Peter Anderson has extensive experience working in the arts with particular expertise in:
– curatorial projects and exhibitions;
– arts project management;
– cultural policy research and development;
– arts journalism, creative and critical writing.
His employment history in the arts industry includes working in a freelance capacity for numerous clients including all levels of government (local, state and Commonwealth) as well as universities, arts organisations and arts publications. His professional activities include membership of a number of arts boards and committees, and consultancy based professional development work with individual artists.
Independent Cultural Producer – an art writing & curatorial practice.
February 1992 – Present (24 years 6 months)Melbourne, Australia
For the last two decades I have worked across a portfolio of activities inculding arts journalism and critical writing, cultural research and project management, and curatorial projects. I have written for most Australian art journals as well as various newspapers and general magazines. I have worked on cultural research projects for government agencies and arts organisations, and have initiated and organised events ranging from conferences to touring exhibitions. Current key curatorial project – The Artist Run Scene – Brisbane 1980 – 1990 (UQAM 2016). Current key writing projects – “Art / Writing” (see PhD, below) & “Robert Jacks: artists books & exhibitions 1968-1978 (Conceptual / Perceptual)”.
19 APR 2013|HELEN COLE
Continuing our guest blogs this is the first blog from our Siganto Foundation Fellow Peter Anderson.
Ephemera from Brisbane artist-run spaces
Like many of the things I’ve researched and written about, I find it hard to identify when I began working on my current project. As I’ve started to go through materials here in the Australian Library of Art’s collection I’ve come across small pieces of my own work that seem strangely linked to the work I’m doing now. For example, back in 1986 I wrote an essay for the catalogue that accompanied “Know Your Product”, an exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art that focussed on the complicated overlaps between local music, art and popular culture in Brisbane in the late 1970s and early 1980s. My essay was titled “Lists of Ordinary Things: The Materialisation of Memory”. Reading back through that exhibition catalogue, and looking at other related materials that are held in the ALA’s collection of artist and gallery ephemera, I realise I’m back in the same territory, thinking through similar issues as I was then. While an exhibition can present artefacts, how do you capture (and represent) the more ephemeral aspects of ‘the scene’ which gave rise to these things?
Back in 1986 I was thinking about the list as an organising device, and I still am. But I’m also back thinking about the ephemerality of ‘the scene’, and how it might be represented. And oddly, my first port of call is ‘ephemera’. The project I’m engaged in has the long term goal of making an exhibition – about the vibrant emerging art scene that gave rise to number of artist-run spaces and projects in Brisbane during the mid-1980s. It’s an area of art practice that hasn’t really been given much attention, and when the history of Artist-Run
activities in Australia is discussed, the Brisbane scene in the 1980s is usually overlooked – despite the fact that this activity is discussed in Urszula Szulakowska’s introductory study “Experimental Art in Queensland 1975-1995” (1998). Perhaps part of the problem is that an account of what went on in Brisbane hasn’t really found a place in the secondary literature, so finding out about it often seems to involve going back to primary materials, or tracking down fragmentary accounts in art magazines, or old exhibition catalogues.
Perhaps, as Ross Harley suggested in his curator’s introduction to “Know Your Product”, ‘the act of collecting and documenting … is a very un-Brisbane thing to do’. Perhaps ‘most activity in Brisbane exists for its moment first, the memory second and then (sometimes) thirdly, the documentary trace’. Perhaps that was true then, but is less so now. Certainly, looking through the range of materials held in the ALA’s collection of artist’s and gallery ephemera, the traces are there. And if collecting and documenting such cultural material is a ‘un-Brisbane’ activity, the Library’s collection certainly provides another moment where perception and reality find themselves at odds.
Back in 1986 – right in the middle of the very period I am now researching – my sense was that these kinds of ephemeral documentary traces were still mainly in private hands, in organisation’s filing cabinets, in boxes under people’s beds, in sheds, under houses … so much paper and card just waiting to be lost, or perhaps all too readily discarded. Here in the library I’m glad to finding these things again – exhibition invitations, flyers for events, posters, small publications, little notes and annotations. The challenge is to discover how these traces might be activated in a way that somehow brings the activities they were linked to back to life. Perhaps I’ll begin with a short list of Brisbane’s Artist Run Spaces – EMU, Red Comb House, One Flat, AROOM, That Space, The Observatory, John Mills National, Bureau, Little Alternatives, AGLASSOFWATER, Arch Lane, Brutal (and that’s just the start …).
Australian Library of Art Siganto Foundation Research
Art Practice Keywords:
Poetry, Spoken Word
Artist Role Keywords:
Poet, Artist, Writer
Collaboration/ Collaborator names Keywords:
Various Private Collections