Critical mass in the west
" The South Australian School of Art is finally shaking the dust of Underdale off its feet and moving holus bolus to the City of Adelaide into two purpose-built new multi-storey buildings, designed by Melbourne architect John Wardle (with local partner Hassell & Co). The new site on the main City West campus of its parent the University of SA is close to galleries and museums. Being part of a busy city rather than a forlorn suburb on the way to the airport will be a major trade-off for smaller floor area; imaginative solutions have been arrived at through an exemplary process of consultation between the architects and staff of SASA, under its Head, Kay Lawrence. For example an agreement to share the foundry of the sculpture department of the TAFE college AIT Arts (newly renamed Adelaide Centre for the Arts) in nearby Light Square meant that this specialist facility did not have to be duplicated. Necessity breeds outcomes which can be positive, helping to develop links between student and staff bodies in the two schools.
Open plan office enclaves for staff members (the staff agreed to sacrifice private offices for the sake of maximizing studio space) are another brave initiative which could bring new levels of collaboration to the engine room. Wardle's solution includes pleasant adjacent meeting rooms for staff-student contact, coffee-making spaces, places to meet informally and relax. Open plan offices, first established in the corporate world to force a higher level of productivity, and often accused of increasing stress levels in workers, are becoming more common these days in arts organisations but not so much in universities, so the SASA experiment will be an interesting one to report on in a year or two.
In another instance of synergy, the creation of the new built form has brought together the Schools of Art and of Architecture, and it is partly the input of the latter which has allowed John Wardle to produce a building which is well in excess of art school Utility Style, given that the budget was by no means lavish. Money saved on non-essential items like ceilings was spent on better benches, bigger windows, more interesting uses of space, and outdoor roof and balcony areas for social occasions. There is a good sized gallery at ground level and the painting and drawing studios on the top floors have panoramic views to the north and west so that student demand for these media could undergo a sudden explosion. Whether such large areas of west-facing glass are defensible in view of our current imperative to conserve energy is another debate. The new buildings should be open for business by March 2005 with an official launch in April.
" The UniSA Art Museum next door has closed pending demolition, only to rise from the rubble in 2007 as a major Class A exhibition centre on North Tce. Complete with three exhibition spaces of approximately 550 sqm spread over two levels, generous circulation areas, a 400 seat auditorium and other public facilities, this new venue should go some way to satisfying the need for space for showing contemporary art in Adelaide. Another signature building designed by John Wardle, it will, according to Director Erica Green, bring visual arts critical mass to the west end, adding the weight of its facilities to the existing Light Square Gallery in the Adelaide Centre for the Arts and the galleries of the Jam Factory, Nexus and Experimental Art Foundation, as well as the new SASA gallery. The much needed auditorium will no doubt be instantly commandeered for Artists' Week, which in 2004 was so badly compromised at the AGSA for lack of a suitable place to gather and talk.
" A major refurbishment of the Meat Market in North Melbourne has just been completed and the launch of new facilities including better galleries, offices, rehearsal spaces and disability access was supported by the latest of John Kaldor's Art Projects, a major exhibition by US street artist Barry McGee, also knows by his street name Twist.
" Alison Kelly Gallery has moved from Armadale to a new space at 543A High St Prahran.
" 60 Merivale St, the old shop premises in South Brisbane, site of art installations by the Artworkers' Alliance over the past two years and others before that, is being demolished for high density housing. AA aims to find a replacement for this venue citing lack of exhibiting space for emerging artists in Brisbane.
" Bar Open, in the heart of Brunswick St, Fitzroy in Melbourne offers visual artists from across Melbourne and beyond free exhibition space all year round. For more information, contact Matt. E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
" The announcement of the winners of the Samstag Scholarships is a much-anticipated event, and in this the 13th year of the awards, a total of 99 lucky recipients since 1992 have uncorked the bubbly. The current show at UniSA Art Museum, sub-titled The Samstag Effect, examines the achievements of seven of the past Scholars in the light of the effect the time and wherewithal to further their studies overseas has had on their careers. A side-effect of this largesse seems to be, according to Director Ross Wolfe, the positive impact on their belief in themselves which the Award brings. The effect appears to be a real and powerful force, and is no doubt one to which the winners of the 2005 scholarship will be looking forward. They are Michael Kutschbach (SA) Michael Graeve and Viveka Marksjo (Vic), Jemima Wyman (Qld), and Michaela Dwyer and Edward Wright (NSW). Each artist receives a living allowance of around $40,000 plus travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees which are often more than $30,000 at the leading European and US schools which the scholars favour.
" Six artists have been selected for the inaugural Anne Landa Award Exhibition for moving image and new media work at the Art Gallery of NSW: Van Sowerwine (Victoria), David Rosetzky (Vic), Craig Walsh (QLD), Shaun Gladwill (NSW), Guy Benfield (Vic) and Peter Hennessey (Vic) and will be on show 2 Dec - 23 Jan. The award will be presented on 18 January 2005 at 11am.
" The Silk Cut Award for linocut prints 2004 has been won by Belinda Fox for her work Search-light.
" The Country Energy Art Prize for Landscape Painting ($35,000) has been awarded to Guy Gilmour from the mid-north coast of NSW for his work New Moon and XPT.
" Helpmann Academy Grants of over $53,000 have been awarded to 20 arts projects covering all the performing and visual arts disciplines in South Australia. Six of the grants awarded were for acting, eight for visual arts, one for technical production, three for dance and two for music projects. As well as funding projects in Adelaide they will assist individual or groups of emerging artists to travel to Canada, US, Africa and Spain. Closing date for the first round next year is 25 March 2005. Application forms are available from the Helpmann Academy, from partner schools or can be downloaded from the Academy's website www.helpmann.sa.edu.au
" 2004 Siganto Scholarship ($5000), organized by Artworkers Alliance in Brisbane has been awarded to Kate Dickson whose winning proposal involved the redesign of bus stop benches through the integration of public art.
" The $18,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award has been won by Nerissa Lea for her work The Sheik & Me, Self Portrait with Imagined Portrait of Chad Morgan after Frida Kahlo. The prize is open to women artists.
" Melbourne artist Juan Ford has been awarded the $25,000 Fletcher Jones Art Prize 2004 with his Painting, phrenology (Abstraction #8).
" Tony Coleing of NSW and Nicky Schonkala of the NT shared the $15,000 (acquisitive) Alice Prize which was judged by Anne Kirker.
" Bruce Slatter from WA is the winner of the $10,000 acquisitive Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, the first and only national prize for small sculpture up to 80cm in any dimension.
" The et al. collective will represent New Zealand at the 2005 Venice Biennale, the third time that New Zealand artists have participated. et al. has challenged and occasionally disturbed the art world for more than 20 years, with installations combining sound, moving image, text and found objects. In early November Robert Storr, former senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Director of the 2007 Venice Biennale, awarded et al. the Walters Prize, New Zealand's most prestigious art award for the work, restricted access. This installation was first shown as part of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery survey show of et al.'s work, abnormal mass delusions? in 2003.
Projects 2005 and beyond
" The South Project which began in 2004 (see article p32 this issue) will culminate in 2008. Next year's focus will be to develop a series of residencies that provide opportunities for artists to visit other countries of the south. There will also be a forum in New Zealand. South continues to welcome expressions of interest by other organisations that might wish to participate in the project as a whole, details are on www.southproject.org
" There will be a new Biennale in our region in 2006, the Singapore Biennale, whose budget is reported to be vastly in excess of Sydney's. November saw a precursor in the form of SENI a visual arts festival of contemporary Southeast Asian and Asian art aimed at creating open channels of dialogue between Singapore and international artists under its Artistic Director Professor Chua Beng Huat.
Spike Milligan lives at AFF
" The Second Adelaide Film Festival will be held in the heart of Adelaide from 18 February to 3 March 2005, with over 190 sessions of the best of Australian and international feature film, documentary, shorts and animation programs plus cutting edge music video, computer games, on line and new media screenings. The Festival's dynamic special events program includes live performance, exhibitions, installations, forums and workshops. Also the first completed projects from the AFF Investment Fund, including the world premieres of multi award winning Sarah Watt's debut feature film Look Both Ways, and Goon But Not Forgotten a wonderful bio pic on the legendary Spike Milligan. www.adelaidefilmfestival.org
" The Australian International Documentary Conference coincides with the AFF and offers 4 days of everything the doco world could ask for, including an Adelaide beach party. 21 – 24 February details www.aidc.com.au
" Ron Radford has been appointed to the position of Director of the National Gallery of Australia, and will leave the Art Gallery of South Australia in early 2005.
" Mark Stewart is Murdoch University's new Art Curator, He was previously Curator for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
" Queen's Birthday Honours this year went to a small number of people in the visual arts, amongst them: Con Gouriotis, Director of Casula Powerhouse in Western Sydney (OAM), Paul Greenaway, Director of Greenaway Art Gallery in Adelaide (OAM), Pamille Berg, Canberra, who works with art in the built environment (AM), the late and much missed Joan Kerr, art historian (AM), Vincent Megaw, Emeritus Professor Flinders University, historian of indigenous art amongst much else (AM), Brian Sherman, (Sherman Galleries), businessman, benefactor and philanthropist (AM). Compared with other sectors the number is very low, perhaps reflecting a reluctance in the arts community to nominate their peers for these honours.
" If you hurry you could still be in time to submit your details for possible inclusion in the latest edition of the 'Bible' of Australian art, McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art, first published in 1968. The revised edition will appear in 2006 both as hard copy and as a subscription website. Go to www.ausart.com.au to view criteria or email the editor Susan McCulloch: email@example.com
" Applications are invited for the Canberra Contemporary Art Space Studio Residency Program 2005 comprising three residencies (2 six month and 1 three month) for ACT based artists; includes free studio space at Gorman House Arts Centre, and a partially funded exhibition at CCAS Manuka. Closing date 5pm 14 December 2004 details from www.ccas.com.au Tel: 02 6247 0188 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
" The Young Filmmakers' Human Rights Award 2005 encourages filmmakers aged 12-25 to explore the issue of human rights for all. Presented by SA's Office for Youth and the Media Resource Centre, the inaugural $5,000 award will go to a documentary, film clip, animation or drama, which best represents the issue of human rights from a youth perspective. Entries close 8 January 2005. Details from Media Resource Centre (08) 8410 0979 or www.mrc.org.au
" Hand Made is the theme of our March issue exploring the role of manual labour in art practice and what it symbolizes. Guest Editor Kevin Murray, Director of Craft Victoria and a national team of writers and artists provide some startling perspectives.
" June 2005 travels above the Brisbane Line to remote Australia, with guest editor Cath Bowdler, artist, writer, former Director of 24 Hr Art in Darwin, and currently doing a PhD on the art community at Ngukurr in the NT. Remote will consider the new northern gaze of Darwin and the intricate and changing relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous art practice in remote Australia.