Lampoon – An Historical Art Trajectory

March 3rd 2011

Walk through Newtown on any given day and you will be accosted by at least one clipboard wielding activist type. Freeing Julian Assange, gay marriage rights, Anarchist seminars next weekend – there are many causes out there. Many of these causes are very worthy. But there’s something about the delivery that stalls. Said activist types, smug expressions smeared across their faces, aren’t as charismatic as the psychedelic hippy activists of the past that live in my head. I would probably be more receptive to their ideas if the subsequent diatribe included the word ‘groovy’. Or if the pamphlets thrust in my face were even half as colourful, funny and irreverent as Oz magazine.

Take the very first issue of Oz, for example. It featured a front-page hoax about the collapse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a centre spread on the history of the chastity belt and a story on abortion (then still illegal in NSW). Founded in the sixties by Jim Anderson and RichardNeville, Oz provoked and parodied from the get-go. Its acerbic sense of humour extended to a wide range of contentious issues: censorship, police brutality, homosexuality, the White Australia Policy and the Vietnam War. The Vice magazine of its time (only for hippies, not hipsters), photomontaged panoramas of public urination, lady-boys, sex, drugs, rock n’ roll and other ‘obscene’ depictions adorned its covers. These were rarely met with warm receptions from civil society. In fact, the gasps and frowns Oz invoked eventually led to charges for ‘Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals’.

An Historical Trajectory gives you the chance to view Oz’s provocative images up close and personal. The exhibition will also feature a selection of Anderson’s post-Oz work, including his satiric Lampoonery cartoons, which have been published in The Sydney Morning Herald and shown on The Chaser. For an exercise in libertarianism, anti-authoritarianism and flower-power-ism head to Tin Sheds Gallery (148 City Road, Darlington) before the 12th of March. And please, leave the clipboard at home.


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