Splitting hairs on the leaders debate 

By Crikey

On the leaders debate

John Boyd writes: Re.”Fizza” (yesterday). The debate may have been tedious, but what can you do when all the vacuous press can do is pick up on what colour tie you are wearing, or simply criticise a lack of ‘charisma' for want of a better term. Les fairly categorises Turnbull as “the hollow man”, but then says they “have not a skerrick of conviction between them”. Fair comment on Turnbull given his switch on so many key positions. I doubt whether he really even believes that the central plank of the coalition “plan” to cut corporate tax rates will actually create “jobs and growth”. Moreover, I doubt that he cares, as long as the 1% to which he belongs, can continue to cream off 50% of the wealth. On the other hand, you can question without evidence to the contrary, whether Shorten really believes what he is saying. But he has been consistent from his first day as leader, and has led a process presenting serious policies, worked out in detail over the last two years, and finalised at the national conference last July. You can criticise his presentation skills, but not his conviction. Disclaimer: I am a member of the ALP because that party best reflects my views: not the other way round.

John Kotsopoulos writes: Les Heimann should be aware that indulgent a “pox on both houses” attitudes are what allowed Tony Abbott to flourish smashing any chance of rational policy in so many areas. That and Labor's death wish. Sometimes a bit of something is better than all of nothing.

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Art house: Los Angeles and New York artists tackle the inequity of real estate

By Alex Rayner

From a crazy golf course in LA's Skid Row funded by Mike Kelley's estate, to New Yorkers asking Who Stole the House?, artists are addressing the cost of property

The residents of Los Angeles's Skid Row have faced many perils. Yet they haven't up until now, had to contend with golf-related injuries. This may change in a little over six months' time, when a new nine-hole course is scheduled to open in this Los Angeles neighbourhood, home to 3-6,000 of America's homeless.

These urban fairways are not the work of some misguided sports-facility developer, but a collaboration between local artist Rosten Woo and the Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), a performance art and activist group based in the area. Woo intends to create The Back 9, a playable course of nine holes inside LAPD's Skid Row History Museum and Archive, as a way of addressing Skid Row's current and historic zoning issues.

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Source: Art house: Los Angeles and New York artists tackle the inequity of real estate


Walter De Maria review – land art pioneer's work comes to ground

By Adrian Searle

Gagosian, London
De Maria's art is electrifying outside, but inside this show, his untouchable steel sculptures and uninspiring statements fail to tingle the spine

A founding figure of what has become known as land art, Walter De Maria is best known for his 1977 Lightning Field, the one mile-by-one kilometre field of steel poles driven into the ground in a remote part of New Mexico. Each pole in the grid is a slightly different length, to accommodate for the unevenness of the land, but their pointed tips are at the same elevation, describing an invisible plane. At certain times of the year, the rods attract lightning strikes from the thunderstorms that roll across the desert. Lightning Field, like Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, is a site of pilgrimage and wonder.

Related: Thunderbolts and time travel: my journey to the cosmic heart of land art

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Source: Walter De Maria review – land art pioneer's work comes to ground


Malvina Cheek obituary

By Magdalen Evans

Artist who recorded English buildings, towns, villages and landscapes

When the National Gallery sent its collection to Wales for safekeeping at the outbreak of the second world war, its visionary director, Kenneth Clarke, wanted to keep visitors coming all the same. To attract audiences he showed in place of the familiar masterpieces the work of British artists who had been recording architectural landmarks in anticipation of their possible destruction.

Among those artists was Malvina Cheek, the last surviving official woman artist of the war, who has died aged 100. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in 1938, like many students of her generation she had fallen under the spell of the exquisite draftsmanship and engraving of Robert Sargent Austin. His influence, and an introduction to the painter and engraver and administrator of the Recording Britain project, Arnold Palmer, resulted in commissions for Cheek to paint important buildings in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cornwall.

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Source: Malvina Cheek obituary


Mosque, circus, Neverland UK … the best failed ideas for Battersea Power Station

By Peter Watts

With development of London's best-known riverside ruin finally under way, Peter Watts remembers what could have been – from a Noddyland theme park to a rubbish incinerator or Chelsea's football ground

For 30 years, the listing for Battersea Power Station in the London A-Z has alternated between “under development” and “disused”. Right now, it's very much the former.

London's best-known ruin buzzes with traffic. Built in the 1930s and abandoned since 1983, the power station is covered in scaffolding and has just a single new chimney; three original, rotten chimneys have been demolished and are being rebuilt. In the building's shadow, blocks of flats are rising, acres of glass that obstruct long-cherished views.

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Source: Mosque, circus, Neverland UK … the best failed ideas for Battersea Power Station


Living in boxes (and thinking out of them) might solve our housing crisis | Deborah Orr

By Deborah Orr

Different generations are sharing homes again. It sounds awful to me, but it's spawning plenty of good ideas

Our two main political parties have just spent 40 years creating and nurturing the housing crisis. Is it realistic to expect them now to fix it? Or are we all going to have to get into DIY? People are already coming up with their own domestic solutions. The most obvious one is that adults, young and not so young, are moving back into the family home. The insurance company Aviva estimates that by 2025 3.8 million people aged between 21 and 34 could be living with their parents (compared with 2.8 million in 2015).

Related: House prices to force extra 1m young people to live with parents

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Source: Living in boxes (and thinking out of them) might solve our housing crisis | Deborah Orr


Bhupen Khakhar review – Mumbai's answer to Beryl Cook

By Jonathan Jones

Tate Modern, London
Why is Tate Modern exhibiting an old-fashioned, second-rate artist whose paintings recall the kind of British painters it would never let through its doors?

What makes painting modern? Is it abstraction, or depicting the modern world, or a mixture of the two? Painting as a medium should have died out long ago according to some definitions of modern art, and yet people keep at it. What is it that can still give these daubs relevance?

Tate has the answer and it is a surprise. On the evidence of its latest Bankside exhibition, to be truly modern a painter has to be a hamfisted hack. Talented artists need not apply. That must be why Howard Hodgkin, David Hockney and Frank Auerbach have to make do with retrospectives at Tate Britain, while the incredibly unimpressive Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar, who died in 2003, is glorified as an important modern artist in the hallowed – and soon to be even more grandiose – industrial temple that is Tate Modern.

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Source: Bhupen Khakhar review – Mumbai's answer to Beryl Cook


Frontier Imaginaries: evolving, touring art show explores global politics and Australian history

By Andrew Frost

Part of an global curatorial project that heads to Palestine next, the Brisbane iteration is sprawling and high in concept, rewarding time and an open mind

There are actually places known as “the frontier”. Travelling in Mexico and Central America in the early 1990s I memorised the question “donde estan los autobus para la frontera?” ­to help me find the bus that went to the border. Once there, I was struck by the tentative nature of civilisation in these often disputed zones, where the natural consequences of global capitalism were the exploitation of resources and the displacement of local populations.

In the cities the world seems far more certain, but the further you go beyond the hinterland and towards these in-between places the more ambiguous it becomes.

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Source: Frontier Imaginaries: evolving, touring art show explores global politics and Australian history


Dispatch from Maribynong 

By Crikey

Ms Tips often feels a bit of sympathy for the candidates who do their party duty and run in unwinnable seats, but according to this tipster the Liberal candidate in Bill Shorten's seat of Maribyrnong, Ted Hatzakortzian, has just enough chutzpah for the job:

“I live across the road from Bill Shorten's electoral office in the seat of Maribyrnong and three times in two weeks, the Liberal candidate has placed himself & his volunteers essentially right out the front, which is next to a busy crossing at a Moonee Ponds shopping centre. Very optimistic of him given the safety of the seat.”

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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