Swift blow to the head
In yet another assault on higher education, Australia faces damaging its cultural heritage following news the only heritage conservation training program in the country will close – with no consultation with the sector. The Australian Institute for Conservation of Cultural Materials has expressed its dismay at the decision of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra to suspend all enrolments in the Conservation of Cultural Materials courses, and undergraduate enrolments in Cultural Heritage Studies, citing high cost as the reason – the HECS fees do not cover the cost of running these specialised courses which turn out professionals to deal with materials held in national and state museums, art galleries, libraries, archives and rock art sites. A desperate campaign by staff involving petitions and letters of support from the sector failed to save the facility. The V-C noted that there is a very good conservation course available in Vienna.
Investors protected from unsettling art
The Visible Art Foundation recently came unstuck for commissioning George Gittoes to make a large billboard work for Republic Tower in Melbourne, site of temporary public art. The work, War on Terra which dealt with September 11, was rejected by the Foundation's patron Republic Tower developer Nonda Kostalidis just before it was due to be installed on the outside of the building, stating that it was 'too controversial' for this very public (high-rent) site, much to the disgust of the artist who believes that we need to be open to having preconceptions on world events and political positions challenged. The Anglican Church approached Gittoes with an offer to hang it in St Pauls Church, where it has had a mixed reception, some churchgoers tending to agree with the developer.
The National Gallery of Victoria is inviting school students to write supplementary labels to those that accompany artworks in the new Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The aim is to gain fresh, spontaneous responses to artworks from a young person's perspective and at the same time to improve literacy standards amongst middle school students (Years 5 – 9) throughout Victoria. Staff will travel to schools to work with students who will be shown examples of works that will be on display at the new Gallery. They will then discuss the work, its meaning and their own interpretations, before writing a label for the work which will be placed next to the regular label. With at least 800 works on show at any given time there is plenty of choice for students, but labels will be rotated each term to give every kid a chance to be Betty Churcher.
Footy, Beer and Nolan
A long-lost Sidney Nolan painting of an AFL footballer (1946) seems to have become part of a plot to get sports fans into the temple of art at Federation Square. Acquired by NGV: Australia recently from a private collector for $500,000 with about half contributed by the Fosters Group as part of a new 3-year sponsorship of the NGV, it has been on the wish list of the gallery for some years, who hope that it will boost sport-mad Victorians' newly-found pride in their you-can't-ignore-me cultural plaza and help them find their way inside the gallery. Can't wait to see the Patrons and Friends of the NGV and their guests at gala openings, stubbies in hand, discussing the finer points of the use of colour on the guernsey.
On the A list
The Royal Exhibition Building in the delicious Carlton Gardens, Melbourne has become the first building in Australia to receive a World Heritage Listing Nomination. Its official custodian and immediate neighbour, Museum Victoria, is now working to get the nomination inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. The building opened its doors in 1880 and since then has been continuously used for cultural events, including the Melbourne Art Fair. Its ornately painted interior has been maintained in its original state, despite the odd sparrow, and the exterior was restored recently. It is that blissfully simple public space of another world, not air-conditioned, not piped for muzak, no escalators, lifts, cameras, eftpos terminals or parking garages and large white tiled toilets. It would be even better if its Custodian neighbour were to restore some garden, including a few kindly trees, to the stony waste which its architects have created between the two buildings.
The Shock of the Shop
OK let's stop pretending people or cultures are defined by what artists produce. The Tate Liverpool is there to confirm that it is shopping that is the defining activity of modern urban life and that it has become a central ritual and dominant phenomenon of contemporary life. Shopping: a Century of Art and Consumer Culture examines the pervasive relationship between the display, distribution and consumption of commodities and modern and contemporary art and aims to blur the distinction been the shop and the exhibition. Over 240 works on this theme will be shown at the Tate from just before Christmas through to the Spring sales, from Eugène Atget's photographs, Claes Oldenburg and Damien Hirst's installations, Gerhard Richter, Christo, Richard Estes, Jeff Koons which of course goes to prove that artists are interested in shopping too. And I thought it was only when their work was being exchanged for cash.
Geelong way to go
A preliminary study by Price Waterhouse has found that if a Guggenheim Museum were to be built in Geelong it would generate $175 million per year and attract 5.3m people. The Government of Victoria is considering whether to proceed to a full feasibility study. Jim Cousins, Chair of the Bid has had word that an important collection of indigenous art will be given to a public gallery in the near future and that a Geelong Guggenheim would be the favoured recipient.
Can't give it away
Artists are getting together to protest the Tax Office's disallowing their attempts to gift works to public collections and get a tax deduction, accusing them of double dipping by donating works from their trading stock. This pettifogging technicality is preventing state and regional galleries from receiving many gifts of works which they cannot afford to buy otherwise. The Myer Report (see Editorial) has recommended changes to the tax regulations governing tax-deductible gifts but it could take years of lobbying to implement these. Contact the Painters and Sculptors Association on (03) 9529 3800 and (02) 9389 2400.
Budget collectors alert
Ricky Swallow will produce the first Gertrude Edition – to raise funds for 200 Gertrude St contemporary art space in Melbourne, through the sale of multiples in editions of 50, in Swallow's case an object around the $1000 price mark. The scheme will be launched at the exhibition of studio artists which is on view until 14 December.
Good news! more hopes dashed
There were more applicants than ever before (417) to the VACB of the Australia Council for funding in the New Work category for the last round, and 44% of these were first time applicants. Although only 59 of these could be funded, in the peculiar logic of the world of arts funding this is good news as it indicates, apparently, that artists have been encouraged to apply by the recent successes of others overseas. Another reason to push for adoption of the Myer Report.
Exhibitions to watch
" The Art of Arnhem Land is a joint exhibition of the Art Gallery of SA and the SA Museum of bark painting and carvings drawn mainly from works collected on the National Geographic Society's American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land in 1948 led by SA ethnologist Charles Mountford. Approximately 500 art works were collected and were divided up between various museums and art galleries, with AGSA and SAM getting the larger shares. It is the first time these two collections have been shown as a body and it is worth travelling to Adelaide to see the pigeon-pair shows which are, sadly, only on until 23 February.
" Robert Foster – Fink Design is functional objects, lighting, furniture, jewellery, and hollow ware by this innovative Australian designer. JamFactory Craft & Design Centre until 12 January.
" National Limestone Sculpture Symposium comprises seminars, talks and workshops open to the public in March after two weeks in which four invited and sponsored artists (Tony Bishop, Sylvio Apponyi, James Darling and Ivo Tadic), together with thirty other selected and self-funded artists will be working together carving blocks of limestone quarried from local quarries. Research on the geology and heritage of the limestone industry will be presented. For details Country Arts SA (08) 8723 8742, firstname.lastname@example.org. Old Mount Gambier Goal Complex 1 – 9 March.
New South Wales
"The Art of Islam: Islamic Art & Patronage – Treasures from Kuwait, is sourced from the al-Sabah Collection owned by the Kuwait Royal Family and housed in the Kuwait National Museum. At the Art Gallery of NSW until 27 January.
" Lure of the Southern Seas: the Voyages of Dumont D'Urville 1826 – 1840 has rare drawings, portrait busts and paintings collected by this intrepid mariner in the Pacific region. Curators SueHunt and Martin Terry spent two years bringing the work together from collections around the world. Museum of Sydney 21 December – 27 April.
" True Stories: Art of the East Kimberley comprises 80 works by over 20 artists from c.1976 to the present, including by pioneers Rover Thomas and George Mung Mung and showing the changes in technique over that timebut emphasising the continuity of the 'true stories' depicted. On 11 January there will be a symposium in which eight artists will take part. Art Gallery of NSW 11 January – 27 April.
" Picasso: the Last Decades comprises more than 80 paintings and works on paper made between the ages of 71 and his death at 91. Curated by Terence Maloon from museums around the world and private collections, it examines the way impending old age affected him as an artist and his prodigious output even after a lifetime of production. From 9 November – 16 February only at the Art Gallery of NSW.
" Between Beauty and Theory is an assemblage of lived and collected moments by Lee Salomone. It explores a contemporary vision and usage of nature with visual elements acting as symbols for current political and social change. 22 November – 14 December Gallery 4A Sydney
" Central Street Live is about the famous, sometimes shocking Sydney Gallery (1966-69) and the artists who showed there. Penrith Regional Gallery & Lewers Bequest, to 23 February.
" Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968 – 2002 examines the battleground of artistic movements and directions since the time of the famous exhibition The Field opened the NGV's new St Kilda Rd gallery in 1968. Curated by Charles Green and Jason Smith, it is on view at the new Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, Melbourne, until 16 February.
" Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion curated by Victoria Lynn, an international selection of immersive interactive video work (an earlier version of this was shown at the AGNSW in 2001) and Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan, a multi-screen installation about the art and culture of the Ngarinyin people of the Kimberley, are the two opening exhibitions in the world's largest dedicated screen gallery at the newly opened Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square, Melbourne.
" Retrospectology: the world according to Patricia Piccinini is the first survey of the 3D and digital works by this prolific and inventive artist looking at bioethics, biotechnology and the environment. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, (new building Sturt St, Southbank) Melbourne, 20 December – 23 February.
Fathoming: Contemporary Australian Sculpture is touring to Noosa Regional Gallery 22 November - 29 December, Perc Tucker Regional Art Gallery, Townsville 31 January -16 March, Hervey Bay Regional Gallery 26 March - 26 April, 2003.
" Beyond Cape York: Journeys into Northern Australia presents an overview of responses by visiting and resident artists to the Far North Queensland environment - physical, social, emotional and political. Artists include Ray Crooke, Arone Meeks, William Yang, Alan Oldfield. Cairns Regional Gallery to 26 January.
" Separate shows by emerging artists Daniel Wallwork, Peter Robertson, Paul Wrigley, Nat Paton and Guy Benfield are on in the four galleries and screening room of the Institute of Modern Art through to 25 January.
" 6ft+clean:surf+art explores the culture of surfing via the work of well known artists including Scott Redford, Tracey Moffatt, Anne Zahalka, Joe Furlonger, James Guerts, and Mark Kimber. Appropriately curated by the Gold Coast City Art Gallery where it is on view from 13 December – 26 January after which it tours to 6 regional centres.
" Grapple is an exhibition exploring senses other than sight through the work of 8 contemporary artists from Qld and NSW who are undertaking residencies and workshops for the visually impaired through Pinnacles Gallery near Townsville. Visitors will be equipped with vision-altering devices that replicate various impairments and encouraged to touch, smell, listen and even taste the artworks. Info: email@example.com or the Royal Blind Foundation (07) 3391 9100.
" The Gay Museum: a History of Lesbian and Gay Presence in Western Australia is an innovative installation work by Jo Darbyshire drawing on the scientific and cultural collections of the WA Museum and using contemporary art strategies and curatorial ideas found in new cultural history museums to show that lesbian and gay histories, while not acknowleged, have always been part of the WA past. WA Museum 22 January – 16 March 2003
" 2000 Years, 2 Spaces is a collaborative exhibition by Nicola Kaye and Clive Barstow exploring how ideology shapes our understanding of history and national identity. Barstow predicts the outcomes of the next 2000 years and Kaye deconstructs sites of world power. Fremantle Arts Centre until 26 January.
" Emily represents the work of Emily Kame Kngwarreye from her first painting (1988-9) to the large scale canvases done at the end of her life (1992-94) held in the Holmes à Court Collection. On show in the East Perth gallery until mid-January.
" The Flower Hunter: Ellis Rowan is the first major showing of the paintings and memorabilia of this pioneering and obsessive botanical artist (1848 – 1922) who recorded the then exotic flora of Australasia and Papua New Guinea with huge passion and skill throughout her eventful life. National Library of Australia, Canberra until 27 January.
" A national collection of artists' self portraits is being created and housed at Mayne Hall at the University of Queensland.
" Peripheral Art Space, just outside Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, above a winery, is opening early 2003 and artists are invited to contact Ilona Glastonbury on 0438 621 462 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of submission guidelines.
" Span Galleries in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, is naming its front gallery ARC ONE @ SPAN and dedicating it to a group of 12 artists whom they represent in Melbourne, including Jacky Redgate, Janet Laurence, Julie Rrap and Wilson Shieh.
" Artists who are able to work in a natural environment are invited to apply to participate in The Floating Land, international site specific art lab 1 – 19 October 2003. Fees and travel will be paid. Contact Kevin Wilson at email@example.com for the call for entries requirements. Entries close on 31 January.
" First it was artists' trading cards, now it's buttons. Project:Button is a Canadian art collective which is taking submissions for artwork one inch round which they turn into metal buttons and catalogue. See them at www.projectbutton.com. The idea is not only to make create mini works in the spirit of 'art for everyone' but to collect other artists' button art. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
" You may still be able to get a place in the 2003 New York Drawing Marathon at the Adelaide Central School of Art 20 – 31 January conducted by artist Graham Nickson. Call (08) 8364 5075 or email email@example.com for the details.
" A new series of art classes conducted by local artists has begun at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery for children 4 – 15 years and adults. Details on 07 4727 9011, firstname.lastname@example.org.
" Ann Thomson has won the $25,000 2002 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize with Change Takes Time
" Poppy van Oorde-Grainger is the youngest winner of the Shell Fremantle Print Award ($5,000) in its 27 year history with her series of digital prints (see review page XX)
" Siv Grava has won the $2,500 acquisitive prize of the annual Port Pirie Art Prize with a large landscape titled Land.
" Eveline Kotai has won the second annual $15,000 BankWest Contemporary Art Prize, Perth, with a painting titled Ink Run, which becomes part of the BankWest Art Collection.
" 22 finalists out of 203 entries have been shortlisted for the $115,000 Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award 2003 including Robert Bridgewater, Richard Goodwin, Janet Laurence and Louise Paramor. Finalists will be shown at Werribee Park, outside Melbourne, from 1 March 2003 and the winner announced on 5 March by the judges - artists Rick Amor and Robert Owen, Ross Searle, University of Queensland Art Museum, Dr Gene Sherman of Sherman Galleries and Bridget Smyth, City Projects, City of Sydney.
" Works by 20 sculptors, including Geoffrey Bartlett, Peter D Cole, Anna Eggert, Jan Golembiewski, Linde Ivimey, Noel McKenna, Lisa Roet, Tim Thompson, Richard Tipping and Arthur Wicks have been selected for the National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition 2003 jointly sponsored by the National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank. The winner of the $50,000 prize will be announced on 20 March.
" Winners of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarships are Neal Smith (NSW), Emma Rutherford (NSW) Vanessa Raimondo (VIC) Nell (NSW) and Linda Studena (VIC) who each will use their $5,000 prize to travel and study overseas.
" Liz Coats is the winner of the $15,000 Redlands Westpac Art Prize 2002, which employs a curator (Felicity Fenner this year) to invite suitable artists of her choice. The winning work is bought for the collection of the SCECGS Redlands School in Cremorne, Sydney – a privileged school indeed to host a prize and a study collection. Judges were Terence Maloon and Savandhary Vongpoothorn.
" Bevan Honey has won the City of Joondalup Invitation Art Award $10,000 acquisitive prize in WA.
Franz Kempf: Thinking on Paper 1955 – 2002 is a picture book of this painter's prints and drawings, with an essay by Adam Dutkiewicz, published by Wakefield Press 2002, 68pp, RRP $39.95
" Getting the Measure is a useful and interesting collection of essays from the forum of The Lie of the Land published by Footscray Community Arts Centre which also was the organiser of the exhibition of the same name. Contact Carmen Grostal on (03) 9689 5677.
" Visions of Australia: Impressions of the Landscape 1642 – 1910 is a new book from Eric Rolls which shows the continent from a new viewpoint, recording the opinions of those who first saw the land. Lothian Books, 2002 RRP $34.95.
" Isabel Carlos is Director of the 2004 Sydney Biennale. She is a Lisbon-based freelance curator, writer and art critic.
" Melentie Pandilovski, previously Director of the Contemporary Art Centre in Skopje, Macedonia, takes up the position (vacant since early 2001) of Director of the Experimental Art Foundation in January.
" Zane Trow has left his position as inaugural Director of the Brisbane Powerhouse after 3 years, to become Artistic Director of public art for Brisbane's Southbank, a new position to oversee time-based and installation art for the whole of this culture-leisure precinct.
" Michael Abbott QC has been appointed Chair of the Board of the Art Gallery of SA.
" Robert Heather is the inaugural Director of Artspace, the new regional gallery in Mackay.
" Alisa Bunbury has left the Art Gallery of SA to become the new Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Australian art overseas
" The life and work of Colin McCahon, New Zealand's most important 20th century artist, was recognised and celebrated in the largest touring exhibition of his work, Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith, at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam during August – November 2002 with 78 of McCahon's works from 1946 to 1982 sourced from collections all over the world. McCahon was described by the Director Rudi Fuchs as a visionary of the same global importance as Beuys and Pollock. It tours to New Zealand and Australia during 2003.
" Patricia Piccinini has been chosen to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2003. Her solo show comprises turning the Australian Pavilion into a home for the genetically engineered family she has created including 10-year-old Ollie who plays his Game Boy but disturbingly is developing wrinkles and the odd grey hair. The exhibition is to be curated by Linda Michaels, of the Monash University Museum of Art, which has recently acquired a major Piccinini work Still life with stem cells (see pic page 27).
" Piccinini was also selected by FACT, the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology, for their 5-person show on the theme of control or being out of control, within the Liverpool Biennial held Sept- Nov 2002.
" The Paris based art dealership Arts d'Australie – Stephane Jacob exhibited Australian artists Dean Bowen, Christopher Croft, Ollie Kemarre, Alastair McNaughton, Samuel Namundja, Linda Syddick Napaljarri, Lorna Brown Napanangka, Pantjiya Nungurrayi, Yalandja Owen, Ann Thomson and Alexander Zubryn at the International Contemporary Art Fair ART PARIS at the Louvre in October 2002 http://www.artsdaustralie.com
" The Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, Holland, opened earlier this year and continues to show and sell exclusively Australian indigenous art . Their current show is bark paintings from Arnhem Land. www.aamu.nl
The Adelaide International Film Festival:
28 February - 7 March 2003
The inaugural Adelaide International Film Festival will be an 8 day film and video event which explores contemporary screen culture with a unique program of screenings, forums and special events.
The festival will be held biannually, alternating with the Adelaide Festival of Arts.
The screening program of at least 60 feature-length programs will include world and Australian premieres of high profile international features, including the winner of the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature, Out of Control directed by Dominic Savage and the winner, at the San Sebastian Film Festival, of the Fipresci Grand Prix for New Director of the Year for British director Lynne Ramsay with Morvern Callar. Both these directors will be introducing their films in Adelaide and appearing in forums.
The program will have a number of strands - a focus on music in film, sound and composition in film, Asian Cinema, new media and the effect of digital technology on narrative techniques. Over the opening weekend there will be three nights of free outdoor screenings in the Adelaide parklands which will be suitable for families. Also an Italian day inspired partly by the documentary screening My Voyage to Italy by Martin Scorsese, followed by the iconic masterpieces of Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with their distinctive Morricone soundtracks and unforgettable combinations of sound and image. The Spaghetti Westerns will be complemented by live performances in the festival club of the Morricone Experience, a Melbourne based group of musicians who specialise in his work. The day will be capped by late night screenings of the pulp horror films of Dario Argento, co-writer of Once Upon a Time in the West, at least one of whose films was scored by Morricone. These technical and artistic masters (and collaborators), Leone, Morricone and Argento breathed new life into the Western and horror genres.
The forum and masterclass program will respond to the issues raised by the screening program. In particular it will explore the nexus between truth and fiction in documentaries and dramas, differing approaches to narrative structure, various models employed by first-time feature filmmakers and music and sound in film.
A focus on new media will be a significant feature and the AIFF New Media program will feature screenings, workshops, forums and installations. Invited guests include Mike Stubbs and Shynola [UK], and Craig Walsh [Aust]. Four curated programs will be devised for the AIFF by Mirrorball [from the Edinburgh International Film Festival]. The interface of new media and music videos will underscore the emphasis of AIFF on music and the combination of sound and image. AIFF will be screening a number of music-based documentaries, and taking up the opportunities of cross-programming and the sharing of guests with WOMADelaide, the sister festival of world music, which will immediately follow AIFF 7-9 March. www.adelaidefilmfestival.org. Adele Hann Program Manager AIFF 2003