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.

6 Responses

  • I don’t think the problem is local or regional. There is little to no coverage here in Melbourne too, in the main stream press anyway. The CCP has a digital publication sporadic at best and of course focused on photography. Paywalls that many national papers hide behind exacerbate the issue.

  • Melbourne has a long history of independent art critical writing.It currently has un Magazine as independent art critical writing.It has been going since 2004. West Space as an artist run initiative published Dialogue then Formation and Form: West Space 1993–2003, a 190-page hardcover book published in 2004 to document the first ten years of the organisation.

    Prior to this there was Agenda, LIKE and Artfan, which explored the role of text in relation to the exhibition of art. Melbourne has been a productive ground for experiments in dialogue, writing, and publishing.

    From memory the CCP published a number of their lectures on photography in the 1990s. I mentioned/referenced them in my essay in the Adelaide Art Photographers 1970–2000 book.

  • I’m in Adelaide, not even multi international awards in photography, paintings, digital created Art, begin of 2019 ranked 10 of 15 international Top Photographers was the local media important enough to mention it.
    Not even our local council in their newsletters.
    I thought getting in November 2019 a government award for my history Photography was the media worth a note.
    Not to mention that I see the “support” of artists with a disability and elderly artists as nothing as words.
    I’m 68, several sever disabilities don’t you think that there is any support, even a short note of my solo exhibitions (last 2 weeks in July with more than 150 works, September Artist of the Month solo exhibition, currently since 4th November to middle/end of January 2020) seems not to count in the media and art organisations anymore but a kids footprints on canvas and a fricken banana taped on a gallery wall gets media around the world.
    A kick in the butt for hardworking Artists, a lot selling just to get their Archibald Prize worthy works to prices which just cover their material expenses.
    I know what I’m talking about, I owned an Art Gallery and I did see it all. They had my support and when I sold works higher than they expected I shared this plus with them. At that time I never thought I would one day whinging myself about the media ignorance and state operated galleries do as our Gallery of SA, the curators answer what we have to do to get exhibition space was “get famous” but how without support of media and local press.

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