I’m chairing a panel talk on emerging artists at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane later this month, to coincide with the museum’s Fresh Cuts emerging art show and the launch of the latest issue of Australian Art Collector

More details here: http://www.ima.org.au/pages/events.php

Australian Art Collector Launch/Ripe for the Picking, 6pm, 26 July 2012

We launch the new issue of Australian Art Collector with Ripe for the Picking, a panel discussion on the talent-spotting of emerging artists, with curators Jose Da Silva (Octopus 10), Robert Leonard (Fresh Cut 2012), Leigh Robb (Hatched), and gallerist Ryan Renshaw, chaired by Jane O’Sullivan (Australian Art Collector).

Suspending belief

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 60, April – June 2012

After a hiatus of 24 years, performance artist Stelarc recently attempted another suspension in Melbourne. The performance was witnessed by a small group of art world VIPs at Scott Livesey Galleries. (The gallery closed the event to the public not because of safety concerns but simply because of the room needed for the winching system.)

Stelarc’s suspensions are somewhat legendary in the history of Australian performance art. In the intervening years since his last one he has continued to push boundaries in other directions. A recent project involved having a plastic ear surgically inserted under the skin of his arm.

His performance in March took place over a four metre long sculpture of the Ear on Arm project. Speaking to Australian Art Collector before the event, Stelarc explained the decision to sharpen the hooks once again. “This has occurred through an unexpected coupling of wanting to somehow reanimate and make more relevant these remote images of previous suspensions with a desire to expose the physicality of both the suspensions and the Ear On Arm project. The skin has always been a site for both exposing the body’s obsolescence and engineering its augmentations.”

The suspensions take “careful planning as to the mechanics” but the performance itself is handled more loosely. “It’s about allowing it to happen, with a posture of indifference, rather than expectation. At a certain time the suspension process will begin. And at an indeterminate time it will end.”

As for all the years since his last performance, the 66-year-old artist is unfazed. “They were always physically difficult. And previous suspensions never really prepared you for the next one. The problem will not be so much a problem of ‘all these years,’ but simply of managing another one.”

The new realities

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 60, April – June 2012

Art HK director Magnus Renfrew believes the art world has changed. It’s a fact, he says, that all kinds of interesting work is now being produced outside of the ma in internat ional art centres of Europe and America. But has Renfrew ma naged to reta in the Hong Kong art fair’s focus on Asia since its change of ownership last year? He talks to Jane O’Sullivan.

There was a curious sense of both regional pride and disdain when the news came through in May last year that the Art HK Hong Kong International Art Fair had been bought by the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

On the one hand it was vindication of the fair’s success and the growing importance of Asian collectors in the international contemporary art landscape.

But it also raised eyebrows. Would Art HK become just another Art Basel outpost, showing the same galleries from the same countries? More to the point, did Asian galleries still have a future with the fair? After all, Art Basel and its American counterpart Art Basel Miami Beach are not exactly known for embracing Asian art (or, for that matter, Latin American art, or African art). And even before news of the change of ownership emerged, it was evident the 2011 edition of the fair had attracted ever greater numbers of galleries from Europe and the United States.

Continue reading “The new realities”