20 February 2006

NEW06 @ Australian Centre of Contemporary Art

Shaun Wilson 1975 (2006) video still, DV as single cahnnel DVD, colour, sound, 120 mins.

Curated by Juliana Enberg
March 14 - May 14, 2006
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Helen Johnson
Laressa Kosloff
Natasha Johns-Messenger
Darren Sylvester
Giles Ryder
Shaun Wilson

ACCA's prestigious annual showcase of recent commisions by young Australian artists of national significance will this year feature video, installation, painting, sound and sculpture. Since Melbourne's once hotter-than-hot art prize The Moet Chandon Touring Prize went to curators heaven there has been a lack of Melbourne orientated block-buster exhibitions focusing on cutting edge experimental art — with one exception being the major survey show '2004' that ran concurrently at the NGV and ACMI in 2004.

Thankfully ACCA had the foresight to carry on a program in the spirit of the Moet Prize that has, give or take a few artwork flops, once again put the zing back into public galleries. This is not to discredit the outstanding track record of other galleries such as what Gertrude Street, Westspace, Platform etc and now Kings ARI have given us over the past decade or so, however in terms of major survey shows at top shelf venues the NEW series really takes the cake. If ACCA can maintain a long term perspective on NEW by keeping to the current formula of 6-7 artist commissions then what a superb time capsule of artistic meat and three vegs we will have in years to come. Like Malcom Bywater's art time capsules, the monumental 'Artline' 30 year-long exhibition series, NEW has the potential to present a moment in time, a reflection of a generation and, moreover, a reflection of the society with which such a generation was reared, to be well preserved for future viewers.

It is also worth noting that if this years show can uphold what the others have already established then NEW07 has a lot to live up to - perhaps we might see the likes of UN Magazine's editor Lily Hibberd exhibit her film star paint tins or Brendan Lee screen what is arguably the most nationally significant example of political video art around today, True Blue (where are the Crunulla inspired, or was that horrified, artworks on public display?) or even a good juicy Juan Ford painting ready for conceptual harvest.

What ever this years current artists establish, it is sure to be an interesting exhibition with the likes of Helen Johnson, Makeshift, Laresa Kosloff, Natasha Johns-Messenger, Darren Sylvester, Giles Ryder and Shaun Wilson. As for what I'm doing, well you'll have to come along and see for yourself but think home movies at 3% then you might have some idea.