‘It’s one thing being a fish – it’s another if you produce caviar.’ Such is the conceptual statement that underpins Artbank’s recently launched Sturgeon magazine. The title of the publication alludes to the fish responsible for rendering the world’s most rare and most expensive caviar, but is also a reference to Artbank founder, Graeme Sturgeon. The organisation was formed in 1980 as part of an Australian Government initiative, with the aim of supporting and promoting Australian contemporary art. Since then Artbank has acquired a collection of some 10,000 works valued at nearly 35 million dollars, making it the country’s largest collector.
The release of Sturgeon coincides with Artbank’s recent rebrand by Sydney based design collective Collider, who have worked alongside some of the city’s more progressive contemporary art events, including this year’s 13 Rooms and Outpost in 2011. Sturgeon will also echo the organisation’s swan dive into a new and enlightened chapter, with specially commissioned content that will observe the role of contemporary art in society and cultivate compelling discourse on art in Australia. Issue one of the biannual, released this November, features editorial by art critic Dr Andrew Frost, a photo essay by John Tsiavis and a reflective piece by curator Djon Mundine (1980 to now).
Artbank’s senior curator, Daniel Mudie Cunningham will headline the editorial team at Sturgeon, who commissioned Paris-based artist Clemens Habicht to create a portrait of Graeme Sturgeon for the first cover. “Establishing a new print magazine seems like a tiny anachronism in our current digital age,” Cunningham writes. “Sturgeon in part comes out of nostalgia for the materiality of the printed word.”