 80s abstract paintings. He had some media fame cos he then painted political slogans on them. A bit of Mabo here, some Islam stuff there, the odd Zionist/PLO flick here, some Detention Centre cry there. After the lecture he came up to me and said something profound like how Lisa Gerrard is as great as Enya and how great Australia's art community is. All I can remember was noticing how many bits of carrot were in the involuntary vomit I spewed over his Mooks T-shirt. I called my vomit "Pro Hart - Political Artist".

See this picture? Yep - that's our sucky Mr. Politico with our whining Political Mama. You can really see her henna dye in this pic. He doesn't have his goatee any more. Apparently people kept thinking he was in Big Brother and he got all defensive. This pic was taken after she defended his crappy carpets in support of - you guessed it: political art. This was taken before I vomited on his carpets. That chuck I called "Philip Brophy - Political Artist". She said she very disappointed in me: I was once such a promising artist. Gee, I cried all night long, you bet.

Hey, here's a funny pic. It's some dumb bitch from your city council. She looks like she's in pain because she is. See her mangled left foot? A garbage truck ran over it. I was so lucky to be there at the time. It was one of the funniest things I've seen. The truck was picking up all this crap people had dumped on the street where one of my public commissions was installed - you know, that 4 storey high giant T-shirt with flock lettering that says "Philip Brophy Fucks Your World". It covered that apartment building that won all those pooncy 80s' architecture awards. I did it just to cover the ugly fucker up cos I hated looking at it everytime I went to the Vic Market. You'll remember this councillor was the one who whinged about how public-funded art should not be 'avant-garde' and should relate to the 'majority' of 'rate-payers'. I thought the avant-garde died in the 30s. As for rate payers, well they can dicate art when they clean my toilet. When I have diarreha from food poisoning from an Indian restaurant.

Here's a pic of her in hospital with her children. Sheez, they look ugly too.

Here's a pic of the head of the body-corporate of that 'I-am-not-a-wog-mansion' building I covered up with my giant T-shirt. He's happy cos he now views the city skyline while he cuts coke with his laminated passes to the Grand Prix. Like all guys with shaved heads, he's just a bald loser. Coke won't make his dome get fur.

Here's a picture of a leading 'right' politician's dick. Note how it's all withered - and it actuallly bends to the right. I asked him to get some wood. He said he was already hard. He had to rush off to clean the toilets at a detention centre for suspected terrorists.

Here's a picture of a leading 'left' politician's dick. It points nowhere. I asked him to get some wood. He said that was bad for our State Forests. He had to rush off to clean up pigeon shit in the city centre in the lead-up to culling those 'non-native flying rats'. I think his 5 year old son licked some pigeon shit off some bronze public art turd in Bourke Street.

Hey - here's a picture of you from that time you classified yourself as a rare indigenous botanical plant - 'Artus Politicus'. Man that was a killer when the zoo exhibited you. I never had so much fun throwing elephant shit around before.

Here's a picture of me writing this. I'm using a fucking quill, just for that 'old world' effect.

Here's a close-up of my brow. No - sorry, that's a close-up of one of the politician's drippy dick holes. Here's the pic I want. It's the sweat on my brow from when I was writing this. I think I was a bit worried about you reading this.

I wasn't.

Text © Philip Brophy. Image © ABCTV.