Melbourne Art Fair Goes Annual Citing Strong Art Appetite
Organisers of the previously biennial fair said Melburnians had demonstrated a desire to buy, invest in, and live with art as the city rebounded from the pandemic.
Melbourne Art Fair (17–20 February 2022). Courtesy Melbourne Art Foundation. Photo: Marie-Luise Skibbe.
Melbourne Art Foundation announced this week that the not-for-profit Melbourne Art Fair would switch to an annual model from 2024.
Founded in 1988 by a group of galleries, the Melbourne fair is Australia's oldest. It has only recently been surpassed in scale and sales by Sydney Contemporary.
Melbourne Art Fair's director and chief executive of the foundation, Maree Di Pasquale, told The Age that the move was a testament to the appetite for contemporary art in Melbourne in the city's post-covid recovery.
'There are economic challenges for all of us, but it seems that the desire to buy and live with or invest in art is still very much there,' Di Pasqulae told Australia's Associated Press.
'I think Melbourne has demonstrated a deep and ongoing commitment to the contemporary art scene above and beyond any other city in Australia', senior curator of the National Gallery of Victoria Ewan McEoin told The Age.
Melbourne Art Fair returns to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 22 to 25 February next year.
Over 60 galleries are confirmed for 2024, presenting works under the overarching theme of Ketherba—a Boon Wurrung word that expresses togetherness.
Participants include: Gallery 9, 1301SW/Starkwhite, Tolarno Galleries, and Yavuz Gallery, as well as four sponsored indigenous art centres—Moa Arts, Munupi Arts & Crafts Association, Papunya Tjupi Arts, and Wik & Kugu Arts Centre.
The fair will also feature the unveiling of pioneering feminist artist Julie Rrap's AU $100,000 Melbourne Art Foundation Commission, SOMOS (Standing On My Own Shoulders).
'This work strongly consolidates many of the concerns that have preoccupied me in my practice over the last 40 years', said Rrap, who is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.
SOMOS comprises two life-size bronze casts of the artist's body moulded together in a moment of action, with one supporting the other on its shoulders.
'While SOMOS echoes the "heroic" tradition of bronze figurative sculpture, it subverts that history by representing an older female body traditionally rendered invisible', said Rrap.
Previous entries for the Melbourne Art Foundation Commission include Yankunytjatjara artist Kaylene Whiskey's moving image work, centred on a Indulkana dancing queen (2022); and Michael Parekowhai's giant startled Bunny, Cosmo McMurtry (2006) —[O]