Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics RoomLog 5 Trans-Tasman
Log 5 Trans-Tasman

Melbourne Roundup
Lyndal Walker



The artist-initiated scene here is extensive, varied and lively. This means that artists can be in control of all aspects of their work as well as having the opportunity to experiment. For those involved in the running of galleries, they have the experience of administration, government and private funding and programme management.

Earthcore outdoor dance parties and Teriyaki's roaming club night are definitely the occasions to attend particularly if you're into electronic music but this is not a pre-requisite.

Photography is definitely the new painting.

Installation is the other new painting.

It started with leg warmers, now it's including single gloves and studded belts. The 80s revival in fashion has begun. Whilst 80s pop has long had a presence, I can't see the decor of the era coming back.

'The real' and the 'everyday' are definitely the themes of the moment particularly if you're a writer or curator.

Wearing skirts over trousers is a fashion that its difficult to dislike in a Melbourne winter.

There are many young art writers in Melbourne who share the 90s attitude of young artists and publicise the scene in established magazines such as Art + Text. Their catalogue essays are often works of art in their own right.

Hip hop is enjoying a revival with young groups like the Avalanches and a new generation of break dancers.

Painting still has a prominent place for thirty-something stars such as Melinda Harper, Garry Wilson, Rose Nolan, Marco Fusinato and Constanze Zikos. (They were all involved with early 90s artist run gallery Store 5.)

Rock 'n' Roll is here to stay. There is a very good live music scene here and lots of forty-something blokes with long hair, cowboy boots and a wardrobe that consists entirely of black denim and black leather.

The Melbourne Glasgow Cultural Exchange is a big programme of exhibitions and visits between the two cities.

Small bars in the city and surrounding 'burbs have been opening consistently since '94. Particularly 'in' if you're at the newest one.

The first Melbourne International Biennial will happen in May/June 1999. It is set to be a major international visual arts event. Artists from all over the world will be exhibiting in various locations around the city. No concrete info has been revealed yet.


The commercial galleries in Melbourne are not coming to the party that the independent scene is having. They remain conservative in their approach to artists, audiences and publicity.

Jeff Kennet is our reigning new right Premiere who has brought sweeping change to the state including enormous funding cuts to excesses like hospitals and schools along with massive developments such as the Grand Prix and the Casino, many built by his mates. He is 'pro arts' but this can't save him from the OUT list.

The National Gallery of Victoria is going to close for renovations in 1999 for two years.

Georges is the re-vamped department store which promises plenty with lifestyle consultants rather than sales assistants and a devotion to the latest in sophisticated taste. Unfortunately it doesn't deliver unless you're a thirty-something couple with incomes of $100,000+.

Painting is still OUT but it must be time for a revival

The racist, protectionist, anti-welfare, anti-arts political party One Nation has its lowest support in the state of Victoria, fortunately.

When the Crown Casino, with a gazillion cinemas, restaurants, bars, shops and night clubs opened a bit over a year ago, it looked like it would eclipse culture in this town. A series of high rollers have won large amounts of money and the casino's finances and influence are not the threat they once seemed.

Victorian College of the Arts, the prestigious place to study, has major financial problems and is threatening, amongst other things, to offer places to people who do not qualify but have $$$$.

Theory has lost the authority that it had in the '80s and early part of the '90s with writers, artists and audiences preferring writing that is more accessible and even fun.

Retro is a seemingly un-stoppable phenomenon of the '90s, particularly in the form of decor. However, someone has to take a stand, so I say it's OUT.

Lyndal Walker
Spring 1998



Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics Room