With the official Melbourne Art Fair currently on hiatus, Melbourne Art Week has taken on a ruptured form, with the previously main events absence creating fertile ground for new fairs to germinate. Spring 1883 has taken the stage as the ‘main fair’ by default, the NotFair continues, and two new fairs formed by banded camps of gallerists (602 and FLAIR) have emerged. Remaining of the official Melbourne Art Week is the Lecture and Forums Program, an antidote to the hustle and bustle of commercial activity. The result looks to be a fizzling art week experience embedded within the architectural fabric of the city. Head out with this guide and a charged phone for Google Maps to forage for contemporary art, intellectual enrichment, and, of course, openings and parties.
Tuesday 16 August
The NotFair Opening Party
7pm – late
The first of four art fairs to open, The NotFair Opening Party takes on a winter fiesta vibe with Katherine Place closed off and food trucks rolling in to serve tacos and the like.
Conceived in 2010 as a space to support emerging and non-represented artists, NotFair comprises a single curated exhibition rather than individual booths. This years’ event, curated by Kirsten Rann, references Prince’s song ‘Sign O’ the Times’ exploring how artists respond to the historical and personal present. Running throughout the fair are a series of walking tours of NotFair, selected local galleries, neighbouring art fairs and exhibitions, conducted by Melbourne Street Art Tours.
The NotFair runs from 16 – 21 August, 524 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Opening hours: Wednesday – Thursday 11am– 6pm, Friday 11am – 9pm, Saturday 1 1- 6pm, Sunday 11-6pm.
For a full program see here.
Image: Steven Rhall, THE BIGGEST ABORIGINAL ARTWORK IN MELBOURNE METRO, 2014. Inkjet print, edition 2 of 10. 61 x 49 cm. Courtesy the NotFair.
Wednesday 17 August
Tell Me What You Have and I Will Know What you Are (Invite Only)
Pop-Up Exhibition Opening
Held in a to be disclosed Airbnb in the central business district, this exhibition, curated by Audrey Schmidt of Dissect Journal, explores ‘the body’ as it rests in the nexus of subjectivity, technology, economy, and critical theory. The stand out work is Sext Me If You Can by American artist Karen Finley, of which previous iterations were performed at the New Museum in New York. For a fee, the participant is connected via a provided phone from the Airbnb’s bathroom to Karen’s studio in New York. From a 10 minute sexting encounter, the artist will create an inspired painting, with the process (from Karen's end) streamed on Dissect Journal’s website.
While the opening night is invite only, the exhibition is free of charge and open to the public from 17 – 21 August, 10am - 6pm. 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. The apartment number of the venue will be released via the events Facebook page. To book a session with Karen Finley (which runs from 10am - 2pm daily), click here.
Image: Tanja Ostojić, Be My Guest, 2001. 2 hour performance with curator, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and art critic, Lodovico Pratesi. Gravita 0, Pallazzo delle Espozzicioni, Rome. Video still. Courtesy of the artist and Dissect Journal.
Spring 1883 VIP Preview
Spring 1883 returns to The Hotel Windsor for it’s third year running, with a strong line-up of Australian and international galleries. In light of Melbourne Art Fair’s cancellation, they have only marginally increased participating gallery numbers to 27 to maintain the fair's intimate environment. A highly anticipated presentation is Auckland gallery Michael Lett’s solo show of Simon Denny, whose tech-world investigations continue to receive international acclaim. Participating galleries persist in finding novel ways to respond to the hotel location with Melbourne gallery Murray White Room, exhibiting portraits suited to The Hotel Windsor’s Victorian roots, while Grey Noise from Dubai takes a subtle approach presenting a series of responses and interventions through sound, image, and performance.
Spring 1883 has chosen to stick to its core function of a commercial fair with minimal extra-curricular programming, save for a performance suite curated by Gertrude Contemporary Artistic Director Mark Feary whose curatorial framework explores the ‘intimacies, tensions, liberties, and displacement’ to which the hotel plays host.
For those looking for an in-depth Melbourne art experience throughout the fairs duration, Spring 1883 is offering an inaugural patron program which includes priority access to the fair and curator talks spanning The Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA), National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Gertrude Contemporary, and a to-be-disclosed private collection.
For more information on Spring 1883's VIP patron program, see here. Tickets are limited. For bookings call Anastasia Maria Elias +61 422 309039.
Image: Julian Hooper, The Big One, 2016, at Spring 1883. Acrylic on linen, 31 x 36 cm. Courtesy of Gallery 9, Sydney.
Thursday 18 August
FLAIR (Art Fair)
18 – 21 August
FLAIR has modelled itself as a mini-Melbourne Art Fair of sorts with a program that includes talks, forums, and experiences spanning across five venues all within a short walk of one another: Craft, ARC ONE Gallery, fortyfivedownstairs, Arts Project Australia – Collins Place Pop-up (supported by NKN), and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. Highlights include a solo presentation at ARC ONE Gallery by the painter Robert Owen who responds, akin to Kandinsky, Jazz music with geometric arrangements of form and colour.
For a full program, specific venue details and opening hours, see here. 18 – 21 August, top end of Flinders Lane. Free Entry.
Image: Robert Owen, Exhibition view at ARC ONE Gallery, 2016. Image credit: Andrew Curtis. Courtesy Arc One Gallery.
602 (Art Fair) launch
7pm – late
Finding inspiration from the ‘rough and tumble Berlin style of collaboration’ gallerist Scott Livesey has initiated a new art fair located in a repurposed industrial space in the CBD’s west end. Participating galleries include Charles Nodrum Gallery, Gallerysmith, Jacob Hoerner Galleries and Scott Livesey Galleries from Melbourne as well as Sydney galleries M Contemporary, Martin Browne Contemporary, Michael Reid, Olsen Irwin and Watters Gallery. 602 will highlight over 40 Australian and international artists, with the Sydney galleries focusing on artists not represented in Melbourne.
Image: Tamara Dean, Cosmos, 2015, at 602. Pure pigment print on cotton rag, 150 x 100 cm, Ed 8 + 2AP. Courtesy Martin Browne Contemporary.
Writing & Concepts: Lecture Series, 5-6pm
This thoughtful series, produced by architect Jan Van Schaik, explores art writing as both a process and as an outcome. Speakers alternate between writers for whom writing is their primary output, to artist and designers whose writing supports their practice. This edition, sponsored by Spring 1883, features the artists Agatha Goethe-Snape and Brian Fuata in a lecture come-art performance.
RMIT Design Hub, 515 – 537 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000. Free Entry.
Image: Writing and Concepts Lecture Series. Courtesy Zara Sigglekow.
MAF Lectures and Forums
Autottune Everything: Art and the Sonic – Cosmic – Politic
6 - 10 pm
The Melbourne Art Foundation has invited Joel Stern and Danni Zuvela (of Liquid Architecture, an organisation devoted to artists working with sound), and Nikos Papastergiadis (The University of Melbourne) to curate a series of performances and lectures. Nikos stated that the impetus for the program comes from the shift in contemporary art towards the performative, the sensory, and the discursive, rather than the visual. Divided into two sections over the course of the evenings, the first half takes on the form of lectures, with curators discussing their projects, while the second is dedicated to artist performances with the event taking on a cabaret atmosphere.
6pm: Keynote Lecture: Ute Meta Bauer. Director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore. Known for her transdisciplinary curatorial approach the former MIT professor will discuss exhibitions which explore the ocean and politics of the sea.
8:30pm: James Rushford - morgue oars
James instrument of choice is a harmonium pump organ on which he will perform black metal in abstracted versions.
Image: Johannes Kreidler, 2015.
Friday 19 August
TarraWarra Biennial 2016: Endless Circulation
11am – 1pm
For a break from art fairs, head out of the city to the rolling hills of TarraWarra for the opening of the fifth edition of the biennial. TarraWarra Museum of Art director Victoria Lynn has joined forces with Discipline journal editor Helen Hughes to curate a show that considers the common elements shared between the periodical and exhibition format. The structural principles of the periodical, such as edition, circulation, dispersion and continuity also provide thematic links between the exhibiting artists.
The opening day includes opening remarks by Ute Metta Bauer.
For a full programme of opening events see here. TarraWarra Museum of Art. 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville VIC. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11am-5pm. Adults $7.50. Seniors $5.00. Concessions free.
Image: Vincent Namatjira, Queen Elizabeth and Captain Cook, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 91 x 122 cm. Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery, Melbourne.
Neon Parc Brunswick
6 – 8pm
At a convenient 20 minute train ride from The Hotel Windsor (making for a painless hop to the event below), at Neon Parc’s Brunswick location, Bilder Bilder considers painting beyond the material of painting itself, with artists whose aesthetic leans towards abstraction. Australasian artists include Dan Arps, Janet Burchill and Dale Frank with central European works by Imi Knoebel and Lucio Fontana.
Image: Dale Frank in Bilder Bilder, at Neon Parc, Melbourne. Courtesy Neon Parc.
Spring 1883 Artist Party
8pm – 11pm
This year the Artist party (open to all - not just artists) will be held in The Hotel Windsor’s regal Bourke Room. With the location offering an aesthetic for nineteenth century debauchery, the event will be DJ’d by artists Darren Sylvester and Lucrecia Quintanilla.
The Bourke Room. The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. Free Entry.
MAF Forums and Lectures continues ...
6pm: Hou Hanru, Director of MAXXI, Rome – Open City Open Museum
Uber-curator Hou will discuss his 2014 Open Museum Open City exhibition, which saw the museum emptied of objects and filled with sounds.
8pm: Johannes Kreidler and Speak Percussion – Fremdarbeiter (Outsourcing) (2009) for 4 Instruments and Moderation and Product Placements (2008) for Moderation + Video
The German composer Kreidler used commissioned money to outsource the creation of this piece to Indian and Chinese composers. Kreidler will introduce the work which will be performed by Speak Percussion. Tapping into issues of neoliberal economy and the outsourcing of labour, the work also provokes the questioning of authorship.
Saturday 20 August
As the art fairs roll on, FLAIR hosts a variety of forums that focus on the collecting and the broader art ecology. Highlights include a panel discussion on collecting contemporary craft, a conversation with Peter Fay about collecting as passion, and a keynote by Michael Lynch who addresses how it is to be an Australian artist in 2016.
For further information and bookings see here.
The TarraWarra Biennial opening continues with a fashion performance by 3 ply x Center for Style and artists talks.
Major Melbourne Exhibitions
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Painting. More Painting
Newly appointed ACCA director Max Delaney’s inaugural two-part exhibition has caused rumblings and divisions. A survey of current Australian painting the exhibition organises alphabetically via surname, with select artists given ‘solo presentation’ all hung to the backdrop of artist Sam Songalio’s geometric black and white wall mural. The show contains some strong works and is a sure-fast way to get acquainted with current trends in painting.
Image: Exhibition view, Painting. More Painting, 2016, ACCA. Photo Andrew Curtis.
Octopus 16: Antique Roadshow
Gertrude Contemporary’s flagship Octopus exhibition, this year curated by Mark Feary, astutely looks at how artists incorporate the strategies of technology within their work: as sensory and aesthetic materials, and as social critique.
Gertrude Contemporary. 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. Tuesday to Friday 11am - 5:30pm. Saturday 11am - 4:30pm. —[O]