Cover image of the review
Alpha60 Chapter House.


8 Aug 2021

Help! We’re lost and can’t tell the shop fronts from this Spring1883 sputnik. It’s caught in the orbit of ALPHA60, punctuated by champagne, cops and QR codes. Gone is the Windsor Hotel’s renaissance-revivalism and grimy opulence, once Spring’s point of difference from those other humdrum art fairs. That was a place where collectors saw how their purchases might look next to drapery, side tables and bed linen. Spring1883 has moved from one Victorian-era setting to another: we’re in the light-flooded and pointy-vaulted Chapter House of St Paul’s gothic-revivalism down on Flinder’s Lane, today housing a store that dresses all Melbourne’s 30-something arts workers in demure linen a-line pinafores, sack-dresses and culottes. The mood is auspicious.

Alpha60 Chapter House.

But the cathedral-cum-retail setting is well-adapted to the art fair. Change rooms and designer clothing racks have been easily converted into boutique gallery booths, garments replaced with works of art. In one case, it’s ALPHA60 merchandise itself: their series of printed throw-rugs made in collaboration with Patricia Piccinini are given pride of place both in the centre of the hall and draped over a fancy recliner at the entrance.

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