Albury celebrates at the end of July, as it launches a bold experiment in hybridising or converging library and museum services. It also opens its first contemporary building in over 40 years, the Ashton, Raggatt & Mcdougall-designed library museum. While the building will challenge the community aesthetically, the content inside will be a beacon for learning by providing highly accessible services which will break a few taboos. Across the park the old Albury Regional Gallery is also part of the heady new mix. Gallery director Kevin Wilson, also overall team leader for the city’s cultural services, told Artlink that Albury City has embraced the idea of convergence while staff, who are being shifted out of the silos of single professions, have responded by developing methodologies on how books, museum objects, and people as living resources are combined. This, he says, creates an easily accessible web portal which merges museum and library databases and re-examines how users of the facility navigate space.
Of particular interest has been how to make temporary exhibitions greater interactive zones, in the same way that library zones encourage users to relax, spend time and socialise while learning. Two key exhibitions coming up in September and October are the first in a series of convergence exhibitions. The first features the work of Queensland book artists Adele Outteridge and Wim de Voss, where the Gallery will be converted into a living studio, workshop space and library. The other is an exhibition of three generations of local country women who genetically carried the artistic thread through to major Australian artist Irene Barberis. The exhibition features oral history, early artworks, and art theory texts used and made by each of the women within the framework of an historical mind map installation created by Barberis.
The grand opening of the building takes place on July 27 preceded on July 26 by a major industry seminar titled “Information, communication and display technologies within the context of future social space", featuring key speaker, Patrick Conway, the recently retired Director of Culture and Leisure with Durham County Council, England, who has championed an interdisciplinary approach to service delivery that has its focus on people and communities rather than discrete professional disciplines.
Art history can get even smaller than a rack of postcards in a museum. It can be the wallpaper on your mobile phone according to press release: 'Museum On The Go launches the first world-wide mobile portal for digital museum objects. Hundreds of historical files can be viewed, listened to, downloaded or forwarded.' Amazingly, as well as Van Goghs and Constables, you can download 'original historical videos' to your phone as well. A life-enhancing opportunity or last ditch marketing by impoverished museums? The participating museums are mainly in Vienna. www.museumonthego.com
Aussie assault on Venice
Australia's profile at the Venice Biennale 2007 will be at a record high with photographer Rosemary Laing, video artist Shaun Gladwell and installation artist Christian Capurro being chosen by Venice Biennale artistic director Robert Storr for his curated section of the event. This is as well as our official representation at the Australian Pavilion and external sites in Venice by Susan Norrie, Daniel von Sturmer and Callum Morton. Rosemary Laing will exhibit three works from her 2004 series, 'To walk on a sea of salt'. The three photographs, 'welcome to Australia; 5.10am, 15 December, 2004' and and 'you can even pay later' depict the exterior of the Woomera Detention centre. Shaun Gladwell will exhibit a new four-channel video installation influenced by the Australian desert landscape while Christian Capurro will exhibit a site-specific installation of works related to his project 'Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette'. The work centres on a Vogue Hommes magazine that was erased by hand by more than 260 people between 1999 and 2004. This five-year collaborative erasure work was featured in Artlink''s March 2005 issue.
Joining the other Australian curators travelling to Venice are Indigenous curators Keith Munro from Museum of Contemporary Art, Bruce McLean, from Queensland Art Gallery, and Tina Baum and Simona Barkus from the National Gallery of Australia.
" SOUTH to Soweto
The next Gathering of the SOUTH Project will take place 18 - 21 October in South Africa, opening at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in Orlando West, Soweto. Talks and presentations focusing on shared histories will include spotlights on culture in Soweto today with input from a range of African artists, plus curating in Africa and the models of art that are relevant to what is happening in the south. This will include consideration of art by collectives and the divide between art and craft. Copies of Artlink's South issue will be taken to the Soweto Gathering.
" Unreasonable Adults were part of the Spill Festival of Performance in London during April with The Last To See Them Alive: Sex, Slaughter & the City, performed by Caroline Daish, Fiona Sprott, Jason Sweeney & Julie Vulcan, playing out what it means to be the victim and/or victor in the game of serial murder and serial monogamy in the big city. Spill is UK's newest festival of performance, live art and experimental theatre, with artists and companies from around the world in some of London's top venues and unusual spaces
" Kate Murphy, winner of the 2006 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship was international artist in residence at the Fire Station Artists' Studios in Dublin. She curated Projector, a screening of Australian video art at FOUR, a lively artist-run art centre in Dublin, including Anthea Behm, Brent Grayburn, Soda Jerk, Brendan Lee, David Mackenzie & Craig Bender, Todd McMillian, Ms & Mr, Kate Murphy, Rachel Scott, Sam Smith, Peter Volich and Emma White. 1 June 2007.
Reassuring news in the Government's May Budget is that the existing funding for the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) has been renewed for another four years totaling $24.7 million, with some indexation. Sadly the visual arts missed out on the extra $3 million for which NAVA had lobbied to help reinstate mandatory artists' fees for exhibiting in non-profit spaces. Regional Arts Australia was also disappointed in being knocked back on a $60 million 4-year proposal, to improve the lot of artists in regional, rural and remote communities.
The Budget item which took most people completely by surprise was the $20.4 million over four years 'to enhance Australia's cultural diplomacy and improve market access for our cultural exports'. The brand new Australia on the World Stage will provide a large increase in funding for artists and performers to tour internationally. But this new strategy must apparently also 'help create a better understanding of Australia in our region and further abroad' and, on a deeply worrying note, Alexander Downer, who chairs the committee, will decide how this money is spent. Better understanding is one thing. Diplomatic imperatives are something else. Moreover, the findings of the Senate Inquiry into Cultural Diplomacy, due to report to Government in July, appear to have been pre-empted by the funding of Australia on the World Stage.
" Culture Warriors is the title of the inaugural edition of the newest Triennial on the block. Dreamed up and hosted by National Gallery of Australia, the National Indigenous Art Triennial is sponsored by BHP Billeton, and will be curated by Indigenous curators, of whom the first is Brenda Croft. 30 artists in all media in an exhibition inspired by the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. 12 October 2007 – 10 February 2008, touring to the Art Gallery of SA, Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of WA.
" Aboriginal art centres are collaborating what will be a cross between a fair and a big market in Darwin to coincide with the annual NATSIAA ('Telstra') prize in August. The Holiday Inn Esplanade has donated the use of its ballroom and outdoor areas. More info from Apolline Kohen of Maningrida Arts and Culture in Arnhem Land, email@example.com.
The Basil Sellers Art Prize is a new, some would say misguided, attempt to encourage Australian contemporary artists to reflect on and engage with, yes, you heard it right - sport. But when the challenge comes with a reward ticket of $100,000 it may focus the minds of even sensitive souls who would normally prefer the studio or a good movie to the sweaty stuff. The prize is acquisitive and will be supported by an exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne. Chris McAuliffe, Director of the Museum is working with businessman Basil Selllers, the initiator of the idea and source of the prize money, on a definition of sport which ranges from tiddlywinks to commonly shared experiences such as obsession, fanaticism or to 'win at all costs'. They hope that the prize will encourage 'a dynamic and critical reflection of all forms of sport and sporting culture in Australia' and 'liberate sport and art from their opposing corners in the cultural landscape.'
A shortlist of artists will be selected by a panel of judges in September 2007. Chosen artists will be invited to submit works for the inaugural prize and exhibition, opening July 2008. Deadline for applications is 29 June. Check www.sellersartprize.com.au
" Flake is the Highest film festival, based at Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. FFF is calling for entries for an 8 minute film on the theme of Water. $10,000 prize will be judged by the audiences in this unique viewing setting. Deadline 20 August. Guidelines at www.flakefilmfestival.com contact Anthony 'Chook' Trovatello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online postgrad degree in art & design
The College of Fine Arts (COFA) at UNSW has launched a Master of Cross-Disciplinary Art & Design, an accredited professional development degree and one of the world's first fully online postgraduate degrees in art and design. International students can now study the subject at an Australian university without leaving home. Students will experience online study with peers from different creative backgrounds, professional experiences, locations and cultures echoing today's cross-disciplinary creative art and design practice. Intake starts in Session 2, 2007 info at www.cofa.unsw.edu.au/online.
" Floating Land 2007 at Noosa Regional Gallery this year takes the form of 5-Day Workshops with tutors Rex Kaleholf (USA), David Trubridge (NZ) and Jill Chism (Aust.) From Sat 16 - Wed 20 June, 9am - 5pm each day and attracting artists + designers (student, emerging and professional). www.noosaregionalgallery.com
Exhibitions to Watch
Artist in focus Paddy Bedford Over his relatively short painting career Paddy Bedford, a Gija elder and a senior law man from the Warmun region of the north east Kimberley, has created arguably some of the most compelling painting in Australia today. His experimental mode of work sees him playing with form and colour as he depicts the landscape in which he has spent a lifetime. Family dreamings, such as emu, turkey and cockatoo, act as visual accounts of the interaction of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the Kimberley. Organised and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 22 July 2007.
" Experimenta Playground: International biennial of media arts will feature the best recent Australian and international media art, video art, sound art, projection and interactive installation. Presented by The Arts Centre Melbourne Experimenta will run at The Arts Centre BlackBox 24 August - 23 September 2007.
" Strange Fruit: testimony and the uncanny in the art of Julie Dowling is the first survey of this hard-to-pigeonhole artist, with 40 works curated by Jeanette Hoorn. Ian Potter Museum of Art 21 July – 14 October.
" Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now, New York - Venice - Bilbao - Berlin claims to be the most important exhibition of post-war and contemporary art to be held in Australia. Coming to Melbourne from the Guggenheim Museum, as the 4th in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series at the National Gallery of Victoria (and not touring), the 85 works show the evolution of art since the 1940s, with iconic pieces from every decade to the present. 30 June – 2 October.
" Anselm Kiefer: Recent Work offers a chance to see new developments in the work of the iconic German artist who this year is having major shows at the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Grand Palais in Paris. The assemblages include palm leaves under glass and reference the Catholic liturgy for Advent and Palm Sunday, and panoramic charred landscapes with flowers. Art Gallery of New South Wales 19 May - 29 July 2007.
" Proof - Portraits from the Movement 1978 - 2003 is a unique collection of black and white photographs of Aboriginal people by Juno Gemes documenting events and people over the past 30 years that have been of seminal significance to their empowerment. Opening on the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum it is a visual history proving that an Aboriginal Movement for cultural respect existed. Juno Gemes covered significant events all over the country, in remote and in urban areas eg Uluru handback, Land Rights, Stolen Generations welcome home and much more and has won the support of the Aboriginal community for her dedication to recording history. At Gosford Regional Art Gallery to 22 July 2007. http://www.junogemes.com
" Ordinary Madness, photography of understated humour involving everyday life by Kim Guthrie is at the Museum of Brisbane 15 June – 12 August.
" The SA Living Artists Festival which has been so successful in getting local artists and curators to put extra effort into getting their work out in the public arena is on again this year from 3 – 19 August. It is celebrating a new sponsorship by the Advertiser for a free insert of 280,000 copies of the SALA Program.
" Auckland Art Gallery has launched a new annual journal of international art and culture, Reading Room, one of only a handful of peer-reviewed art publications in Australasia. The inaugural issue of eight essays, (138 pages) was out in time for the start of the academic year and was jointly edited by Tina Barton, Wystan Curnow and Robert Leonard, (who conceived the idea before he left the Gallery for Brisbane) Themed 'Autobiography in the Wake of Conceptualism', it is published by the gallery's E H McCormick Research Library, and sponsored by Dr John Mayo, an academic from Queensland. More info from www.aucklandartgallery.govt.nz
" Re: search. Art Collaboration between Australia and Japan is a publication recording the joint exhibition and exchange of 3 Australian and 3 Japanese artists hosted by sendai mediatheque in Sendai, Japan and co-organised by Experimenta Media Arts. Melbourne. Available via www.experimenta.org.
" Creative Territories: site specific art as communion records four 'art in nature' projects in Australia in mid-2005 organised by Kevin Wilson, including the famous Floating Land in Noosa. Order this great 98-page book from Albury Regional Gallery email@example.com
" Brought to Light II: Contemporary Australian Art 1966–2006 editors Lynne Seear and Julie Ewington, is a substantial, generously illustrated volume comprising texts on key works in the Australian section of the Queensland Art Gallery. Writers include Sebastian Smee, John Murphy, Rex Butler, Howard Morphy, Hetti Perkins and Mary Eagle. Available from www.australianartbooks.com.au
" A Handbook for Coding Cultures, free from d/Lux/MediaArts, explores new international trends in digital storytelling. Commissioned for the recent Coding Cultures Symposium, six writers and groups from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, England, Italy and Hong Kong share their experiences of building imaginative digital tools, social networks, open labs and internet-based knowledge platforms for communication and creativity. Download at www.dlux.org.au/codingcultures/handbook.html
" Making Space is a hardcover 272 page book documenting the vibrant artist-run space scene in Victoria and is published to coincide with a two-month season of shows in dozens of ARIs. Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world to have such a healthy ecosystem of places where artists are in charge of the shop. Writers include Suzie Attiwill, Terri Bird, Richard Holt, Brett Jones, Tessa Dwyer, and Daniel Palmer and interviews with now defunct Australian artist-run initiatives. For info: www.via-n.org
"Tony Ellwood is leaving the National Gallery of Victoria to become the Director of the Queensland Art Gallery succeeding Doug Hall who departed the Gallery in April.
"Tim Rollason is the new Director of the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs.
" Gail Kovatseff is the new Director of the Media Resource Centre in Adelaide.
" Doug Hall has joined the Board of Deutscher Hackett auction house in Melbourne.
" Senior artists and former teachers at Sydney College of the Arts Jim Allen, Guy Warren and Helge Larsen & Darani Lewers have been awarded the first Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Visual Arts by the University of Sydney.
The Performance Space recently made the big move from its old home in Cleveland St, Redfern, Sydney, to be the first tenant in a new multi-purpose centre in Redfern/Waterloo on the site of the old Eveleigh Railyards. An Arts NSW government project many years in the realisation, CarriageWorks is also home to the performing companies Stalker and Earth and the organization Playwrighting Australia. The overall ambition for the centre is to create a place where the local community can make connections with a wide range of visiting artists and build a lively interactive environment for arts and community development. In the $49 million refit, the huge 19th Century red-brick railway carriage and blacksmith workshops have morphed into a vast foyer, two large flexible theatre spaces and a whole raft of other spaces in which resident and visiting artists can create, rehearse, perform and drink coffee on site.
" in-Transit Gallery is a shiny new space dedicated to emerging and established artists and designers. Sited in the Brisbane Cruise Terminal Transit Hall at Brisbane's lifestyle destination precinct, Portside Wharf, the enterprise is sponsored by developer Multiplex and managed by Artworkers Alliance. Rock Pool II with Andrew Forsyth, Natasha Cordasic, Kay Lawrence, Kaija Cox, Carly Scoufos + Eric Rossi is showing from 28 June - 1 August 2007. http://www.artworkers.org.
" After many years of lobbying to abolish admission charges, the much loved Manly Art Gallery and Museum opened its doors on 5 April free to all visitors, heralding a new era of relaxed viewing for locals and the multitudes of visitors arriving on the Ferry each day.