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A Look Inside Anthony Lister's 'Culture Is Over' Exhibition in an Old Kings Cross Strip Club

The famed Australian artist's new two-level exhibition is an homage to the vibrant Kings Cross of yesteryear.
By Marissa Ciampi
July 22, 2019
By Marissa Ciampi
July 22, 2019

Considered Brisbane's Banksy by many, famed Australian artist Anthony Lister is at it again. This time, he has launched a ten-year anniversary show in Kings Cross — and it's free to the public.

Culture Is Over pays homage to the bygone era of Kings Cross as the once thriving cultural hub of our city. The exhibition marks ten years since Lister's pop-up event No Win Sitch, which helped the artist gain international recognition. It took place in the now-closed Porky's Nite Spot — a notorious Darlinghurst Road strip club that closed its doors in 2018 after 30 years in operation.

Fittingly, Culture is Over has also taken over the old Porky's digs, and is happening on the exact same date ten years later, no less. It's an exploration of just how much Sydney has changed in the past ten years.

'Proved All The Boring Girls Just That' by Anthony Lister. Image: Billy Zammit Photography

This latest exhibition is inspired by Lister's arguably most-famous artwork Moloch of Luna Park, which depicts the unidentified horned man that is said to have terrorised Luna Park guests back in 1979. Expect paranormal and mythical themes in a mix of painting, sculpture and video installation — all of which track how, according to Lister, our city has "lost its soul", thanks to the lockout laws.

The exhibition showcases 59 of Lister's works across two levels. As you explore the old strip club, you'll encounter works such as My Gentle Struggle, No Eye Contact (Is In The Cross), So Long For Knowing And Short Of Cares, Proved All The Boring Girls Just That, Spit In My Face, Never To Be Seen Again, The Witch Of Kings Cross and Passive Casual Judgement.

'Culture is Over' by Anthony Lister. Image: Myles Kalus Photography

The first level is a neon-lit, darkened room, with black walls and large-scale paintings throughout — as well as crumbling sculptures at the front and back of the space. This is Lister's way of "turning the neon lights back on in the strip" and returning to the rebellion of the old Kings Cross. The second level is then a bright white room, filled with video installations, prints, sculptures and paintings.

"This new body of works and subsequent show is an exploration into a mysterious subject which has been kept relatively quiet for nearly 40 years," says Lister in a statement. "The focus of these artworks exists somewhere between paranormal investigation and the findings of private detective obsessions, grounded in the facts of myth and the horror of reality."

'Culture is Over' by Anthony Lister. Image: Myles Kalus Photography

The free exhibition runs for just one week, ending on Wednesday, July 24. For serious collectors (and serious fans with some cash to splash), some of Lister's artwork will be available to purchase, too — with originals priced at a cool $5000 to $18,000 bucks, and prints at a more reasonable $200. Over 30 have already sold, so, if you're interested, get on it.

Culture Is Over is open to the public from July 19–24 at Porky's Nite Spot, 77 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point. Opening hours are Monday–Friday between 11am–3pm. 

Images: Myles Kalus Photography and Billy Zammit Photography

Published on July 22, 2019 by Marissa Ciampi
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