Showing all posts tagged: Australian art

Matt Adnate wins Archibald Packing Room Prize for Baker Boy painting

31 May 2024

Matt Adnate has been named the 2024 winner of the Archibald Prize’s Packing Room Prize, with his portrait of Indigenous Australian rapper Baker Boy, AKA Danzal Baker.

As the name suggests, the prize is awarded by the staff of the packing room at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), which administers the Archibald. Packing room staff, who are among the first to see each year’s Archibald entries, are usually more interested in the aesthetics — or, how much they like the look of a painting — rather than other of its aspects.

The Archibald Prize is awarded annually for Australian portraiture, and is one of Australia’s most prestigious visual arts prizes. Participating artists can paint choose to paint any Australian subject, so long as they have some sort of celebrity status.

For the all the buzz the Packing Room Prize generates, check today’s AGNSW Instagram reel, it is derided by many artists who consider it the kiss of death. To date, no winner of the Packing Room Prize has ever gone onto win the Archibald Prize itself.

The work of this year’s fifty-seven finalists, who were also named today, is impressive, but I’m going to go out on a limb, and suggest history may be made this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adnate’s work takes out the top prize. Not long to wait until we find out though, the Archibald winner will be announced next Friday, 7 June 2024.


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Bryan Brown: Australian stories need streaming service quotas

14 July 2023

Australian actor Bryan Brown, speaking at the National Press Club this week, has joined calls for content quotas to be imposed on shows broadcast by streaming services in Australia. Local content quotas have been on the agenda for some time now, and are something Australian federal arts minister Tony Burke believes are necessary to support the Australian arts sector.

Australians spend billions of dollars on streaming services every year, and Brown thinks some of that money should be invested into stories that are about Australia, not just stories set locally:

What we are saying is that a percentage of that two billion bucks should go back into being stories that are actually about Australia. That are Australian stories, not just stories that are set in Australia with, in the main, American accents. With that extra money that we can get from the streamers, allows us more time to develop, allows us more time to be able to shoot, therefore allows us to make our shows reach the great heights that we want them to be.

In response, Bridget Fair, of FreeTV Australia, an advocate body representing local free-to-air television broadcasters, expressed concerns that quotas could drive up production costs:

The Australian screen sector is booming. With independent data from Screen Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that there is more production in this country right now than ever before, the Government needs to be very clear on what problem it is trying to solve. Simply adding fuel to an already raging fire of cost escalation in the production sector will have a significant impact on the ability of Australian broadcasters to continue to deliver the Australian programming that our community relies on.

It’s a hoary old chestnut, but quotas, if not applied correctly, have the potential to back fire. Aiming to have twenty-percent of shows seen on streaming services that are about Australia, made in Australia, is admirable, but not if the results are poor quality stories.


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Julia Gutman wins 2023 Archibald Prize with Montaigne painting

5 May 2023

Gadigal/Sydney residing artist Julia Gutman has been named winner of the 2023 Archibald Prize, for her painting of Australian musician Montaigne. Awarded annually, the Archibald celebrates the finest works of Australian portraiture.

In other presentations, Zaachariaha Fielding took out the Wynne Prize for Australian landscape painting, while Doris Bush Nungarrayi won the Sulman Prize for genre or mural painting.


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Andrea Huelin named winner of 2023 Archibald Packing Room Prize

27 April 2023

Cairns, Queensland, based Australian artist Andrea Huelin, has been named winner of the 2023 Archibald Packing Room Prize, with her portrait of New Zealand comedian Cal Wilson, titled Clown Jewels.

In addition, fifty-seven works were selected as finalists for the 2023 Archibald Prize, the winner of which will be announced on Friday 5 May 2023. This year over nine hundred entries were received for the annual art award honouring Australian portrait painting.

Finalists were also announced for the Wynne Prize for Australian landscape painting, the Sulman Prize for genre or mural painting, and the Young Archies, for artists aged five to eighteen.

The winners of these prizes will also be named next Friday, ahead of the opening of the exhibition of the works of the winners and finalists, on Saturday 6 May 2023, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney.


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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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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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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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Half of Australian mid career artists considering career change

7 December 2022

A recent survey of the Australian arts sector (PDF) reveals that slightly over half of mid-career artists are either considering leaving the arts, or are already retraining, so they can take up work in another sector all together.

Low rates of remuneration appear to be prompting a number of veteran independent artists and creatives to look elsewhere for opportunities:

In the words of one anonymous respondent: “I am retraining into the medical administration sector and will not be working in the arts anymore. That is a career of nearly 40 years gone due to the inability to survive financially.”



Australian government to review copyright enforcement laws

7 December 2022

Mark Dreyfus, the Australian attorney-general, says he will conduct a review of Australian copyright laws to ensure the income of artists is maintained, and copyright protections align with changes in technology that now allow the work of artists to be accessed across multiple platforms.

Technology means we can now all enjoy music, television, movies, books and art at the tap of a finger. Australia’s creative industry needs an effective copyright system that keeps pace with new technology and protects creators and other copyright owners from the unauthorised use of their works. This review will consider whether the copyright enforcement mechanisms in our laws remain appropriate, effective and proportionate.


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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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