EXTRA JULY 2020
THE IMA STEPS IN TO PROVIDE STIMULUS FOR THE QUEENSLAND ARTS SECTOR WITH MAKING ART WORK
In May, the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane announced one of the most ambitious and innovative commissioning projects to come out of the global health crisis in Australia. Responding to a wave of cancelled artistic opportunities throughout Australia, Making Art Work directly supports over 40 artists to create new work that reflects on the value of creative labour.
Supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Making Art Work is inspired by Depression-era economic stimulus policy to allow artists to continue to make work during a global pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown. The project continues the IMA’s mission to support artists, fostering solidarity and demonstrating the public ‘use’ of art and the art institution.
Through a dedicated digital platform, a series of new artworks, texts, workshops, products, offsite and ephemeral projects will be presented throughout 2020 with a publication and exhibition to be presented at the Judith Wrights Arts Centre gallery space later in the year. Current highlights include Tony Albert’s You Wreck Me, a new video work that riffs on Miley Cyrus’ infamous Wrecking Ball video to present a sharp and timely questioning of our national history. And Sally Olds’ meta essay What can ‘What Can Writing Do’ Essays Do?, which reflects on the economics of writing during a crisis.
With the current scrutiny of the Australia Governments lack of support for the arts, the IMA demonstrates the important role of institutions, albeit government funded, to produce opportunities that directly benefit the local arts ecology. Whilst the IMA leads the charge in an experimental proposition of institution as administrator of economic stimulus for artists, it forces us to reflect on whose responsibility it is to prop up the arts in times of despair.
Image credit: Amy Sargeant, Anthem (video still), 2020, 16:9 HD video, stereo audio, 00:13:23
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF ARTS DISCOURSE? GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES DRAMATIC INCREASE IN UNIVERSITY FEES FOR ARTS AND COMMUNICATION DEGREES
In the wake of COVID-19, the Australian Government has announced an overhaul of university fees which will see the cost of arts degrees exponentially increase, while STEM fees are slashed in half. Against the backdrop of youth unemployment and a push to prop up the economy in the face of recession, the Government has introduced legislation to increase the employability of graduates. Degrees such as Nursing, Psychology and Teaching will see a dramatic 46% decrease in fees, whilst Arts and Communications degrees will see a 113% increase in fees.
In a recent statement, the Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan rationalised the decrease in fees for degrees such as Nursing and Teaching, declaring: “What we want to do is make sure the prices for those degrees are cheaper so we can incentivise students to undertake those degrees because we know there will be jobs for them when they finish.” In opposition, ANU Professor in Higher Education Policy Andrew Norton has attacked the Government’s approach, instead suggesting that “to steer student behaviour, let them know where the jobs are going to be, backed up by marketing.” This notion has been supported by leading educators across the country who have spoken out to defend the soft skills and critical thinking taught in arts degrees.
But what will this move towards ‘useful’ degrees mean for the arts?
These changes to policy could have devastating and long-term effects on the arts sector. By disabling access to arts and culture degrees based on socio-economic inequity, the legislation of today’s Government could have a profound effect on the history making and storytelling of this nation’s future. Whilst there is grounds for assuring that students are employable as they leave university, fee changes attack students with the burden of increased debt and excuse little accountability in the Governments support for the arts industry more broadly.
Image credit: Installation view, 2019 Telstra NATSIAA. Courtesy the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
HOME 2020 AT WALKER STREET GALLERY AND ARTS CENTRE
Presented by the City of Greater Dandenong, HOME is an annual program that promotes and supports artists seeking asylum or those with a refugee background. Now in its sixth year, the 2020 iteration of HOME includes six artists from across Australia who have created works that respond to the notion of home, belonging and place. Comprising work by Dr Dacchi Dang, Elham Eshraghian, Humaira Fayazi, Mastaneh Azarnia, Mirela Cufurovic and Saidin Salkic, HOME 2020 responds to the current climate to present a virtual exhibition with a series of programs including talks, workshops and an audio tour and a downloadable publication.
HOME 2020 at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre
On show from 9 July to 15 August 2020
Image credit:Humaira Fayazi, Untitled, mixed media, 2020 (ongoing). Courtesy the artist and Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre
JON CAMPBELL IN COLLABORATION WITH STEPHEN BUSH AT SUTTON GALLERY
Jon Campbell and Stephen Bush attended art school together in the 1980s and in 2019, the pair began swapping paintings from various points in their career for the other to work on. Gone to see a man about a dog is the result of this collaboration which sees Jon Campbell and Stephen Bush show complimentary exhibitions at each other’s galleries – Sutton Gallery and Darren Knight Gallery. The exhibition presents a series of works where Campbell’s distinctive use of the vernacular and imagery of Australian suburbia blends with Bush’s playful realism. The result is a series of paintings that pay homage to the pairs post-punk days whilst commenting on the concerns and failures of contemporary politics in Australia. The exhibition will include two pieces of printed matter – a Jon Campbell original poster produced in collaboration with Warren Taylor, alongside a small publication with an essay by curator Lisa Sullivan.
Jon Campbell in collaboration with Stephen Bush at Sutton Gallery
Gone to see a man about a dog
On show from 11 July to 15 August 2020
Image credit:Jon Campbell / Stephen Bush, Gone to see a man about a dog, 2020, acrylic and oil on linen, 150 x 149 cm. Photo: Tobias Titz
MICHAEL COOK AT ANDREW BAKER ART DEALER AND THIS IS NO FANTASY
In concurrent exhibitions at Andrew Baker Art Dealer in Brisbane and This Is No Fantasy in Melbourne, Michael Cook’s latest body of work Livin’ the Dream presents a series of characteristically cinematic and highly staged photographs. Cook reinterprets Australian history by imagining communities in which First Nations people are living lifestyles prescribed by white norms. Importantly, the backdrop of these images are contemporary, demonstrating the reality of many remote communities in Australia. The juxtaposition of 1960s-era fashion and automobiles creates a distinct temporal disjuncture, Cook highlighting how little progress has been made in regards to the respect and treatment of Indigenous Australians since invasion. In his highly aestheticized black and white images, Cook reflects on truth, fact and identity to expose the continued effects and ongoing aftermath of colonisation and cultural marginalisation.
Michael Cook at Andrew Baker Art Dealer and This Is No Fantasy
Livin’ the Dream
View the exhibition online here
Image credit: Michael Cook, Livin' the dream (Vacation), 2020, inkjet print, 120 × 180 cm, Edition 6; 80 × 120 cm, Edition of 10, Courtesy the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer
CONFINED 11 AT THE TORCH
Confined is an annual exhibition presented by The Torch, a non-profit organisation which supports Indigenous men and women both in prisons and post-release in Victoria to explore their Indigenous culture and identity through practising art. This year’s exhibition recognised the importance of indigenous led solutions to the severe disadvantage still facing many First Nations Australians, particularly in the area of Indigenous incarceration. At a time when issues of social justice are in sharp focus, the ongoing work of The Torch, including the annual Confined exhibition, provides a poignant example of creating positive change through grass roots initiatives that are strongly supported by the wider community.
Confined 11 at The Torch
View the exhibition online here
Image credit: Keith, Gunaikurnai/Monero people, The old Moray Eel, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 64 x 77 cm
ZOE BRAND AT CRAFT ACT
Zoe Brand’s latest exhibition straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. In YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN, Brand’s wearable art deploys jewellery archetypes, readymades and text to explore the performative nature of jewellery as a device for communication. In an attempt to both describe the object and the person wearing it, Brand’s work muses on the everyday. YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN exposes the ambiguity of language and plays with context – from gallery to body – to present a series of works that recontextualises throwaway comments to produce statement design objects.
Zoe Brand at Craft ACT
YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN
On show from 2 July to 22 August 2020
Image credit: Zoe Brand, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH, 2020. Photo: Keith Marshall
DANNY MORSE AT CHALK HORSE GALLERY
The objects in Danny Morse’s latest exhibition Echo Point blur the line between fact and fiction, art object and every day, memory and reality. A series of sculptures carved from salvaged wood, Morse presents cricket bats, a watermelon, a large bird and Saxa salt dispensers to construct the props that comprise quintessential Australian nostalgia. Taking commonly mass-produced items and rendering them art objects through drawing and hand-carving, Morse’s Echo Point is witty and playful, fixated on the iconic images of suburban Australia.
Danny Morse at Chalk Horse Gallery
On show until 18 July 2020
Image credit: Danny Morse, Fruitwood, 2020, acrylic on hardwood, main; 38cm x 40cm x 40cm, wedge; 38 x 20 x 20 cm, Courtesy the artist and Chalk Horse Gallery
EQUILIBRIUM AT WEST END ART SPACE
Equilibrium brings together the work of four artists to posit creative practice as generative forms of therapy. At a time when artists are grappling with adversity, the work of Elly-Louise Tyquin, Rhianna Chillingworth, Zakira Tahirian and Brigit Heller focuses in on ritualistic process and its power to transform human experience. Curated by Vlona Mehmedi, Equilibrium draws connection between each artists use of found objects and the transformation of utility, history and time through material processes.
Equilibrium at West End Art Space
Elly-Louise Tyquin, Rhianna Chillingworth, Zakira Tahirian and Brigit Heller
On show from 2 July to 27 July 2020
Image credit: Elly-Louise Tyquin, Heavy, 2018, yarn-acrylic paint-netting, suspended installation, various dimensions. Courtesy the artist and West End Art Space
ALLAN RAND AT CHAUFFEUR
Allan Rand’s latest body of work considers the history of Arthur Phillip, Commander of the First Fleet and the founding Governor of the Colony of New South Wales, to imagine alternate national histories and posit First Nations people as vital to the survival of the early settlement. Through a series of abstract watercolours, Rand’s exhibition Arthur Phillip Puts His Head Down, Barangaroo 1788 provokes Australian patriotism upheld by white society, exposing the ironies, ignorance and blind acceptance of apparent historical truths.
Allan Rand at CHAUFFEUR
Arthur Phillip Puts His Head Down, Barangaroo 1788
On show from 2 July to 1 August 2020
Image credit: Allan Rand, Baptized in the confluence of Marañón and Ucayali, 2020, enamel, acrylic, chalk pastel, watercolour and oil on linen, 69 x 49 cm. Courtesy of the artist and CHAUFFEUR