Why Australia’s gallery system is so broken

From the way public institutions acquire, to the value placed on Australian artists, and skewed funding streams that favour institutions, Brisbane gallerist Andrew Baker raises some hard truths about the visual arts sector.

Honesty is refreshing. It is especially refreshing in an area that is plagued with opacity – the art market.

While most tend to think the art market impacts us little, it is that other cog in the wheel which keeps the visual arts ecosystem rolling. Many acquisitions at our national and state institutions are brokered through commercial galleries and private dealers, both locally and internationally. However, the international reputation and promotion of Australian artists is largely the domain of their Australian dealers; and they often provide the only flow of cash that keeps artists off unemployment queues.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina