Daniel Crooks
High Street (After Ruscha)

5th May – 2nd June 2018
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Daniel Crooks’ vir­tu­osic video-scapes have cap­ti­vat­ed audi­ences from across the world. In his lat­est work, High Street (after Ruscha) 2017, com­mis­sioned by Bun­doo­ra Home­stead Art Cen­tre for the Dare­bin Art Col­lec­tion, Crooks has giv­en him­self the unimag­in­able assign­ment of doc­u­ment­ing his own neigh­bour­hood in High Street, Pre­ston, a daunt­ing task that man­i­fests in what the artist describes as 64 worlds’ stitched togeth­er from the point where High Street inter­sects Dun­das Street all the way up to Tyler Street. The title pays homage to Amer­i­can artist Edward Ruscha’s (1937-) pho­to­graph­ic doc­u­men­ta­tion of the infa­mous Sun­set Boule­vard in the city as the ulti­mate card-board cut out town’. It is pre­cise­ly the two-dimen­sion­al flat­ness pre­sent­ed in each page of Ruscha’s con­certi­na books that is clear­ly ref­er­enced in Crooks’ new work.

High Street (after Ruscha) com­mences with a black void, before the first of these worlds’ scrolls across the screen. For those famil­iar with High Street, the rich cul­tur­al diver­si­ty, the idio­syn­crat­ic archi­tec­tur­al styles and the var­i­ous dis­plays of both hand-paint­ed and com­mer­cial sig­nage are all imme­di­ate­ly recog­nis­able: from Balkan Fresh Burek’ to Kebab House; from the Zagreb Croa­t­ian Book­shop’ to Sylvester’s Dial a Piz­za’. Unlike sec­tions of High Street North­cote, this is a neigh­bour­hood where gen­tri­fi­ca­tion has not yet tak­en its unmis­take­able hold. There is a real threat that much of the cul­tur­al diver­si­ty rep­re­sent­ed could pos­si­bly be lost, replaced with high-rise apart­ments and trendy hip­ster cafes. In the words of the artist: It real­ly feels like High Street Pre­ston is on the cusp of a major change, so in a sense this project was about try­ing to cap­ture some of that authen­tic old school char­ac­ter before its lost’.

- Claire Wat­son, Senior Cura­tor, Bun­doo­ra Home­stead Arts Centre

This work was com­mis­sioned by the Bun­doo­ra Home­stead Art Cen­tre. With thanks to Claire Wat­son, Senior Cura­tor. Sound by Byron Scullin (addi­tion­al arrange­ment by Daniel Crooks).


Daniel Crooks

High Street (After Ruscha), 2017