Museum of Brisbane

Behind the Scenes: BRISBANE ART DESIGN

BRISBANE ART DESIGN (BAD) is one of the most ambitious contemporary art exhibitions we have put together at Museum of Brisbane. It is a celebration of what is happening in art and design in Brisbane now.

BAD has taken over the entire Museum and captures the energy and creative collaborations that are driving the art and design scenes in Brisbane. Gallery One provides a reflective space, looking at process, craft, systems of knowledge and larger social issues featuring the works of Richard Bell, Dale Harding, Susan Hawkins, Nicolette Johnson, Sam Watson and Dave Hullfish Bailey. Adelaide Street Gallery is an interactive space where people can contribute to the Aquilizans’ cardboard installation, and Gallery Two examines the crossovers between technology, design and art, featuring robotics, video installation, interactive experiences and a fully automated film studio.

For BAD, the Museum has commissioned 14 major works but for me, one of the most exciting aspects of BAD was the new collaborations formed for the show. We introduced designer Alexander Lotersztain and artist Bridie Gillman who collaborated on Breathe. Marc Harrison (Husque) and Jason Bird (Luxxbox Design) had been wanting to work together for years, and BAD provided the perfect opportunity.  BAD has also invited practitioners to cross disciplines within the one space: projects that would not usually be shown in a gallery, such as VISITOR and Jaymis Loveday’s Cinema Swarm and QUT and UQ Design Robotics team’s Roboblox project.

Working on an exhibition of this scale, and with so many commissions, there are countless unknowns. In the lead up, it is an exchange of ideas and expectations, and as much as we can plan, there are always variables that we face during install. With 16 artists and designers featured throughout the Museum, the layout and floorplan is constantly changing to adapt to the evolving works and ensure harmony between them. However, it is both exciting and rewarding working with the artists through the development process and seeing it all integrate well in the space.

There are many behind-the-scenes factors that come into play for exhibitions like these. Conservation requirements and pest management means working with artists closely to know what their mediums will be, where the works have been stored or created, and bringing the works onsite prior to install to inspect, freeze or fumigate if necessary.

Supporting artists to realise their ideas is our main aim with each exhibition.  At the same time, each installation has to be considered down to the minute details in regard to health and safety of our visitors, the safety of the artwork and the limitations of the spaces in which we’re working (you would be surprised by the weight of the Aquilizans’ cardboard installation!). There’s a lot of problem solving, and it involves voices from every aspect of the Museum team working together to find solutions. To see an artist happy with their finished work, and to see visitors interact with it, makes it all worthwhile!

Miranda Hine


Image: Kellie O’Dempsey, Outside the Lines exhibition space. Photo by Jono Searle.