Nirin goodness, art policy badness, giant novelty cheques, living the art life, bush painter wisdom + more…

Art Life , Stuff Apr 12, 2019 No Comments

A big plate o’ food…

Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Barbara McGrady, Sister Girls stylin up, Mardi Gras, 2013.

This week’s announcement of the title of the forthcoming Biennale of Sydney in 2020, along with 33 of its participating artists, was this week’s major contemporary art media event. Brooke Andrew, Artistic Director of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, revealed that the show will go under the umbrella title NIRIN. “Meaning edge, NIRIN is a word of Andrew’s mother’s Nation, the Wiradjuri people of western New South Wales […] Andrew added: “NIRIN is not a periphery, it is our centre, and it expresses dynamic existing and ancient practices that speak loudly. NIRIN decentres, challenges and transforms dominant narratives, such as the 2020 Captain Cook anniversary in Australia and reorients Western mapping, shining a light on sites of being that are often ignored or rendered invisible. NIRIN is an inspirational journey driven by stories and grass-root practices, realised through twisting perceptions, moments of transition and a sense of being in the world that is interconnected.”

Seven themes inspire NIRIN: DHAAGUN (Earth: Sovereignty and Working Together); BAGARAY- BANG (Healing); YIRAWY–DHURAY (Yam-Connection: Food); GURRAY (Transformation); MURIGUWAL GIILAND (Different Stories); NGAWAAL-GUYUNGAN (Powerful-Ideas: The Power of Objects); and BILA (River: Environment.

“With a focus on artists who are people of colour and from first nation cultures, the line up includes “Australian First Nation artist Tony Albert; South African artist Lhola Amira, Australian First Nation custodians of the Blacktown Native Institution, Australian-Papua New Guinean artist Eric Bridgeman; S?moan-Persian-Australian artist Léuli Eshrãghi; artist and musician Nicholas Galaninfrom Sitka, Alaska; American cinematographer and artist Arthur Jafa; Australian chef and creative Kylie Kwong; Australian First Nation photographer Barbara McGrady; Austrian artist and curatorKatarina Matiasek; Australian First Nation artist S.J Norman; M?ori multimedia artist Lisa Reihana; and, USA-based Haitian artist-anthropologist-activist Gina Athena Ulysse.”

Giant novelty cheques…

IMAGES L-R:  Giselle Stanborough, Opbra, 2013; Sally Rees, Zap Zap, 2015; Frances Barrett, The Wrestle, 2015

Breaking with the usual model for large prizes, awards and scholarships, opting instead for a large solo exhibition for each of its winners, the first [and perhaps only] Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship was announced on Monday, a major new artistic fellowship made possible with funds from the estate of the late installation and performance artist Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012). The recipients were artists Frances Barrett (NSW), Giselle Stanborough (NSW) and Sally Rees (Tas). Although the fellowship lacks giant novelty cheques, each artist receives $100,000 to realise an ambitious new work to be presented in three individual exhibitions at ACCA (Barrett), Carriageworks (Stanborough) and Mona (Rees) in 2020. “Female-identifying artists or artist collectives were invited to submit proposals for an ambitious new project focused at the intersection of installation and performance art practice. The selection panel comprised leadership and curatorial representatives from the presenting institutions, including Daniel Mudie Cunningham (Director of Programs, Carriageworks), David Walsh (Founder, Mona) and Nicole Durling (Co-Director of Exhibitions and Collections and Senior Curator, Mona), Max Delany (Director, ACCA) and Annika Kristensen (Senior Curator, ACCA).”

The Big Cheese: Contemporising the Modern

Petrina Hicks, Lambswool, 2008.

If there was ever a case of ‘punching above its weight’ Bega Valley Regional Gallery is the little gallery that can. Despite being recently passed over for funding to expand the gallery, director Iain Dawson is continuing to oversee an ambitious program of home grown shows as well as hosting major touring extravaganzas. Just opened is a showcase of contemporary photography [>] “Contemporising the modern : Photography from the 20th and 21st Century MAMA  showcases 50 photographic works that speak of Australia in the 20th and early 21st centuries collected by Russell Mills and donated to the Murray Art Museum Albury, MAMA in 2015. The collection explores the development of Australian photography and its coming of age in a period when photographers were investigating and pushing the boundaries of the acceptance of photography as a pure art form. The collection brings together iconic artists and artworks of the period including Max Dupain, Olive Cotton, Jeff Carter, Roger Scott and Trent Parke.” Until June 22, 2019.

Passing ’em by…

Mitch Fifield, recently.

Further to yesterday’s shock announcement that Australia will actually go to the polls on May 18 to decide the next federal election [and not wait patiently forever], we should take our time to consider which party represents a rational and credible arts and culture policy before casting our vote. Just kidding, the modern Liberal National Party coalition has no ‘policy’. Unlike their conservative predecessors who did things like set up the Australia Council, today’s LNP is all about ministerial discretion and ad hoc spending. At The Conversation, Julian Meyrick sums up the LNP’s record since 2013:

“The last six years has seen a combination of ministerial whim and purposeless economising. There has been an absence of strong policy initiatives, neglect of smaller arts organisations, and an undermining of trust in arm’s length agencies, notably the Australia Council for the Arts and the ABC.”

[>] “The first Coalition arts minister, George Brandis, was an artistic conservative with a poor grasp of the sector’s industrial complexities. Mitch Fifield, the current minister, is an economic conservative with little time for its cultural complexities. The emergence of tech giants like Netflix and Amazon has changed the landscape of the arts, introducing a proliferation of new competitors for Australian creators – but the government has failed to keep up with these developments. There has also been a resurgent populist politics with a nasty, xenophobic edge to it. As a mechanism for social inclusion, arts and culture appear to have passed the Coalition by entirely.”

That thing you didn’t want to happen, is happening…

Meanwhile, with the recent re-election of the Berejikilian state government in NSW, the controversial move of the Powerhouse Museum from its home in Ultimo out west to Parramatta is all but assured. Despite protests, an inquiry, and the Labor opposition’s promise to stop it if elected, the return of the Liberal’s to power means the move is now a fait accompli. And aren’t they happy about it! Per the Arts Minister’s press release: “Western Sydney is a step closer to having its own world class museum with the purchase of the riverbank site for the Powerhouse Precinct. Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said acquisition of the land from the City of Parramatta means it’s now full steam ahead for the Powerhouse move to Parramatta. “I am delighted to reaffirm that the Powerhouse Museum will be the centrepiece of a new arts and cultural precinct on the banks of the Parramatta River,” Mr Harwin said. “We are so excited to be forging ahead with this amazing project that will deliver a spectacular new museum for families, industry and educational institutions.” Stage One of the project’s international design competition closed on 18 March 2019 and attracted 529 individual companies in 74 teams.City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Andrew Wilson said the new precinct will transform the riverbank area.  “The new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a significant cultural facility to be located in Western Sydney,” Clr Wilson said.”

Living la vida art life

This could be you!

Hey kids, have you ever dreamed of living in New York City and working as a snotty gallerista? Now is your chance! Sotheby’s Institute is offering lucky winners the opportunity to learn the basics of the art biz! [>] “Sotheby’s Summer Institute for pre-college students ?invites high schoolers who are curious and passionate about art to immerse themselves in one of the most vibrant art capitals in the world: New York City. This summer, students can explore different facets of New York’s art scene from the business of art to the contemporary art world in two-week courses taught by leading scholars and professionals in the field. Each course draws on the expertise and unrivaled access of Sotheby’s Institute and takes students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more!”

“They can’t understand the beauty in chaos.”

To celebrate 45 years since the $1.3 million purchase by the Whitlam Government of the controversial Jackson Pollock painting Blue Poles for the then nascent National Gallery of Australia collection, the ABC archives have dug a pearler of a contemporary film clip.  When the painting went on tour, ABC news was on hand to record the reactions of ordinary citizens. Far from scandalised, a self described ‘bush painter’ saw deeper meanings within: “[People] can’t understand the beauty of chaos, the order in chaos.” [>] A must see.

JC Online

John Coburn, Africa II, 1968

The late John Coburn, one of Australia’s leading abstract painters in the 1960s and 70s, now has a handsome website. Collecting together some of the artist’s key and major works from across his career, the site operates as both a tribute and important archive. The stated aim of the site is relatively modest: [>] “Here we hope to inspire you to know more about this great Australian artist and give you an insight into his life and career. Coburn is a significant figure in Australian art, he was active from 1959 to 2003. Coburn is widely acknowledged for his paintings and prints, however he is also regarded as an important tapestry designer. His major works include the Curtain of the Sun and Curtain of the Moon, designed for the Sydney Opera House.”

Follow: @mcleanedwards

While he may be a relatively late adopter to the platform, Sydney painter McLean Edwards has made his Instagram [>] @mcleanedwards a must-follow for anyone interested in an artist’s intimate progress through their work and creative process. In advance of his forthcoming debut solo show with Tim Olsen Gallery in May, Edwards has been posting an ongoing collection of new works, as well some older pieces from the archives. As eccentrically unique as his paintings, the account is a welcome lesson in a civil discourse in leaving polite comments, and getting equally courteous responses.

A Listicle to Believe In

All your copyright are belong to us

Honestly, this whole Art Life thing is based on ‘crit and review’… On the other hand, it’s probably a great idea to have some understanding of the basics of copyright. Arts Law have just a listed a super-fast five point listicle [>] Common myths about copyright – BUSTED! Do you have to register your own copyright? Does copyright end when you die? Have we breached copyright just by linking to this article? Find out!

And finally…

After a series of festival screenings and a slew of awards Thomas M. Wright’s adaptation of Acute Misfortune, Erik Jensen’s memoir of his time with the late Adam Cullen, is getting a wide cinema release in Australia. A short teaser trailer featuring Daniel Henshall’s uncanny portrayal of Cullen [>] was released last year.With the film’s release next month, a [>] full trailer has just been uploaded to YouTube.

Assorted links

104 year-old artist defies Archibald Prize hoodoo and [>] accepts pre-entry publicity, all but disqualifying her…

Want $80k to make a VR work? [>] The Mordant Family VR Commission applications close next week…

So very very tired: [>] How to look at art and avoid gallery fatigue, according to Art Gallery of New South Wales curator Justin Paton

Christo to [>] wrap Arc de Triomph

A major new exhibition makes room in the modernist canon for the heady, playful ideas of free-thinking renegades in [>] Japan’s Radical Conceptual Art of the 1960s

‘A strange offshore tumescence of global capital’ – everyone hates this $25 billion development on the edge of New York City [>] except the people who’ll live there…

Who knew that The Matrix’s iconic ‘code’ graphics [>] came from sushi recipes?

A life in punk: [>] A visual history of San Francisco’s industrial and punk scene

Where do you stand on the whole pseudo-mystical [>] ‘drawing is more than just art’ debate?

[>] Semi-Finalists for the Ikebana Gallery Award 2019!

[>] Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Beauty of Brutalist Architecture: An Introduction in Six Videos

LA County Museum of Art’s [>] super swank merchandise

Major EU initiative signals change to copyright laws: [>] The end of museum image fees?

Felix Gonzalez-Torres Billboard [>] Returns to New York for 50th Anniversary of Stonewall

The Criterion Collection [>] is now a VOD channel.

The Art Life

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