14/10/2010 - 00:00

Carboni hits home run

14/10/2010 - 00:00


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The Art Gallery of WA is hosting a Southern Hemisphere exclusive, which it’s hoped will present further opportunities for the arts sector.

Carboni hits home run

IT is not often that you walk into a Perth exhibition space and are met by the works of Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst and other famous mid 20th century artists.

But thanks largely to the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s director, Stefano Carboni, that is exactly what gallery goers attending the Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice exhibition, which opened at the gallery last week, will see.

There is no doubt the exhibition, which is a Southern Hemisphere exclusive to Perth, is a huge coup to the city’s cultural sector.

Mr Carboni told Business Class the exhibition offers opportunity not only to those who see it, but to Perth as a whole.

He says the opportunities that will come from hosting exhibitions of the calibre of Peggy Guggenheim are many, but will require support from government, corporate sponsors and private individuals.

“In order to create these high quality exhibitions, you have to have the buildings and an operating budget that supports not only the exhibitions but the programs and infrastructure that goes with it,” Mr Carboni says.

“You can’t present a high quality exhibition if you don’t have a nice gallery that goes with it and a nice set of programs.”

It is a sentiment echoed by Eventscorp, which provided the sponsorship support following an approach Mr Carboni admits was a little naive.

“Because I don’t know the history of this place, I almost took it for granted that Eventscorp was the ideal place to contribute. With a series like the Great Collections of The World it is clear from the tourist point of view it will create interest,” he says.

“To me it was almost a no-brainer to go to Eventscorp and say, ‘well, are you going to help us or not?’ Only after I did the first presentation and there was a good feeling about it, I realised Eventscorp had never helped the art gallery before.

“Of course they are committed to the series for the next five years, so it is a great help.”

Mr Carboni hopes the Great Collections of the World series, which will run for the next five years, will start to attract corporate support on top of the existing Eventscorp and Ernst & Young sponsorship, following in the footsteps of last year’s Art Bar initiative.

Artists such as singer Katie Noonan and comedian Will Anderson performed in an informal setting in the concourse of the gallery for Art Bar, which attracted little sponsorship in its first year.

“These evenings were extremely successful, to the point they were sold out. We made a small profit but it was important to show it was a good event that would bring a lot of people. And so the first year, we broke even and the second year Audi came as a sponsor,” Mr Carboni says.

“It is a good way to cater to a younger audience in order to make them come to the art gallery for an evening and put the gallery into their interest for a visit in the future.

“I think if you show you do something that is valuable to the community, then it is much easier to have sponsors come in.

“If the Peggy Guggenheim exhibition is successful and everyone says it will be a successful series, I am sure we can improve on sponsorship in the next few years.”


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