ICYMI: The week's top news in the arts

From exhibitions about BFF, contractors announced for Sydney Modern and Australian Museum, Feminist Writers Festival, and this week's opportunities.
ICYMI: The week's top news in the arts

SOUTHEAST Aboriginal Arts Market; Photo by Zan Wimberley.


SOUTHEAST Aboriginal Arts Market returns

SOUTHEAST shines a spotlight on south eastern Aboriginal art and culture as a distinctive presence within Australian art. Presented across the weekend of 9-10 November at Carriageworks, the Aboriginal Arts Market has again been curated by Hetti Perkins and Jonathan Jones.

Almost doubling in size in 2019, over 60 artists and collectives will present traditional and contemporary practices, showcasing work in a variety of mediums including ceramics, jewellery, weaving, photography, carving, textiles, painting and publishing. Artists have been selected to celebrate the creative diversity of southeast Australian Aboriginal art, from regional and coastal New South Wales, the ACT, eastern Victoria and Tasmania. 


SOUTHEAST is a free curated arts market, that also includes live music performance. Carriageworks CEO Blair French commented, ‘SOUTHEAST is a unique opportunity for the community to meet Indigenous artists and directly support their practice.'

Contractor announced for AGNSW expansion

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) has welcomed the announcement this week of Richard Crookes Constructions as the contractor for the Sydney Modern Project.

The $344 million Sydney Modern Project is the largest public-private partnership of its kind to be successfully achieved to date in the Australian arts. Together with the NSW Government’s $244 million in funding, the Gallery has attracted unprecedented philanthropic support, exceeding its fundraising target of $100 million to support the construction of the new stand alone building.

Infrastructure NSW is managing the delivery of the expansion project on behalf of the government and Gallery. Construction of the Sydney Modern Project is expected to commence in the coming months and be completed in 2022.

Australian Museum also confirms builder

NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin announced that Kane Constructions has been appointed as the successful tenderer to develop the next stage of the Australian Museum’s $57.5 million redevelopment known as Project Discover.

Kane Constructions previously built the Australian Museum’s award-winning Crystal Hall glass entry pavilion and is a multi-award winning company that has extensive experience in building quality contemporary buildings.

The museum temporarily closed its doors to the public on 19 August 2019 for approximately 12 months with construction work to officially commence in September.

Sue Williamson It’s a pleasure to meet you. Image courtesy the artist, Photo Christo Crocker.

Touring exhibition rethinks feelings in our times

Great Movements of Feeling began at 2018 Next Wave Festival as part of the Gertrude Contemporary Emerging Curators Program, and will now travel to Hamilton Art Gallery  (7 Sep-3 Nov), Mildura Arts Centre and Latrobe Regional Gallery in 2020/21.

Curator Zara Sigglekow said of the multi-disciplinary project: ‘The title of this exhibition comes from the sociologist Emile Durkheim who spoke about how emotion arises in a crowd, acknowledging it originates from no particular person … It speaks to emotion’s nebulous nature as it circulates in the world.’

The exhibition’s structure brings together the two historical ‘camps’ of emotion theory: emotion as primarily tied to bodily sensations, and emotion as thought and features work from Megan Cope (Quandamooka), Helen Grogan (Australia), Nik Pantazopoulos (Australia), Stuart Ringholt (Australia), Sriwhana Spong (New Zealand / United Kingdom) and Sue Williamson (South Africa).

NGV focuses on kids playtime

KAWS: PLAYTIME is a free immersive exhibition for children featuring American artist KAWS’s signature character BFF, with its yellow button nose and fluffy coat, and artwork referencing his popular toy-like figures.

Presented in conjunction with major exhibition KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness - a comprehensive survey of 25 years of the artist’s oeuvre – this exhibition encourages creativity and exploration through hands-on activities and interactive experiences, from 20 September through 13 April 20 at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The exhibition walls will be lined with BFF’s royal blue fur while others will have custom wallpaper, and the space will feature custom-designed furniture referencing BFF motifs.

Prints that change the landscape of contemporary art

Audiences will be transported back to the heyday of America’s print-making renaissance and experience works of art by some of the 20th century’s most exceptional artists in Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection, at the National Gallery of Australia (7 September 2019 until 9 March 2020).

Drawing on the National Gallery’s extensive collection of post-War American art – the most significant outside the United States – the exhibition showcases some of the giants of the period, including Anni and Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Nancy Graves and David Hockney.

National Gallery of Australia Director Nick Mitzevich said: ‘Kenneth Tyler wasn’t bound by convention. He offered these artists almost limitless opportunities for creativity and experimentation at his workshop. His vision helped re-establish print-making as a leading form of visual art.’

The exhibition has been curated by NGA's Head of International Art, Dr Jane Kinsman, who has had a professional relationship with Tyler for three decades.

Casula Powerhouse celebrates 25 years

Celebrating 25 years of arts and culture in Western Sydney, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) will unveil four new exhibitions headlined by a special anniversary show, One Past Liverpool (28 September-10 November).  

The exhibition features a multidisciplinary range of commissioned works by local emerging artists under 25, consulting directly with CPAC leaders and change-makers of the past 25 years including: Lisa Havilah (CEO, Museum of Applied Arts and Science); Maud Page (Assistant Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales); John Kirkman (CEO, Information and Cultural Exchange); Kirsten Fishburn (CEO, Liverpool City Council); plus current Director Craig Donarski.

The suite of exhibitions also includes: Body Remembers – a photographic series by legendary Indigenous Australian artist Tracy Moffatt; two Sydney Craft Week exhibitions – Pure Joy (21 Sept-27 Oct), Western Sydney artist Svetlana Panov’s ceramic works inspired by golden fungi clusters, and the Song Tree Exhibition, exploring similarities and differences of childhood songs across the globe (21 Sept-27 Oct); and Fractadella (6-20 Sept), a series of psychedelic digital animations drawing from CPAC’s industrial architecture.

Join the free celebration Saturday 28 September, 2-4pm.

Artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward with TERMINUS; image supplied

TERMINUS to arrive in Melbourne

Heide Museum of Modern Art will present TERMINUS (2 November 2019 to 1 March 2020), a collaboration between New York based visual artist Jess Johnson and Wellington-based video maker and animator Simon Ward.

Commissioned by the National Gallery and the Balnaves Foundation, the exhibition features five virtual reality artworks situated on a full-scale tessellated floor map.

Artistic Director Lesley Harding said: ‘This dynamic collaboration translates Jess Johnson’s drawings into animated virtual reality, enabling audiences to have the simulated experience of entering into the hypnotic realms she depicts. Heide is delighted to bring this experience to Melbourne for the first time.’

With their pioneering use of virtual reality, Johnson’s drawings are transformed from analogue into digital, and from solo practice into cross-disciplinary collaboration. Animated by Ward and enriched with input from developer Kenny Smith and sound composer Andrew Clarke, the result is TERMINUS: a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols, explored via a network of travelators and gateways.

Join artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward in conversation with Heide Curator Sue Cramer on Saturday 2 November at 2pm.

Jumaadi Who’s afraid of the wood  (2011); Image courtesy of the artist and King St Gallery, Sydney

Solo of Indonesian artist Jumaadi heads to Lismore

Indonesian artist Jumaadi’s exhibition Comes from the shadow brings together a collection of works evoking birth and death in a new solo exhibition at Lismore Regional Gallery (14 September-17 November).

One of Jumaadi’s major influences is the Indonesian art of shadow theatre, or wayang kulit. Although there is darkness in the work, this is constantly offset by light, whimsy and humour. 
Who’s afraid of the wood (2011) is the earliest work in the exhibition and the most political of Jumaadi’s career. Commissioned for the 14th Jakarta Biennale, the piece references the criminal cases of two Indonesian serial killers who confessed to killing 26 children in Jakarta, many of them street children. 

With his pictorial language, Jumaadi gently invites us to think more deeply about our existence, things outside of our control and of life’s impermanence.


Refresh for Feminist Writers Festival

The Feminist Writers Festival (FWF) announced not only a new home this week, but new themes, a new website and new board members.

FWF will return to the Queen Victoria Women's Centre in Melbourne, formalising the festival's venue into the future. The biennial festival, which began in 2016, will return for a weekend of programming 13-15 November 2020.

In the meantime, FWF launched a new website this week with a focus on making podcasts and publishing more accessible – bringing the words of Australia’s most exciting feminist voices to a greater audience.

FWF Director Nikki Anderson said: ‘We continue to interrogate the drivers of gender inequity, bringing together feminist thinkers who can articulate the change we need in our communities and institutions. We aim to nurture new voices, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds, and to gather together thinkers, writers, journalists and academics to create the conversations and connections for deep discussion and change.’

Tasmania’s newest literary festival returns for Halloween

The Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival (TAF2019) is Tasmania’s newest biennial literary festival and the first writers’ festival in the Huon Valley.

The festival’s theme, Murder She Wrote, is inspired by Agatha Christie, and will be presented on Halloween and run for four days: 31 October – 5 November.

Festival director, crime writer Dr L.J.M. Owen, said: ‘Agatha Christie visited Tasmania in 1922 …She wrote in her autobiography that she wanted to return to live in Hobart …Christie may not have made it back, but she’s inspired hundreds of people to gather at Murder She Wrote this year in her honour.’

The four-day book spree includes Masterclasses, Workshops, incisive literary discussions and a Murder Mystery Party set in 1920s Cairo.

Il Viaggio a Reims premiered by Opera Australia this October. Image supplied.


Belvoir launches 2020 season

Sydney’s Belvoir theatre launched its 2020 season last week, with  highlights including new works from established and emerging voices. ‘There’s this pervasive siege mentality in the world right now and this season is designed to be an antidote.’ said Belvoir Artistic Director, Eamon Flack.  ‘It feels like everyone’s living on the back foot, all trigger-happy and pissed off.

‘The best way to fight against an uptight zeitgeist like that is to open things up, be generous in your thinking and your ideas.’

Highlights include The Jungle and the Sea, an all-new production from the award-winning team behind Counting and Cracking; Miss Peony,  a brand new comedy from the author of Single Asian Female, Michelle Law; adaptations of Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own), Maxim Gorky (Summerfolk) and Miles Franklin (My Brilliant Career) and a new play by Caryl Churchill (Escaped Alone).

“This season offers complex new theatrical work alongside time-tested classic theatricality,’ said Flack. ‘There’s an abundance of new stories and Australian stories, a mix of legends of the Australian stage and new talent. It’s an optimistic season. More is possible. The world can be better than this!’

For more details on the 2020 season, check out the Belvoir website

World’s most famous artworks enter the stage

Damiano Michieletto’s imaginative production of Rossini’s exultant Il Viaggio a Reims will premiere in Sydney this October, marking the first time the opera has ever been performed in the city.

Originally written to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in 1825, the lavish and highly entertaining opera tells the story of a group travelling to the coronation. In Michieletto’s visually striking production, the setting is moved to an art gallery, where the eccentric characters find themselves surrounded by the world’s most famous artworks as they come to life including paintings by Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring and Vincent van Gogh.

The brilliant combination of Paolo Fantin’s sets and Carla Teti’s costumes will transport audiences, while Australian conductor Daniel Smith will make his Sydney debut leading a mammoth cast including Russian soprano Irina Lungu, baritones Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Giorgio Caodur, plus favourites Warwick Fyfe, Julie Lea Goodwin, Sian Sharp and Conal Coad.

It is a co-production with the Dutch National Opera, Opera Australia and Royal Danish Opera.


Next Wave rebrands

Australia’s leading platform for a new generation of artists taking creative risks have revamped their digital brand. Next Wave has teamed up with Melbourne-based research, design and development team Public Office and M.Giesser Communication Design & Strategy to deliver a forward-thinking brand that embeds the organisation’s commitment to ensuring art is for everyone.

The website is WCAG 2.0 compliant and features Auslan interpreted how-to videos, screen masking, plain text and removes graphic line toggles for users who experience sensory overload, a 'speak selected text' and 'download mp3' function that allows people with low-to-no-vision to listen to the website, and a graphic colour palette that allows users to change the colour according to their mood or preference.

Arts Access Victoria, Access Development Officer Janice Florence said: ‘The Next Wave website demonstrates great attention to accessibility. They have incorporated the feedback of Arts Access Victoria consultants with diverse access needs to create a high standard of inclusion.’ 

Husky mentoring young band Loose Content last year as part of Mullum Youth Mentorship Program. Loose Content have been booked for Mullum Festival's line-up this year.  Photo Anthony Moulay.

2019 Mullum Youth Mentors Announced

Mullum Music Festival celebrates 10 years of Mullum Music Youth Mentorship Program this year. Since its inception, more than 50 young musicians under 21 years old have benefited from the program and more than 30 established musicians from have taken the time and care to be mentors. 

This year the Hussy Hicks, blues maestro Juzzie Smith, Andrew Morris of The Wilson Pickers and folk songstress Mandy Hawkes have all stepped up to mentor young musicians in four different categories – Vocal, Singer Songwriter, Band and Under 15 years.  

The winner of each category receives a one-on-one rehearsal and info session with their mentor, a 20-minute performance at the festival (with their mentor backstage), the opportunity to watch their mentor's set from backstage and passes to the festival. Applications close 14 October.

Global museum specialist conference to be held in Sydney

The Morrison Government will contribute $25,000 to showcase Australia’s world-class artists, art practices and cultural venues to a delegation of international cultural leaders in November this year. This is in addition to a $25,000 contribution from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Directors and curators from around the world will meet in Sydney from 15 to 17 November for the Annual Conference of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CiMAM), hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Minister Fletcher said, 'Creative and cultural activity contributes around $112 billion to Australia’s economy each year and our art museum sector is world class. The 2019 theme is The 21st Century Art Museum: Is Context Everything?'

Fellowship Opportunities at Griffith Review

Funded by Arts Queensland, the Griffith Review have a number of Fellowships on offer, which are to develop work already in planning or in progress – simply, they're designed to assist a writer's writing life.

It's a requirement of entry that writers either be based in Queensland or have a demonstrable connection to Queensland, and while Griffith Review looks forward to publishing a piece from the work funded. It suggests that entrants look at our forthcoming themes. Applications close 16 September.

Funded Maritime Museum Internships

The Morrison Government is pleased to announce $125,000 for 22 projects and 10 internships through the 2019‑20 round of the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme.

The scheme is administered by the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and provides grants of up to $15,000 in-kind support to not-for-profit organisations to help display and conserve objects of national and historical maritime significance.

Minister Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said: ‘These projects will showcase our historical connection with the sea and inland waterways. Some of the projects include a conservation assessment of Aboriginal watercraft, boat building and shipping on the Manning River, digitisation of the maritime history of Dover and the far south of Tasmania and the preservation of oral histories.’

The Scheme also provides up to $3,000 per person for internships at the Museum or another collecting institution to develop professional networks and skills. Since the Scheme commenced in 1995, more than $1.8 million has been provided to support 440 projects and over 60 internships. The next round of funding will open in February 2020.

Call for entries 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

The call for entries 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards is now open – deadline Monday 30 September 2019. The awards celebrate the best contemporary Australian writing and are administered by the Wheeler Centre. All of the awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 30 January 2020.

The winners of the main suite of awards – Fiction, Non-fiction, Drama, Poetry, and Writing for Young Adults – each receive $25,000. The winner of the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript receives $15,000.

The winners of the six award categories go on to contest the overall Victorian Prize for Literature, worth an additional $100,000. This is the single most valuable literary award in the country.

Books published between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 are eligible for entry into the 2020 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

ABR Indigenous Fellowship on offer

Australian Book Review is pleased to offer the ABR Indigenous Fellowship, worth a total of $10,000. This Fellowship is intended to generate vibrant new non-fiction journalism by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer.

The ABR Indigenous Fellowship will be judged by a panel comprising two-time winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and Noongar author Kim Scott; Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre and Guest Editor of the August Indigenous issue, Professor Lynette Russell; and ABR Editor Peter Rose.

The Fellow will receive $10,000 for three non-fiction articles published with ABR over the course of twelve months. The Fellow will be encouraged to play a creative role in our 2020 Indigenous issue. Applications close 1 October.


Celebrating craft and making on the big screen

Australian Design Centre is presenting Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival in the lead up to Sydney Craft Week. Catch its screening at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool on Saturday 21 September 2019. 

Real to Reel is a short film festival that celebrates craft and making.  28 films selected feature contemporary weaving, woodwork, ceramics, glassblowing and metalsmithing, offering a unique opportunity to witness craft in action and the narratives, passion and skill inherent in the creation of works. 

Half a million to upskill screen talent

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin today announced $506,000 in funding to deliver 26 new professional development opportunities for screen professionals and audiences.

Harwin said: ‘I’m thrilled to announce support for Western Sydney with the Lebanese Film Festival returning to Bankstown and Flickerfest Regional Tour returning to Riverside Theatres in Parramatta before it goes on tour state-wide’

Under the 2019/20 Industry Development Program administered through Create NSW, investment of $359,000 will provide support for 11 events including seminars and professional development activities across 32 venues throughout the State.

This amount is in addition to $90,000 committed in previous years through multi-year agreements.

Audience Development Program funding of $147,000 will provide support towards 15 public screenings, festivals and tours across 61 venues throughout the State that deliver opportunities for audiences to see and experience quality screen content and innovative practice, for one-off events or annual events in single or multiple venues. This amount is in addition to $30,000 committed in previous years through multi-year agreements.

For more news you may have missed


Visual Arts Writer

Friday 6 September, 2019

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