NO TWEETING PLEASE WE'RE THINKING
During Ten Days on the Island MONA is running a ThinkTent where visitors will be able meet in a 'space' that is a social media mobile phone free zone and discuss the arts, writing, and philosophical topics with thinkers and writers in these areas. It will be curated by Professor Natasha Cica of the University of Tasmania.
TIME FOR THE APT AT LAST
The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial (APT7) opens at QAGOMA in Brisbane on 8 December, and will feature new works and commissions by 75 artists from 27 countries. The exhibition has a major focus on Papua New Guinea, including architecture, masks, painting and carving; and West Asia, including works by artists from Turkey through the Middle East to Iran and Central Asia as well as works by young generations of artists from Indonesia and Vietnam; and new painting, installation, sculpture and photography by Indigenous Australian artists.
The 20th anniversary of the extraordinary phenomenon that is the APT is a time to reflect upon the transformations in the Asia Pacific region over the past two decades. And the Gallery will expose its extensive APT archives throughout the exhibition, online, and in the public program.
Alison Carroll, guest editor of Artlink’s upcoming March issue The Asian Century, has addressed the same 20 year period in her commissioning of texts from key players in the region who have been instrumental in many of the changes. She responded in the media (The Australian 1/11/12) to the government’s white paper also called The Asian Century, demanding to know why it is that Australia operates no international arts agency for Asia when so many comparable countries do. In Indonesia, for example, there are cultural centres run from France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan, Korea, China, Spain, Russia, Holland and India but not from Australia. Our international presence as a whole is cobbled together by the Australia Council with help from DFAT, but without a guiding policy or funds to employ the professionals with expert knowledge. Most of the hundreds of proposals from the field to the few, woefully under-resourced, bi-lateral bodies such as the Australia-Indonesia Institute, languish unfunded. It’s hardly surprising that Australian creative artists continue to be marginalised internationally.
In an attempt by individual institutions to address this, there are two major shows in the pipeline for 2013. After a hiatus of many decades, there will be a large exhibition of Australian art in London themed on Australian land and landscape jointly organised by the NGA and the Royal Academy, covering 200 years of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian art. Ron Radford claims it as "the most significant survey exhibition of Australian art yet staged outside Australia". It will open at the RA in September 2013. And we hear that a big Indigenous moving image show auspiced by a prominent Sydney art school is being curated for Beijing, with some very high profile artists on the list.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale will be the first ever biennale in India, and is being held in Kochi (Cochin), ancient spice trade capital of Kerala, and Muziris, the equally historic town nearby, co-curated by its founders, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. Eighty artists from the MENASA regions (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia) and beyond are participating. Notable Australian artists are Hossein Valamanesh, Pat Hoffie and Ariel Hassan. Venues all over town are old colonial sites, spice warehouses, halls, parade grounds and go-downs such as Pepper House. 12 December 2012 to 13 March 2013.
ART, ALZHEIMERS AND MORE ART
Cheer up oldies, the National Gallery of Australia is thinking of you. In his Press Club address of 15 October, Director Ron Radford noted that dementia patients generally retain an appreciation of art and music far longer than their other failing powers and the NGA has introduced a new program of specialised tours with trained health workers, sponsored by the Thyne Reid Foundation. There is only one other such dementia program in the world.
For the differently abled, the museum is also close to embarking on the latest phase of its redevelopment, the addition of a large new section attached to the Indigenous wing, purely for Australian non-Indigenous art, redressing the marginalisation of the national collection from settlement to the present day, which is currently housed in the ‘attic galleries’ the low-ceilinged areas upstairs which for most visitors are easy to miss. It is also building on its Pacific interests with an exhibition of the art of the Solomon Islands and the art of Vanuatu.
The Art Gallery of SA has edged into the top 100 museums worldwide measured by the numbers of visitors through the door. The top score goes to the Louvre. Shot-in-the arm ex-Queenslander Director Nick Mitzevich has rapidly transformed the formerly staid and genteel image of the gallery by springing surprises on the public in the form of rapidly developed and unpredictable programming. His inclusive attitude to his staff at all levels has created new optimism. A new Kids space is in the pipeline for 2013.
The visual arts highlights in March 2013 are a retrospective exhibition of Laurie Andersen, the subversive New York librarian who became one of the great cross-artform performance artists of the seventies sustaining her creativity for three decades; the AGSA is going for broke with the most ambitious event ever mounted by the Gallery, a huge Turner show from the Tate. With the Festival going annual there will be no Artists Week in 2013 (book lovers, note that Writers Week does not share the same fate).
Keith Armstrong and Gavin Sade were recently awarded one of four generously funded Broadband Arts Initiative grants for the project Long Time No See involving an installation and online presence exploring a range of community responses to questions around what the nation might look like, not just a few decades, but a few centuries into the future. The work will be based at The Cube, QUT’s new Science and Engineering Centre. The Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, has devolved the awarding of the funds to the Australia Council, and the field was asked to propose works that take advantage of the new infrastructure. Terrapin Puppet Theatre has received $100,000 to use high speed broadband to stage a live simultaneous performance of the children’s show Shadow Dreams to two audiences in different locations.
Marcus Westbury has received $86,000 for the Screen Portal Project which will connect artists and audiences in real-time interactions on high definition, life-size audio visual screens in public spaces in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, as part of the 2013 International Symposium on Electronic Arts: Resistance is Futile. www.isea2013.org
Tony Ellwood moved from one top job to another in July. Director of QAGOMA for just over four years, he is now Director of National Gallery of Victoria with a promise of much more contemporary art after the 13 year reign of a historian.
Rupert Myer is the new Chair of the Australia Council, replacing James Strong, and Robyn Archer is the deputy chair.
Jonathan Parsons is Director of ISEA2013 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) in Sydney.
Kiersten Fishburn is the new Director of Casula Powerhouse in Sydney.
Kate Just is one of three winners of the British Council Realise Your Dream Award 2012 and will use her time in London to work with artists, members of the Stitch London community, and others to produce a large scale knitted sculpture.
Paul Ryan has won the $30,000 biennial 2012 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize with his painting Wild Colonial Boys.
Garry Stewart, Director of the Australian Dance Theatre, received the 2012 South Australian Ruby Award for “sustained contribution to the arts by an individual”.
Louise Hearman has won the NSM Basil Sellers Creative Arts Fellowship.
PEAK BODY 25 YEAR MILESTONE
ANKAAA, the Association of Northern, Kimberley & Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, founded in 1987, is the non-profit peak body representing up to 5,000 artists from 49 art and craft centres located in the Tiwi Islands and the Darwin/Katherine, Kimberley, and Arnhem Land regions and is one of the great success stories of ethical representation and advocacy for Indigenous artists. On the occasion of the celebration of ANKAAA’s 25th Anniversary we congratulate its dedicated staff and Board on their major achievements over this time. The web portal they set up in 2003 remains a vital link for the world to the websites of art centres over these areas, plus those represented by their sister organisation Desart. http://www.aboriginalart.org. A special collection of 34 dry point etchings by ANKAAA member artists will be on show at the exhibition at Cross Art Projects in Sydney in November.
TIME OUT IN LONDON
Twenty years ago an artist residency program in London was set up by the Australia Council in conjunction with ACME Studios. From the work of the more than 70 artists who have been awarded the coveted three-month stint since then, Time and Vision an exhibition and publication (available from http://vaaus.co.uk) has been created, and launched in October 2012. The overwhelming sentiments from the artists were gratitude for the chance to focus on their work without the distractions of home, and the stimulus of being amongst interesting strangers
Dancing with Empty Pockets by Tony Moore is a study of Australia’s bohemians, tracing their origins in 19th Century Europe and England and looking at the outrageous lifestyles of creative artists in all media from Marcus Clarke to the Chaser boys. (Pier 9: Murdoch Press)
J.W.Power Abstraction-Création Paris 1934, is a book in sections, examining the career of the donor of the celebrated Power Bequest to the University of Sydney, as an expatriate Australian artist in the milieu of the Abstraction-Création group in the thirties in Europe and the three issues of the magazine of the same name that they published. The main essay, by A.D.S. Donaldson and Ann Stephen, about J.W. Power’s life and times highlights his membership of this exclusive group; Virginia Spate writes on his Paris exhibition of 1934 and the French scholar Gladys Fabre on the Abstraction-Création group itself. The book accompanies the current 2012 exhibition at the Sydney University Art Gallery that painstakingly recreates Power’s Paris show. (Power Publications 2012)
Spaced: art out of place, is the post-event documentation written by the participants in the huge three year regional residency project of the same name in Western Australia under the banner of IASKA. A very useful, lively and well produced publication on an ambitious project. Essay by Marco Marcon (IASKA 2012).
This will have been: art love & politics in the 1980s by Helen Molesworth, chief curator of the ICA Boston, is an impressive 480 page book which is in fact the catalogue of the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago from February - June 2012. Through the work and thoughts of about 100 artists, mostly Americans, it makes a serious attempt to make sense of the decade in all its nuanced and contradictory aspects with the rise of women, gays, people of colour and HIV-AIDS, and how art dealt with the mass media, the commercial art market, Ronald Reagan and the rest. Required reading in this time of the revival of feminism. (Yale University Press 2012)
Pamela Burton was not sure if she should write The Waterlow Killings: A Portrait of a Family Tragedy, which focuses on the murder of internationally renowned and much loved Sydney curator Nick Waterlow and his daughter by his mentally ill son, but the Lawyer and Mental Health advocate felt so strongly about the family’s battle with the mental health system to obtain proper care for their son, that she has pieced together a book that highlights the issues of many families who are trying to live with the sometimes terrifying effects of mental illness. (Melbourne University Press 2012)
To Life! Eco Art in the Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet by Linda Weintraub is an international survey of eco art from the 1960s to the present. Written as a guide and resource for students, the book is written from the view that art can act as a form of social conscience and calls for artists and designers to integrate environmental responsibility and activism into their practices.