Barry Keldoulis takes the helm at Art Fairs Australia in time to launch Sydney Contemporary, the newest addition to Australia’s art fair scene.
Barry Keldoulis has been named CEO and group fairs director of Art Fairs Australia, the organisation behind the Melbourne Art Fair and Sydney Contemporary art fair. He replaces Francesca Valmorbida less than six months before the first Sydney Contemporary in September 2013.
An art professional for over thirty years, Keldoulis established his Sydney Gallery GBK in 2003, aiming “to fill a gap in opportunity for young and emerging artists to exhibit between artist-run spaces and major commercial galleries”, according to the Sydney Contemporary art fair website. Represented artists like duo Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy and Mumbai-based Jitish Kallat have gone on to show at events such as the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and the Guangzhou Triennial 2008.
Before returning to the Australian commercial gallery scene in 1996, Keldoulis worked with New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs for almost a decade, and spent a number of years in Europe. Commenting on Keldoulis’ new role in a press release, Tim Etchells, founder of both Art Fairs Australia and ART HK (now operating as Art Basel Hong Kong), said,
Barry’s extensive knowledge of the Australian and international art scene will make him invaluable in helping us develop both Sydney Contemporary and the Melbourne Art Fair.
Australia’s youngest art fair
Keldoulis’ first task will be to oversee the inaugural Sydney Contemporary, a new art fair slated to open its doors 20 to 22 September 2013. Presenting the work of both Australian and international artists, the biennial event will focus on current trends and emerging practices in modern and contemporary art worldwide. The three day fair includes educational activities, guided tours and guest speakers, and presents works from over sixty galleries.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Keldoulis outlined his aims for Sydney Contemporary,
People are extraordinarily time-poor. An art fair, for all of their faults, is the best way to see a hell [of a lot] of work all at once. And you get the opportunity to see work not just from your own city but also from all over the world. … The bar must be set high and maintained there.
The upcoming event fills the gap left in the city’s art events calendar by the Affordable Art Fair Sydney, which was scrapped in 2012, says the Herald. Etchells asserted in the press release that the new fair is a different calibre of event,
Sydney Contemporary represents the first time this city has hosted a serious, high-end art fair. We expect it to play a significant role in helping to focus attention on the Sydney art scene in the same way that ART HK focused attention on Asian art.
The upcoming Australian event follows the successful launch in March 2013 of Art13 London, another new art fair steered by Etchells.
Two art fairs, one new director
Sydney Contemporary will be presented in alternate years with Melbourne Art Fair, a biennial showing contemporary art from over 900 artists working across diverse mediums. The fair, scheduled for 2014, is owned by the non-profit Melbourne Art Foundation but managed by Etchell’s company Single Market Events, and will be overseen by Keldoulis in his new role.
- Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong goes “glocal” to stand out in art fair crowd – interview – March 2013 – Camilla Hewitson on increasing appetite for art and how the fair is supporting young artists
- Growing grass for dogs: Curating with Indian artist Jitish Kallat – interview – March 2013 – co-curator Bala Starr on Kallat’s first Australian solo show
- One man’s treasure: Chinese artist Song Dong’s Waste Not in Sydney – January 2013 – an exhibition in Sydney’s Carriageworks, where Sydney Contemporary will be held
- Biennale of Sydney 2012: Canadian artist Erin Manning on Folds to Infinity – September 2012 – Manning talks about the seven year “relational art project” she presented at the 2012 Biennale in Sydney
- Who are Australia’s top arts philanthropists? ArtsHub names 6 – December 2011 – find out who has made a difference to the country’s contemporary arts scene
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