Cancel that prize, award, scholarship!
" The 2009 Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award has been canned due to a perceived lack of worthy entrants. Instead of the open entry system of the past eight events, the organisers had sought nominations of five artists each from eight well known curators, but of the 40 artists only 28 actually submitted and out of these the three judges – John Denton, Melbourne architect, Alexie Glass, director of Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and Zara Stanhope, freelance curator – could not find 15 maquettes which were promising enough to invest the upfront fee of $5000 each for full scale fabrication. Held in the grand environs of Werribee Park, the Award demands large work, which can easily cost four times the subsidy, so each artist is gambling on hitting the $100,000 jackpot, plus the useful publicity. Several of the curators were surprised at the outcome and would presumably not be part of such a process again. But perhaps the nominees were older and more experienced than the open entry punters of earlier prizes, and more cautious about committing their hard earned cash to the luck of the draw. A few bruised egos will no doubt not stop the determination of the organizers, who are reportely working on making it up to sculptors with a new kind of event in the park in the autumn of 2009.
" Coincidentally, the Warrnambool Regional Gallery has snatched away its $15,000 New Social Commentary prize this year from the person selected as the winner by the appointed judge, MCA curator Christine Morrow. The reason given by the Trustees was that the panel could not support her choice, although Morrow believed she was the sole judge. Board member and donor of the prize, ??? Jones, felt that the work by Sydney artist Adam Norton The Camouflage Suit Experiment, would not sit comfortably with their collection. The local council has called for an enquiry into the stuffup and the spurned artist has threatened to sue the gallery. New Social Commentary takes on extra significance.
" The Samstag Scholarships, Australia's most generous and coveted awards to visual arts graduates for overseas study, will not be awarded in 2009 and are subject to a moratorium until further notice. The US-based Trustees of the in-perpetuity bequest advised in February this year that the Samstag funds, reduced by the downturn of the money market during 2008, are not sufficient to fund the fellowships without dipping into capital. There are speculations from disappointed eligible artists as to whether the Scholarships, the core business of the bequest, have been compromised by diversion of funds to what was The University of SA Art Museum and which last year changed its name to the Anne and Gordon Samstag Art Museum. Ross Wolfe, Director of the Samstag Progam, told Artlink that the amount of money paid from the Fund to the Museum for the name and also to assist its program budget, was very small, finite and a one-off. He pointed out that the naming of the Museum is an honouring of a generous benefactor to the University of SA and there is nothing unusual about this. To date 116 Scholars have been sent on their way to various overseas study destinations, usually five per year; each one costs the fund around $100,000. With philanthropic foundations around the world, most of which rely on investment earnings, likely to be in damage control and putting programs on hold, we can only hope that the Trustees can find some solution to enable at least some of these highly valued scholarships to resume in time for the 2010 round.
New art endangered by cyber 'drift netting'
The Australian Government will soon introduce a 'whole of Internet' filtering system under the auspices of child Cyber-Safety, requiring Internet Service Providers to filter out content identified as prohibited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
However, this could also result in long-term damage to the Australian emerging media and new technologies industries.
The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) believes this scheme is misguided and will have a severely adverse affect on creativity, culture and the economy. It will also slow down network speeds and block sites that are neither harmful nor inappropriate for children, nor illegal, such as in streaming media or via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks. Artists who traditionally work at the leading edge of new technologies will most likely be caught by the net category termed 'Inappropriate'.
Quoting Fee Plumley, ANAT's portable platforms and emerging technologies Program Manager, 'To ensure the world is a better place for Australian children, why not invest in widespread education and lower-cost access to the networks? These will enable children to use current and future systems responsibly and to learn how to protect themselves in our increasingly networked world.' For more information and information on this policy and what you can do about it, visit the EFA clean-feed site http://nocleanfeed.com
(digest from ANAT bulletin)
Mergers and moves
" The University of South Australia is about to merge the SA School of Art with the Louis Laybourne School of Architecture. Outgoing Head of the SA School of Art, the energetic Professor Kay Lawrence, whose commitment and talent has so invigorated the School, concedes that the new bigger entity (whose possible new name is the College of art, architecture and design), will be more resilient in times of economic uncertainty and that savings on duplication of administrative salaries will be chanelled into educational services. The two schools are not the only ones within the University that are merging. There is obvious synergy between art and architecture and each school has different strengths and weaknesses (architecture is better at attracting ARC grants and art has stronger research degrees) which as a whole could conceivably result in a stronger, more 'rounded' entity. If the merger is managed well and fairly, the fears that the Art School with its long history will lose its identity, may be assuaged. On the positive side the two schools are already co-located in two new buildings at CityWest. But Artrave intuits that an art school without its own Head can easily be robbed of the ability to determine its specific internal agendas. The first Head of the new entity will be the existing head of architecture, Mads Gaardboe.
" Adelaide Central School of Art is in a state of transition from its first 25 years of successful operation under the leadership of its inspirational founder, artist Rod Taylor who is retiring in December from the directorship to resume full time painting. Since its inception as a privately owned art school it has prospered with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees accredited through Flinders University. The existing lease on the school's home in Norwood has a period of grace while new premises can be secured, and the school is optimistic about becoming part of a potential new arts development. Ingrid Kellenbach whose main experience is in arts management is the new CEO, while Lecturer Rob Gutteridge will take on the leading academic position. There is a strong community of support for the philosophy of hands-on studio based teaching by artists, including an emphasis on drawing as the basis of art education.
Art or coal
The Pages River which runs through the Upper Hunter Valley, long threatened by the prospect (incredible as it may seem) of a new coal mine, is the centre of attention for artist Hanna Kay who has spent the past year lobbying local sponsors on behalf of the long term health and survival of the river. The local council has come to the party with funding to run Turning the Pages, an environment, community art and science program for school children. Starting with field trips and science workshops to analyse river health identifying insects and water flow and looking at the shape and course of the river, the project then focussed on art as an environmental tool. This involved drawing, painting, dance, music, creative writing and sculpture making. Working with artists from the Jennifer Turpin Studio from Sydney, 180 school children produced River Quiver, a temporary wind-responsive installation along the river. Lightweight translucent sculptures representing the creatures that swim and fly in the Pages River are counterbalanced and suspended from bamboo hangers that tilt and flutter in the breeze. Along its length are echoes of a river soundscape, water noises recorded by the children and coordinated by local artist Rodney Swansborough. The pairs of sculptures are made from recycled materials with black materials signifying introduced species whilst sculptures without black represent native species. http://www.vimeo.com/1584444. Hanna Kay's next mission is to establish The Art Farm, a hub which will enable artists to live and work in the Upper Hunter, and at the same time look after the environment, a stark contrast to the plans to pollute and destroy the beauty of the area with a coal mine. Interested people can contact the genius of the place and of the project at email@example.com for more information and for details of her recent book Notes from the Shed, which is a journal-based account of her work processes.
Kon Gouriotis is the new Director of the Visual Arts Fund of the Australia Council, replacing Anna Waldmann.
" Victoria Lynn has been announced as visual arts curator of the Adelaide Festival 2010.
" Dr Stefano Carboni, Islamic art specialist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York is the new Director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
" Daniel Brine is the new Director of Performance Space in Sydney, replacing Fiona Winning who is returning to freelance writing and producing.
" Greg Mackie has moved from his position as CEO of Arts SA to the position of Acting Deputy CEO of Departmental Affairs Dept of Premier and Cabinet, of the South Australian Government, and Alex Reid is acting in his old position.
" Geoffrey Cassidy, formerly with Sotheby's Australia, is the new Director of Artbank.
" Ingrid Kellenbach is the new CEO of the Adelaide Central School of Art.
" Brian Butler Director of Artspace in Auckland is going back to Los Angeles and Emma Bugden has been appointed in his place.
Curator guru to Adelaide
Total Curating Workshop to be led by distinguished international curator Vasif Kortun at the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide 19 Feb - 21 March 2009, is an outstanding opportunity to learn crucial elements of curating – creative, technical and scholarly – from an expert. Veteran of many major biennales including Istanbul in 1992, Kortun's most recent gig, with Manray Hsu (see page 50) is the Taipei Biennale 2008. The workshop, which is being run in conjunction with the exhibition Socially Disorganised at the EAF, and the Adelaide International Film Festival, is free of charge, but assistance for travel and accommodation is not provided. Places are limited. See www.eaf.asn.au/curatingseminars.html for more details and how to apply.
A press release from Artbank in July gave a sudden clue as to a possible reason for the Melbourne Art Fair changing its date from October to July. Start of the financial year! Artbank was gloating about just getting its budget allocation for acquisitions (a record $1m) and getting ready to spend it on living artists at the Fair.
Gifts to share
" Arts philanthropist Dr Ann Lewis AM has offered the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Newcastle Region Gallery their choice from her Australian art collection of five decades. The MCA has selected 70 artworks, including by Hany Armanious, Rosalie Gascoigne, Rosemary Laing and Ricky Swallow. Newcastle Region Gallery selected 60 works including by Robert Macpherson and Bronwyn Oliver.
" The AGNSW spent $16.2m on the painting Bords de la Marne by Cezanne in September this year and have raised 86% of it from donors including Margaret Olley. They have tapped a few of their favourite living artists on the shoulder to donate works which were auctioned at the Gallery to help pay off the debt. $275,000 was raised.
" The Museum of Contemporary Art has received a grant of $1 million from the City of Sydney to support its building campaign for a new wing, plus two new individual pledges (one from the generous Ann Lewis) of $500,000 bringing total funds raised to $27 million. Only another $22m to go.
" Paul Greenaway recently launched GAG Projects in a new non-commercial exhibition and artist residency space at Schröderstraße 7, 10115 Mitte in Berlin, where he will program a range of small scale exhibitions often in conjunction with artists-in-residence. An offshoot of Greenaway Art Gallery in Adelaide, it is not restrained by a specific venue but can manifest as an installation, a multiple, a performance or a screening in any country in the world, working collaboratively with artists, festivals, museums, universities and writers. Projects need not be physically grand in scale nor do the artists involved need be already established.
" Urban Uprising is a new gallery at 314 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, specialising in prints in the urban genre. Director is Rod Lay. Pure Evil Christmas includes vampire bunnies and opens 3rd December 2008.
" Sedgwick Studios and Gallery Infinart, is a new international artist-run space and studio complex in a country setting outside Bendigo, with facilities for painting, marble carving, welding, woodwork, slump glass, forging and blacksmithery. Available for International artist residencies and their collated exhibitions. 1377 Axe Creek Rd, Sedgwick 3551, Vic. contact Samantha Meadmore (03) 54396109 www.infinart.com.au/gallery_infinart
" Church Studio Franklin is a studio/gallery in a converted 1862-built church in Franklin, Tasmania, a 35-minute drive south of Hobart in the Huon Valley. Recently acquired by artists Pat and Charles Zuber, retired from their jobs in Queensland in public art and lecturing at QCA, it offers accommodation, a studio suitable for visual arts including small to medium scale printmaking and a gallery area. Artists who are interested in renting the spaces may enquire from firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos on http://churchstudiofranklin.blogspot.com/
" Art Vault is a new privately run and financed arts precinct set up by Julie Chambers in Mildura in an old Art Deco building. It offers two art galleries, professional printmaking facilities, ten studios for local artists and two self-contained residencies for visiting artists and was launched by Julian Burnside on 1 November. 0427035789 email@example.com
New Zealand island art
Headland: Sculpture on the Gulf is an annual event on Waiheke Island, a ferry ride from Auckland is where you can get healthy exercise and also find art by established and emerging artists placed along a magnificent coastal headland walkway or floating on the ocean. Visit the inaugural national Small Sculpture Prize exhibition at the same time at Waiheke Community Art Gallery in Oneroa, as well as the small villages, cafes, vineyards & beaches. January 23 – February 15 2009. www.sculptureonthegulf.co.nz
" Danie Mellor is the winner of the $15,000 2008 National Works on Paper (NWOP) prize from the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery with an unsettled vision (the predicament).
" Alick Tipoti is the winner of the People's Choice at the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award with a 5m long handcoloured linocut print titled Adhikuyam.
" Jude Rae has won the $18,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award for Self Portrait 2008 (the year my husband left), the second time Rae has won this prize in three years.
" Erin Coates won the City of Joondalup's $10,000 Invitation Art Award's Overall Acquisitive prize in Perth with Microeconomics (paradise spent) a digital print on archival paper.
" Peter Robinson has won the $50,000 Walters Prize 2008 in New Zealand plus a trip to New York and an exhibition opportunity.
" Gali Gurruwiwi has won the $25,000 RAKA indigenous art award with Morning star pole 2007 ochre on wood with bushstring, native bees wax and feathers.
Books received recently
" Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance, edited by Judith Rugg & Michele Sedgwick, with 12 chapter contributors, 183pp, hardback, Intellect Books, Bristol, 2007.
" Dollar Dreaming: inside the Aboriginal art world by Benjamin Genocchio, paperback 232 pp, pub. Hardie Grant, Vic, 2008.
" Written in the Land: the life of Queenie McKenzie by Jennifer Joi Field pub. Melbourne Books, 208pp lavish slipcase edition.
" The Art of the Book: Collaboration edited by Marian M. Amies 2005, Dept. Art and Art History, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis, pub. in conjunction with exhibition.
States of Exchange: artists from Cuba, 6 contemporary artists and 10 writers incl. Gerardo Mosquera, pub. Iniva (London). 2008 softcover 111pp, bi-lingual, in conjunction with exhibition. www.iniva.org.
" Centre of the Periphery: Three European Art Historians in Melbourne by Sheridan Palmer 2008, new research on Ursular Hoff, Franz Philipp and Joseph Burke, 271 pp. pub. Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, www.scholarly.info.
" When You Think About Art: The Ewing and George Paton Gallery 1971 - 2006 edited by Helen Vivian, many essayists, on Australia's first publicly funded avant-garde space, Melbourne University, illus. pub. Macmillan Art Publishing 2008.
" Ailan Currents: contemporary printmaking from the Torres Strait outstanding quality foldouts of linocuts by Joey Laifoo, Billy Missi, Dennis Nona, Brian Robinson, Joel Sam, Leroy Alua Savage and Alick Tipoti, softcover 98pp, pub. KickArts Contemporary Arts Ltd, Cairns 2007. firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood profiles of artist-mothers by Rachel Power 309pp pub Red Dog Books 2008 email@example.com
" The Flower Hunter: The remarkable life of Ellis Rowan by Christine and Michael Morton-Evans, 328pp pub Simon and Schuster 2008.
" Strange Museums: A Journey Through Poland by Fiona McGregor 238pp pub. Univ of WA Press, on performance poetry with AnA Wojak.
" Raymond Arnold by Séan Kelly, (2008) and David Keeling (2007) by David Hansen, latest titles in quality Tasmanian monograph series, 64pp, hard cover, colour, pub. Quintus, University of Tasmania, assisted by Arts Tasmania.
" Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle by Mark Thomson, an irreverent account with great colour images documenting Wedd's mischievous and imaginative genius, hardcover, 192pp pub. Wakefield Press, 10th SALA monograph, 2008, assisted by Arts SA.
" Extraordinary: Photographs by Kim Guthrie self-published with various sponsors incl Arts Queensland. Softcover landscape format, collection of everyday colour images of people around Noosa, Queensland, funny, touching, cheerful and sad. Introduction by Annette Hughes. Order from firstname.lastname@example.org.
" My Father My Brother: Stories of Campbelltown's Aboriginal Men part of Campbelltown Intergenerational Aboriginal Project, life stories and memories of Aboriginal women and men, BW photos by Mervyn Bishop, Project Director Penny Stannard, unpaginated, 2007, Campbelltown Arts Centre, NSW.