Conversations about Chuck Close

Conversation with Terrie Sultan about Chuck Close

It was fascinating to delve into the Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration exhibition, currently on at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I interviewed the artist by email for a piece in Art Guide and also sat down with the delightful US curator Terrie Sultan to have a long chat for Ocula. It was also great to get a sneak peek before the exhibition opened to the crowds – and there will be crowds, it’s a fascinating exhibition.



Not all money is welcome

Published in Art Collector, Issue 68, Apr-Jun 2014

"Not all money is welcome" by Jane O'Sullivan in Art Collector

Corporate and private philanthropy has been playing an ever growing role in the local art world but the terms of its involvement may be changing. Jane O’Sullivan reports on the artist boycott of the Biennale of Sydney.

It all started with a question: should artists boycott the Biennale of Sydney over its links with Transfield, a company involved in operating detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island? The debate that followed lit up the art world over February and March. As Art Collector goes to print, Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, the director of Transfield Holdings, has resigned from his role as chair of the biennale, a role he has held for 14 years, and the biennale board has subsequently cut ties with Transfield completely.

For artists opposed to the Federal Government’s mandatory detention policies, Transfield’s involvement as a major sponsor and founding partner of the biennale was a thorny issue. The questions it raised, and continues to raise, go to the heart of the role corporate and private philanthropy plays in the art world.
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Know your source: Buying Aboriginal art ethically

Published in Art Edit, Issue 2, Apr-Jun 2014

The next time you fall in love with a piece of Aboriginal art, before you reach for your credit card take the time to ask whether the artist who made the work was treated fairly. We walk you through what you need to know about buying Aboriginal art ethically.

When Aboriginal art began to boom in the late 1980s and 1990s, the smell of money attracted all sorts of players. Sadly not all the work bought and hung on art lovers’ walls during this time resulted in a fair price being paid to the artist. Other unethical practices also came to light, such as the removal of artists from their communities, which was done with the aim of quickly securing a large volume of artwork for sale and not always with the full consent of artists and their families.

The situation raised complex ethical issues about buying and owning Aboriginal art. How can you trace the work’s source? And how do you know if the artist has been dealt with respectfully in the commercial exchanges around the sale of their artwork?
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Undiscovered: Barayuwa Mununggurr

Published in Art Collector, Issue 68, Apr-Jun 2014

"Barayuwa Mununggurr" by Jane O'Sullivan in Art Collector

Born: 1980
Price range: $500 for smaller sculptures to $9,000 for major bark paintings

Working primarily with barks, larrakitj (ceremonial poles) and yidaki (didgeridoos), Barayuwa Mununggurr paints his mother’s Munyuku clan design. At its heart is a story about the hunting of an ancestral whale in Blue Mud Bay. When the dead whale washed up on the sand its rotting flesh was carved into strips with stone knives and then tossed back into the sea, forming a dangerous reef. The whale’s bones became rocks in the ocean.

Mununggurr’s work appears to capture the point when the strips of whale flesh become the living rhythms of the reef, and also speaks to the way that landforms have accrued significant spiritual and cosmological meaning in Yolngu culture. Bones too are thought of as the essence of a being and in 2013 Mununggurr began to hide the elements of a whale skeleton in his work. Five whale skeletons formed the underlying structure of his entry in last year’s National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. The work was highly commended by the judges and was later acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. His work has also been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia.
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Collectors take centrestage

Published in Art Collector, Issue 68, Apr-Jun 2014

"Collectors take centre stage" by Jane O'Sullivan in Art Collector

If you’re the sort of person who immediately asks a new acquaintance what art they like, then chances are you’ll be interested in a new project being mounted at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney that puts collectors in the spotlight. In June the gallery will exhibit art from the collections of two Sydney-based collectors, Gordon Elliott and Jeffrey Hinch. It is the first in what is intended to be a series of exhibitions taking place every two years showing what people are collecting.

While both collectors are obviously clients of Brenda May Gallery, the exhibition will also include work originally purchased at other galleries.
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