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Italy’s La Biennale di Venezia: a journey of discovery like no other

Venice tours

Where will you be in a year’s time? What will you be doing? No ideas, no plans?
I would like to invite you to join me in a journey of discovery like no other:
Italy’s La Biennale di Venezia in October 2015.

You may already know that the Biennale is considered the most important and prestigious event on the international contemporary arts calendar, and the oldest and largest established biennale in the world.

You may also know that Australia has been consistently represented in the Biennale for more than 3 decades, through the financial support and management of the Australia Council for the Arts.

But these are not the only reasons why I created walk to art Venice in 2011.

For me, it is important to travel and view art on an international level. It’s exciting to view new spaces, art in different spaces and art that is contributing to our environment politically, socially and culturally.

  • Eat, drink and walk your way through Venice.
  • Visit Australia’s new pavilion at the Biennale in 2015.
  • Explore the pavilions in the Giardini and Arsenale and, most importantly,
    the art scattered throughout Venice. These exhibits are in various locations hidden in opulent Venetian buildings.

You will receive a “pack” that includes the meeting spots and destinations for each day (these are never revealed upfront). Your guide, Bernadette Alibrando, will also take you to quirky bars and local eateries, plus areas around Venice.

 

Venice (Italy)

 

View all the details of walk to art Venice 2015. If you want to know more, read about the Biennale in the Venice tours category of this blog.

For further details, please contact walk to art.

Let’s discover Melbourne Central’s art (for free!)

artists, Melbourne tours

When I received a call from Melbourne Central, a large shopping complex located in the heart of Melbourne, and was asked if I could conduct tours for them, I was a little unsure if there was enough art in the centre to chat about.

I have been pleasantly surprised and I am happy to announce 2 free walk to art tours at Melbourne Central this September:

Date: Sunday 21 September and Sunday 28 September
Time: 2pm to 3.30pm
Cost: Free
Bookings: Essential (go to Melbourne Central‘s website)

Did you know that Melbourne Central is home to one of Victoria’s largest public artworks? The 61-metre long mural, completed by Geoff Hogg in 1984, is now heritage listed and one of the highlights of our tour.

 

Geometric sculptures (bottom left) by Caleb Shea and 'Filling the Mould' (top right) by Hamish Munro at Melbourne Central, in Melbourne

 
Join us and you will also see:

  • Hamish Munro‘s inflatable sculpture “Filling the Mould”, which won the inaugural The Kisho Prize (2013) and is designed to inflate according to the number of people inside the centre at any time (photo, top right).
  • Work by street artist INSA
  • geometric sculptures by Caleb Shea (photo, bottom left).

Let’s travel the lanes around Melbourne Central and discover something you have never seen or noticed before.

I look forward to seeing you on our tour!

August: busy time for the arts in Melbourne

artists, spaces

August is a busy time in the arts scene in Melbourne, and I’d like to share three highlights with you:

 

Melbourne Art Fair; Royal Exhibition Building; 13-17 August 2014

Melbourne Art Fair
13 to 17 August 2014
Royal Exhibition Building
9 Nicholson Street, Carlton (view location on Google Maps)

Melbourne Art Fair is a biannual event, and this year will present 70 leading Australian and international galleries, representing over 300 artists who work across a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation.

The Collector Program delivers exclusive access to collection tours, dinners and cocktail events, and there are lectures and forums to attend, as well as:

  • MAF Platform – A new initiative for 2014, introducing young galleries and artist run initiatives (ARIs) showcasing emerging talent.
  • MAF Video – MAF Video presents a group exhibition from participating galleries of video works by artists at the forefront of their field.
  • MAF Project Rooms – Project Rooms is a non-profit platform showcasing innovative experimental artwork from a new generation of emerging artists.

The art fair opens on Wednesday 13 August for the vernissage, between 6pm and 10pm. These are the opening hours for the following days:

Thursday 14 August, 11am to 6pm
Friday 15 August, 11am to 8pm
Saturday 16 August, 10am to 6pm
Sunday 17 August, 10am to 5pm

Book for tickets at the Melbourne Art Fair website.

 

NotFair
14 to 17 August 2014
12 Peel Street, Collingwood (view location on Google Maps)
The Grace Darling Hotel, Collingwood (view location on Google Maps)
Free

Established in 2010 as a satellite art fair to the Melbourne Art Fair, NotFair maintains a unique structure. Rather than being managed and curated by commercial galleries, as is the traditional approach, NotFair is curated to the highest professional standards on the basis solely of artistic merit.

Tight and independent curatorial direction within an art fair structure enhances the provenance of each artist’s career, and provides NotFair greater scope to become a satellite to major art fairs around the globe.

Artists exhibiting in the Not Fair are:

  • Aly Aitken
  • Ben Aitken
  • Mary Barton
  • Sarah Berners
  • Drasko Boljevic
  • Barbara Bolt
  • Nyah Isabel Cornish
  • Jessica Curry
  • Christopher Dolman
  • Sarah Duyshart
  • Danny Frommer
  • Harley Grundy
  • Megan Hales
  • Hari Ho
  • Talitha Kennedy
  • Daniel McCabe
  • Murray McKeich
  • Emme Orbach
  • John Pastoriza-Pinol
  • Peter Thomas
  • Dean Thompson
  • Paul Williams
  • Siying Zhou.

Preview Thursday 14th, 6pm to 8pm
Friday and Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 5pm

 

And, if you are not too exhausted by art, head to the gracious Hotel Windsor for…

SPRING 1883
14 to 17 August 2014
The Hotel Windsor
111 Spring Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Free

SPRING 1883 is a new art fair which will present 20 galleries, each exhibiting in a suite at The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne. The galleries that have been invited to exhibit are from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and United States, and they share a conceptual engagement, ensuring a high calibre event and an interesting dialogue between galleries, artists and collectors.

Enjoy!

The art of applying to art prizes

artists

The face that stops a nation (Archibald Prize)

It can be a full-time job entering art prizes.

The process is long:

  • reading the rules and regulations
  • considering the artwork
  • making the artwork
  • photographing the artwork
  • labelling the artwork
  • delivering the artwork
  • and then there is the wait… waiting for the work to be short listed and then waiting for the winner to be announced.

The outcomes can be very rewarding – the golden ticks. A golden tick from the inner art world circle, a golden tick on the CV, a golden tick from the collectors and, of course, the golden dollars attached to each prize.

What happens if one’s artwork is not selected? The artist feels rejected, insecurities set in and they question… “Why do I do this?”, “Should I bother applying again?”, “I’m not good enough or young enough to compete with the cool cats.”

I have many dear friends who are going through this exact process and it is one that is tedious and laborious.

In July there are 3 major prizes that are being announced:

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are annual exhibitions supported by the
Art Gallery of NSW:

  • The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is given to the best portrait painting. The Archibald Prize is a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.
  • The Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figure sculpture.
  • The Sulman Prize is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

Each year, the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW judge the Archibald and Wynne Prizes, and they invite an artist to judge the Sulman Prize. In 2014 it is Jenny Watson.

It is also a busy time of the year for art couriers, as they deliver the works to the Art Gallery of NSW. While most art prizes in Australia allow the artists to submit their entries online, with the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman the works must be delivered to the Art Gallery of NSW to be viewed in the flesh by the judges.

The winners will be announced on 18 July and the highly anticipated exhibition can be viewed between 19 July and 28 September.

Hong Kong: a week full of art (and more)

artists

Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 I have just returned from Hong Kong, where I spent a week enjoying the Art Basel Hong Kong 2014, having great food and searching for new coffee shops!

Art fair or biennale? Personally I prefer the biennale to the commercial art fair. However, it’s always good to see these different events, and I think there is a place for both.

I love the satellite exhibitions and openings, and discovering different spaces and pop up venues. Hong Kong had many brunches and pop up bars on the 2014 program – it’s always worth researching it to fully enjoy the experience.

I also love to debrief and people watch over a glass of wine or two (interesting to see the type of people who attend an art fair and what work attracts the eye of the buyers or collectors).

Highlight – And what did I enjoy the most? The sector called Encounters (there were 6 exhibition sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Film and Magazines).

“Encounters section is dedicated to presenting large-scale sculpture and installation works by leading artists from around the world. Encounters provides visitors with the opportunity to see works that transcend the traditional art fair stands. The sector presents these works in prominent locations throughout the exhibition halls.”

Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Curator of the Sharjah Biennial 11, curated Encounters.

Automated Colour Field (Variation V) by artist Rebecca Baumann

The standout piece for me was Automated Colour Field (Variation V) by Perth-based artist Rebecca Baumann. The work consists of a grid of 132 split-panel flip clocks, each with the number cards replaced with cards of solid colour.

In this movement, this flipping, Baumann recognises the potential for suspense and expectation. We watch and wait, desiring to witness the moments when change occurs (watch how the installation works on YouTube).

I first viewed Baumann’s work at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) NEW11 exhibition in 2011, and it was wonderful to see it again.

Time flew and suddenly I was back in the new Qantas lounge at the Hong Kong airport chatting to other Melbournians who had also enjoyed a week of art!

Meet the Makers is back to Fitzroy and Collingwood

artists, spaces

Meet the Makers is back!

The first edition of the event, in 2013, was such a success, with all activities at full capacity, that I was fortunate to be awarded another grant from the City of Yarra.

I curated the 2014 edition to incorporate different spaces, studios and mediums, while continuing to be a great program for all in the community to participate.

This year Meet the Makers welcomes its first international artist, Ryan F Kennedy. Kennedy was walk to art’s first New York artist in a residence, back in 2009.

You can meet him at Fehily Contemporary (Collingwood) on Friday 28 March. This and all the other activities (view program below) are free and bookings are essential. Reserve your spot early so as not to miss out!
 

When: Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 March
What: A weekend of inspiring art events
Where: Fitzroy and Collingwood
How much: All free
Bookings: Essential (limited places); wisit Meet the Makers‘ website for details


What is Meet the Makers?

  • An oportunity to spread the word about unique individuals who make the City of Yarra cultural and diverse.
  • A carefully curated weekend of 9 events in studios, independent spaces and businesses in Fitzroy and Collingwood.
  • A way of providing people with knowledge of art practices and processes through activities in which the participant can meet the maker and gain a greater understanding of artists, art spaces and creative businesses.

 
2014 program

NGV, looking at Tiepolo (iPad drawing), by Melbourne artist Rebecca Jones
iPad drawing by Rebecca Jones: meet the artist on Friday

 
Thursday 27 March
6pm–8pm – Strange Neighbour (Fitzroy) – Sarah Duyshart (visual artist – installation)

Friday 28 March
6pm–7pm – Redbox Studio (Collingwood) – Rebecca Jones (visual artist – iPad drawing)
7pm–8pm – Fehily Contemporary (Collingwood) – Ryan F Kennedy (visual artist – weaving installation)

Saturday 29 March
12pm–2pm – Slopes (Fitzroy) – Artist Market curated by Jared Davis
2pm–3pm – Gertrude Contemporary (Fitzroy) – Jess Johnson (visual artist)
5pm–6pm – Porcelain Bear (Collingwood) – Gregory Bonasera (ceramic artist)

Sunday 30 March
2pm–3pm – Studio (Collingwood) – Chloe Vallance (visual artist)
3pm–4pm – Second Story Studios (Collingwood) – Regan Tamanui or Haha (visual artist – stenciling)
4pm–5pm – Strange Neighbour (Fitzroy) – Sarah Duyshart (visual artist – installation)

 

Work by Chloe Valance: meet the artist on Sunday
Work by Chloe Valance: meet the artist on Sunday

 
Visit Meet the Makers‘ website for details and booking information.

The City of Yarra and Liquorice Studios proudly support Meet the Makers 2014.

See you there!

Enjoy art and much more in Melbourne over January

spaces

Melbourne Now; more than 300 artists; 8000 square metres of exhibition space; free entry

Welcome to 2014! Most of the art galleries in Melbourne have closed their doors for the summer break, but you can still find out art out and about:


 

Where: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
111 Sturt Street, Southbank (view location on Google Maps)

When: Until 2 March; 10am to 5pm, including weekends and public holidays; Wednesday until 8pm; Monday by appointment

What: “Crescendo”, featuring Dorothy Cross, Rodney Graham, Markus Kahre, Hans Op de Beeck, Julian Rosefeldt, Ana Torfs and Guido van der Werve

Why: “Artists have used film and music to create enclosed worlds, each exploring myth, history and human pageantry as metaphors for life. Viewers are treated to new visions of history, each a visual reflection of the inevitability of life and death.”

How much: Free

 

Where: NGV International (180 St Kilda Road; view location on Google Maps) and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia (Federation Square, Melbourne; view location on Google Maps)

When: Until 23 March; 10am to 5pm, except Mondays (NGV Australia) and Tuesdays (NGV International)

What: Melbourne Now celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect the cultural landscape of creative Melbourne

Why: There is something on everyday; workshops, talks and tours. Kids can participate in making shoes, jewellery or even dancing on the disco floor

How much: Free

 

Where: Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen (view location on Google Maps)

When: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Why: A great place to enjoy art and to take a picnic (or to eat at Café Vu Heide)

How much: Admission up to $16; gardens and sculpture park free

 

Where: Tarrawarra Museum of Art
311 Healesville, Yarra Glen Road, Healesville (view location on Google Maps)

When: Daily, 11am to 5pm

Why: If you want to go for a drive, and enjoy wine, food and art

How much: Admission up to $12 (from 10 February, up to $7.50)

 

Biennale’s highlight: visually, conceptually and structurally outstanding

artists, spaces, Venice tours

October has been a wonderful visual month. I had the opportunity to explore Italy’s La Biennale di Venezia – International Art Exhibition once again, and an overload of images keeps popping into my mind.

The experience of going to Venice is like no other, even after having been there many times before. The reason Venice holds a special place in my heart is the locals! Their knowledge of where to reside away from the massive tour groups who take over the small lanes of this magical city is gold.

My walk to art group was fabulous (no dramas and no Louis Vuitton cases without wheels to carry), and we all had 3 passions in common: exploring art, drinking prosecco and eating baccala (salted cod).

But let’s talk about art. The highlights for me were Chile, Russia, Portugal, New Zealand and of course the hidden pavilions in disused palazzos.

installation by Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar at La Biennale di Venezia – International Art Exhibition

The Chilean Pavilion, which was a site-specific installation by artist Alfredo Jaar, was visually, conceptually and structurally outstanding. It was silent yet loud in critically commenting on the Biennale organisational structure for exhibiting art.

All people from all walks of life watched, engaged and participated, as they viewed an army green model of the 28 pavilions from the Giardini della Biennale rise from the depths of the water (identical army green) to then sink beneath and disappear.

This work had so many layers; it was simple in approach, complicated in technique and creative in conceptual execution.

Is it worth going to La Biennale? Always.

Are the expensive Bellini at Harry’s Bar worth it? Absolutely!

Until the next Biennale… Ciao!

NGV: a commitment to Melbourne’s contemporary art and design

artists, spaces

Under the new direction of Tony Ellwood, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is being revitalised, embracing contemporary art and design, and reflecting on art in Melbourne and art in our community.

Melbourne Now opens in November 2013 and will run to March 2014. The exhibition will:

  • cover contemporary art, design, architecture and fashion
  • feature 130 local artists and 30 curators
  • be located at its 2 locations – St Kilda Road and Federation Square.

This is a huge project and one that will bring the Melbourne scene to the state gallery. There will be associated forums, public and media events, plus talks by various artists. The public will be able to participate and enjoy a very different experience that will hopefully create a great deal of enjoyment for all.

Represented and unrepresented artists are participating, and it will be great to view works from artists such as Laith McGregor and Lauren Berkowitz (photo).

Manna, 2009, by Australian installation artist Lauren Berkowitz

Since 2006 walk to art has taken thousands of people to exhibition openings and art spaces, educating the wider community on the richness that Melbourne has to offer.

Instead of the usual blockbusters, such as Monet or Dali, for which the NGV is so renowned, the state gallery is being ambitious and showing a commitment to Melbourne’s contemporary art and design – and this is very exciting.

Melbourne Now
National Gallery of Victoria

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square (view location on Google Maps)

Daily from 10am to 5pm, except Mondays and Christmas Day
22 November 2013 to 23 March 2014
Free entry

 

Art in changing times: commercial galleries and collector groups

artists, spaces

Melbourne has a busy and interesting arts scene all year round, but, during winter, it takes effort to step out into the cold nights and head to a forum or opening. This month the focus seemed to be on the commercial gallery and collector groups.

On 21 July I attended The Local Collection public forum at Fehily Contemporary, in Collingwood. Then, on 24 July, the night of Nite Art (when more than 20 commercial, independent and artist run spaces in the CBD and North Melbourne welcomed the public), I went to a forum at West Space titled “Is the Gallery Space Dead?”

Both events were interesting with panels consisting of collectors, art dealers, online galleries, artists and curators. In both forums participants highlighted the fact that the art world in Australia and selling art has changed and has been changing over the past 5 years or more.

  • Art spaces no longer can rely on the exhibitions or even the stock room.
  • Commercial spaces are sharing resources, joining forces and also including project spaces.
  • Art fairs have become another expense, but also another platform to a wider international audience and source of income.

Art fairs such as Auckland Art Fair (7 to 11 August 2013), Sydney Contemporary (19 to 22 September 2013) and Hong Kong Art Basel (15 to 18 May 2014) are a fun way to explore and visually learn.

A collector group is also a great way to learn, and to purchase art if you don’t wish to do it alone.

  • A collector group is a group of 12 to 15 people who have an interest in art.
  • Each member contributes dollars at the start and continues to contribute over a period of 7 to 10 years.
  • The group meets around 4 times a year with a few events in between.
  • The work is rotated every 6 months between each member’s home.
  • When the group concludes everyone gets to share in the collection.

Ambassador Beard (2011), by Abdul Abdullah

Interested in being part of a collector group? Contact with Fehily Contemporary. They recently exhibited “Celebrating A Collection Half-Finished”, showcasing the art acquired by The Local Collection so far, an example of what a collector group can accomplish. “Ambassador Beard”, by Abdul Abdullah, was among the artworks.