Sullivan+Strumpf Contemporary Art Gallery Sydney, Australia and Singapore - September 2020

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SEPTEMBER 2020

Lindy Lee Natalya Hughes Michael Lindeman Richard Lewer FX Harsono Tim Silver Michael Zavros


FRONT COVER: Lindy Lee, Listening to the Moon, 2018 (detail) mirror polished stainless steel, LED light, 100 cm (diameter)


Barbara Cleveland

Opening 6pm, 9 oct. 9 oct. – 14 nov.

Thinking Business +Gallery 2: Alana Cappetta

Barbara Cleveland,

This is a stained glass window

, 2019, Production still. Image courtesy of the artists and Sullivan+Strumpf.

Open Mon–Fri 9–5, Sat 12–4 Closed Sun and Public Holidays Civic Centre, 184 Bourke Street Goulburn NSW 02 4823 4494 artgallery@goulburn.nsw.gov.au goulburnregionalartgallery.com.au


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Contents 08 10 20 22 32 42 48 52 58 60 66 68 70

After Jan van Eyck Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop Podcast: Lindy Lee with Joanna Strumpf Natalya Hughes: Three Thoughts on Ambivalence Michael Lindeman: The Portrait as Anti-Selfie Richard Lewer: The Birds At Home with Michael Zavros FX Harsono: In the Studio Fiona McIntosh: Industry Eye Tim Silver: Looking Back Quick Curate: Archibald/Wynne Paul Becker: Last Word Upcoming Exhibitions

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Natalya Hughes, Woman II, 2020, cyanotype print, 76 x 56 cm, edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof


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SEPTEMBER 2020


After Jan van Eyck Ursula Sullivan+Joanna Strumpf

Our love for Lindy Lee began at university (early nineties, there we’ve said it!) She was one of the few contemporary Australian artists that actually made it into the curriculum, who so strongly represented what was happening in the world, she sat easily and beautifully among the starstudded roll call of international artists that is de rigueur of contemporary art lectures. It was hero worship from day one.

And who could forget that it’s Archibald season? To celebrate, we look a bit closer at long-time Archibald hopeful, and Sulman prize winner, Michael Lindeman. He covers everything from pulling apart the canon of art to the duties of a Sizzler dishwasher attendant, and the complex role of humour in the intimidating contemporary art world. But wait, there’s more.

This month, we celebrate Lindy Lee, in the lead up to her major survey exhibition, Moon in a Dew Drop, set to open at the Museum of Contemporary Art 2 October, a little delayed by Covid – but better late than never. It is a very big moment for Lindy, for any artist to see their life’s work, that great journey laid out in one place. In Elizabeth Ann Macgregor’s interview with Lindy, we learn how that journey began - via an encounter with a book on northern Renaissance artist, Jan van Eyck and a humble photocopier. This month also sees our first exhibition for Natalya Hughes – an artist who has been on our radar since we started the gallery in 2005. The brilliant Julie Ewington discusses Hughes’ latest body of work The Landscape is in the Woman and we learn about how and why Hughes, from her quiet studio in Brisbane, is bravely delving into Willem de Kooning’s iconic and problematic series “Woman” from the 1950s. “Natalya Hughes knowingly enters an arena fraught with familiar contradictions: beauty/distortion, attraction/repulsion, goddess/gorgon, aesthetic ideal/tawdry pin-up. Huge stakes.”

Richard Lewer brings to life threatened and vulnerable bird species from Australia and New Zealand. We go home with Michael Zavros and discover that his true strength lies in egg-based cuisine and find out why he would like to have Lisa Simpson to dinner. We talk with legendary Indonesian artist FX Harsono about his new space in Yogyakarta which is so much more than just a studio. We hear from curator and art consultant Fiona McIntosh whose passion for art was also sparked by a van Eyck encounter at uni and is as strong today as it was back then. Tim Silver looks back at his works from the 2012 Adelaide Biennial and final word goes to Paul Becker, Art Money Founder, who reminds us that if you are passionate enough about it – anything is possible. Let’s all keep that in mind. Please enjoy. – Jo and Urs

Lindy Lee, Untitled (After Jan van Eyck), 1985 photocopy, synthetic polymer paint on paper, 34 x 26 cm

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Lindy Lee, Seeds of a new moon, 2019 (detail) flung bronze, 120 cm diameter Photo credit: Aaron Anderson


Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop In the lead up to her survey exhibition Moon in a Dew Drop, Lindy Lee speaks with Museum of Contemporary Art Director and Curator of the exhibition Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE. The exhibition of over 70 works from across the artist’s extensive career from the 1980s to today includes impressive large-scale works in bronze and steel, and whole-room immersive installations. Lee and Macgregor discuss her early works from the 80s, the impact of Jan van Eyck, and why you shouldn’t put hessian in a photocopier. Interview with Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE

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SEPTEMBER 2020


Lindy Lee Heaven and Earth, 2019 (detail) Mirror polished stainless steel Image courtesy UAP, Brisbane/Shanghai/New York

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Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop

SEPTEMBER 2020

Liz Ann Macgregor OBE and Lindy Lee Photo credit: Anna Kucera


ELIZABETH ANN MACGREGOR (EM)/ DURING YOUR UN-

EM/ IT WAS THE MATERIALITY OF THE PROCESS

DERGRADUATE STUDIES AT THE CHELSEA COLLEGE OF

THAT APPEALED TO YOU, WHICH CAME OUT OF THE

ARTS IN LONDON YOU BEGAN EXPERIMENTING WITH

REPETITION OF THE IMAGE?

PHOTOCOPIES, EXPLORING THE IDEA OF THE REPLICA. WHERE DID THIS IDEA, WHICH WAS CENTRAL TO YOUR PRACTICE, COME FROM?

LINDY LEE (LL)/ Something compelled me to go into the art school library one day. Maybe I was seeking a bit of solace. I was intending to go to the section on the Italian Renaissance and rifle through the books with images of works that I’d become so attached to in Europe. I picked up a Jan van Eyck book, I think, and photocopied it. There was something mesmerising about that photocopy – something more for me than a straightforward copy. It made me think about this idea of the replica – what does it mean to be original?

EM/ IN THE DIGITAL AGE, I THINK WE FORGET HOW EXTRAORDINARY PHOTOCOPYING MUST HAVE SEEMED

LL/ Yes. As I began to experiment with different kinds of paper, I realised that different textures would do other things.

YOU EVEN TRIED HESSIAN, WHICH WAS PROBABLY A LITTLE AMBITIOUS FOR THE TECHNOLOGY!

L/ And a bit naughty because I really stuffed it up for every other student who wanted to use the photocopier for a while! But I was also working in my studio and I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe I can just copy the great masters. ’So, I started to copy all these paintings. But everything was just a copy – it lacked the magic of the photocopied image. And I didn’t understand why. This became a curious question: why should the reproduction of the painting be so much more interesting, more transformative? When I’m painting a copy of it, it’s just copying.

WHEN IT WAS INVENTED. THE REPLICA OF AN IMAGE OR TEXT APPEARING ON A PIECE OF PAPER SEEMED MAGIC!

LL/ Exactly. Photocopying was a very new technology. You put a book on a glass plate and an image comes through. But it wasn’t just the image that attracted me, it was the use of carbon – magnetic carbon matter. Sometimes it would fuse onto the paper and sometimes it wouldn’t adhere properly so it would smudge. There was this incredible velvety materiality in the photocopy which was just beautiful. And then, for whatever reason, I wondered if I could build up the carbon into something new.

Interview

I started to feed these van Eyck images repeatedly through the photocopier. The image became denser and denser and more mysterious, darkening until it was just this ghostly shimmer on the surface of the paper. It was magical. Something inside of me was called to respond to that. It really was the beginning of my career.

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SEPTEMBER 2020

Lindy Lee, Birth and Death, 2007 inkjet print and acrylic on Chinese accordion books dimensions variable Installation Image, Campbelltown Art Centre Photo credit: Rob Scott-Mitchell


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SEPTEMBER 2020

Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop

Lindy Lee, The Silence of the Painters, 1989 (detail) photocopy, synthetic polymer paint on paper Courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of Loti Smorgon AO and Victor Smorgon AC, 1995


EM/ THESE WERE TRADITIONAL OIL PAINTINGS, COPIED

EM/ AND WHAT IS IT THAT CONNECTS THESE IMAGES

FROM THE GREAT MASTERS. WHAT FOLLOWED THE

YOU ARE DRAWN TO? THEY’RE VERY STRIKING

PERIOD IN LONDON?

PORTRAITS.

LL/ When I came back to Sydney, I went to do my post-grad at Sydney College of the Arts where my studio was in a decommissioned men’s urinal! One evening, I was working on a painting and feeling very frustrated – nothing seemed to be working. I mixed up a waxy black oil impasto and slathered the canvas with a black paste of beeswax. Then I started to scrape into it. And in that first action, I realised this was it – I could carve into the wax. This felt like something genuine. What I have come to realise is that this process of scraping was like excavating. I was reaching back, like an archaeology of some kind. I was ‘discovering’ the image rather than trying to copy it.

LL/ Well, I guess that’s the first clue about the identity issue. In the photocopies, I often liken the photocopies to looking at a Rembrandt. I’m not saying that I’m Rembrandt, but to me the most amazing thing about a great portrait, for instance – and Rembrandt is the greatest portraitist – is that it’s simply two-dimensional. It’s just paint. But how mesmerising is it to look into Rembrandt’s eyes in his self-portrait or the eyes of one of his sitters? You feel that person’s life unfold before you. The incredible portraits of this world have an enormous sense of the presence of the person, not just their external appearance but their innermost being. How is that possible? How does art do that?

I was so excited I didn’t sleep that night. Something enormous had happened. I couldn’t quite believe it. But I went back into the studio the next day and that same sense of excitement happened. There’s something about the action of uncovering, unearthing of the image through gesture.

The MCA will open a major survey exhibition of work by Lindy Lee on 2 October 2020, Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop.

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EM/ HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE CHOICE OF IMAGES?

Interview

LL/ The only rule was that I had to love the image.

Extract from ‘A Conversation between Elizabeth Ann MacGregor and Lindy Lee’ from the exhibition monograph Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2020.

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Podcast -Lindy Lee with Joanna Strumpf

Zen, the universe and everything – listen to Joanna Strumpf interviewing Lindy Lee on her forthcoming survey show Moon in a Dew Drop which opens at the MCA next month. Lindy opens up about several new works that have been commissioned for the exhibition, including her largest ever installation, Moonlight Deities which will be a fully immersive experience for MCA visitors. And we hear more about her latest collaborator, the rain, as she produces epic scroll works from her rainforest studio outside of Byron Bay. Enjoy!

SEPTEMBER 2020

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LEFT: Lindy Lee, Virtue, Moral Order and the Discretion of Human Gesture, 1991 (detail), oil, wax on canvas.

Courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art, Mordant Family Collection, Australia RIGHT: Lindy Lee, Unbethrothed (True Ch’ien series) 2018 (detail), inkjet print, ink, fire, 155 x 103 cm


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SEPTEMBER 2020


Natalya Hughes: Three Thoughts on Ambivalence Julie Ewington on the fraught relationship between Willem de Kooning and Natalya Hughes — two methodical and equally obsessive artists separated by time and space’

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Natalya Hughes in her studio Photo credit: Rhett Hammerton

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Natalya Hughes: Three Thoughts on Ambivalence

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An open field

Natalya Hughes Sincere Large Scale Gesture Painting, 2019-2020 (detail) acrylic on polyester 160 x 160 cm

Two painters: Natalya Hughes in Brisbane and Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), the great anomaly amongst New York’s post-war ‘Abstract’ Expressionists. The similarities? Fascinated by the challenges of painting ‘the female body’, both are methodical, even obsessive. Each is particularly alive to artistic inheritances, but because of this deep respect, they share an exploratory attitude towards their work, embracing, as a consequence, open positions that are not reducible to easy accounts or simple slogans. (Painting is infinitely more complex than that.) Not surprisingly, both artists rework subjects and paintings, though in completely different ways. Writing about de Kooning’s ‘Woman’ series, Sally Yard noted, ‘Woman, I, found her final form after two years of passage applied over passages, repainted, incorporated, or discarded’; by contrast, Hughes’s meticulous as-it-were collage paintings are composed from concatenating fragments of exquisite precision whose collisions allow unexpected outcomes. Above all, though their times, methods and temperamental dispositions could not be more different, de Kooning and Hughes share an absorption in painting as the daily studio practice of discovery, making works that are not only physically but intellectually and emotionally layered. Thoughtful.

SEPTEMBER 2020

There similarities end: more than six decades separate de Kooning’s ‘Woman’ paintings and Hughes’s address to a woman’s body through her own position. From the start de Kooning’s ‘Woman’ caused controversy among critics and historians: Meyer Shapiro supported it, Clement Greenburg queried it, Harold Rosenberg defended it; from the 1970s onwards, feminist critics have consistently taken issue with de Kooning’s ‘Woman’. Leaving aside post-war Modernism’s American battles around abstraction and figuration, the real affront was the energy, ferocity, and palpable sexual power of de Kooning’s women: these paintings perturb social convention. Even today, they are a disturbing cocktail of allure and aggression, ambiguous presences eliciting ambivalent responses. The very surface of the canvas of Woman I is described in MoMA curator Ann Tempkin’s audio recording as a ‘battlefield… in progress, a state of war’. How could it be otherwise? ‘Woman’ — generic and conventional — is a persistent site of contestation, and Natalya Hughes knowingly enters an arena fraught with familiar contradictions: beauty/distortion, attraction/repulsion, goddess/gorgon, aesthetic ideal/tawdry pin-up. Huge stakes.

Jacqueline Chlanda, ‘Natalya Hughes: Maybe I Was Painting The Woman In Me’, March 2020, at https:// milanigallery.com.au/exhibit/maybe-i-was-painting-woman-me?do=essay John Elderfield et al., De Kooning: A Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, 2011 and MoMA exhibition audio recordings. Rosalind E. Krauss, Willem de Kooning Non Stop: Cherchez la Femme, University of Chicago Press, 2015. Sally Yard, ‘Willem De Kooning’s Women’, Arts Magazine, Nov. 1978, vol.53, no. 3, pp. 96-101.


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Natalya Hughes: Three Thoughts on Ambivalence

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His world

Natalya Hughes Woman I (Me from here), 2018-19 acrylic on poly 193 x 147 cm

De Kooning’s monumental ‘Woman’ paintings are informed by an entire cavalcade of female forms starting with the prehistoric Venus of Willendorff. They propose ‘Woman’ at heroic scale: MoMA’s enormous Woman I is the size classical Greek sculptors used for superhuman beings, but he also sampled popular American culture — cut-out lips from magazine cigarette advertisements were collaged on the surfaces. De Kooning’s woman is full frontal, a persona under construction through the eyes of the painter; however disarrayed or distorted, she is always the creation of a single desiring ego. That this image is sexually driven is indisputable: lips, breasts, eyes, thighs are conventional ciphers for sexual desire but, equally, and here is the core of de Kooning’s own ambivalence, for the sexual power of women. Alive to Carl Jung’s influential ideas about feminine and masculine aspects of human personality, de Kooning acknowledged the contradictory aspects of the ‘Woman’ series, describing them as ‘vociferous and ferocious’, invoking ’…the idea of the idol, the oracle, and above all hilariousness of it’. His words also supply the titles of Hughes’s two exhibitions in 2020: ‘Maybe I Was Painting the Woman in Me’ at Milani Gallery, Brisbane in March 2020, and ‘The Landscape is in the Woman’ at Sullivan+Strumpf, these complementary phrases reported by critic Thomas Hess in 1953. Embracing this ambivalence, Hughes meets de Kooning on his own field. In 2018, when Woman 1 (Me from here) was entered in Sydney’s Sulman Prize exhibition, she wrote: “De Kooning’s women are menacing. Their foreboding, castrating, looming grotesqueness is primary in his painterly experiments. I have been repainting them to understand them and bring them into my own visual language…”.

SEPTEMBER 2020

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Natalya Hughes: Three Thoughts on Ambivalence

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Her body

Natalya Hughes Woman with Electric Bicycle (After Julie), 2020 (detail) acrylic on poly 198 x 122 cm

If de Kooning’s ‘Woman’ is generic, Hughes’s women are always particular. She imposes women known or remembered — Eileen from Kings Point or her friend Julie in Woman with Electric Bicycle, for instance — onto canvases replicating the sizes and structures of de Kooning’s originals, picking on someone her own size, as it were. Then she mashes up de Kooning’s women, through an idiosyncratic method variously deploying Photoshop, found patterns, projection, meticulous painting, and on-canvas improvisation. But there is a crucial difference. Hughes looks at these represented bodies from inside: she inhabits this body, or at least one rather similar, rather than viewing it from outside: her Woman 1 is subtitled Me from here. This specified feminine subjectivity is complex, patterned, fractured, for all the world like a busy woman in her own kitchen, catching this or that glimpse from the corner of her eye, through her busy working day. The domesticated modern patterns within which Hughes’s women are embedded, and from which they are constructed, are sourced from 1950s textiles, spiky arresting constructs of daily life. It’s a knowing choice, privileging the domestic environment and its craft ethos, which has been familiar for decades from the feminist aesthetic lexicon: the association of women with domesticity and domestic patterns was one response to easel painting’s singlepoint perspective from the mid-1970s by American Pattern Painters such as Joyce Kozloff and Miriam Schapiro, whose huge Black bolero (1980) is at the Art Gallery of NSW; closer to home, since the late 1960s Vivienne Binns has canvassed this territory. Hughes makes this patterning encounter de Kooning’s female forms. Her approach is inclusive, embracing, each work a considered riposte to the conventions and images that governed his ways of seeing: the six cyanotypes, for example, examine each ‘Woman’ painting; the Gestures evoke feminist challenges to the conventional masculine dominance of representational codes, acknowledging the once-canonical authority of the painterly mark; and Gesture (Sausage) 2 nods to Linda Benglis’s soft sculpture, as Jacqueline Chlanda observed, and her infamous 1974 nude self-portrait with dildo in Artforum. De Kooning’s ‘Woman’ is central to the global history of modern art but has a life in Australia: since 1974 Woman V has been in Canberra, in an important group of American works collected for the National Gallery of Australia by the late James Mollison. De Kooning’s ‘Woman’ is not distant, therefore, but present. This is what Natalya Hughes tackles here: her/our stake in these ‘Women’. In Harold Rosenberg’s 1972 interview de Kooning quoted Paul Cézanne saying ‘every brushstroke has its own perspective…’ and, he added, ‘its own point of view’. Now Hughes is seeing through de Kooning’s point of view, to borrow Ian Burn’s memorable phrase, her admiration focussed by interrogation, her disquiet managed through arduous working methods, her ambivalence at work. In re-seeing, she re-presents: meet Natalya Hughes’s ‘Women’, each one named, claimed, and now commemorated. From her own perspective.

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Julie Ewington is an independent writer, curator and broadcaster based in Sydney. Natalya Hughes, The Landscape Is In The Woman opens in September 17 at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney.

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SEPTEMBER 2020

Natalya Hughes tackles the de Kooning myth head-on in this short film produced for her upcoming exhibition, The Landscape is in the Woman.

RIGHT: Natalya Hughes Woman 6 (Harmony), 2019 acrylic on poly, custom made fabric and powder coated steel frame 176 x 148 x 2.5 cm


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Michael Lindeman: The Portrait as Anti-Selfie Sydney-based artist Michael Lindeman makes paintings, drawings and sculptures that challenge existing power structures around contemporary art with humour and selfdeprecation. Lindeman has been a finalist in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes five times, and in 2010 he was awarded the Sulman Prize for his work Paintings, prints & wall hangings. Lindeman’s new self-portrait I… inverts the conventions of the genre, combining a masked image with a stream of consciousness that contemplates his own role as an artist. By Chloé Wolifson

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LEFT: Michael Lindeman, I..., 2020 (detail), watercolour & acrylic on canvas, 204 x 142 cm

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SEPTEMBER 2020

Michael Lindeman, Sizzler (Michael), 2009, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 183 cm. Photo credit: Mark Pokorny


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Michael Lindeman: The Portrait as Anti-Selfie

CHLOÉ WOLIFSON (CW)/ YOU’VE LONG EMPLOYED VARIOUS STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE IN ART ‘WORLD’ INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE. WHAT LED YOU TO EXPLORE THESE THEMES AND HAVE THE ISSUES CHANGED OVER TIME?

MICHAEL LINDEMAN (ML)/ I’ve always been guided by a wayward urge to rail against something I find irritating and inequitable. My work considers how financial and cultural value is attached to various branches of creative activity. The art ‘world’ is the space I participate in, so it just seems like the logical zone to explore. The issues haven’t really changed. Some works such as The Source of Magic and Problems 2015 and Implicit Memory System 2018 feature a wider range of targets… alongside of a self-deprecating analysis of myself and position as an artist. I think I’ve been searching for ways of pulling apart canons all along. A canon is often authority disguised as a consensus. I enjoy critiquing, not worshiping selfreinforcing sites of authority.

CW/ WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO HUMOUR AS A STRATEGY? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ART ‘WORLD’S’ ATTITUDE TO HUMOUR?

Interview

ML/ I’m compelled to make art that entertains myself. I want to be able to sit in the studio late at night and laugh at the absurdity of my works in relation to their intended viewing context: the gallery, audience and market. I’m having fun.

I find humour to be a liberating and disarming tool. It can also be a defence mechanism, both protection and weapon. Humour can be strange and difficult to analyse, which suits me because I want the audience to actively engage with the work. I think humour in art can attract us and is an important means of connection. The art ‘world’s’ attitude to humour is probably no different than the broader community, some like to be amused, others are just boring.

CW/ HOW DO YOU UNDERTAKE THE WRITING AND RESEARCH THAT UNDERPINS THE TEXT COMPONENTS OF YOUR WORK?

ML/ I’m always taking notes and trying to extract as much content from every source I encounter, ranging from conversations, literature, film, travel, music and art. Some works are simply large-scale replica paintings of appropriated objects and documents that I’ve collected and archived, such as my Sizzler name badge from my first casual job, and my treasured “Certificate for Certification for Dishwasher Attendant”. Other works such as the series of drawings that replicate ‘Obituary Notices’, ‘Missing’ and ‘Seeking Same’ classifieds rely on a mix of knowledge and experience combined with deeper research into a specific genre. The comical yet critical text drawings in the series announce the passing of various art movements and other absurd considerations of the art world. I compile pages of notes in preparation for each drawing, then carry out a process of editing and formatting to arrive at a piece of writing to be translated into a newspaper classified drawing.

LEFT: Michael Lindeman

Dear Michael (Certificate for Certification for Dishwasher Attendant), 2014 pencil and acrylic on canvas, 204 x 142 cm

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Michael Lindeman: The Portrait as Anti-Selfie

SEPTEMBER 2020

Michael Lindeman, Installation view, Poor Imagination at Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore 2019 Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang


CW/ YOU’VE DESCRIBED YOUR NEW SELF-PORTRAIT I… AS AN “ANTI-SELFIE”, AND “MANIFESTO AND THERAPY AT ONCE.” WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING THIS WORK?

ML/ My work is often a type of conceptual self-portraiture, with humour of course. I… was a challenge that ironically sets out to present yours truly at a distance, through a filter that enabled a certain degree of anonymity or disguise. The portrait is an anti-selfie, I feel uncomfortable with self-promotion and choose not to be drawn into the social media realm. Presenting my work in a tangible public forum is enough for my anxieties. The text for I… was accumulated and archived in notebooks over some time. Satisfying an impulse to be vulnerable and sincere while externalising my doubts and fears, I… is an insight to my psyche and perhaps more revealing than a traditional portrait can be. It feels like therapy. CW/ WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST UNUSUAL REACTION TO YOUR WORK THAT YOU’RE AWARE OF?

ML/ My work definitely divides the audience. When I won the Sulman Prize someone called the AGNSW threatening legal action because my column of large-scale classified paintings appropriated from the Trading Post, listed the actual phone numbers and locations of the sellers. He just had a real issue with it and actually called the advertisers to inform them and rile them up. On the other end of the spectrum, I once received a handwritten letter from a woman residing in Isle of Man. She was touched by and found humour in one of my paintings. CW/ WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LOOKING AT, READING, LISTENING TO, DRAWN TO LATELY?

Interview

ML/ On a trip across Europe late last year and early this year I was excited by the mosaics of the Cologne Cathedral, the micromosaics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and loved seeing more of the Cubist works, particularly Braque. It was interesting to read that Picasso would borrow works from Braque, placing them in his studio to decode or steal from.

I’m currently reading a lot about the first-generation Californian Conceptual artists, a memoir by Tom Marioni, a book about the ‘Ant Farm’ collective…a book on Joseph Beuys and have just started on a Magritte publication. My reading habits are erratic and all about art. I listen to vinyl mostly, a steady diet of Zappa, Beefheart, Ween, Silver Jews, Mogwai, Kurt Vile and my 11 year-old boy with his Stratocaster. I’m drawn to anything that aims to push at the edge of its field of inquiry, I respect creative people who take the risky route, an antidote to those who chase the heat and contribute to mediocrity.

CW/ WHAT DOES A DISHWASHER ATTENDANT DO?

ML/ He regularly fills tumblers with spirit mixers at the drinks station conveniently located metres away from his pile of grubby plates. As the shift wears on, the Dishwasher Attendant’s banter with waitstaff and pranks on co-workers become more audacious due to boredom and bourbon. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all leisure, he takes great pride in a spotless dish pit with remarkable efficiency, eagerly loading the conveyor style industrial dishwasher. Without a care for the next day’s school exam, he’s the entertainment and loyal clean freak at a popular buffet chain. Chloé Wolifson is a Sydney-based arts writer, researcher and curator whose work includes reviews, catalogue essays, and reports on exhibitions and art fairs across the Asia-Pacific. She is a regular contributor to Art Monthly Australasia and the Sydney Morning Herald and is published in mastheads and magazines across the region.

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SEPTEMBER 2020


Michael Lindeman with Thanks, 2018 rejection letters, clear vinyl, decals dimensions variable Photo credit: Mark Pokorny

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Richard Lewer: The Birds

With so much going on in the world, it's easy to lose sight of what's happening in our own backyards. Richard Lewer’s bird studies highlight a selection of threatened, vulnerable and endangered birds from Australia and New Zealand. Despite their precarious existence, there is something reassuring about Lewer's paintings — somehow, his subjects seem determined to carry on with their dayto-day lives in spite of everything going on around them.

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Richard Lewer Helmeted honeyeater, 2020 acrylic on steel 38.5 x 48.5 cm

SEPTEMBER 2020

AUD $5,500

The helmeted honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix) is a passerine bird in the honeyeater family. It is a distinctive and critically endangered subspecies of the yellow-tufted honeyeater, that exists in the wild only as a tiny relict population in the Australian state of Victoria, in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. It is Victoria's only endemic bird, and was adopted as one of the state's official symbols.


Richard Lewer Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, 2020 acrylic on steel 22.5 x 30.5 cm AUD $3,300

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Zanda funerea) is a large cockatoo native to the south-east of Australia measuring 55–65 cm (22–26 in) in length. It has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly brownish black and it has prominent yellow cheek patches and a yellow tail band. The body feathers are edged with yellow giving a scalloped appearance. The adult male has a black beak and pinkish-red eye-rings, and the female has a bone-coloured beak and grey eye-rings. In flight, yellow-tailed black cockatoos flap deeply and slowly, with a peculiar heavy fluid motion. Their loud, wailing calls carry for long distances. The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is found in forested regions from south and central eastern Queensland to southeastern South Australia including a very small population persisting in the Eyre Peninsula. Two subspecies are recognised, although Tasmanian and southern mainland populations of the southern subspecies xanthanotus may be distinct enough from each other to bring the total to three. Birds of subspecies funereus (Queensland to eastern Victoria) have longer wings and tails and darker plumage overall, while those of xanthanotus (western Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) have more prominent scalloping. Unlike other cockatoos, a large proportion of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo's diet is made up of wood-boring grubs; they also eat seeds. They nest in hollows high in trees with fairly large diameters, generally Eucalyptus. Although they remain common throughout much of their range, fragmentation of habitat and loss of large trees suitable for nesting has caused population decline in Victoria and South Australia. In some places yellow-tailed black cockatoos appear to have partially adapted to recent human alteration of landscape and they can often be seen in parts of urban Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. The species is not commonly seen in aviculture, especially outside Australia. Like most parrots, it is protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention), an international agreement that makes trade, export, and import of listed wild-caught species illegal.

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Richard Lewer: The Birds

Richard Lewer Masked owl, 2020 acrylic on steel 38.5 x 48.5 cm

SEPTEMBER 2020

AUD $5,500

The Australian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae) is a barn owl of Southern New Guinea and the non-desert areas of Australia. They breed when conditions are favorable which can be any time of the year. The nest is usually built in hollow trees with soil, mulch or sand. Some populations are known to use caves or rock crevices for nesting and roosting. The female lays two or three eggs and incubates them while the male hunts for food. The young are white or off white when they first develop feathers. They can leave the nest at two to three months of age but return to be fed by the parents for another month before going on their own.


Richard Lewer Grey Grasswren, 2020 acrylic on steel 22.5 x 30.5 cm AUD $3,300

The grey grasswren (Amytornis barbatus) is a passerine bird in the Australasian wren family, Maluridae. It is found on arid inland floodplains of Australia where it is endemic. The grey grasswren is a rarely seen elusive bird that was first sighted in 1921 but not taxonomically described until 1968. Its greyish coloration and very long tail distinguish it from all other grasswrens. While some recent research has been conducted, there still remain many gaps in the knowledge about the ecology of this cryptic bird.

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All bird descriptions courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/

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SEPTEMBER 2020


DUTY OF CARE TONY ALBERT Canberra Glassworks Curated by Sally Brand With thanks to

11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston canberraglassworks.com T 02 6260 7005 contactus@canberraglassworks.com open Wed to Sun, 10am to 4pm



At home with

Michael Zavros

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR HOME? AND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

Interview

MZ/ I love the space. Space is a luxury especially now when so many people can’t leave their homes. Space in the house, the land, the studio. Space makes you do things differently.

TOP 5 DREAM DINNER GUESTS?

MZ/ Frank and Claire Underwood, Ellen Ripley, Tony Soprano, Lisa Simpson, Rose Nyland.

WHERE DO YOU READ AND WHAT ARE YOU READING?

I’d change our soil which isn’t great. I love growing things, from big trees to things I can eat, to ornamental things, so I’m constantly improving the soil.

MZ/ In bed, I’m reading Stephen King ATM. I love that half the high-brow authors interviewed on Radio National’s The Book Show admit to Stephen King as a guilty pleasure.

ARE YOU THE CHEF AT HOME? WHAT’S YOUR GO TO?

GADGET GUY OR LUDDITE?

MZ/ No. I love cooking, but I get stressed in the kitchen so it’s better I stay out and we entertain a lot. I actually love cleaning up. Washing a hundred wine glasses and putting them all away in the studio cupboards. I love making egg-based things like frittatas. It’s hard to go wrong and you can put anything in them.

MZ/ I’m a bit of both. I resisted e-books for the longest time because I like the heft of a text. But e-books are very convenient, and my wife and I can read things at the same time on separate devices. That said, I still write all my passwords on a piece of paper.

LEFT: Portrait of Michael Zavros at home

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Australian Contemporary Art Magazine


FX Harsono: In the Studio


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NEW STUDIO?

FXH/ My new studio in Yogyakarta is a workshop space but I want it to be comfortable at the same time. Aside from using the studio to create and store my works, I’m also planning to make a living space for myself in the near future. My studio is also designed to be a meeting space for discussions with other artists and people within the art community. It is also a place to meet for an informal chat or to watch a movie.

YOU’RE ALSO BASED IN JAKARTA, WHY CHOOSE JOGJAKARTA AS YOUR MAIN STUDIO LOCATION?

FXH/ Recently, I’ve found it unpleasant to work in Jakarta. It is much more costly to find a spacious place to work for a reasonable cost. Another reason is that it is not as easy to find a reliable Studio Manager or Assistant. Cost aside, time is also an issue and there is a sense that I’m always running out of time when travelling through Jakarta’s notorious traffic.

YOUR MAKING PROCESS SEEMS TO DEVELOP FROM INITIAL RIGOROUS RESEARCH YOU’VE CONDUCTED. WHAT DOES THE PROCESS LOOK LIKE FROM IDEA TO STUDIO?

FXH/ Prior to conducting research, I usually like to have a discussion. This is why Yogyakarta is an enjoyable city for me. It is very accommodating for my practice and I can easily have discussions with friends and artists. Travelling to my research areas is relatively easier from Yogyakarta compared to Jakarta.

ON A TYPICAL DAY, HOW LONG DO YOU USUALLY STAY IN THE STUDIO?

FXH/ My day in the studio usually starts from 9am until 5pm. I guess I like to keep working, which is why I’ve been planning to move into the studio. This will allow me to work even more. These days, after spending the day in my studio, I still like to work at home.

TELL US YOUR IDEAL STUDIO ‘MUST HAVES’

FXH/ My studio is not completely finished yet but my eventual goal is to work and live there. I’ve been wanting to build a room dedicated for artists residencies for artists from outside Yogyakarta or even Indonesia, but this is still a plan for now. A good studio interior is a must for me, it is indeed a workshop space but I want to be able to present my works in my own studio in a nice set up.

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Interview

BY ENTERING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

LEFT: FX Harsono in his studio

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FX Harsono Tracing History #2, 2012 acrylic on canvas 140 x 210 cm

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FX Harsono NAMA, 2019 single channel video 12 minutes Edition of 10 (detail on right)

Watch the short film NAMA by Fx Harsono.


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Follow Fiona McIntosh:

SEPTEMBER 2020

www.fionamcintoshart.com.au Instagram: @fineartfiona

Portrait: Fiona McIntosh. Photo credit: Inlighten Photography


Fiona McIntosh:

Industry Eye “From day one I was hooked. The first lecture on the first day of my first year of a Fine Arts BA at ANU was on Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait 1434 (National Gallery, London).“

It was an exuberant performance by Dr Sasha Grishin, as well as calculated move on his part, to grab and hold the attention of young and impressionable students. It worked. What captivated me was not only the extraordinarily rendered and composed image, but the symbols, stories and secrets inherent in the work. That an artwork could connect with me across centuries and say so much about a time, place and culture was a revelation. It is this fascination and delight that continues to shape my passion for the visual arts. To turn this interest into a career path led me to post-grad study, starting with the Post Graduate Diploma in Gallery Management at the then COFA (now UNSW Art+Design), then onto a Masters of Arts Administration. Connections made and networks developed in turn led to the multifaceted approach that is exhibition management and touring exhibitions. Budgets, time frames and demands were as tight (and at times as hair-raising) then as they are now, but I relished the experience of working behind the scenes. Handling and installing works provided greater insights into the artist’s intentions. As assistant to the 1988 Biennale of Sydney’s Artistic Director Nick Waterlow I was set to work with Hermann Nitsch to co-ordinate his action painting installation at Pier 2/3. It was memorable, and not just because the Vice-Squad turned up as we opened. Co-ordinating the many threads that brought together the elegant and ambitious exhibition Caravaggio: Darkness and Light at AGNSW was a privilege. Trucking an exhibition from National Gallery of Australia through the NT, the first time any of its collection was shown in non-gallery venues, was a fabulous adventure. I was trucker, installer, conservator, PR machine and educator all in one (though with an able assistant to help lift the crates). And the travel to remote Indigenous art centres in the East Kimberley and Northern

Territory to meet artists and experience their Country remains a highlight. What all that gave me was an insight into the diversity, richness and calibre of the Australian art scene. Since stepping aside from the public sector and setting up in a private capacity, I have found an opportunity to connect my professional life in art institutions with the artists, the gallerists and the collectors who make up the not-so-small-world of the contemporary art market. My consulting business embraces private advising – working with clients to acquire works; commentating, via bespoke art tours, events and my blog; and philanthropy, the ultimate gesture in the belief in the value of art and supporting artists and organisations in practical and tangible ways. The thrill of co-ordinating larger scale projects and collaborating with specialists in the industry - installers, couriers, framers, fabricators and conservators, to resolve challenging problems that artworks can elicit, is still there. It takes an experienced and highly-skilled team to get a large work several floors up in a CBD building, and great satisfaction and much relief all round when it is installed safe and sound. But whatever the form my intertwining roles take, what motivates me is to develop opportunities to share knowledge and enthusiasm for art and encourage an appreciation of its relevance to our daily lives. In this COVID time, looking beyond the day-to-day news feed is essential. We need art more than ever, to escape the tedium of flattening the curve and fear of the unknown. Art has the capacity to inspire. It reminds us of the resilience, strength and hope inherent in the human spirit and offers a positive way forward.

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Tim Silver: Looking Back Tim Silver contemplates the ways plague has shaped his practice and bushfire forged new works.

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Large(ish) scale projects such as Untitled (object), that draw on the skills and expertise of many people from diverse locations, seems like an increasingly distant memory. Recently “feeling out” when Adam, Keith or Stephen, the film prop people I often work with on my life casting projects, might be available, I was met with the fresh realisation of what it means to be separated by borders – both local and international. The challenge for us still being not how we get together, but when. Looking back at producing Untitled (object) for Parallel Collisions, Adelaide Biennial of Art in 2011, and recalling this collaborative effort, marked by a surprising ease and also willingness of these people to jump on board - that I was struck by a sense of loss. A loss to a particular style of work that became possible for me at this particular time. Also, that these professionals would want to help a small-time artist, with a limited budget, and indulgent, if not silly idea, was of great and continuing surprise to me. The reality is that as an artist, being not entirely sure on how things should be done, one often wants them done in ways unfamiliar and challenging to these professionals. It seems we are currently not only separated by borders but of these very collisions between people.

SEPTEMBER 2020

Sculpture is more often than not, tactile in nature. It involves getting up close and personal. The process of lifecasting even more so. Being unable to muster the courage to ask anyone else to model for me, I offered my own body up. Literally being smothered in a silicone rubber,

multiple hands ensuring it layered evenly into every bodily crevice, and then wrapped in plaster bandages which heats to baking summer temperatures does not accommodate a social distancing compliance. The strangeness of feeling those hands so proximate yet so separated as the silicone sets. The simultaneous intimacy and distance of this all at once. Untitled (object) consisted of this self life-cast, naked with the exception of a loosely fitting hoodie that was draped softly over the head whilst exposing the chest. The object was cast entirely of Timbermate Woodfiller Putty, a material which frozen in sculptural form on arrival into the world, gradually dried, slumped and cracked over the ongoing weeks. ‘Ruins in reverse,’ as Robert Smithson might say from his grave.1 The forces of decay and preservation fought against each other to reach a new equilibrium in Untitled (object). Woodfiller putty is calcium-based and possesses some of the same qualities of plaster. The nature of the work is in some ways cyclical, in which it slowly and irrevocably, settled – and finished up much where it began – in a moment, frozen and preserved in time. Tim Silver, ‘Untitled (Object) (Cedar Timbermate Woofiller)’, 2012 (detail), Installation at the 2012 Adelaide Biennial Installation view (detail) Parallel Collisions: 12th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2012 Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor and Natasha Bullock

1. An idea from Robert Smithson’s 1967 essay A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, Ruins in Reverse, Originally published as “The Monuments of Passaic”, Artforum, December 1967, p. 52-57


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Tim Silver, ‘Untitled (Object) (Cedar Timbermate Woofiller)’, 2012 Installation at the 2012 Adelaide Biennial Installation view Parallel Collisions: 12th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2012 Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor and Natasha Bullock.


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Tim Silver: Looking Back

Tim Silver, Untitled (trauma) Installation view Parallel Collisions: 12th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2012 Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor and Natasha Bullock

SEPTEMBER 2020

Accompanying Untitled (object) in the Adelaide Biennial was a series of works referred to as Untitled (trauma). These sculptural objects, formless in nature, neither representational nor abstract, were direct casts from tree burls. A burl is the growth of a tree which has had some form of damage inflicted on it, whether man made or by nature. It is where the grain of the wood grows against it’s intended path due to this damage, growing back in a way that is amorphous and undefined. The physical realisation of a site of damage. I cast these forms from black polyurethane; giving them the appearance of shadows of their former selves.


Tim Silver, Untitled (monument) 4, 2015 bronze 56.5 x 38 x 48 cm copy

I was travelling in Mumbai when I received the call from my mother. Our property had been engulfed by the 2013 Dunalley Bushfires, fires that spread across southeastern Tasmania. Reaching as far as Eaglehawk Neck, my childhood home was barely recognisable when I travelled to there several weeks later. The decimation felt apocalyptic. Whilst our house had been spared, everything else around it was burned or melted, including the various sheds and a number of other ramshackle structures that surrounded the house. As the first signs of life began to re-emerge, I set myself the task of capturing some of these decimated forms. Ashen tree stumps, brilliant in their texture were monuments to the fallen, curtailed, but not yet over. These monuments – or anti-monuments – acted out scenes of resilience to me. They were their own evidence of a refusal to be over - of their own purpose to regenerate. Overlooked in favour of what was to become, they too needed to be remembered. Cast of patinated bronze and steel which became patinated with rust, these landscapes became embraced by the materials of memorialism. They were permanent and authoritative, yet were somehow still holding onto their vulnerability. The resilience of these objects reveals to me something about where we are at today. Whilst the landscape in front of us seems so fragile and uncertain, we need to savour the beauty that remains and remember that with every ending, a new possibility begins.

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Quick Curate: Archibald/Wynne

SEPTEMBER 2020

Joanna Lamb Industrial Streetscape, 2019 acrylic on super fine polyester 122 x 152 cm AUD $15,400

Michael Lindeman I..., 2020 watercolour & acrylic on canvas 204 x 142 cm AUD $9,900


Richard Lewer Liz Laverty, 2020 acrylic on steel 41 x 81 cm AUD $13,200

Alex Seton Proposal for a Humble Monument, 2020 Molong marble 120 x 86 x 77 cm POA

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Paul Becker: Last Word Founder & CEO of Art Money

HOW DID YOU CONCEIVE OF THE IDEA OF ART MONEY?

PB/ I felt it was just too hard to engage with and buy art. I saw an inefficient art ‘market’ where buyers (collectors, new buyers) and sellers (artists, galleries) want the same thing, however outdated business practices were limiting the potential of this wonderful industry. I thought I could do something about that. I’m keen to help build a sustainable creative economy through a win-win business model.

WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN AT THE HEART OF ART

TELL US ABOUT THE GROWTH OF ART MONEY? IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN RAPID, HAS THIS BEEN MANAGEABLE?

PB/ Any start-up has both opportunities and challenges, I see them as flip sides of the same coin. Bringing culture change to a deeply conservative industry (in its business practices) means we have faced many challenges. We embrace them. ‘Rapid’ is a relative term, I tend to focus on what’s ahead and the huge potential to make positive change in this industry we all love. As we’ve grown, we’ve adapted, particularly in new countries like the US. I believe if you are passionate enough about something, anything is manageable - you find a way.

MONEY’S SUCCESS?

PB/ We are solving a real problem. Our starting point is our genuine interest in supporting artists and the art world ecosystem. All our team are art people and the change we are bringing to this industry is driven by the interests of the art community. Our solutions make it easier for buyers (at any level) to say yes, and for artists and galleries to earn income, without which it is not possible to create art and impact our culture.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT – ABOUT PEOPLE AND ABOUT ART?

PB/ That buying art is about psychology not affordability. That founders & artists share many characteristics. For example, both the idea and the execution (making) are critical - neither alone is sufficient. That Australian art offers incredible value by world standards (I’ve spent the last 3.5 years in NYC). Our artists are world class, yet price points are incredibly low. A great value proposition for buyers, not so good for artists/sellers. We need to change this in order to support and grow the creative economy in Australia.

SEPTEMBER 2020

Sullivan+Strumpf is an Art Money partner. Contact the gallery for more information. Follow Art Money: www.artmoney.com/au Instagram: @artmoney_au


Art Money at Sydney Contemporary, 2018 Photo credit: Daniel Boud

Portrait Paul Becker

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Upcoming Exhibitions

SEPTEMBER 2020

NATALYA HUGHES THE LANDSCAPE IS IN THE WOMAN 17.09.20

MICHAEL ZAVROS A GUY LIKE ME 15.10.20

ALEX SETON MEET ME UNDER THE DOME 26.11.20


Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop

Opens 2 October 2020 A major survey exhibition by influential Australian artist Lee looks at art history, cultural authenticity, identity and our relationship to the cosmos.

Lindy Lee, Unnameable , 2017, mirror polished bronze, image courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Exhibition Strategic Sponsor

Exhibition Major Partner

Exhibition Supporting Partner

Exhibition Patrons

GRANTPIRRIE Private

Supporting Exhibition Patrons

Susan Rothwell

Gutman Family Foundation & Jon Nicholson

Government Partners


Kirsten Coelho

Kirsten Coehlo creates functional forms and vessels of otherworldly perfection. In Kirsten Coelho, the first major publication on a practice spanning thirty years, author Wendy Walker traces the evolution of Coelho’s textured practice, in which an ever-expanding framework of art historical, literary and cinematic references has driven a succession of formal shifts – a shaping of changes. This beautiful, lavishly illustrated book of 176 pages will be released in September 2020. For pre-orders and enquiries, please contact publisher Wakefield Press at info@wakefieldpress.com.au or phone +61.8.83524455.

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SINGAPORE 5 Lock Road #01-06 108933 Singapore P +65 8310 7529 E art@sullivanstrumpf.com 73


ARCHIBALD PRIZE


Articles from Sullivan+Strumpf Contemporary Art Gallery Sydney, Australia and Singapore - September 2020