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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Bar Americano's Matt Bax Is Opening a New Venue That's Half-Art Gallery, Half-Warehouse Bar

Grau Projekt will offer 'artist-curated drinking' inside a huge Clifton Hill warehouse.
By Libby Curran
September 24, 2018
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Bar Americano's Matt Bax Is Opening a New Venue That's Half-Art Gallery, Half-Warehouse Bar

Grau Projekt will offer 'artist-curated drinking' inside a huge Clifton Hill warehouse.
By Libby Curran
September 24, 2018
  shares

Few could deny that Matt Bax's cocktails are akin to works of art. The mind behind standard-setting bars such as Bar Americano and the now-closed Der Raum and Bar Economico is known for whipping up incredibly clever liquid treats — and, as it happens, he's also an artist. But for his next project, the celebrated barman-artist is blurring the lines even more, as he sets out to overhaul the commercial art gallery model and give Melbourne something it's never seen before.

Slated to open on November 22 in Clifton Hill, Grau Projekt will be part concept bar, part gallery space. It'll offer what Bax has dubbed "artist-curated drinking", guided by a program of exhibitions. Each new art show will see Bax's team collaborate with the exhibiting artist on an exclusive cocktail, designed to perfectly complement the mood and the work. Guests will be able to sip this innovative concoction on opening night, while browsing the artworks as they wander through Grau Projekt's huge 1050-square-metre warehouse. In effect, it'll bridge that gap between cocktail bar and exhibition on opening night and offer something more considered, holistic and refined.

It's clear Bax is keen to inspire a new generation of art collector, both with this venue and the purchasing model. Each show will see a select number of works held in reserve until the exhibition's opening, and offered at a heavily subsidised price.

The plan is for the gallery to open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, with the curated cocktails offered as part of the ticketed events coinciding with each show's public opening. No word yet on what the inaugural exhibition will be, but we'll let you know the details once it's been announced.

Grau Projekt will open at 2–12 Alexandra Parade, Clifton Hill on November 22. 

Images: John Laurie.

Published on September 24, 2018 by Libby Curran

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