Showing all posts tagged: art

Changes to make Archibald Packing Room Prize vote democratic

24 March 2023

Changes are coming to the voting process used to select the winner of the Packing Room Prize, traditionally the first award made in the annual Archibald Prize for Australian portraiture.

In short, Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) packers unbox and install the works for the Archibald Prize exhibition, then decide on the portrait they liked the most. However the past head packers, Steve Peters and Brett Cuthbertson, both of whom have recently retired, held the deciding vote.

A new voting process will see a panel of three people, each with an equal vote, determine a winner:

The new Packing Room Pickers are Timothy Dale, Monica Rudhar and Alexis Wildman, three professional art handlers with 19 years of hands-on Archibald Prize experience between them. “In line with the discussions around how the prize was actually judged we felt that a more collaborative decision would be more appropriate,” Dale says.

I’ve always seen the Packing Room Prize as a light aside to the main competition, suspecting the winning choice was always subjective, which was fine by me. If I were selecting a winner, I’d choose the painting that personally appealed to me the most.

The changes could well suit participating artists though, who have long considered the Packing Room Prize to be the “kiss of death”, as, to date, no winner has gone on to win the main Archibald Prize.


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ChatGPT must connect with people to succeed as an artist

24 February 2023

To make good art argues Billy Oppenheimer, writing for Every, the art creator must have a connection of some sort to people.

As an example, he cites the writers of the old Seinfeld TV sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, who, in the early days of the show, would go out and discreetly mix where people gathered, to figure out what they liked.

Their process played a part in the creation of the show’s many memorable screenplays. This is an advantage ChatGPT lacks. For the AI chatbot to succeed as an “artist”, it needs a more direct attachment to its audience.

Artists who get so famous that they can’t go out in public talk about how not being able to do so makes it hard to create art that connects. To come up with material for Seinfeld, for instance, Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David liked to hang out in public settings where they could observe and eavesdrop on strangers. As the show became a cultural phenomenon, Seinfeld and David couldn’t go out in public like they used to. Strangers didn’t act like strangers around them. This slow detachment from humanity made it harder to make a show that connected with humanity. When you don’t experience reality like most people do, it’s hard to make things that connect with most people.

Of course there’s no telling what people will go for, so a ChatGPT created work of art may still end up being riotously popular.


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Revive, Australia’s new National Cultural Policy unveiled

31 January 2023

Revive is the name the Australian federal government has given to a new five principle, five year, National Cultural Policy, that was made public yesterday.

Revive is a five-year plan to renew and revive Australia’s arts, entertainment and cultural sector. It delivers new momentum so that Australia’s creative workers, organisations and audiences continue to thrive and grow, and so that our arts, culture and heritage are re-positioned as central to Australia’s future.

Core objectives of the policy include the recognition of the work of Indigenous artists and creators, recognition of artists as workers, and increased support for cultural institutions. A revamp of the Australia Council for the Arts, and the creation of Writers Australia, which will “provide direct support to the literature sector from 2025”, are among other initiatives on the cards.


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Richard Bell, You Can Go Now, a film by Larissa Behrendt

16 January 2023

You may not have heard of Indigenous Australian artist and activist Richard Bell, but he has been at the forefront of political activism for over fifty years. Describing himself as an activist masquerading as an artist, Bell has spent fifty years fighting for Aboriginal rights and self determination, through his art and protest.

One of his best known works, an installation titled Embassy, was inspired by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest, which was first established on the lawns outside Australia’s parliament building in 1972. Bell’s installation has been presented in Australia, and cities across the world, including Jakarta, New York, Moscow, and Jerusalem.

Bell’s life and work is now the subject of a documentary, You Can Go Now, trailer, directed by Australian academic, Indigenous advocate, and author, Larissa Behrendt. Behrendt’s most recent novel, After Story, published in 2021, was longlisted in the 2022 Miles Franklin literary award.

You Can Go Now opens in Australian cinemas on Thursday 26 January 2023. Bell and Behrendt will also be participating in Q&A preview screenings at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Dendy Cinema, Newtown, on Tuesday 24 January, and the National Film and Sound Archive, in Canberra, on Wednesday 25 January.


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Funding uncertainty may see online database Trove close down

10 January 2023

Trove, an online library database containing digital copies of significant historical and cultural Australian documents, maintained by the National Library of Australia, may be forced to cease operating at the end of June 2023, unless it is allocated more funding, according to its recently published strategy document:

The Library has sufficient resources to maintain Trove until June 2023. The future of Trove beyond July 2023 will be dependent upon available funds. To achieve the full strategic vision will require substantial investment. More modest investment sustained over a longer term would enable achievement of the strategy at a measured pace. In a limited funding environment, Trove may reduce to a service focused on the National Library of Australia’s collections. Without any additional funds, the Library will need to cease offering the Trove service entirely.

While funding for Trove, and other collecting institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia, was not part of the recently unveiled National Cultural Policy, Australian federal arts minister Tony Burke suggested the matter would be looked at as part of this year’s federal budget, which is traditionally handed down in May.


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Proposed new policy boosts funding for Australian arts sector

2 January 2023

Speaking at the annual Woodford Folk Festival that concluded yesterday, Australian federal arts minister Tony Burke announced a raft of initiatives to bolster the local arts sector. A proposed five-pillar policy includes an undertaking to increase recognition of the work of Indigenous creatives, and plans to introduce fairer remuneration rates for artists:

The minister promised to treat “artists as workers”, criticising the [previous] Coalition government for exclusions on jobkeeper wage subsidies and for the comments by the former prime minister Scott Morrison praising “tradies … building the stage” but not artists.

In addition, streaming services such as Netflix and Stan will be subject to quotas, ensuring they air more Australian made content. Also the Lending Right Schemes, which pays a royalty to authors when a library loans one of their books out, will be expanded to include ebooks.


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AI creators of artworks may be unable to copyright their work

27 December 2022

AI technologies may make better writers, artists, and illustrators than people. They could well be able to produce stunning works of art, literature, and whatever else, but there is one downside: the Artificial Intelligence creators may not be able to copyright their work.

The United States Copyright Office (USCO) has initiated a proceeding to reverse an earlier decision to grant a copyright to a comic book that was created using “A.I. art,” and announced that while the copyright will still be in effect until the proceeding is completed (and the filer for the copyright has a chance to respond to the proceeding), copyrighted works must be created by humans to gain official copyright protection.

While the USCO is yet to make a final ruling on the matter, I can’t see this small hiccup interfering with AI creators plans for world dominance.


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How to Replace the Sky an interactive comic by Matt Huynh

10 December 2022

How to Replace the Sky: New York based Australian artist and illustrator Matt Huynh explores his relationship between technology and his work.

I probably won’t stop using new devices to make and share my work any time soon. My habits and instincts have been shaped too much by what the gadgets need me to do. But maybe that would all change if only I could shape my tools to suit me instead.

And in the same week ChatGPT lands, and, who knows, stands to change the way we do anything and everything.


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Sydney Modern builders become artworks by Richard Lewer

3 December 2022

The stunning new Sydney Modern Project, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), opened to the public for the first time today. Replete with glass, metal, light tones, and large open, naturally lit spaces, on the upper levels at least, Sydney Modern was designed by Tokyo based Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

While much has been said about their contribution to the project, they are not alone in seeing their efforts recognised. Melbourne based New Zealand artist Richard Lewer spent time during construction of the gallery drawing some of the workers who brought the building into being.

I don’t know how often this happens, but now the industry and hard work of the building crew forms a collection titled Onsite, construction of Sydney Modern which resides on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, which can presently be viewed in the contemporary galleries at AGNSW.


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Archibald winning Australian artist Nicholas Harding dies

3 November 2022

British born Australian artist Nicholas Harding died yesterday, aged 66. Harding won the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 2001 with a painting of Australian actor and theatre director John Bell as King Lear. In addition, Harding was named an Archibald finalist a staggering nineteen times, between 1994 and 2020.


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A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazarovic

28 October 2022
A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazarovic book cover

Instead of buying the things she wanted to, Toronto based Canadian writer, illustrator, and artist, Sarah Lazarovic decided to paint the objects of her retail desire instead. A year later she gathered the works together in her new book, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy, which is being published this month by Penguin Random House:

Based on a visual essay that was first published on The Hairpin, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is a beautiful and witty take on the growing “slow shopping” movement. Sarah is a well-known blogger and illustrator, and she writes brilliantly without preaching or guilt-tripping. Whether she’s trying to justify the purchase of yet another particleboard IKEA home furnishing, debating the pros and cons of leg warmers or calculating the per-day usage cost of big-ticket items, Sarah’s poignant musings will resonate with any reader who’s ever been susceptible to an impulse buy.

If you’re looking for an introduction to the low shopping movement, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy sounds like the book for you.


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Still life artworks of food selling like hot cakes on Instagram

17 October 2022

During the COVID lockdown of 2020 Melbourne resident Libby Haines swapped jewellery design for painting still-life artworks of food, and hasn’t looked back since. And with her works sometimes selling within minutes of being made available for sale, wouldn’t you be the same?

“I think after the turbulent past few years people want joy and comfort in their lives, and food and art are the ultimate expression of that,” says Haines, on why the genre is so popular. Her paintings feature scenes of homely meals on colourful tablecloths. Perhaps a glass of wine is accompanied by a used corkscrew, or a lit match sits next to a candle that casts light onto a bowl of pasta.


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Useful resources for creatives working in day jobs

4 October 2022

A collection of useful resources for people juggling day jobs or other work with creative endeavours, put together by Canadian art magazine booooooom.

A couple of standouts include balancing full-time work with your creative side hustle, and advice on turning down ridiculous rates for your work, by Jano le Roux.


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Artvee aggregating publicly available free artworks

26 September 2022

In recent years museums and art galleries have been releasing works of art into the public domain. But with so many collections online now, locating a particular artwork can be a challenge.

Enter then Artvee, which aggregates both classic and modern artworks that have been made freely available, by the likes of Musées de Reims, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the Smithsonian, among many others.

In the last few years, several major museums and libraries have instituted an open access policy by designating most or all of the public domain art in their collections with a creative commons license making them available for use for any purpose with no restrictions attached. We sort through and aggregate the best of these images in one location to make them easy to discover and download.



Albertina Museum makes thousands of digitised artworks available

30 August 2022
Tete-a-Tete by Edvard Munch, Albertina Museum collection

The Albertina Museum, in Vienna, capital of Austria, has released some 150,000 digitised images into the public domain. This will be a boon for anyone with an interest in European history and art, or both. Some of the images now freely available include works by Edvard Munch, featured above, who is best known for his painting The Scream, along with Albrecht Dürer, and Gustav Klimt, among others.

Nearly 4,000 of these images date between the 12th and 15th centuries, with another 23,000 dating to the 16th century. The Albertina has a large collection of works by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), a German artist who was famous for his woodcut prints and a variety of other works.




Jeremy Eden wins Archibald Prize people’s choice award

4 August 2022

Sydney based Australian artist Jeremy Eden has won the 2022 Archibald Prize people’s choice award, with his portrait of Australian actor Samuel Johnson.

If you’re going to be in or near Sydney in August, you still have a chance to see the Archibald, Wynne, and Sulman Prizes exhibition, before it closes on Sunday 28 August 2022.


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Infinite zoom in art and illustration by Lucas Vaskange

29 July 2022

The stunning infinite, zoom-in stories, of Paris based French artist and illustrator Lucas Vaskange will doubtless leave many of us wondering, damn, why didn’t I think of that?

More work by Vaskange can be found on Instagram and INPRNT.


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Saturn’s rings and moons silhouette woodcut by Agnes Giberne

12 July 2022
Saturn's rings, moons, illustration by Agnes Giberne

The things you find while trawling through the The Public Domain ReviewAgnes Giberne was a British novelist and science writer, who died aged 93 in 1939. As a writer her output was prolific.

Wikipedia lists one hundred and thirty books published under her name during her lifetime. On top of her writing though, Giberne was also an accomplished artist and illustrator.

The above illustration, titled “Ideal view of Saturn’s rings and satellites from the planet” is a silhouette woodcut from her book, Sun, Moon, and Stars: A Book for Beginners, which was published in 1898.


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The Art of Life, a documentary about Michael Behrens

9 July 2022

Paused for weekend viewing… produced by Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo, The Art of Life is a documentary about mathematician Michael Behrens who walked away from academia, and made a life for himself living in a home he built in the midst of a dense Hawaiian jungle.

As a rising star in the field of abstract mathematics, Michael discovered that he could see beauty and pattern where others could not. But his path was not to be inside academia, or even inside society. He went on a grand adventure to unify his Buddhism with his ability to see an expanded view of reality. He created beauty in a place where nobody else would, and made his friends amongst dolphins.


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A few random ideas for naming your next art exhibition

5 July 2022

The Random Exhibition Title Generator was a bit of a favourite in the earlier version of disassociated, when I originally linked to it in 2011. While choosing a name for an exhibition is probably the least of an artist’s worries — because I expect just about every other aspect of putting on an art show is onerous — apparently more than a few people found it useful. I hope you too find it helpful.


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