Art collectors unite at a Sydney dinner.
An inner-Sydney cellar door was the industrial setting for an artful dinner with a cast of art patrons who shared works from their own collections, serving guestswith food for thought.
There was a serendipitous meeting of minds when the private collections of four Sydney art lovers converged at this year’s Collectors’ Space. The third iteration of Art Month’s annual exhibition, which comprises the acquisitions of our most passionate art patrons, the show was a rare occasion for works by leading contemporary artists to face off in unexpected conversations. “The artists are very much here with us,” remarked Art Month artistic director Barry Keldoulis when Belle hosted a Reader Art Dinner to toast the exhibition. Set within Eveleigh Creative Precinct, a dynamic new cultural hub in inner-city Redfern that was among the key venues for Art Month’s 2016 program, Cake Wines’ cellar door provided a sleek, industrial foil for an evening that probed the art of collecting. Arranged on raw concrete walls, a selection of works loaned by this year’s collectors – Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Courtney Gibson, Danny Goldberg and Jasper Knight – mingled with arresting results.
Here, the monumental tableaux of photomedia artist Rosemary Laing, shot amid vast desert landscapes, were juxtaposed with a more intimately staged arrangement lensed by her contemporary, Elaine Campaner, while Sydney painter Gemma Smith’s tangled abstractions found a striking echo in the looping composition and neon hues of a canvas by British multidisciplinary artist Eddie Peake.
Sally, Jasper and Danny joined Barry in a discussion that painted a vivid picture of the collectors’ enduring passions. Having made a career in advising individuals and institutions on art purchases, Sally said that her own guiding principle when it comes to collecting is, in fact, highly intuitive. “The art collections I help others put together probably have more rhyme and reason than my own,” she said. “All the works we have collected are things that we love. It came from being immersed in art from an early age and wanting to continue [that], and from marrying a man who’s happy to humour me and join me in that journey.”
For Danny, too, building a collection has been something he likens to a journey. Five years ago, he and wife Lisa shifted their focus away from local practice and have since amassed a spectacular survey of European and US art. “We thought we might make a difference if we could enable Australians to see the here-and-now of international art,” he said. “That became the vision: to collect contemporary art with a view to it being seen.” The Goldberg Collection has toured extensively, most recently with ‘Stars + Stripes: American Art of the 21st Century’. “A lot of us probably travel and we might get to go to a major museum in New York or Paris,” said Barry. “What I love about Danny’s collection is that I’m seeing work by emerging artists we may not get the chance to ferret out of the artist-run spaces or smaller institutions where they’re showing.”
As well as being an acclaimed and in uential artist himself, Jasper runs two galleries, including Sydney’s Chalk Horse, giving him a unique perspective on the relationship between artist and collector. “I’ve always run galleries because I like being surrounded by artists,” he explained, “so if I’m not being an artist then I’m collaborating with artists, painting with them or talking to them.” Many of the works loaned for Collectors’ Space had been gifts from fellow artists or works he had traded for his own. “When you swap an artwork, you can never sell it because you’ve made a bond with the artist. So you’ve got it for life.”
This spirit of creative exchange is embodied by the unique curatorial premise of Collectors’ Space, and was re ected in the cross-pollination of talent that brought Belle’s Reader Art Dinner to life. Chef Gregory Llewellyn, owner of Newtown’s Hartsyard, composed an innovative menu that re ected the zest for experimentation evident in the works on show, while remaining in sync with the laid-back, downtown vibe exuded by the cellar door. Matched with premium Cake Wines, his hearty fare was an artful accompaniment to an evening abundant with food for thought. artmonthsydney.com.au; cakewines.com
This page, from top Cake Wines’ Redfern cellar door was the setting for the dinner. Tantrix Tangle by Gemma Smith from Jasper Knight’s collection. Opposite page A work by Elaine Campaner from the collection of Sally Dan-Cuthbert hangs above tables...
PRIVATE LIVES AN INNER CITY CELLAR D OOR WAS THE INDUSTRIAL SETTING FOR AN ARTFUL DINNER WITH A CAST OF ART PATRONS WHO SHARED WORKS FROM THEIR OWN COLLECTIONS.
This page, clockwise from top le A Rosemary Laing work hangs in the dining room. Danny Goldberg with an Eddie Peake work. Dinner guests. Jasper Knight with Gemma Smith’s Tantrix Tangle.