The arts news you may have missed

What's on, what's in the headlines, and the latest program releases – to put you ahead of the game this week.

We’ve recapped the hottest headlines, announcements and arts news that shaped the zeitgeist this past week.

Our top news stories this week

Our top career stories this week

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Be in the know
Quick Diary Dates
What’s on
Review highlights

Be in the know

NEW LIBRARY: The City of Melbourne’s newest library is set to transform the Queen Victoria Market precinct with the Munro Library and Community Hub set to occupy three storeys of the $500 million Munro development. The project / plans got the green light this week. The library is expected to open late 2023.

NEW PUBLICATIONS: Bernard Smith (1916–2011) was arguably one of Australia’s greatest art historian and cultural thinker. His iconic book European Vision and the South Pacific, first published in 1960, is being republished with a new introduction by Sheridan Palmer situating the book in a contemporary context. He was a pioneer of post-colonialism and the book remains ‘a lighthouse’ in pacific studies.

And, a publication that recaps and expands upon the important exhibition Eucalyptusdom (Powerhouse Museum), which reckons with Australia’s cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the gum tree and colonial collecting practices across more than 400 objects – taking preorders.

ACQUISITIONS: Bundoora Homestead Art Centre have acquired the work of four South-East Australian Aboriginal artists into the Darebin Art Collection: video works by Moorina Bonini and wāni toaishara, an installation of one of Maree Clarke’s natural river reed necklaces; works by Deanne Gilson and photoghraphs from a film by Alan Stewart.

Clunes Booktown Festival set to return March 2023. Image supplied.

Quick diary dates

  • FESTIVAL: The Gilbert & Sullivan Festival – the only festival of its kind outside the UK – has been announced for Adelaide in May 2023, presented by State Opera South Australia. Tickets on sale September.
  • STAGE: TINA, the Tina Turner musical, is coming to Theatre Royal Sydney in May 2023. Produced by Teg Dainty in collaboration with Stage Entertainment, Tali Pelman and Tina Turner. You can join a waitlist for tickets.
  • FESTIVAL: Clunes Booktown Festival will take place on Dja Dja Wurrung country (regional Victoria) on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March 2023.
  • STAGE: The Tony Award® winning Broadway musical, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella opens at the Sydney Lyric in October. Tickets now released.
  • FESTIVAL: Sydney Fringe Festival kicks off next week with aprogram of over 500 events, with highlights including LIMITLESS, a micro-festival celebrating performance and visual artists with disabilities, a series of free concerts, Sydney Fringe Cabaret Club and The Barracks Comedy Club, and more. 16 August – 30 September. Check out the lineup and book.
  • FESTIVAL: Writing WA has just launched its program for Quantum Words Perth 2022, to be held 16 – 18 September. It’s absolutely chockers with awesome sessions. Here’s the link to the full program.
  • FESTIVAL: Celebrating its 25th year the 2022 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival kicked off this week, and will run until 31 August across Adelaide and regional South Australia with a record number of 11,865 artists participating. Plan your visit and engage with SA artists.

Review highlights

Concert review: Gorillaz ★★★★1/2 ☆
A 20-year playlist provides material for the band’s real and virtual appearances.

Musical review: FANGIRLS ★★★★1/2 ☆
The successful musical about pop culture makes a triumphant return to Sydney.

Exhibition review: Jessica Loughlin: of light ★★★★☆
Glass pieces that reflect the immersion of land, lake and sky.

Book review: Desire: A Reckoning, Jessie Cole ★★★★☆
A memoir written in real-time with echoes of past-on-present.

Head to our Reviews page for more.

What’s on

Top End Music with Hand to Earth. L-R: Aviva Endean, David Wilfred, Daniel Wilfred, Sunny Kim, Peter Night. Photo Emma Luker

MUSIC TOP END: Artback NT and the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) will tour Hand to Earth, a powerful performance that incorporates ancient song, contemporary rhythm, electronica and shamanic energy. Performances across the Top End, 16 – 28 August starting at Darwin Festival, then Marrawuddi Arts and Culture Centre in Jabiru; the Beswick community as part of Djarmalk, and the monthly Sunday sessions organised by Djilpin Arts and The Australian Shakespeare Company.

WORLD PREMIERE: Developed by Melbourne-based performance company Triage Live Art Collective, After the Flood imagines a world five hundred years into the future where humans have created a new life on the water following rising sea levels. The immersive audio installation and workshop leads the Opera House’s spring program of hands-on participatory events and experiences in its Centre for Creativity. For audiences aged 7-11 years old. Tickets on sale this week.

SURVEY EXHIBITION: Idris Murphy: BACKBLOCKS, curated by Terence Maloon, is showing at Drill Hall Gallery (ANU, Canberra) from 19 August – 16 October. ‘This survey catches a great Australian painter at the height of his powers… it is indistinguishably landscape painting and painterly abstraction all at once,’ says critic John Macdonald, of the artist and teacher. Floor Talk— Idris Murphy in Conversation with Steven Harvey and Terence Maloon Friday 19August, 12 noon.

LIGHT EXHIBITION: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) has unveiled its latest exhibition Where Shadows Meet, a visually dramatic exhibition where artists explore how to harness light, shadow and darkness to make art and meaning that is truly evocative. Artists involved in the exhibition include: Maddison Gibbs, Eunjoo Jang, Shan Turner-Carrol, Meng-Yu Yan, Zan Wimberley, Tianli Zu. Until 16 October.

Kaz Therese, Sleeplessness, Carriageworks, 2022. Photo: Anna Kucera 

NEW PERFORMANCE WORK: Sleeplessness, is a new performance work by Australian artist Kaz Therese, now showing at Carriageworks until 13 August. Part-mystery, part-documentary, part forensic investigation, this quintessentially Australian story follows a fractured narrative in this radically honest story of self-discovery. Post-show conversation on 11 August with cast and members of the Stolen Generation and Asylum Seeker/Refugee communities.

FIRST NATIONS: Adelaide Festival Centre is proud to present this year’s OUR MOB, a unique exhibition by SA First Nations artists in the theatre foyers, as well as the return of free in-person literary and storytelling events, OUR WORDS and OUR STORIES on Saturday 3 September. The exhibition can be viewed from 19 August – 7 October. For registrations.

COLONIAL LEGACY: Two of Australia’s leading and celebrated artists, Judy Watson and Helen Johnson, explore complex and varied perspectives on colonisation, the colonial legacy and the role of women along with motherhood and family. Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends is presented by Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)from 10 September – 12 November. The exhibition has been co-curated by MUMA and the National Gallery of Australia.

Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs at Melbourne Museum. Photo Eugene Hyland

INSPIRING KIDS: For the first time since 2019, Museums Victoria’s annual National Science Week program returns to Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks for a full week of exploration and discovery with a suite of exhibitions, activities and events from 13 – 21 August.  

HARRY POTTER: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert, performed with Queensland Symphony Orchestra as part of their Film Concert Series, will be presented on Saturday 25 February 2023 at 1.30pm and 7.30pm at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Tix will go quick for this favourite.

COOL COMICS: Pun king and artist, Dave Blumenthal – also known as Sandwich Bag Dad – has drawn cartoons on his kids’ lunch bags since 2012. This exhibition of his quirky cartoon art is on display at Town Hall Gallery (Hawthorn, VIC), 16 August – 24 September. What started as an endearing idea to add some fun to his eldest daughter’s school day has since morphed into a collection of thousands of cartoons and a social media following spanning the globe. Free.

TEXTILE COLLABORATION: Opening on Friday 12 August, Jila Kujarra | Two Snakes Dreaming is a dynamic cross-cultural collaboration between Warnman artist Desmond Taylor (a prolific painter with Martumili Artists) and Boorloo-based textiles practitioner Mariaan Pugh. Taylor and Pugh have worked together to transform Taylor’s Niminjarra paintings, usually seen on canvas or paper, into ten large-scale textile works, reanimating the important Niminjarra Jukurrpa (Dreaming). Showing at Fremantle Arts Centre, FAC until 23 October. Artist Talk | Jila Kujarra: Two Snakes Dreaming + Tania Ferrier: Pop Porn on Saturday 13 August.

COOL SOUND FESTIVAL (WA): Tone List have announced the Djilba program of this year’s Audible Edge Festival of Sound, their third season of exploratory music and sound art programming in Perth, Fremantle and York (WA). Running from 18 August to 1 October, it includes concerts in surround sound, ambient music at sunrise, concerts that blend medieval and contemporary music, and even an AFL exorcism.

The program begins fittingly at sunrise, in two durational co-presentations of Sun Returns on the top terrace of the WA Museum Boola Bardip from 6:30am to 8am as the sun rises with experimental trio Pale Ribbons Tossed Into the Dark (18 August) and digital collage duo Lia T & Stina (29 September). And it just keeps getting better – check out this super cool program.

FOR DRAWING LOVERS: The Drawing Exchange (TDE) fosters artistic exchange between artists and art institutions, through an artist-led program focusing on innovative drawing practices. TDE 2022 is the third iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Adelaide Central School of Art and NAS. In 2022, Maitland Regional Art Gallery  joins the program, expanding the national reach of the Drawing Exchange. The Drawing Exchange 2022 artists at the National Art School include Dennis Golding, Nadia Odlum, Aude Parichot and Margaret Seymour, and the theme is is Site. 8 August – 11 September at NAS Galleries, then touring.

SOLO EXHIBITION: Natalya Hughes is one of Australia’s most exciting mid-career artists. Until 1 October, her exhibition The Interior is showing at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. In November 2021, Hughes was announced as the recipient of the Michela & Adrian Fini Artist Fellowship, awarded by Sheila Foundation, helping the artist to realise her most ambitious project yet. The series builds on Hughes’ interest of the historical absence of women in positions of power.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Triple Pocket Napkin Fold is a new project by GHOST, a facilitative entity based between Rotterdam and Marseille, co-founded by Madison Bycroft (AUS), Kari Robertson (UK) and Natalia Sorzano (COL). It is a mobile entity that runs irregular programmes and events across alternative locations as well as galleries and cinemas, so far in Rotterdam, New York, Bogotá, Marseille and Sydney.

Triple Pocket Napkin Fold has been in development for almost five years and was originally conceived to be presented as a live event for Artspace’s Ideas Platform. Now taking place online, the project has evolved and expanded into an interactive and experimental website featuring the work of 12 artists, poets, musicians and theatre-makers. Created for desktop viewing, the interactive website experiments with layering and collaboration, with visitors invited to enter the works and make a composition of their own. Check it out.

TEXTILES EXHIBITION: Take a journey through Australian waterways and landscapes in a unique exhibition by leading textile artists Alison Muir and Dianne Finnegan at Barometer Gallery in Paddington from 17 to 28 August, 2022. In Imbricate – Quilts and other textiles, both artists share the fruits of their fascination with the physical environment

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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