Australia’s new Contemporary Art Fair presented modern and contemporary artwork from over 80 Australian and international galleries from 19-22 September. Word has it that somewhere between 8,000 and 14,000 people attended the opening event on Thursday evening (!). They said it was hard to move around, and it was a helluva party.
I arrived early Friday morning, fresh off a 6:40 flight from Brisbane and some stumbling around Redfern with my bags. I’m aware that many people hold a bad impression of Redfern given that it’s a semi-industrial inner city neighbourhood and because of the race riots that erupted here in February 2004 after the questionable death of 17 year-old Aboriginal boy. But I liked the feel of the place – reminded me of Williamsburg pre-gentrification. The terrace houses here are connected like row houses in Brooklyn and other US cities, but the front doors open straight onto street level with no stoops. Very cozy with a bit of genteel grunge. Just how I like it.
My ticket did not allow me entrance until 12pm, so I sat down and answered some emails and observed. Everyone going in was wearing one of those plastic-sleeved ID cards strung from black ribbon around their necks. I needed one too, I realised, or I would not be taken seriously within this inner sanctum of ‘Who are you?” The wonderful women at the ticketing desk generously prepared an ID for me. And so I became ‘Carol Schwarzman Media/Freelance Arts’ and empowered to survive the subtle, mutual scanning of IDs prevalent among exhibitors, artists, attendees and ‘others’ working the floor. Thanks, Ticket Women. I am a nube:
I must say, I had a wonderful time at the Sydney Contemporary. I thought it was run brilliantly. The food and coffee on offer were exemplary and the use of the Carriageworks’ space afforded the crowd plenty of up close people watching, as well as a freely streaming grid of galleries showing high quality work, worthy of multiple visits all around.
Just a few more photos to set the stage. My next posts will focus on the art, the artists and the gallerists, and also art publications…
Very adorable and helpful people working at the fair
The cafe going at full tilt. I had the take-away antipasto that featured smokey marinated artichokes and gobs of pancetta.
The bowels (@#$!) of the Carriageworks and more helpful helpers.
Have a look at the fair’s website: http://sydneycontemporary.com.au/