In 1963, Ersnt Fischer wrote that art isn't a luxury or a privilege, it's an essential part of human life, and Artbank reckons he was right. Run by the federal government, Artbank supports local Australian artists by buying their works and leasing them out to companies, individuals and public spaces all around Australia, and in 72 countries across the globe. Currently, they hold about 10,000 works. That's a whole lot of art, and they need somewhere they can show it off.
On November 19, Artbank is hosting their annual Artbank Social Club, giving the general public a chance to check out the works that have been so lovingly and carefully curated. Held at Artbank HQ in Waterloo, the event will be a smorgasbord of local artists, food, drink, and entertainment, and will also see the launch of the inaugural Artbank Flea Market, where punters can buy works, watch live performances and mingle with the creators while getting amongst the 5000 original works in the Artbank collection store. Rather than your typical garage sale vibe, think the Grand Bazaar. If that wasn't enough, you can soothe your intellectual exertion with a drink at the gold coin donation bar in the pumping, pop-up garden party. Here are our six picks of things to look out for.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN ART AT THE COLLECTION STORE
The highlight of the Artbank Open Day is the collection store, where you can get up close and personal with over 5000 artworks by some of Australia's biggest names and possibly grab yourself a new piece to go above the dining room table for a few months. As seen in the above, there will be 120 floor-to-ceiling racks jam-packed with artworks from Australian artists. That's quite a collection. Old favourites, hidden gems, new pieces — it's all there among the racks and available to lease out.
OK YEAH COOL GREAT
This collective is comprised of artists Kate Beckingham and Anna McMahon, with the view of changing the perception on the delivery of art. Rather than slinging some oil onto canvas (not to disparage the medium), these two have crafted artworks from the seemingly innocuous in order to challenge what we consider art to be. They'll be set up in the Flea Market, vending wares such as shirts, tote bags and USB sticks from their most recent exhibition The Delivery, that emphasise the congruence of form and function. There's the chance to meet the artists, and get their take on their unique media.
ROLLING RECORDS TRUCK SHOP
George from Rolling Records has been banging about for a while, quietly getting around the country, shifting vinyl to his widely scattered disciples from his truck. His unique business venture achieves a higher goal that everyone can appreciate — getting good tunes into the hands of those that want them. Whether you're reminiscing on the times when vinyl was the dominant form, or you love its grainier sound, or even if you just like the aesthetics of having some vinyl hanging around the living room, Rolling Records has you covered. The truck comes to the Social Club to both buy and sell its pressed and sleeved wares, and will also be providing the beats throughout the day.
No day of consuming All The Art that one person can handle would be complete without a decent offering of food and beverage. In this instance, legends of Sydney street food, Cantina Movil, will be on site to deliver. Cantina Movil have been truckin' around NSW since 2011, delivering a bespoke Mexican menu from the back of their vehicle. They've catered for weddings, corporate events, and festivals, and now they'll be plying their wares at Artbank. So see some art, grab a 'rito, and get some more art in you.
MAKE OR BREAK
Within the walls of the Artbank Social Club, absolutely everything is art. This even extends to an element of the currency of the Flea Market, with artists Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo creating their own alternative system that questions the role of artists, their labour, their audience, and how they all fit together. On the day, the artists behind Make or Break will pick one punter to wear the 'golden t-shirt', which grants them full access to selected elements of the event, and it is up to this punter to either share, hoard or sell their prize. Anthes and Gallo have been creating live exhibitions like this one since last year, aiming to contribute to the conversation surrounding the value of art in our society.
SO MANY WORKSHOPS, PERFORMANCES AND ARTISTS TO SEE
Artist Leecee Carmichael will weave a live artwork and sell her jewellery and textiles — her work pays homage to her hometown of Moreton Bay, Queensland and the Quandamooka people. She works in an array of colours and materials, exploring the beauty of nature and nurturing her strong connection to the sand and the sea. Drink tea with strangers and James Nguyen — he'll be serving fresh green tea and honey made from tea leaves he smuggled into Australia in 1999. They were from his grandmother's tea plantation in Dacat, and he sneakily hid them in his shorts pocket. After that, check out James Tylor — he'll be running a drawing workshop to go alongside his project Unwritten Race, which re-writes Charles Darwin's misleading theory on multi-racial identity. These guys are just three of our favourites — the full program includes many, many more artists to see and things to do.
The Artbank Social Club will run on November 19. Entry is free, but registration for tickets is recommended.