2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres closes its third act

AAR-AGSA-Sebastian-Goldspink-photo-by-Tanya-LinneyThe 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres curated by Leigh Robb closed on Sunday 2 August, after presenting the exhibition across all platforms since Friday 28 February.

Due to COVID-19, Monster Theatres was staged in three acts. In the pre-COVID environment, the opening weekend of Monster Theatres saw over 10,000 attendances. Following its COVID-led temporary closure, AGSA pivoted to offer experiences, digital events, virtual tours and artist talks via its website and social media channels, reaching an audience of 95,000 online. AGSA was thrilled to reopen on Friday 5 June and to extend the Adelaide Biennial until Sunday 2 August with capacity and social distancing limits in place.

“The essential role of the artist has come acutely into focus during the presentation of the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres. 2020 celebrated 30 years of the nation’s longest running survey of contemporary art and Adelaide as the home for this ambitious and outward looking national survey,” said Art Gallery of South Australia Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM.

“The role of the Adelaide Biennial in championing emergent art projects and connecting people through contemporary visual art has become hugely relevant as we collectively negotiate new challenges wrought by the pandemic.”

“This Adelaide Biennial shows how astute these artists are and how important contemporary art is as a way to find and make meaning in a quickly shifting reality,” said Monster Theatres curator, Leigh Robb. “The artists’ prescient works speak to the remarkable ability of artists to tap into anxieties, fears and hopes, to not only heed the warnings but sound them louder.”

“These are threshold works that demarcate the boundaries of a new reality; just as the present pandemic is a watershed moment in world history separating the past from an unclear present. Whatever awaits, artists will be at the forefront of envisioning our shifting reality,” says Robb.

AGSA has also announced Sebastian Goldspink as the curator for the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. A proud descendant of the Burramattagal people of Western Sydney, Sebastian Goldspink is an independent curator and creative producer at the National Art School, and founder of ALASKA Projects which has showcased 500 artists across 150 exhibitions.

“The appointment is equal parts humbling and exciting,” said Goldspink. “I relish the platform to bring stories to people and to share artists’ vision and work. The opportunity to be able to work with the AGSA team on a platform of this scale, scope and history of the Adelaide Biennial is a privilege.”

The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is presented in association with the Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from AGSA Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor, The Balnaves Foundation. This project is assisted by the Australia Council’s Visual Arts and Craft Strategy. For more information, visit: www.artgallery.sa.gov.au for details.

Image: Sebastian Goldspink – photo by Tanya Linney