I was baffled by the recent success of ‘Arthur’s Day’. The marketing people at Guinness, employing the method made famous by Christianity of making up feast days, must be enjoying a well-deserved slap on the back. I seem impervious to the adage that ‘any advertising is good advertising’ and was clueless as to why town was so busy. I put this down to my ad-phobia from living in the US. There they run the first of a ridiculous amount of ads after the title music. A half-hour episode of Friends was extended to 60min. Also the ads managed to well and truly put you in your place. If I chose to watch Sex and the city, I was treated to dating sites, tampon ads and urinary-tract infection cures. When I watched Padraig Harrington win ‘The Open’ (at 8am), I was hit with a litany of erectile dysfunction and prostate problems. Golfers have a lot to deal with.
I now mute the ads and was completely ignorant of ‘Arthur’s Day’. I couldn’t believe it when I made my way to the new gallery, The Master Thief’s Secret Lair, on South William Street at 6pm on Thursday and was trapped between Grogans and Powerscourt. I was squeezed into a sea of people holding their Guinness aloft and toasting ‘Arthur’. I eventually made it to the gallery for the MA showing of NCAD’s Art in the Contemporary World class, of which I am a nonpractising member. I have to say the show was added to by the chaos of outside and was rammed full of people. I cannot say the same for ‘Culture Night’ the following evening. I am not overly surprised; the only PR for Culture Night I received was a booklet given to all the museums and galleries which I picked up at a show. Now forgive me, but placing the PR for such an event in museums and galleries is preaching to the converted. Dare I say it, but what about an ad? We do work in the visual-culture field after all? Run a competition and get some talented young artist to make it.
Despite all that, I did have a lovely Culture Night. Whilst at the new-issue launch for Circa at the RHA, I saw the Futures 2009 exhibition. I particularly enjoyed Aideen Barry’s installation. Barry showed a video of what looked like an early-evolutionary human swimming in space. The sperm-like costume worn in the projection was displayed in the space as a sculptural work surrounded by futuristic explosive devices – the tenuous balance of life and technology proving precarious. Then it hit me: why don’t we get the erectile dysfunction people onto this? We could have no end of links. We can have Barry in association with Viagra or say Maria McKinney (who displayed mannequins with burnt matches scorched into their skin surrounded by cocktail umbrellas) in association with Alka-Seltzer? You may think I am crazy, but I bet MOMA has already looked into this.