Art Month Sydney, 2012
Posted: 06 May 2012 | By: Jane Somerville
1–25 March marks the third instalment of Art Month Sydney, a festival that celebrates contemporary art across the city in a variety of exhibition spaces: commercial galleries, public galleries and artist-run spaces.
It was established in 2010 by gallery directors Michael Reid and Vasili Kaliman, and from the outset included more than seventy galleries. The second event in March 2011 built on the success of the first, dividing the city into precincts for late-night viewings and art bars. Both instalments incorporated a variety of events designed for the public to engage with contemporary art such as artist talks and gallery tours, activity trails for children and families, and behind-the-scenes views of artist studios and corporate collections.
For 2012, Art Month Sydney has undergone a transformation and will be managed by Sydney-based publishing and design company 10 Group. Eliza Muldoon has been appointed artistic director to curate an artistic program with a central vision. With a background in psychology and a passionate love of the arts, Muldoon brings a personal approach to the program. It wasn’t until she was lecturing at the College of Fine Arts at the University of NSW in the late 1990s that she really began to understand the complexity and the diversity of the contemporary art world. The program reflects all the things that she loves about art, from making beautiful things and collecting art to conversations with artists about their practice. Muldoon has been thrilled by the amount of support Art Month has had from the arts industry and the people who are happy to be involved, which include David Gonski talking about why he is so committed to the arts and Mike Parr speaking about Inhiboddress (an experimental artists’ cooperative which opened in Woolloomooloo in 1970).
Building on successes of previous events, Muldoon’s focus is on attracting new audiences as well as those already versed in the contemporary art world. Talks, tours, events and workshops will be grouped under eight key strands: Conversations, Creating, Art Appreciation, Exhibitions, Family, Art & Food, Art Month Tours and Art Off Site. There will be late-night openings and art bars on Thursday and Friday evenings throughout the month. For Muldoon, the key to her program is a broad range of categories and events that means everyone can engage with contemporary art in whatever way they feel comfortable.
There will be a series of art workshops under the ‘Creating’ strand for adults to learn the basics about contemporary art making from artists. The ‘Exhibitions’ strand stretches Sydney wide, involving nearly 200 artists. The ‘Art Appreciation’ category is designed to demystify the art-buying process with talks centring on various aspects of the art market, from collecting Asian art to glass art and uncollectable art, to the discussion of trends and how they shape artistic practice. ‘Conversations’ will be a series of panel discussions with artists, writers and gallery owners designed to answer popular misconceptions and questions about contemporary art. For example, ‘Yeah, it’s good, but it is art?’ will discuss the difference between contemporary art and design, while ‘My three year old can do that’ will have abstract and naive artists talking about their working methods.
Images from top:
Marise Maas, Let the new kid take a shot, 2011, oil on canvas, 160 x 160cm.
Paul Davies, Mum’s house and econo lodge reservoir, 2011, acrylic on linen 187 x 153cm.