Axes & taxes
The axeman cometh again to the arts. This time the SA government in its wisdom is trying to hack into the activities of Living Health in a recently released review by a Select Committee headed by Heine Becker. Living Health is the SA body responsible for redistributing tobacco taxes to sporting and arts bodies in association with public campaigns to improve community health and particularly to reduce smoking-induced cancers. Its charter is mirrored in Victoria by VicHealth and in WA by Healthway. These bodies were set up in the eighties as a means of breaking the tobacco and liquor industries' grip on sporting and arts organisations where lucrative sponsorships were exchanged for advertising. The success of the healthy messages in sport and art can be measured by the vast number of sport and arts venues that are now smoke-free (including the Adelaide Jockey Club!). The government has advanced no convincing alternative methods of reaching these large and important opinion-forming groups, and there is widespread concern in the arts community that a mindless vendetta against Living Health on the part of certain members of the government is threatening a legitimate and ever more crucial source of funding for cultural life. With a state election in view the SA arts community is galvanising in support of Living Health.
" ICIP Project: Remote Aboriginal communities will make on-line submissions to an interactive website as part of a project to reaffirm their cultures by developing the world's most comprehensive protection for indigenous knowledge and cultural practices. The Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Project came out of recent Federal government reports showing the inadequacy of the country's intellectual property and cultural heritage laws in this area. The discussion paper's goals are to set up safeguards against inappropriate use of indigenous traditions and knowledge and guarantees that economic rights flow to indigenous Australians. Find it on http//:www.icip.lawnet.com.au
or phone (02) 9318 2900.
" The SA Museum will have a new Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, at a cost to the taxpayer of about $10 million. It will allow SAM's very substantial holdings of early material to finally see the light of day in a contemporary setting. The concept has not yet been finalised, but one can only hope that it meets with more approval than the new Aboriginal Gallery at the Australian Museum in Sydney which, according to some appears to have been designed by a committee. To come up with a concept which is acceptable to all factions and parties involved is widely regarded as a nightmare brief, particularly with indigenous sensitivities heightened by Coalition churlishness and racist divisions. With the Hindmarsh Island affair still ringing uncomfortably in its ears, the SA Museum will need all the diplomacy it can muster.
" Francesca Alberts, indigenous curator at the SAM, recently made a passionate plea for droit de suite (resale royalties) to be embraced in Australia, particularly for works of Aboriginal art which have been resold at auction for hundreds of times their original sale price. She was speaking at a forum in Adelaide broadcast on Radio National's Away!
Exhibitions to watch
" The Personal is Political is a retrospective of the work of Ann Newmarch, showing 90 pieces from the late sixties to the present across all media forms. Because of Newmarch's consistent interest in politics, the exhibition is also a compelling document of social and political affairs across the three decades. Curated by Julie Robinson, this is the first time the AGSA has accorded a retrospective to a living female artist. Art Gallery of SA to 28 September.
" FARM is a photographic account of life on the land by Philip Quirk, which together with his new book FARM: Life on the Land published by Reed, show the extremes of farming life from bounty to drought. Byron Mapp Gallery, Sydney 10 Sept - 5 October.
" Charles Blackman - 4 Decades covers the artist's painting and drawing from the fifties onwards, schoolgirls, cats, gardens the lot. Ivanyi Galleries, South Yarra Vic 12 - 26 October.
" Black Humour is a group exhibition of Aboriginal artists and film makers using the language of satire and humour. It started its Visions of Australia tour at the originating gallery, Canberra Contemporary Art Space in August and will travel to Brisbane, Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in 1998. (see pic)
" In Custody Not Captivity: Residents of Victoria's Prisons is a portfolio of documentary photographs by Peter Rad which can be seen displayed in the actual prison cells at Pentridge Prison in Coburg until 14 September. Details phone (03) 9510 7788.
" Ginger Riley: a Retrospective, comprising over 100 works covering the period since he began painting in 1987 in Ngukurr, is claimed to be the first retrospective in the world accorded to an Aboriginal artist in a public gallery. A companion book has also been produced titled Ginger Riley by the organisers. National Gallery of Victoria until 22 September.
" Tony Cragg is a collection of recent large works by the British sculptor. If you missed it at the AGNSW catch it at the Queensland Art Gallery 11 Oct - 30 November.
" Hamamas Wantaim Bilas: Textile Artforms of Niugini opened at the National Museum and Art Gallery of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby in July. The show was curated under the aegis of the Cairns Regional Gallery.
" Archives and the Everyday is a Canberra-wide project where various artists interact with heritage material. Fiona Hall, currently the ANU Creative Arts Fellow, is working with objects from the Parliament House Art Collection and is also showing a selection of recent work at the Canberra School of Art Gallery 12 Sept - 19 October.
" Francesco Conz and the Intermedia Avant-Garde celebrates the donation to the Queensland Art Gallery of a collection of works by the Italian publisher of avant-garde editions and multiples which builds on an earlier exhibition of Fluxus material. The QAG now claims to have most comprehensive collection of what could broadly be called intermedia art in Australia. QAG 20 December - 22 February 1998.
Ten years ago Graham Howe left Sydney to set up an enterprise in the USA putting together touring art exhibitions using mainly freelance curators. Curatorial Assistance Inc has now opened a branch in Sydney and is currently offering 40 ready-made shows, each averaging 100 items, from around the world. For information call Susan Peacock on (02) 9566 2766, fax 9518 9697.
Australian artists overseas
" Rosalie Gascoigne is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oxford, UK in In Time (Out of Place). Greg Johns and Ian Abdulla were at the new Robert Steele Gallery in New York in August, and Garry Shead, after his show at Greenaway Art Gallery in Adelaide will be showing in London in October. Suzanne Treister is contributing to Technoscience Hybrid Workspace at Documenta X at Kassel, and Hossein Valamanesh is having his first solo show in Tokyo at Art Front Gallery in October. Five Australian and six Korean artists are showing in Affinities, which after touring from Sydney's Tin Sheds Gallery to Newcastle and Canberra, will end up in Seoul at the Walker Hill Art Center.
" Simeon Nelson: World Between is a two part installation comprising temporal and sculptural components. After representing Australia at the 9th Triennale-India in New Delhi 3 December - 4 January 1998, it will tour nationally in 1998-99.
" Fotofeis : Maintaining that no visual artform has been more closely associated with sex than photography, the biennial photo-based arts event Fotofeis '97 has chosen sex as its theme this time (see pic). A large Australian component is featured in the event with works by William Yang. Linda Dement, Patricia Piccinini, Lyndal Jones, Sandy Nicholson and writer Chris Johnston. Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, 9 October - 9 November. A 5-day tour has been organised, aimed at busy globetrotting curators, including gallery visits and a one-day 'curators' forum' in a baronial hall in the Highlands. Check http://www.fotofeis.org.uk
" Common Practice is a collection of drawings and prints by 26 artists students and graduates of the Queensland College of Art which was exhibited at the Kowekara Centre in Noumea, New Caledonia in August. The QCA has been running an exchange program with L'Ecole d'Art in Noumea since 1994.
" The Australia Council wishes to promote two new categories of financial assistance - Partnerships, which aim to broaden opportunities for making creative links between the arts and other sectors, and to enable artists to gain access to resources or skills normally unavailable to them; Commissions encourage organisations both within and outside the arts sector to support and present artists' work; organisations must provide at least 30% of the cost. A brochure encouraging companies to take advantage of the subsidy and employ artists in all media is available from the Australia Council - phone (02) 9950 9000 or toll free 1800 226 912.
" The Visual Arts Export Program of the Australia Council has been devolved to the Australian Commercial Galleries Association which will now take responsibility for the distribution of funds to subsidise the costs of galleries exhibiting at various overseas art fairs and also support towards the Australian magazine stands.
" Telstra has confirmed its sponsorship of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Art Award for another three years. The annual award is organised in association with the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and is open to Aboriginal artist from around Australia. Last year's winner was Kathleen Petyarre.
" The Arts Council of Australia has changed its name to Regional Arts Australia to better reflect its brief to foster country arts. As part of its reinvention of itself, the first national RAA conference is to be held in October 1998, in the SA country town of Mount Gambier, home of the Riddoch Gallery.
" SA's Arts Minister Diana Laidlaw, together with new CEO Tim O'Louglin, has radically restructured Arts SA. Like Arts Victoria, it no longer operates under art form divisions but has divided its constituency into three areas: arts leadership, professional development and emerging artists; cultural tourism and export; development of new commissions, events and festivals. If this restructure creates a more dynamic organisation it deserves support, but there are serious doubts in the minds of all but the most sanguine arts workers about the operation of the crucial peer assessment system when art form expertise has been apparently thrown out with the bathwater.
Spaces old & new
" The weekend of October 4&5 marks a fundraising event to support the program of the Centre for Contemporary Photography. This is an art auction with works donated by well-known artists eg Bill Henson, Anne Zahalka, Robyn Stacey, David Moore, Mark Strizic and many others. Be there on October 4 at 3pm to bid; viewing the day before. The extraordinary art auction, titled Colloquy is also a celebration of five years at the CCP's new home on Johnston St Fitzroy. Phone (03) 9417 1549 for details.
" The SA Touring Exhibitions Program is celebrating 10 years of successful operation, having toured and managed over 130 exhibitions throughout country SA and interstate. Five new venues have been established since 1987 with steady progress towards professional resourcing of these.
" A new public gallery in Adelaide opened in August: the Flinders Art Museum City Gallery which is housed in a historic building in Grote St near the Central Market.
" The University of SA Art Museum, meanwhile has had its last show at the Underdale gallery in anticipation of a move to City West by the new year.
" LOUD is a brand new media festival of youth culture and the arts which for the entire month of January 1998 is offering young people (aged 12-25) a chance to create and exhibit work in television, print, radio and online. Young people nationally are being encouraged to write stories, make a short film, draw, paint or design an online zine and to set up partnerships with newspapers. magazines, radio and TV stations, cable TV and the internet. To can find out how to turn the volume up a series of sessions were held during August. If you missed these you can check the website on www.loud.net.au.
" Recent projects funded by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council:
> Josephine Starrs and Jon McCormack are recipients of 2-year Fellowships worth $80,000 each awarded by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council. Starrs will undertake a six-month residency at Xerox Park in California researching and developing new media technologies.
> Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson don't have to travel to be writers in residence. In fact they are writers in their own residences, Carroli in Brisbane, and Wilson in Perth. As "virtual" residents they will use the internet to produce work "hypertextually" which implies that other writers may contribute parts of the writing whether it be fiction, theory or something in between. The work in progress will be published on a web site run by the Electronic Writing and Research Ensemble at
" e-media is a new gallery dedicated to the art of CD-Rom located within the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Fitzroy, and is a joint project with Experimenta Media Arts.
"(Crack the) Binary Code : A Symposium of Multimedia Criticism, part of the 1997 Interact Asia Pacific Multimedia Festival will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre 1 - 2 November. It will seek answers to the question "Has the digital revolution come up with the artistic goods?". Further details from Kevin Murray email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (03) 9669 9869. The event is under the aegis of the Centre for Contemporary Photography. The Festival is also running a one-day conference for cultural organisations to showcase and learn from each other's digital achievements and an exhibition of digital art titled Experimenta - Altered States organised by Experimenta Media Arts.
"Cross Sector Collaborations, the Annual Conference of University Art & Design Schools, organised this year by Curtin University of Technology in Perth, addresses possible collaborations between various sectors of art education in an era of declining resources, as well as topics like postgraduate exchanges, new technologies and international collaborations. It will be held at the new John Curtin Gallery 2 - 4 October. Contact Megan Curwen Ward on (08) 9266 2282 for details.
"DARE is the first national gathering of community cultural development workers in over a decade. It includes not only papers from town planners, architects, local govt people, community service workers and artists, but also an exhibition and some works specially commissioned for the conference including performance, multimedia and sculpture. Hosted by the Australia Council, to be held in Brisbane November 1997. Contact Peter Wood on (02) 9281 6414, 1800 226 912 for details.
"Culture at the Crossroads addresses the future of arts and culture in Australia, and includes speakers Robyn Archer and Janet Holmes a Court. To be held in Sydney at 24-26 November details from Karen Perkins at Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy on (07) 3875 5350, fax (07) 3875 5511.
" 5th International Documentary Conference addresses new markets, new broadcasting landscapes, new technologies and new policies, with presentations by filmmakers, screenings and panel discussions. It will be held at venues in Brisbane's South Bank cultural precinct 20-23 November 1997. For details ph 1800 670 354 or (02) 9237 2905 fax (02) 9233 3261.
Residencies in Asia
Asialink is offering residencies of between three and four months duration to visual artists and craftspeople. The residents are placed within a host institution where they pursue their own work as well as giving talks and workshops. Closing date 10 October.
Arts managers are also eligible to work with an arts organisation in an Asian country for up to 6 months. Closing date 12 September. Details from Asialink on (03) 9349 1899.
" New Chair of the Visual Arts/Craft Fund of the Australia Council is Ron Radford, Director of the Art Gallery of SA. He replaces Doug Hall of the Queensland Art Gallery.
" Vicki Sowry is the new Director of the Media Resource Centre in Adelaide.
" Lesley Alway, previously of Artbank, is the new Head of Arts Victoria.
" Successful applicants to the Australia Council's Visual Arts/Craft Fund this round are: Fellowships of $80,000 each over two years to Tracey Moffatt, Howard Arkley, Nola Farman and Elsje King; other grants go to Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Raymond Arnold, Felicity Fenner, Rebecca Cummins, Francesca da Rimini, Joyce Hinterding, Marc Pascal, Gilbert Riedelbauch, Peter Coombs, Steve Tupper Andrew Arnaoutopoulos and Glen Clarke. The grants total over $1.8 million. There were more successful applicants from WA, SA and Tasmania than in previous years.
" if :Independent Filmmakers is a new bimonthly magazine directed at the growing independent filming community. Introductory offer of a year's subscription for $25 ends on 20 September. Ring for details (02) 9332 2121
"Planet of Noise is an artist's CD-Rom - concept by Brad Miller & McKenzie Wark, realisation by Brad Miller with sound by Jason Gee, & Derek Kreckler. It was launched at Artspace in Sydney on 28 August with the injunction "jettison all desires, please board the life raft now" - phone (02) 9368 1899.
"British painting 1800-1990 in Australian and New Zealand Public Collections was launched at the Queensland Art Gallery in August. Co-authored by Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory and published by The Beagle Press, it documents the debt owed to their British heritage by Australian art museums.
Call for expressions of interest
We are seeking writers/editors in each state to help us develop content for our proposed June 1998 issue on Public Art. If you have done research in the area and are interested in being part of a team to identify key topics and commission articles please send a short expression of interest noting your previous work in public art.
A work by Barbara Wulff was inaccurately captioned in our last issue Art & Medicine on page 61. The work was The Fontanelle Closes 1996, bronze each piece 70cm high.