Brook Andrew

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EVIDENCE | Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

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Images: Christian Capurro

Evidence is an immersive installation that draws on the rich and varied Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) collection to explore the theme of evidence.

Evidence weaves together unexpected and perhaps overlooked objects and materials from the MAAS collection with specially commissioned artworks, suggesting different ways of interpreting objects and their history.

Featured objects include Governor Macquarie’s chair, a ‘black box’ flight recorder, a Maralinga souvenir clock, a Brown Bess musket, a surgical table and colonial breastplates along with 19th century ethnographic photographs.

Until 28 August 2016
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

Written by brookandrew

November 11, 2015 at 2:00 AM

“How Global Can Museums Be?”

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“How Global Can Museums Be?”
CIMAM 2015 Annual Conference Tokyo November 2015 

Within this question lie very relevant issues and challenges for museums of modern and contemporary art as institutions dedicated to public service: locality, nationality, internationality, exhaustive universalism, decolonization, global democracy, and economic dependence, among others. The question does not only refer to the ambition of encompassing the entire world with all its differences; it interrogates if and how one single institutional model can be valid for the world’s diversity of contexts. Is the Museum as we know it the most appropriate institution to transmit the concept of freedom of expression?

Is the museum the entity most capable of rewriting and modifying Art History? What alternative models have been tested to be effective and useful agencies in different communities? Is there a fixed protocol for the museum world that can be true and applied in global terms? Differences in economies, (modern) development, industrialization, education, traditions, cultural and/or religious contexts create a very diverse global landscape for the making, presentation and reception of art. Beyond stylistic or material specificities, symbolic and factual/historical issues will necessarily determine how the messages produced by artists are received through time, space, and generations. Censorship, freedom of expression, institutional fragility, and responsibility are conditions and values constantly being rearticulated and questioned in the different contexts that compose our globe.

How can museums negotiate a radical, innovative position within cultural tolerance/sensitivity, within the dominating conventions of service to the public, or within the dichotomy of public interests/private resources? Evolving from previous Conferences, these are some of the questions we would like to address during the 2015 CIMAM Conference in Tokyo. The Conference will break down these major questions into thematic areas of discussion around which the three daily sessions will rotate.

Is the museum still a place for debate? Is freedom of expression up for debate within museums? Is it possible for museums to establish a universal deontological code, with a common set of values, rules or norms that are acceptable for all of us to envision an actual global exchange?

From the CIMAM booklet, available to download here.


TABOO, 2012 Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

CIMAM is the ICOM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, is an international forum of professional character for the discussion of theoretical, ethical and practical issues concerning the collection and exhibition of modern and contemporary art.

Written by brookandrew

November 10, 2015 at 3:45 AM

Posted in 2015, Artist talk, International

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ARC project recipient for “Representation, Remembrance and the Monument”

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‘Galiyn (rain)’, 2007 From the series ‘Gun-Metal Grey’

Brook Andrew_Jumping Castle War Memorial

‘Jumping Castle War Memorial’, 2010 Installation view the 17th Biennale of Sydney

Brook Andrew has been awarded a prestigious 3 year ARC project (Federal Government Australian Research Council)This is a significant milestone for MADA being a practice-led project with a sole artist CI (chief investigator).
The project “Representation, Remembrance and the Monument” is designed to respond to the repeated high-level calls for a national memorial to Aboriginal loss. The project considers the crucial role that contemporary memorials play in societies that are increasingly addressing traumatic histories, and how international memorial projects shift public memory and cultural understanding. As Australia continues to strive for reconciliation, this project embraces the potential for memorials to become powerful public spaces where the history of the Frontier wars can be addressed. Ways of representing and remembering this past will expand and strengthen civil society.

Brook is lecturer at MADA (Monash Art, Design and Architecture), Monash University, Australia.

Written by brookandrew

November 3, 2015 at 12:01 AM

Posted in 2016, Exhibitions News, research

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‘Ancestral Worship’, 2010 at the 2015 Asian Art Biennial

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Asian Art Biennial

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Artist Making Movement
2015 Asian Art Biennial
19 September – 6 December 2015
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Written by brookandrew

September 18, 2015 at 6:10 AM

Forthcoming: EVIDENCE at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

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Spacecraft_Evidence_1 Spacecraft_Evidence_2

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In-process printing with the team from Spacecraft for Evidence at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney.

Evidence is an immersive installation that draws on the rich and varied MAAS collection to explore the theme of evidence.

In Evidence unexpected and perhaps overlooked objects and materials from the MAAS collection are brought together with specially commissioned artworks, suggesting different ways of interpreting objects and their history. Featured objects include Governor Macquarie’s chair, a ‘black box’ flight recorder, a Maralinga souvenir clock, a Brown Bess musket, a surgical table and colonial breastplates along with 19th century ethnographic photographs.

31 October 2015 – 18 September 2016
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo
Stewart Russell
Danica Miller
Rosanna Ford
Grace Russell

Written by brookandrew

September 17, 2015 at 2:47 AM

Sydney’s Barangaroo grows as a cultural breathing space

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Barangaroo artwork colours

The Weight of History, The Mark of Time, 2015  

Sydney’s Barangaroo grows as a cultural breathing space

The Australian arts editor Ashleigh Wilson

It sits beneath a hill, hard up against a dramatic sandstone wall. It’s called the Cutaway, and this is the giant, cavernous space reserved for cultural activities inside the Barangaroo development now taking shape on the western edge of the Sydney CBD.

Brook Andrew was one of the artists invited to explore this concrete canvas, and he was struck at once by its power. He describes it as “awe-inspiring”, reminiscent of the Tate Modern experience in London. It seemed as though he was inside the land, or perhaps inside the body of a whale. Like Barangaroo itself, the multi-billion-dollar development soon to be home to James Packer’s casino, the numbers give an idea of the scale: 7500sq m of space, 150m long and 15m high, it sits under 12,000cu m of land and is said to fit 5500 people.

For a Sydney-born artist such as Andrew, who has long burrowed into ideas of historical transi­tion, memory, colonialism and identity, it was an exciting prospect. “It was really inspiring and imaginative,” he says. “It kind of reminds me of just dreaming. You know when you’re a kid you can dream big but when you get older they try to knock it out of you a bit.”

This weekend, the first stirrings of a grand dream will begin at Barangaroo with the unveiling of Andrew’s work at the Cutaway. His four sculptures are called Stone: The Weight of History, The Mark of Time, and they are intended to immerse viewers in a “breathing lung-like imaginative environment” that brings to life the land. “It’s really looking and acknow­ledging the history of the place and the site,” he says. “They breathe like lungs. They exhale and inhale. It will be like moving through some sort of organ or beast.”

Andrew’s sculptures are the first of three commissions to be shown monthly at the Cutaway in spring, followed by installations focusing on the sea and sky. Spread across 12 weekends, the celebration includes free performances, talks and tours. The program is designed to draw crowds to Barangaroo Reserve, the parkland that opened two weeks ago. But as the bigger picture comes into view — gradually, meticulously, each element carefully considered by an army of advisers after years of consultations and reports — it’s clear it also represents the early stages of a vast cultural project under way in Sydney. “I think it’s a reality check,” Andrew says. “It’s like Australia’s coming of age with this sort of project.”

In July, the Barangaroo Development Authority released a public art and cultural plan, an 84-page blueprint full of grand aspirations. Under the plan, nine main projects would be funded by a development levy of 1 per cent, with the total cost across 15 years expected to exceed $40 million and cost the taxpayer nothing. Proposals range from large permanent installations to artworks integrated into the environment to as-yet undefined cultural hubs.

Barangaroo advisers are being encouraged to think big. One source of inspiration is Millennium Park, the Chicago home of Anish Kapoor’s stainless steel Cloud Gate that attracts huge numbers of visitors and generates significant residen­tial and commercial investment. “That’s the great draw of wonderful places,” says Gabrielle Trainor, chairwoman of the Barangaroo arts and cultural panel. “People want to be around them.”

Trainor talks with enthusiasm about Barangaroo, how she hopes to see a place with a global reputation, and how Sydney’s centre of gravity may shift along the way. It’s all a long way off, beyond 2020, but the road map is slowly being drawn. “Everybody can see the value of arts and culture, not only in a design sense and social sense but in an economic sense as well,” she says. “Really good public art can bring so may benefits to ­places. They make them distinct, interesting. They draw people and they draw activity.”

The cultural development is overseen by two panels of advisers, one under the banner of Barangaroo and the other Lend Lease. These are a cross-section of the city’s arts sector: among them is curator Hetti Perkins, businessman Simon Mordant, Art Gallery of NSW deputy director Suhanya Raffel, Sydney Festival artistic director Lieven Bertels and artist Alison Page. Former Sydney Opera House boss Richard Evans and curator Barbara Flynn are also key advisers.

Others have been brought in to share their thoughts on individual projects. One of the most high profile will be the “landmark public artwork” set to rise from the water at Nawi Cove: as well as Trainor, the jury consists of former AGNSW director Edmund Capon, Museum of Contemporary Art director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, New York Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume and company director Lucy Turnbull. A handful of artists, local and international, have been invited to submit ideas for this work, which will sit just off the shore next to Barangaroo Reserve. Some have visited the site already, and the selected work is expected to be announced early next year. At that point, the city will learn whether to expect an iconic sculpture by its 2018 installation date.

“We like to think in a rather grandiose way that it will be a single work of art that will be something of a destination in its own right,” Capon says. “The challenge here is to create something that responds to the location. The location in all its contemporary presence and its historical presence and its atmosphere, and yet is not determined by that.”

No names are being mentioned but those involved say major figures — “some of the best artists around”, according to Capon — are in the mix. “It’s going through a very long considered process,” Capon says. “What we want is a work of art that speaks about the place but is nonetheless independent of the place. It’s got to stand alone and yet we want it to somehow echo and to feel comfortable in that space.”

Capon points to Kapoor and Jeff Koons — whose enormous Puppy stood outside the MCA two decades ago — as artists who bring the right sort of touch to large-scale works. But he acknowledges the problems. A few weeks ago, Capon visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, admiring work by Anthony Caro, Ai Weiwei, An­tony Gormley and Henry Moore, when his friend turned to him and said: “They still look better inside.”

“Outdoor sculpture is a real challenge,” Capon says. “Aesthetic simplicity is one of the secrets to successful works of art in the great outdoors.”

Some of the other projects planned for Barangaroo include a “major Aboriginal artwork”, to be installed on Barangaroo Reserve in 2017; integrated light art along the pedestrian walk known as Scotch Row by 2018; and a “signature piece” at Barangaroo South by 2017.

The first commission has already been revealed: a 22m wall of shells by indigenous artists Esme Timbery and Jonathan Jones to be incorporated into a building design in the southern part of Barangaroo.

The final stage of the development is Central Barangaroo, which is due for completion in 2023. Apart from a requirement for half of it to remain public space, this remains largely undetermined, with more details to be released in the coming months. The public art and culture plan makes reference to an urban theatre at the base of the steps, plus one 5000sq m site “identified for a future cultural space”. It’s too early to say how these will be used but clues are available: the Ambassador Theatre Group, for instance, has registered an interest in building a 1650-seat lyric theatre in Central Barangaroo.

Another idea gathering pace is for a national indigenous cultural centre, itself the subject of a business case and extensive consultations. It makes a certain amount of sense for it to be established at Barangaroo, which is, after all, named for the respected indigenous woman who married the man whose name has been adopted for Bennelong Reserve around the corner. There are more signs that the pieces are coming together: Perkins left the AGNSW in 2011 calling for a stand-alone indigenous institution, a “flagship national cultural institution” — and now, of course, she finds herself engaged as a Barangaroo adviser.

Where could such a centre go? The Cutaway is a logical choice. Trainor says there is potential for a centre that presents a rotating series of art from across Australia, one that wouldn’t necessarily have its own permanent collection but would exist as a vibrant hub of activity. It also could exploit technology, allowing artists, for instance, to collaborate in real time with people in the western desert. Trainor says further consultation is required, plus more discussions about funding.

“Conceptually it’s really exciting because it’s potentially the sort of centre that is unlike anything we’ve seen,” she says. “It would be lovely to see it off the ground in the next few years. But it will take a while to develop.”

As for the project as a whole, Capon adds a note of caution: “There’s a lot of good intentions and high aspirations. But the fact is that Sydney is a very pragmatic place and many of the grand ideas tend to become inevitably diluted in the process.”

Capon is speaking from London, a city where “fabulous breathing spaces” have been protected for the public. The challenge for Sydney, he says, is to resist the urge to fill every open space. “It’s very hard in a city to actually keep space pure,” he says. “I’m a great believer in protecting space. I think there’s been a very strong urge to give Barangaroo some real cultural and artistic vitality. And there’s a dynamic in the program too, there’s no doubt about that. My point is that just because you’ve got space you don’t have to do something with it or in it.”

Written by brookandrew

September 3, 2015 at 11:08 PM

Barangaroo Welcome Celebration. ‘Stone – The Weight of History, The Mark of Time’

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Stone. The Weight of Shape. Render.

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Images: The Weight of History, The Mark of Time, 2015 
Digital render and during installation.

The Stone Giant Picnic on 6 September 2015 is the official unveiling of the first of three major art installations, specially commissioned for Barangaroo’s Welcome Celebration. The Cutaway, Sydney’s newest and biggest cultural space built beneath the headland park, will house a large-scale sculptural installation entitled Stone – The Weight of History, The Mark of Time. 

Stone – The Weight of History, The Mark of Time is a new installation of four soft sculptures that immerse the spectator in a breathing lung-like imaginative environment, bringing alive the living land. Made with the artists distinctive pattern inspired by his Wiradjuri tradition, each sculpture comes alive like a living and breathing forest of organs – allowing physical immersion to inspire and create a sense of weightless-ness and timeless-ness. The Cultural Space dedicated to Barangaroo is enhanced by this work through activating the very heart of the land; inside this newly created sandstone magical place representing culture rich in memory with contemporary activity.

Stone Giant Picnic opening weekend:
Sunday 6th September – Free
Open: 11am–8.30pm
The Giant Picnic concludes with a party in the Cutaway for all the family from 6pm – 8.30pm.

The installation will be open every weekend from 6 September to 23 September and each month in spring will see a new work presented in the Cutaway.

Barangaroo Sydney website.

Click here to access the event program.

Written by brookandrew

August 28, 2015 at 5:20 AM


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