Sydney’s annual contemporary-art spectacle, Art Month has returned for 2015. Led by independent curator Glenn Barkley, the festival will once again unlock the secrets of the city’s art scape, with tours, talks, panels, exhibitions and experiences. This year, the festival will feature the work of more than 300 artists, across 200 exhibitions shown throughout more than 100 galleries. It is, as always, an excellent chance to unearth Sydney’s often understated art scene.
For 2015, the Art at Night precinct nights return – a White Night of sorts, where galleries in Sydney’s most unique art neighbourhoods stay open late. This year’s precincts include East Sydney, Paddington and Chippendale-Redfern. ARTCycle tours also reemerge on the schedule, a popular marriage of gallery hopping and cycling, with a total of nine curated circuits to choose from throughout the month.
Here is our pick of the best of the rest of Art Month in 2015:
Described as, “an outdoor, democratic, free-for-all happening”, the Redfern Biennale is an ad hoc and eclectic street showcase of local artwork. Focused on and around the fences and footpaths of Walker Street, Cooper and Redfern Streets, the one-day event operates entirely without council approval, putting sculpture, multimedia, painting and found-object works on the street for just seven hours. Effectively placing public art back in the hands of the public, Redfern Biennale spectators are invited and encouraged to critique, applaud, interact, steal or destroy work as they please.
March 21, 11am–6pm, free
Cruise out of the city fringe and into some of Sydney’s more remote art precincts with the Art Month bus tours. These are art-rich expeditions filled with worthwhile discoveries. Go West will take you into the belly of the western scene, via three major galleries including Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre and Parramatta Artists Studios. Head across the bridge for Go North, a tour of North Shore spaces such as Workshop Arts Centre, Incinerator Artspace and the St Leonards Arts Complex. And if you haven’t experienced Sydney’s eastside art district, Go East will take you through Olsen Irwin, Stills Gallery and Sabbia Gallery, finishing with a wine tasting at Wagner Art Gallery.
Go West, March 14, 10am–4pm, $15
Go North, March 14 and March 21, 10am–3pm, $15
Go East, March 7, 2pm–4.30pm, $15
The Art of Eating: Ceramics, Food & Conversation
Once the senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Month artistic director Glenn Barkley is also a skilled ceramic sculptor. He has brought his love of the medium to Art Month this year with a number of special events including an art banquet with Surry Hills’ Longrain. In the Utopia Art gallery in Waterloo, guests will eat and drink from beautiful, handmade crockery – original ceramic pieces by Brett Stone, Merran Esson, Liane Rossler and Kati Watson. Barkely will lead a discussion with the artists, and diners will get to keep a piece at the end of the night.
March 14, 6pm–10pm, $190 pp
Burn Baby Burn: New Approaches to Ceramics
Notwithstanding Barkley’s own palate for porcelains, ceramic art has recently entered into a renaissance of sorts. This discussion will chart the medium’s journey from common craftwork to art. On the panel is Barkley and local ceramic artists Emily Hunt, Lynda Draper, Merran Esson and Brett Stone.
March 25, 6pm–7pm, National School of Art Ceramic Studio, free
Sydney’s Smallest Gallery
Operating in a similar vein to The Wrong Gallery (a highly regarded but tiny New York window space), Sydney’s Smallest Gallery eschews rising rental prices with an exhibition of seriously small artwork. Dreamt up by Sydney-based artists Stephen Clement and Natalie Cheney, the exhibition will feature work by Cheney, Chris Kellan, The Creature Development Project and more. The exhibition itself is diorama sized and a magnifying glass is needed to view it – each of the artworks measures little more than two centimetres.
Opening Friday March 6, 6pm–9pm
Exhibition continues until 29 March, open Wednesday to Sunday, 2pm–7pm, at Nauti Studios, free
The Lacrima Chair
Shaun Gladwell is one of Australia’s most seminal video artists – probably best known for the video piece Storm Sequence. Currently on display as part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the piece is a meditative, rain-soaked skate reel set atop a concrete corner of Bondi Beach. In March the artist will present The Lacrima Chair at both the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and the UNSW Galleries. The exhibition will feature more than 20 works spanning the artist’s career, drawn from public and private collections internationally. Described as both “metaphor and reality”, visitors will travel through mist and rain as they move through the installation.
Opening Thursday March 5, 6pm–8pm Exhibition continues until 25 April at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and UNSW Galleries, free
Art Month 2015 runs from March 6–29