Happy 250th for ‘Art Monthly’


It’s a happy 250th today for  Art Monthly Australia, published out of Canberra but representing fine art all around the country and  frequently casting its eyes on international art as well.

This evening at Electric Shadows Bookshop, (which is celebrating its 25th year), art adviser to the Parliament House Art Collection, Merryn Gates,  will unveil its 250th issue,  titled “Critical lining” which, as it says, will address “the ‘art’ of art criticism.”

Included in the issue is an article on photography by retiring  Greens leader and longtime photographer, Bob Brown,  to be called “Critical lens: Reflecting, and looking forward.” Mr Brown will be on hand to join in the fun and to help an exhibition of his own selection of photographs on The Electric Wall.

This is something to the whole of Canberra’s arts community to celebrate. It is no mean feat in a town where festivals, craft organisations, theatre companies and indeed magazines come and go, sometimes, like Muse magazine, with which I had a long association, cast aside with scarcely a thought.

The Australian National University’s School of Art,has hosted the magazine since 1992 and David Williams, former director of the School, is the chair of its board.

Published 10 times a year, its income is derived from sales and subscriptions, advertising, philanthropic, and government funding including funds from the Australia Council. Although never rich, it is this diversity in funding, as well as the enthusiastic support from writers around the country, that has helped its survival.

The first issue of Art Monthly was published in June 1987 by  its founding editor, Peter Townsend, also  the founding editor of Art Monthly (UK), on which Townsend modelled the publication to become a centre for debate on contemporary Australian art.

Townsend was succeeded as editor by writer and curator, Peter Timms, followed in 1998 by Philippa Kelly, formerly Art Monthly’s  managing editor. After Kelly left in 2002, Deborah Clark became the fourth editor, staying until 2007 when the present editor,  Maurice O’Riordan, took over.

The celebrations continue all week and the highlight will be a fundraising auction on Saturday towards which more than 50 artists have donated work, another enormous show of visual arts community support.

“Art Monthly” fundraising auction at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gorman House on Saturday, 30 June 30, from 5pm. Birthday dinner after the auction at  Chairman and Yip Restaurant, Civic, from 8pm. Tickets $150, bookings to artmonthly.admin@anu.edu.au or 6125 3988.

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