Born 1983, Adelaide, South Australia, Lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia
Active in the Adelaide contemporary art scene (he is founding director of ARI FELTspace and currently curator at CACSA), Monte Masi is also completing an MA by research at the University of South Australia into online vernacular video and its impact on contemporary art practice. Principally a performance–based video artist, he inhabits a genre that draws its influence from popular, mass–produced media: 80s grunge–garage bands with their wonky hand-held video cams, karaoke, side-show spruiker cum mellifluous, midday talk–show host, or hypeman in a hiphop performance. Conceptually, his work is informed by theorists such as Jan Verwoert and Boris Groys and is inflected with the satirical interrogations of artists such as Pablo Helguera (‘The Art World Home Companion’) and Australian actor Garry McDonald’s 1970s alter–ego Norman Gunston.
Masi’s approach to the promotion of contemporary practices of other artists is a collaborative gesture; in his performances he alternates between self–parodic and informed personas. As he states, ‘I see my principle role as being ‘artist as highlighter’, as a host with hosting as a form of authorship’.
In his two most recent bodies of work, Songs for Artworks and Spend some time with ...., in which he sings to artworks and interviews the artists, Masi teases out that febrile, Beuysian and sometimes porous definition of cultural producer – ‘Is there anything an artist can do – if he/she turns their attention to other artists – that a curator cannot?’ Testing this critique through appropriating and then reconfiguring curatorial processes, Masi the artist, is interested in exploring artists’ individual conceptual processes and in communicating his enthusiasm for their work, through the viral vernacular world of online videos. His observation that ‘right now seems a key moment to investigate how art is made, who is looking at it, and what it is doing for those deeply involved with it’, carries a subtle self–awareness of his implication within the rapidly evolving spaces of contemporary practice and institutional critique.
Text by Dr Anne Sanders, art historian and writer based near Canberra, who writes regularly for art magazines, journals and exhibition catalogues.
2012 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2012 Graduate Student, California College of the Arts, USA
2011 Master of Visual Arts, South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia
2007 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia
Artist's website: www.montemasi.com