On the lack of independent art criticism
The third and last collaborative Mallee Routes exhibition is now showing at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery throughout December and early January. What is so noticeably missing in action is the local review of this body of work. With no catalogue essay the exhibition becomes situated in a critical art vacuum, and it gives rise to a sense of cultural loneliness and isolation–the distance between art’s production and its reception.
Consequently, the photography in the exhibition has a lack of an existence beyond the temporality of the exhibition given the lack of archive building. There is no funding for the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery to write their own history; even though there ought be; partly out of necessity as no one else is going to do so, and secondly the ethos of self-determination entitles them to carve a historical space in our culture.
The limitations of established art criticism is very marked in Adelaide. The exhibition will not be reviewed by either Artlink or the Adelaide Review, which are the only two art magazines based in Adelaide.
With the demise of the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) and the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF), there is no other independent art magazine. ACE Open, which is the amalgam of these two art institutions, stopped publishing the Broadsheet Journal in 2017, and it currently does not review local work. None of the three universities in Adelaide provide financial or in kind support for a magazine of independent art criticism–presumably because the academic value of publishing is clearly weighted in favour of refereed journals.