work / MITTY'S/TV WEEK (1980-1985) 2020



15 December 2020 - 28 february 2021

Uptown is a free art exhibition that transforms the top of Bourke Street into a huge outdoor art gallery. This uniquely Melbourne experience combines art, architecture and streetscape by matching 26 contemporary Melbourne artists with local businesses, vacant shops, windows, building exteriors and laneways. The uptown exhibition captures the character of our city and helps Melburnians reconnect with the heart of their city. Funded by the City of Melbourne through the Melbourne City Recovery Fund. Artists include Peter Atkins Damiano Bertoli, Polly Borland, Danica Chappel, Su san Cohn, Destiny Deacon,Yanni Florence, John Gollings, Louise Hearman, Bill Henson, Janina Green, Lou Hubbard, Eugenia Lim, James Lynch, Alasdair McLuckie, Viv Miller, Kent Morris, Elizabeth Newman, Louise Paramor, Kenny Pittock, Kerrie Poliness, Steven Rhall, Elle Shimada, The Huxleys, Lisa Young, Constanze Zikos.


"This new public art initiative gave me the perfect opportunity to extend a recent project of much smaller works based on early 1980s TV WEEK magazine covers out into the public domain with a large scale installation that relates specifically to our early popular culture. The monochromatic, deconstructed TV WEEK paintings are meant to act as memory triggers…perhaps evoking for viewers narratives of more innocent times, perhaps snuggled up with family after dinner in the lounge room, when television shows such as Cop Shop, Benny Hill, Son’s and Daughter’s, The Love Boat and Dallas reigned supreme on our television sets.The extensive titles for each work also help rekindle those memories and are essentially an historic roll call of the who’s who of early 80’s TV". Peter Atkins


MITTY'S/TV WEEK 1980-1985

Mitty’s Newsagent on Bourke Street has traded on the same site since 1913 with Frederick Mitty being the original proprietor. He was also one of the founding shareholders of Hoyts cinemas as well as president of the St Kilda Football Club. Mitty died in 1941 but his Newsagency continues to trade and has become a much-loved icon within the City of Melbourne. Mitty’s provides the perfect platform for this public art project, especially when you consider the rich narratives and connections associated between the newsagency and my TV WEEK paintings. It’s quite possible that Mitty’s may have sold the original TV WEEK magazines from the early 1980s that are referenced in this installation. Forty years later they reappear back in the public realm, placed within the windows inside the newsagent, looking out to Bourke Street engaging with a new audience. TV WEEK has been deconstructed, reworked and recontextualised. They are presented back to the viewer as enormous paintings that perhaps evoke another more innocent time and help celebrate Melbourne’s own history and Popular Culture.

TV Week 1980-1985 attempts to locate pure monochromatic colour within the specific era of the early to mid-1980s. The purple/lilac along with the quintessentially 80s bright orange and yellow remind us that colour can transport us into another time and emotional space. Each work in the series has a list of titles which reference the layered headlines seen on the covers of the popular Australian TV gossip magazine - when television series such as Cop Shop, Dallas, Sons and Daughters, A Country Practice and The Love Boat were prime time viewing for most families in Australia. The sensational headline ‘Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude’ coupled with the evocative ’Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion’ were the first titles selected for the series. It appeared that each magazine had increasingly more ridiculous headlines, including ‘Life as Pat the Rat – Rowena Wallace Tells’, ‘Nose Job for George Negus’ and ‘Benny Hill – Why I Shun Women’. Other titles such as ‘Jamie Redfern - Liberace Was Like A Father to Me’ and ‘New Sexy Rolf Harris’ take on a different meaning, adding a somewhat sinister tone, especially when viewed through the lens of history. These titles are important descriptors as they help guide the viewer back to particular moments in time. I have kept the large, bold television shaped form and text of the now obsolete TV Week logo intact as it’s a firm memory trigger and an important locator of experience for the viewer of the project. It’s almost impossible to look back at these magazines with their lurid headlines and storylines and not marvel at the apparent innocence of the 1980s, especially when viewed from the world’s current context. 


Titles: left to right

“Nose Job For George Negus / It’s Bert’s Gold / Cop Shop Star Quits / Angels On The Dole! / Joan Collins’ Nude Scenes / Mike Walsh’s Top 10 Movies / Benny Hill – Why I Shun Women / Farnham And Byrne Back On Top! / Super WHAM! Pin-Up”

“Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion / Patti Newton’s Get-Fit Guide / Lee Major’s 20 Years Of Sadness / Burt Reynolds – ‘Women, Booze And Me’ / ‘Life As Pat The Rat’ – Rowena Wallace Tells / Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude / Bill Cosby Reveals: ‘I Whacked My Son With A Big Stick’ / New Sexy Rolf Harris / Pseudo Echo Pin-Up”

“Farrah Wants Ryan’s Baby / Don Lane’s Farewell Party / TV Bitches Sharpen Their Claws / WIN -Man From Snowy River Video / Tony Barber’s Valentine’s Day Fantasy / Mick Jagger – Rolling Strong At 37 / I’m No Recluse’ – Says Graham Kennedy / Jamie Redfern – Liberace Was Like A Father To Me / Bucks Fizz Pin-Up”


All works 140cm w x 1800cm h

Acrylic on canvas on board