This week I attended an artist exhibition launch at a gallery, I walked the laneways of Melbourne to check out the latest street art, a friend purchased a FAB painting from a gallery, I visited a pop up gallery to view an industrial sculpture exhibition and on my arts radio program on JOY94.9 I interviewed a Melbourne treasure Tom Lowenstein.
So this blog is about the visual arts @ galleries… When was the last time you visited a gallery?
Let’s start with Tom Lowenstein, I can hear you saying – WHO?!?
…well he’s an 80 year old artist accountant, who’s involvement in the Australian art world and how he and his wife’s art collection has helped so many artist make it!
As we know, visual artist find it hard going when they start out, who is going to buy and unknowns artwork, what do they do to pay for the materials, how do they find a gallery to exhibit their art… this is where Tom Lowenstein would step in by not taking payment for his services, but invited the artist to give him a piece of their art, which would be perfect for an artist to have the financial advice of a professional and from a professional who is an art lover…he and his wife are friends to name a few, with John Olson, Charlies Blackman two of the great living Australian artists, John Olson introduced him Margaret Olley, who told Tom “I don’t want to pay taxes”, and Tom told her that the only way to do that was to give her art away… and she never paid taxes!
Tom and his wife Sylvia are auctioning off 255 painting from their collection which is just 25% of their collection – there are works from John Olson, David Hockney, Pablo Picasso, Arthur Boyd, David Bromley to name a few, in March. Tom told me that some of the money will go back into supporting the new artists of today.
Now, of course there are the non-commercial galleries (Victorian government supported) but this will be a blog for another day.
Commercial Visual art is going through a strange time here in Australia, the federal government is making it hard, just to give you a quick view…if you buy art as an investment you can’t hang it on your wall, it has to go into storage…I know what the !?@#, so people are backing away. That then creates problems for commercial gallery owners, people aren’t buying as much, which means galleries are closing down, we just can’t blame the government, as commercial galleries are closing around the world, rents are high and people are buying art on-line or through other outlets, they can also be an intimidating place, staff or owners, take a deep breath and enjoy, they aren’t going to kick you out… there will always be commercial galleries, lets take a look at a few of the Melbourne galleries that you should visit, because the artwork sometimes isn’t all that expensive & we all should invest in art, it’s fun!
West Space – it’s a contemporary art space, a non-profit artist led gallery, her you are seeing artist of the future, some of their exhibitions I walk out straight away, then the next one I love, so stick with them.
Flinders Lane Gallery – it’s in one of the hippest cultural precincts in Melbourne, been around since 1989, they know their art and you will find the leading “now” contemporary artist from around Australia.
Wunderkammer – it’s not your traditional gallery it’s a chamber of wonders, something of interest for everyone, you step back into another time, this unique shop/museum with a large range of antique scientific and medical instruments, framed butterflies, fossils, world globes…they have exhibitions, book launches, science talks and more.
No Vacancy Gallery – contemporary hire-gallery, that provides a link between artist run initiatives and the commercial art world.
Outré gallery – quite commercial, but wonderful, international and local pop, lowbrow, pop surrealism and underground art, with original and limited edition prints, they have one of my favourite artist Shag
Small Art – this is way cool, the art is in see-through old letter boxes in the foyer of a building in Flinders Lane.
Now lets talk about the biggest gallery in Melbourne – The Streets! Street art is everywhere around the city, but Hosier Lane is the most famous, there are huge crowds no matter what time you go there, on weekends there are bridal parties having photos taken there!