Gertrude Contemporary has been a fixture on Gertrude Street for 30 years, and has a reputation for nurturing talent and working with some of the country’s best artists. The modus operandi isn’t going to change, but for now, the location has. While we wait for news on a permanent new home, Gertrude has opened a new gallery and project space, Glasshouse, on Glasshouse Road in Collingwood – its first major foray from its home street.
Designed by Fitzroy architects SIBLING and supported by long-term Gertrude patrons Michael Schwarz and David Clouston, the Glasshouse space is modern, open and versatile. Gertrude director Emma Crimmings says the gallery’s studio artists will use it as an exhibition space.
“Everything an artist could wish for in a gallery, SIBLING has delivered it,” says Crimmings. “It’s incredibly well conceived.”
“The scale of a space really has an impact on the direction of artists’ work, and we want to give them that space,” she says.
It's gently introducing the idea that Gertrude isn’t necessarily tied down to Gertrude Street, and the idea that private funding is the way forward for galleries. Apart from Gertrude Street being some of the most coveted real estate in town, the federal government has made its feelings about funding the arts well known. So expensive real estate is out, and alternative funding methods are in.
“The recent scares have expedited everything,” says Crimmings. “Winter is definitely coming. I think it’s just arriving a little earlier than expected.”
The first artist to exhibit in the space is Tully Moore, with his show What noise does a pig make? Exploring recession, austerity and government cutbacks, it's the perfect response to this brave new world of arts cuts.
Moore’s work started while travelling during post-financial-crisis protests in Spain and Ireland. “I’m re-presenting these graffiti markings I kept coming across,” says Moore. “They were all fat-cat bankers and pigs. They’re satirical, but outdated representations of wealth.”
These new works are big, and will benefit from a 360-degree view, so the Glasshouse will give them the room they need. “It’s good to know that people who want to give artists space are still there, despite the funding drying up,” Moore says.
Gertrude Glasshouse opens to the public on July 24. There will be an official launch event for the site is on August 13.