Crisis in art education
What is happening in our art schools? For the past few years anecdotal evidence has been coming in from all over Australia of threats to painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and other so called 'fine art' courses as well as news of courses that have been closed or savagely cut.
Design, particularly graphic design, is the favoured child of the moment, and the universities seem set to ditch or decimate courses which do not have a direct and easy pathway to employment in today's marketplace. While the benefits of a wide-ranging education in visual arts disciplines for employability in many diverse careers have been known for decades, the universities with their short-term rationalist hats on are blithely tossing centuries of knowledge base out with barely a thought for what this will cost society at large in the medium to long term. Graduates who can put together a website but who have never held a brush or have any understanding of the history of art beyond Warhol could become the norm. South Australia is tackling the problem from the other end, trying to restore its tattered pre-school, primary and secondary arts education to a more respectable level after years of neglect, using the Champions for Change research as evidence for why it is necessary (see article this issue page 54). NAVA is taking up the cudgels for art education in its Federal election strategy this year and is keen for artists, students and others to contact them with information and case studies to support a campaign to ensure that all Australians have access to training in visual literacy and art history, theory and practice at all levels. Send your information to Sandy Saxon firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography in defence of nature
Late in 2003 World Wildlife Fund for Nature held a camp for 20 Australian landscape photographers so they could capture and promote the beauty of the Tarkine forests in NW Tasmania. The Tarkine is one of the world's pristine wild places and is currently earmarked by Forestry Tasmania for the removal of red myrtle, threatening the integrity of this area. The photographers' efforts - and the Tarkine's profile – will be promoted by a travelling photographic exhibition and book during 2004.
WWF believes that eco-tourism, rather than a few pieces of fine furniture for the privileged, will be a major component of long-term protection for the Tarkine. To make that a reality WWF will be launching a series of treks into the 65 million year old heart of the Tarkine in March, details www.wwf.org.au
" The Network of Un-Collectable Artists (NUCA) is a brand new nation-wide affiliation connecting those who gravitate towards ephemeral projects, participatory experiences, illegal art actions, etc. Some make unwieldy installations, while others alter billboards, project images in abandoned spaces at night, or exchange ideas rather than objects. For Melbourne's 2004 Next Wave Festival, NUCA will launch 'Australia's 50 Most Un-Collectable Artists', a set of BubbleGum Cards documenting the activities of these elusive individuals and, in deliberate collector-unfriendly mode, distributed by itinerant vendors at the various venues. http://www.uncollectables.net/
EXHIBITIONS TO WATCH
March – June 2004
" The 2nd Auckland Triennial, Public/Private Tumatanui/Tumataiti comprises 39 artists' projects. Leading and emerging artists from Australasia, the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa will open up, probe and consider the notion of privacy in various ways with the emphasis on audience enjoyment and debate. A 2-day symposium 20 –21 March with a series of international speakers will address the issues raised. Artists include Laurie Anderson (USA) Tiong Ang (Netherlands) Polly Borland (UK/Aust) Mutlu Çerkez (Aust) Chris Cunningham (UK) Margaret Dawson (NZ) Et Al. (NZ) Kathleen Herbert (UK) Jenny Holzer (USA) Lonnie Hutchison (NZ) Ilya & Emilia Kabakov (USSR/USA) Emiko Kasahara (Japan) William Kentridge (RSA) Lauren Lysaght (NZ) Emily Mafile'o (NZ) Thando Mama (RSA) Julia Morison (NZ) Callum Morton (Aust) Robert Poulie (Australia) Lisa Reihana (NZ) Lorna Simpson (USA) Sean Snyder (Germany/USA) Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (USA) Yuan Goang-Ming (Taiwan), Auckland Art Gallery, University of Auckland's Gus Fisher and George Fraser Galleries and Artspace, 20 March - 30 May 2004.
IMAGE: 1. Laurie Anderson At the shrinks 1975/1997 Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery,
2. Lauren Lysaght Trifecta 2003 (detail)
" Sublime: 25 years of the Wesfarmers Collection comprises highlights of this large corporate collection, normally housed in Perth, with colonial through to contemporary art in various media, using the theme of the sublime. Items from the National Library's collection illustrate the life experiences of painters on show eg photographic portraits of Arthur Boyd, John Brack, Rosalie Gascoigne, and Joy Hester. National Library of Australia, 12 February - 26 April.
" Place made: Australian Print Workshop, celebrates the acquisition of 3500 prints made at the APW over 20 years, showing a selection of 100, National Gallery of Australia until 14 April.
NEW SOUTH WALES
" On Reason and Emotion 14th Biennale of Sydney directed by Isabel Carlos, is designed as a walking tour exhibition leading the viewer through the most scenic parts of the city. Some of the 52 artists visited Sydney in November and December to plan their works for June: Nathan Coley (Scotland) who explores architecture could end up making fake façades on existing buildings, Minerva Cuevas (Mexico) may be producing and circulating student identifications to anyone who requests them, Rubens Mano (Brazil) works with light and the architecture of the city and Mario Rizzi (Italy) sometimes gives communities disposable cameras and exhibits the results. Main venues are Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW and the Royal Botanic Gardens.www.biennaleofsydney.com.au 4 June – 15 August.
IMAGE 3 MP & MP Rosado Colmena Negra 2003
" Double Sense (Origins in China) a collection of contemporary drawing from China's cutting edge artists, initiated by the International Drawing Research Institute, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington, 4 March – 10 April.
" Ed Ruscha photographs, paintings, films etc from 1960s to present, first solo show by this influential American artist, Museum of Contemporary Art to 23 May.
" Witness explores memory and recollection with film and video artists Darren Almond, (UK) Fiona Tan (Neth) Zhang Huan (USA/China) Brenda Croft (Aus) Whitfield Lovell (USA) Museum of Contemporary Art 12 March - 16 May.
" Rodney Glick video installations with Lynnette Voevodin, Museum of Contemporary Art to 9 May
" Architypes the impact of architecture and interior spaces on our inner lives, 6 artists from Australia, Canada and Japan, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 15 April – 22 May, Symposium with visiting artists and curators 16 April ph (02) 9385 0726.
" Transference Installation, mixed media and works on paper by Lee Salomone, forms and images that derive from his daily existence, presented as multiples to emphasise the ambiguity effect. Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney 5 - 27 March 2004
IMAGE 4 Lee Salomone Extreme Individualism, 2003, digital image.
" MAKEbelieve: Photographic Fictions brings together the work of 11 contemporary Australian photo-artists which focus on the subjectivity of photographic depiction. Paul Adair, Pat Brassington, Christine Cornish, Shayne Higson, Martyn Jolly, Mark Kimber, Helen Kundicevic, Polixeni Papapetrou, Samuel Phelps, Robyn Stacey and Stephanie Valentin. Stills Gallery to 13 March.
IMAGE 5 Helen Kundicevic Untitled, 2003
" Anne Noble: Ruby's Room New Zealand photographer, Stills Gallery 21 April – 22 May.
IMAGE 6 Anne Noble Ruby's Room #10 2000-2002 inkjet print on vinyl
" Fluorescent by sound artist Philip Brophy, pays homage to the multi-sexual Glam aesthetic with a mock narcissistic video-clip-style music installation in which a transmogrified sexual monster, roams and prances across a videosonic platform turning the space into a virtual stage. Fluorescent is part of the larger music project by Brophy, evolving after Brophy produced and directed Give me Liberty for the band Honeysmack giving rise to the question why not produce a video for a wholly fake 'recording artist'. Art Gallery of New South Wales, 14 February 14 until March 18, 2004
" Red Cedar in Australia depicts, in photographs and cedar objects, the rapacious extraction of this timber from forests in the 19th century and the uses to which it was put. Museum of Sydney 8 May – 15 August.
Man Ray, 200 works in a definitive survey not to be missed, Art Gallery of NSW to 18 April.
" 2004 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, photo-media artists Destiny Deacon, Adam Geczy & Peter Sculthorpe, James Geurts, David Haines, Bill Henson, Derek Kreckler, Rosemary Laing, Liu Xioa Xian, Tracey Moffatt, Deborah Paauwe, Mike Parr, Patricia Piccinini, David Rosetzky, Darren Siwes, Silvia Vélez, Linda Wallace, Craig Walsh, Justene Williams, and Bronwyn Wright. Art Gallery of SA 28 February – 30 May.
" Other Adelaide Festival shows John Glover and the Colonial Picturesque, Art Gallery of SA 19 February – 12 April " Holy Holy Holy Flinders University City Gallery 27 February – 14 March " William Robinson: The Revelation of Landscape University of SA Art Museum 26 February – 4 April "Art of the Biotech Era Experimental Art Foundation 26 February – 10 April;
PLUS "Christine Borland (UK) Contemporary Art Centre of SA " Stories from Australia: Aboriginal & TSI Peoples at Tandanya "The Rugs of War Afghan carpets, at Nexus Multicultural Art Centre " Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessy at Greenaway Art Gallery " David Larwill at BMGART
" Experimenta House of Tomorrow, visions of the future home through the eyes of digital media artists, filmmakers, architects, scientists and designers comes to Adelaide from its blockbuster Melbourne season. Its astonishing assortment of hi-tech film, video, animation and interactive media installations - ranging from the practical, the virtual to the truly bizarre attracted over 47,000 people in a month. Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre 25 February – 27 March
" Group Material a CAST exhibition of works by contemporary Tasmanian artists Ben Booth, Neil Haddon, Anthony Johnson, Anna Philips and Lucia Usmiani. where the transformation of everyday materials is intrinsic to their art practice. Queens Warehouse Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 19 March - 2 May 2004
" Ancher, Ball and Terroir a collaboration between an artist (Jessica Ball), a furniture designer (Simon Ancher) and architects (Reinmuth Blythe Balmforth Terroir) about the iconic Australian tin shed, coinciding with 2004 Young Designers Month, CAST Hobart, March 6 – 28.
" The Dark Woods surveys current production by young Australian artists whose work culminates in publication through comics, articulating the concerns of Australian youth, and covers issues of identity, of being young, and trying to find a place in the world. Carnegie Gallery, Hobart to 14 March, to Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery 28 May – 11 July.
" Unpopular Culture is the theme for the 2004 Next Wave Festival which will involve site-specific works and projects that encourage the use of urban spaces not traditionally associated with art, such as nightclubs, cafes, laneways, parks and public squares, walls, windows and buildings in transition. www.nextwave.org.au 18 to 30 May.
" In the vein, paintings and works on paper on water, deserts, fragile landscapes and the Big Tree by Melbourne artist Antonia Chaffey, currently on a residency near Mildura on the River Murray. Part of Mildura-Wentworth Arts Festival, Gallery 25, Mildura, 5 March – 22 April.
IMAGE 7 Antonia Chaffey Survey II, 2004 watercolour on rice paper on wood
" Caravaggio & his World, eight paintings by Caravaggio and 50 by his followers including Artemesia Gentileschi, National Gallery of Victoria, 11 March – 30 May
" The Second Grid Architects, designers and artists have developed a light installation with Kape Communications celebrating Melbourne's built environment. It will use the ground and upper levels of the city, connecting buildings with light projections from the Collins St Commonwealth Bank building triggering changes in the eastern side of the city including the 180 Russell Street car park building commonly known as the TV Box. Active 6 – 12 March with an exhibition in the Glass Atrium at Federation Square 9 - 11 March. www.thesecondgrid.com
" The Ideal and the Real recent photographs by Donna Bailey, Carolyn Dew and Julie Millowik, three artists from central Victorial who have developed a collaborative approach. Bendigo Art Gallery, 1 May – 6 June.
IMAGE 8 Carolyn Dew Still & Loud #19 2003 photograph
" Howard Taylor: Towards Discovery : Paintings, maquettes and drawings, Galerie Düsseldorf, 15 February - 28 March 2004
This exhibition runs concurrently with the Howard Taylor Retrospective at The Art Gallery of Western Australia.
" Howard Taylor: Phenomena uses work from the 1980s and 1990s to explore the themes such as 'forest figures', 'landscape colonnades' or 'forest regeneration' tracing the origins of these motifs from their earliest articulations from the 1950s and the 1970s to the present Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 5 February - 2 May http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au/howardtaylor/
" Disaster Narratives is a multi media installation by Kate McMillan (WA) which attempts to examine how we choose to ignore what lies beneath our feet eg the former Aboriginal prison and current holiday destination of Rottnest Island. Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, The UWA Perth International Arts Festival, 12 February - 21 March
IMAGE 9 Kate McMillan Disaster Narratives (detail), 2004, digital wallpaper print
" Contemporary Territory is a triennial exhibition of artproduced by leading contemporary artists with significant connections to the Northern Territory. Four Artists: The Territory Years features the work of Dadang Christanto, Annie Franklin, Pip McManus and
Judy Watson, created during their time in the Territory over the past ten years. 21st February - 3rd May 2004
" Donald Friend Retrospective, Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, ? - ? April
" Lobby Play: Nicole Voevedin Cash and Arryn Snowball, Code: Donna Marcus, Walker: Brad Nunn, Institute of Modern Art 29 April - 29 May
" Colour Country the emergence of innovative artistic styles by Indigenous Australian artists, many working with vibrant colours. Munduwalawala's painting Garimala (The two snakes) 1988 is featured, together with new acquisitions by Mitjili Napurrula, Minnie Pwerle and Theresa Lemon. Also Torres Strait Island Performance, dance headdresses and new work by Ken Thaiday. Queensland Art Gallery until 9 May.
" 2nd Auckland Triennial, Public/Private 20 March - 30 May
" Singapore Art Fair 8 – 12 April
" International Sculpture Symposium Hue, Vietnam May 10 - June 15
" Singapore Arts Festival 2004 28 May – 20 June
" Liverpool Biennial: UK The International 18 September – 28 November 2004
" Greg Mackie is the new Director of Arts SA replacing Kathie Massey who resigned in September last year in protest at cuts to the arts budget under the new Rann government.
" Robyn Archer has been reappointed Artistic Director of Ten Days on the Island for 2005 and is working closely with visual arts people in Tasmania to devise a strong visual arts program.
" Silk Cut Award for printmaking (linocuts only) a choice of return air fare to Amsterdam and accommodation, or $5000 cash. Judges Roger Butler, David O'Halloran, and Gina Panebianco. Deadline for entries 18 June from email@example.com or phone (03) 9524 3402
" Juliana Bartulin has won the inaugural $28,000 annual Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Travel Scholarship from the Sydney College of the Arts for a recent graduate of SCA of no more than four years. This is a new award given by the late Renee Fauvette Erdos, in memory of her mother Fauvette Loureiro, the eldest daughter of artist Arthur Loureiro.
" Michael Riley, Australian filmmaker and photographer won one of the three Grand Prizes at the 11th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh for Cloud, a series of large banners reflecting upon the Indigenous artist's enforced Christian education. The Melbourne-based partnership of Lyndell Brown and Charles Green received one of the seven Honourable Mention Awards. They were selected from amongst 633 works by over 300 artists from 44 countries from Asia, the Pacific region and Africa. The Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh is the longest running biennale in the world to focus on Asian art. The Australian works included in the Biennale were from the Asialink touring exhibition Photographica Australis organized by the Australian Centre for Photography.
" The inaugural Anne Landa Award exhibition will open at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in November 2004. This is a new $25,000 art award in honour of the late Anne Landa a trustee of the AGNSW and a passionate supporter of the visual arts, who died in 2002. The Award will be part of a biennial curated exhibition of innovative film, video, and photomedia and the first acquisitive award in Australia to focus on this area of practice. One work will be selected to enter the permanent collection of AGNSW.
" Wendy Mills by Timothy Morrell is an outline of the twenty year career of the Brisbane sculptor most well known for her permanent public art pieces. The book fascinatingly reveals her journey from the most ephemeral of materials (plastic sheeting, video projections etc) to the most enduring and how she has resolved her ambivalence towards the permanent. 56pp, 40pp of colour illustrations, published by Institute of Modern Art ph (07) 3252 5750.
" Ah Xian is the catalogue from the recent solo exhibition of the artist's work at the Queensland Art Gallery. A 56 page exquisitely produced publication with many colour plates it has three major texts including an illuminating conversation between Rhana Devenport, Linda Jaivan and Ah Xian. Available from the QAG ph (07) 3840 7303
" Amplification is a book of photographs of crashed cars taken by Jeff Busby and produced by 3 Deep Design who are carving a niche for themselves with limited editions using unconventional production techniques and materials which, in the case of Amplification, is on the edge of toxicity. The red and blue duco of the mangled car bodies in this book is echoed by the super-high gloss of the printing causing the thick shiny pages to crackle with static as you turn them. The smell of the laminating causes some to experience the retching response which perhaps the sight of the fresh wreckage might have induced. Those with strong stomachs order from firstname.lastname@example.org
IMAGE 10 Jeff Busby Amplification
" Home + Away by Matthew Sleeth is a boxed set of twin horizontal format books of colour photographs - one group taken in Australia, the other mostly in Europe and the USA. The modestness of the scale and style of the work, the ordinariness of the scenes are endearing - in the northern hemisphere urban subjects dominate: trains, roads, footpaths, shopping centres, graffiti; back home there is more evidence of the natural world though the sheep might be at the Royal Show, the trees might be spindly specimens behind a suburban fence and the ocean represented by a man posing on a surfboard in front of a life-size poster of a wave. Published by M.33, orders to m33photoagency.com
"The Space Between - Where art meets fashion conference and exhibition, 14 - 17 April 2004 is an international forum for artists, designers, curators, academics and theorists in the fields of textiles, art, design and fashion initiated by the Textile Exchange Project and hosted by Curtin University of Technology. Keynote speakers include Lucy Orta (London)), Marie Blaisse and Reiko Sudo (Tokyo). The concurrent exhibition at John Curtin Gallery, will include Maria Blaisse (Holland), Reiko Sudo NUNO Corporation (Japan), Tissue Culture and Art (Australia), Trish Little (Australia) and Caroline Broadhead (US) plus exhibitions and events at various centres around Perth featured throughout the three day event including slip, the 15th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennale, Seven Sisters, Fremantle Arts Centre exhibitions and the West End s_p_a_c_e Event. Visit www.thespacebetween.org.au for a conference brochure or to register.
" 5th Australian Print Symposium, National Gallery of Australia 2 - 4 April, contact Australian Print Workshop for details (03) 9419 5466
" Kodja Place is a new museum in Kojonup (place of the stone axe) a small country town in WA's South-West, home to the Noongar people for thousands of years until the Europeans took it over. The Noongar role in Kojonup history and the land itself with its springs and its special places, is entral to re-discovery of its ecological and spiritual messages for both groups.
" The Monash University Museum of Art was the victim of downsizing last year when the directorship was merged with that of the performing arts and long term director Jenepher Duncan lost her position, while several staff members resigned in protest.
Five national peak bodies with strong regional commitments have joined forces to establish a new Regional Cultural Alliance to provide advice to all levels of government. They are Museums Australia, Regional Arts Australia, Australian Council of National Trusts, Australian Libraries and Information Association and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies. The work of the member organisations touches the lives of the vast majority of the more than 6.7 million Australians who live and work in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The idea is that by working together the groups can contribute to a sustainable future for regional, rural and remote communities through ongoing engagement in arts, cultural development, libraries, museums and heritage organizations.
AUSTRALIAN ART OVERSEAS
Gitte Weise, well known art dealer in Sydney, has announced the opening of the Gitte Weise Galerie in Berlin in January 2004, an event not unconnected with her participation in the Berlin Artforum in September last year. The gallery is on Lininestrasse in the Mitte district.
Letter to the Editor
Re Review of Built Artlink Vol 23#4 December
I was disappointed to see that Paul F. Downton hadn't done his homework to learn that site specific erosion was integrated into the work and the snow creature most certainly did bear scars of public interaction with the work. The initial vandalism was patched up and painted over for the launch where it was shiny and wet. A second bashing left it listing to the side for a few days, then a little more concrete patching gave it crazed grey veins for a day before another painting and a new shape was formed. A third bashing, and the creature was left with gaping wounds and I poured gory red gloss paint over them to drip down the sides. The creature lurked in this fashion until a fourth attack somehow made it half its original size with its middle compacted and crushed! At this stage the creature got a little enclosure of orange bunting which lasted until its removal.
I had planned a further interaction which was to wrap the creature's wounds in large bandages but I guess the bunting was to protect the public from meddling with the rubble and wire and hurting themselves and thereby ended the 'conversation'.