Take a wander through the world of one of Australia’s most daring artists
Heide is inviting visitors to step inside the cluttered, inspired and explosively colourful mind of the sometimes controversial artist Mike Brown. The Sometimes Chaotic World of Mike Brown gathers scrapbooks, collage, opinionated writings, paintings, sculptures, films and ephemera, on loan from Brown’s family and also his monographer Richard Haese.
In Haese’s essay, Permanent Revolution, Mike Brown and the Australian Avant-Garde, Haese chartered Brown’s career and captured the ground-breaking, divisive movement he forged in the '60s and '70s. Haese described Brown as an artist of “resistance, resentment and jealousy”. This exhibition is a visual journey through Brown’s personal life and his career. While Brown received criticism from artists and audiences for glamorising trash culture, Haese defended him by saying his work was a reaction or a provocation to the Zeitgeist.
Brown’s work drew inspiration from everything outside gallery walls: pop music, psychedelic drugs, tribal art and Dadaism. The closest we’ve had to an Australian Andy Warhol, Brown found himself defending his art against accusations from the law and the church. For example, his work ‘You’re Welcome’ featured slogans “F--- the bloody Pope” and “Kill God” among a collage of magazine cut-outs of half-naked men, birds and ballerinas. In 1966-67 he was prosecuted for obscenity. Brown passed away in 1997, but left us with an incredible treasure trove of works in various mediums to trawl through.