Outpost: Art from the Streets, Cockatoo Island


I’ve been keen for a while to check out Outpost: Art from the Streets at Cockatoo Island but alas various commitments has prevented us from doing so. Thankfully, an open schedule had synchronised with blue skies. It was a beautiful day in Sydney yesterday, especially after an entire week of torrential rain. What better time to visit?

For this exhibit, the defunct industrial Cockatoo Island was taken over by large (and small) scale urban art. The term is broad and all-encompassing, which is fitting, as the event included stencils, paste-ups, paintings on canvasses, paintings on buildings, graffiti and installation art.

There were two exhibits by local collectors who had amassed a sizeable collection of street art. The larger of the two collections, by a man and his partner, was kicked off by a Banksy t-shirt he’d once worn to a party and continued to a sizeable collection of international art. They’d apparently sold their cars and taken out a bank loan to grow their collection, a few Banksy pieces included.
The irony that Banksy derided capitalism in some of his stencils is not lost on the attendees. (There’s a great one of a activist/anarchist-types queueing up to buy a shirt that said “Destroy Capitalism”.) It all had an Exit Through the Gift Shop feel about it. Still… there was a Shepard Fairey print for $950 that I very briefly considered.
Oh, and t-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts, including write-ups on some big players in the t-shirt business that the curator had met.

There was a replica of the artist’s family home. Inside, a slow-motion video was playing of him destroying family sedans.
A great morning out in the harbour.

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