Comment, upcoming events, people, news and views

Dangerous invitation
Latest chapter in the mini-series of artist Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble and his detention in Buffalo, USA in 2004 on bioterrorism charges (based on possession of petri dishes containing benign forms of bacteria, and scientific equipment for monitoring genetically altered food which was part of an artwork he was making for an art museum). In a recent hearing the judge was told of Kurtz's possession of a photograph of an exploded car with Arabic writing beside it, but not of the photograph's context: an invitation to an important museum art show! Because of the photo, the judge issued a warrant calling for the seizure of anything with Arabic writing. See for more information.

Union fees for art
If the Senate is not able to prevent the government from outlawing compulsory student union fees, the future of many campus galleries which are funded by this revenue could be dire. Many young artists get their first break at a student union gallery or theatre.

Back to basics
Bruised and battered New Media practitioners who recently lost their Australia Council Board, can now read the terms of a Council-run 'scoping study' which will investigate what exactly New Media is and how it fits within the broader culture. A reference group has been convened by Andrew Donovan (Director Inter-Arts Office), comprising Lesley Alway, (Chair of Visual Arts Craft Board), Julian Knowles from the Music Board, Ben Strout, the OzCo's numbers/strategy guru, and two nominees from New Media Arts Australia. The research should be finished by the end of 2005 after which there will be another study undertaken by the Inter-Arts Office to look at the long term sustainability of the new media sector. Issues like the difficulty of archiving new media work will be discussed at the Vital Signs conference RMIT's School of Creative Media held in conjunction with the Australia Council on 8 – 9 September 2005 at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

Public funding for arts in the US shaky
It was reported recently that if the US Supreme Court supports Congress it will, in effect, be the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding. Apparently government officials believe that $US1.2 for public radio is too much funding for something which is not seen as worthwhile. On the other hand the Terra Foundation for American Art has awarded a US$3.6 million grant to The Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art to enable them to digitise their resources (nearly 1.6 million documents), which will then be made available free of charge on the internet. If one has to choose, which is more important - history or new work?

Enlightenment now
The National Library of Australia has purchased Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), an enormous database of eighteenth century texts digitised from microfilm. The eighteenth century was a period of upheaval, of revolution and major discoveries. ECCO is a powerful research tool that uses the internet to allow people to search by author, title and subject, but also by key words and phrases and other advanced options including 'fuzzy' searching.

Steal, borrow or just use?
Creative Commons is a new way of thinking about copyright from the viewpoint of users and the greater public good, and whilst it is appealing to some sectors it embodies some serious issues for visual artists. The Federal Government's recent discussion paper on the 'fair dealing' exceptions section in the Copyright Act canvasses the debate on Creative Commons and tries to provide a balance between the interests of copyright owners and copyright users. In an attempt to protect creative artists the National Association for the Visual Arts has developed a position on this. To read about it, follow the link 'NAVA Submission' from NAVA's homepage,

Pay per view
NAVA's latest challenge is to create an irresistible case for establishing a scale of artists' fees for exhibiting in loan exhibitions in public galleries. This was prompted by the actions of Sydney Art Seen, an artists' activist group which has been agitating for payments by having sit-ins at art museums and sending emails to the Prime Minister. NAVA is conducting focus groups around Australia to research the best way of achieving these ends and also an on-line forum from 15 – 30 September where you can have your say.

Vizard unmasked?
(From 28 July 2005): 'The Vizard Foundation was heavily involved in the art world through the donation of paintings to various galleries. But two years ago Steve Vizard was questioned over allegations that he claimed tax deductions on six paintings that were never purchased. Vizard was also noted for his meagre donations to the National Gallery of Victoria while he was president of the gallery's trustees. It's possible that all the attention on Vizard's activities could activate an ATO investigation into the tax status of Vizard's extensive (and expensive) art collection.'

Animal remains
Appeared in an email recently from The Queensland Centre for Photography: 'IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Marian Drew is currently working on her 'Australiana' project, and is in need of materials. If you find any FRESH dead animals (not rotten or deformed in any way – ie squashed), please freeze and send a message to the QCP ( for collection. We would be very grateful for any assistance you can give – keep your eyes open. Thank you!'

South Project Online Forums: Recently launched, these discussions relating to the South are a fertile source of dialogue for focus groups, debate on current issues and a research tool for artists and cultural workers. Topics include the impending Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, sustainable art practices in the South, dictionary/expressions of the South, the Melbourne hypothetical for 2056 and the culture of criticism in the South. Go to the South Project web site

International events

" The fifth edition of the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) will be the first major exhibition at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QGMA) in November 2006. The APT is the only major series of exhibitions in the world to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Asia and the Pacific, including Australia. The QGMA, the Queensland Art Gallery's second building on the South Bank site, will be the largest gallery of modern art in Australia, and an important new cultural landmark. The names of 14 of the selected artists were released in June, including two of the 'club of 112' biennial artists (see article and chart p34) Yang Fudong and Anish Kapoor. There will be about 35 artists invited in total.
" ISEA Symposium 2006 This celebrated annual gathering of electronic arts practitioners, will be held 5 – 13 August 2006 in San Jose, California in conjunction with the local ZeroOne San Jose festival. Leading up to it individuals or groups will be commissioned to work with various San Jose communities around the theme 'Community Domain' combining technologies such as GPS, mobile communications or digital imagery to map their experiences and to tell their stories.
"South Project Wellington Gathering: Between earth and sky – Ways of making a place in a placeless world. Artists and makers from across the South explore creation of local identity in an increasingly global society, responses to the histories of colonisation, Internet, Free Trade Agreements, migration, tourism, Hollywood and global spectacle, 20 – 21 October 2005 in Wellington New Zealand.
" Art Forum Berlin 2005, the International Fair for Contemporary Art, will run 29 September – 3 October.
" The 9th Shanghai Art Fair 2005 will be presenting galleries in a pyramid plan with international galleries at the top end and folk arts etc at the base see Citing the special marketing value of a new Chinese consumer base, Austrade is offering free support services for Australian galleries and studios taking part. 16 – 20 November.
" The 5th ARTSingapore Contemporary Asian Art Fair being held again at Suntec, has 50 galleries participating from about 15 countries, 29 September to 3 October 2005.
" Ars Electronica 2005, 1 - 6 September, has chosen 'HYBRID – living in paradox' as its theme for this year's event in Linz, Austria.
" The Gordon Darling Foundation is a major sponsor of the tour of the Asia-Australia's exhibition Asian Traffic to Today Art Museum, Beijing from 1 - 15 September 2005. This will be the most ambitious exhibition of contemporary Australian art to be staged in China. It will tour to Shanghai, Shenzhen and Japan.

" Country Arts SA will undertake management of the Fleurieu Peninsula Biennial 2006.
" The Australian Book Review, edited by Peter Rose, has established an office at Flinders University, in addition to its home base at LaTrobe University
" The Community Cultural Development Board of the Australia Council issued its final memo to the field on 31 July. All CCD projects will now be absorbed into the fabric of the overall Australia Council program with special attention from the newly badged audience and marketing division now called Community Partnerships.
" Statistics recently released by the Cultural Ministers' Council show that attendance at art galleries in 2002 was 4% higher than in 1999, reversing the trend for recorded falls in attendance rates between 1995 and 1999.
" The Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts 2006 has launched its new look, a silver design aimed at 'mirroring' the city and its flagship cultural event, which will run 3 – 19 March.
" The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) will bring together four international new media arts practitioners, including Jonah Brucker-Cohen (US) Katherine Moriwaki (US) and Adam Nash (Aust), to facilitate a New Media Lab Create Space in Melbourne's Meat Market, 3 – 15 October. See

Getting out more
" Ananguku Arts & Culture will be working with the Wayward Bus company to host art tours of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in SA. Contact Colin Koch, for more information on this very special opportunity to visit Indigenous art centres and country which are still unfamiliar to most city slickers.
" The Artrage Festival 05 runs from October 1 – 29 and is being mounted exclusively in Northbridge and the Perth CBD. The festival features a series of 10 key program streams covering all fields of cutting-edge creative endeavour. All program information is available from
" Artopia: Living Artists WA 14 October – 14 November, is a celebration of the flourishing Western Australian visual arts sector showing throughout the state in galleries and alternative spaces.
" Art Expo, Brisbane, Saturday 24 September, RNA Showgrounds, Fortitude Valley. Thousands of wholesale artworks, direct from artists from all over Australia. Prominent professionals, rising stars & amateurs. Contact Lili Andriani (curator) for more details

" The Art of Politics/The Politics of Art, Griffith University. Keynote speakers are Gerald McMaster, artist /curator (Canada) and Dillon Kombumerri, architect. Discussion topics include 'Aboriginal Art It's A White Thing!'. 'Supply and Demand of Art Stars' and 'Post the Public Art Policy: What next?'. Registration Fee $150. For more information contact Jill Jones, Events Coordinator, The Centre for Public Culture and Ideas, (07) 3875 7338 or 6 – 7 October 2005.
" Leading from the Edge: 2005 Public Galleries Summit is the third national conference for gallery professionals, this year presented by Museums & Galleries NSW and the Regional Galleries Association of NSW and hosted by Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, 9 -11 November 2005, (02) 9358 1760,
" The Pacific in Australia – Australia in the Pacific: inaugural conference of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies, (AAAPS) Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, to showcase Australian excellence in research and teaching about the Pacific Islands and will include the launch of AAAPS. Info Assoc Prof Grant McCall 24 – 27 January 2006.
" Culture Fix: Cultural Studies Association of Australasia National Conference 2005, University of Technology, Sydney, 25 – 27 November. See for more details. Strangely Familiar, an exhibition featuring the work of Fiona Hall and Fiona Macdonald will be running in the UTS Gallery from 1 November – 2 December as part of the conference.
Be in it
" The Gallipoli Art Prize is a new event with an annual prize value of $10,000 for paintings that depict the Gallipoli spirit. In addition to the Australian prize, a further $10 000 has been allocated for a similar event in Turkey. Artworks must be delivered on 3 or 4 April 2006.
" The 2005 City of Whyalla Art Prize will now be a biennial Award and the prize money is doubled to $25,000 making it one of the richest acquisitive Awards in Australia. Entries for pre selection by Friday 30 September. Get a form from Suzannah Jones, Co-ordinator (08) 8644 7305, or Country Arts SA on 8444 0400

" Glen Clarke's American crater near Hanoi #2 won the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia.
"2005 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards were launched on Friday 3 June, and 6 works (by Rosalind Atkins, Rew Hanks, Jodi Heffernan, Bruce Latimer, Laurie Nona and Anne Starling) were acquired for the Gallery's permanent collection, including inkjet, laser and digital printing methods.
" Nicholas Harding's portrait Bob's daily swim won the People's Choice for the 2005 Archibald Prize.
" Kevin Connor won the $20,000 2005 Dobell Prize for Drawing for his drawing, Le Grand Palais, Clemenceau, de Gaulle and me, judged by Elizabeth Cross.
" Ceramicist Fiona Murphy and artist Merrin Eirth won the two major acquisitive prizes of $7,500 in the Hobart Art Prize 2005.
" Sydney photographic artist Cherine Fahd has been awarded the $30,000 NSW Women and Arts Fellowship.
" Patricia Piccinini has won the 2005 annual Progressive Business Award, the first time this Victorian Premier's award has gone to an artist.

" Nicholas Tsoutas long-time Director of Artspace in Sydney is the new Artistic Director of the Casula Powerhouse.
" Julianne Pierce has left the Australian Network for Art and Technology to become Visual Arts Coordinator and Curator of Artists' Week and the New Media Program at the Adelaide Bank 2006 Festival of Arts.
" Samantha Compte has left the happy family at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in Melbourne to be with her own family.
" Ingrid Hoffman has been appointed Museum and Gallery Manager of Hawkesbury City Council.
" Anne Graham is the new Chair of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).
" Rebekah Butler has left Umbrella Studio to become Director of Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.
" Craig Judd has been appointed Senior Curator, Art & Decorative Arts, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
" Rhana Devenport, curator and writer, is joining the Biennale of Sydney team as Manager, Public Programs and Education.

Real Estate
" The $10 million state-of-the-art Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cnr Camden and Appin Rds, was launched on June 30.
" Artbank, which hires out works of art to companies and individuals, now has a Melbourne showroom at 845 High St, Armadale in addition to its Sydney home.
" The Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne reopened on 6 August after major renovations.
" Collect: finely crafted objects for life is since July 2005 the relaunched identity for Object Store which for more than ten years has been retailing contemporary Australian craft and design at 88 George St in The Rocks, Sydney.
" Johnston Gallery which opened in June at 20 Glyde St, Mosman Park in Perth, will be exhibiting emerging and established Australian artists including interstate and territory artists rarely seen in Western Australia. Director Felicity Johnston 08 9385 0855
" The Asia-Australia Art Centre in Hay St, Sydney will reopen at the end of September after extensive renovations.
" Trocadero Art Space has opened at Level 1, 119-121 Hopkins St, Footscray, to provide a professional gallery space as well as a large billboard for Melbourne's west.,