Over the past few years, Sydney’s contemporary-art scene has enjoyed renewed energy. Part of this cultural expansion is a renewed vision for one of the city’s long-standing artist-run residency institutions, Artspace. Led by recently appointed executive director Alexie Glass-Kantor, Artspace will stay true to its rich 30-year history, but will embrace a more malleable future under the mission of “ever changing, ever challenging”.
“We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Artspace is a great institution,” says Glass-Kantor. She likens Artspace to world-renowned institutions such as Whitechapel in London and the New Museum in New York. “Those organisations all started around 30 or 40 years ago with missions that were set around supporting practice, but over time they’ve changed.”
Part of the organisation’s renewal is a redesign of its historic premises at the Gunnery building in Woolloomooloo, the opening up of its free artist-residency programming and the development of a new gallery space Glass-Kantor has called the Ideas Platform. Unveiled this month with an installation by LA-based artist Eve Fowler, it is a ply-clad cube engineered for testing ideas from any discipline, from architecture to choreography. “I love ideas and I’m always looking for a platform, and I think that there are lots of other people like me,” Glass-Kantor smiles.
“We set ourselves a challenge to always be thinking laterally, to embed contradiction into the program, to not do one style or one approach when exploring contemporary art and to think about a range of ways that we can support artists and engage audiences.”