Melbourne Art Fair returns in 2018

MAF Maree Di Pasquale and Charles Justin on the future site of the 2018 Melbourne Art FairMelbourne Art Fair returns as the region’s most significant platform for Australasian contemporary art. The Fair takes place as the anchor event of Melbourne Art Week: 2 – 5 August 2018, housed in a temporary structure within the Southbank Arts Precinct and alongside the iconic Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA).

Beginning in 1988, the biennial event provides a platform for artists, collectors, curators, arts professionals and enthusiasts to connect and engage with contemporary art, providing commercial and curatorial opportunities for galleries and their artists. Showcasing 40 – 50 galleries from Australia, New Zealand and the region, Melbourne Art Fair returns with a curated selection of some of the newest and most respected names in contemporary art.

Owned and managed by Melbourne Art Foundation, the Fair is set to welcome 20,000 visitors over 4 days as the anchor event of Melbourne Art Week; a city-wide program embracing cultural organisations, public institutions, independent art spaces and commercial galleries in the creation of public events, exhibitions, talks and performances.

The revitalised fair is driven by the newly appointed Melbourne Art Foundation Director and CEO Maree Di Pasquale, who brings international art fair expertise having worked in key global markets across Asia and the Middle East. Di Pasquale takes the helm after holding senior positions with key regional fairs, namely Assistant Director of Sydney Contemporary and founding Director of Art Central in Hong Kong.

“With a highly selective offering, Melbourne Art Fair is set to become the premier showcase for leading Australasian contemporary, and will once again be instrumental in driving critical and commercial attention for galleries and their artists,” says Di Pasquale. “It will play an important and iconic role in reaffirming Victoria’s profile as a commercial hub and centre for cultural accomplishment.”

“We are committed to servicing the needs of our key stakeholders, artists, galleries, collectors and the public, to provide commercial opportunities for the industry and to lead the way in building national and international audiences for the Australian art market.”

Di Pasquale is supported by a new Melbourne Art Foundation board with a diverse skill set across government, commerce and the creative industries. Chaired by Charles Justin, a founder of architecture giant SJB and past President of the Jewish Museum for 5 years, the Melbourne Art Foundation is focused on its mission to support and promote contemporary Australian artists through commercial incentives.

“Melbourne Art Fair is more than just an art fair,” says Justin. “It extends beyond the commercial showcasing of work to the cultivation of discussion and creative relationships necessary to support and grow contemporary art commercially, culturally and socially.”

“Southbank Arts Precinct is the ideal location for the revitalised Melbourne Art Fair as it embodies the creative diversity of its host city. The precinct is a true demonstration of excellence in the visual and performing arts: home of an Australian flagship contemporary art space, ACCA, the Malthouse Theatre and Chunky Move, and a neighbour to the Victorian College of the Arts and the future gallery of Buxton Contemporary.”

ACCA’s distinctive rusty steel facade and world leading artistic program offers an inspiring setting for Melbourne Art Week’s anchor event. Melbourne Art Fair is a short walk from renowned precinct arts organisations and venues including the city’s premier concert venue Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Southbank Theatre.

Melbourne Art Fair responds to the city’s growing appetite for contemporary art, as well as an industry’s demands for the return of a scalable commercial exhibition platform in Victoria.

“Melbourne Art Fair was the first commercial fair of the Asia Pacific to establish an international network for collectors to connect and engage with the Australian art market,” says Di Pasquale. “We have a strong and active collector base that galleries from Australia and the region want to access. Melbourne Art Fair provides that access.”

The 2018 Melbourne Art Fair runs from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 August. Gallery applications open 15 July 2017. For more information, visit: www.melbourneartfair.com.au for details.

Image: Maree Di Pasquale and Charles Justin on the future site of the 2018 Melbourne Art Fair (supplied)

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