Cover image of the review
Tony Garifalakis, Scum Salon #1, 2022, low viscosity silk screen print on cotton-linen blend, 192 x 143cm, Sarah Scout Presents. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne.

Tony Garifalakis, Scum Salon

17 Dec 2022
Sarah Scout Presents 11 Nov - 17 Dec 2022

Last week, the launch of A Foul Wind by critic/philosopher/poet Justin Clemens at Collingwood House set the salon scene nicely for us ahead of this review. We stood in the unbelievably tasteful living room of this creative space, replete with floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto blustering gum trees, massive Cy Twombly-esque canvases paired with whimsical pre-Raphaelite sketches and an exposed kitchen seemingly stocked exclusively with Le Creuset crockery. It was almost enough to make us question whether the grey and gritty Johnston Street we’d just stumbled in from wasn’t some kind of methedrine-soaked inner-suburban mirage. As Jennifer Coolidge’s character from The White Lotus breathily rasps while describing her Sicilian fantasy, this was so chic and nice.

The salon occupies a historically unique position within art-world ecologies, from the eighteenth-century’s Rahel Varnhagen, host to philosophical luminaries like Schlegel, Schelling and Schleiermacher, to Gertrude Stein’s infamous rooms at 27 rue de Fleurus, whose attendees included Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and James Joyce. Firmly institutional but nominally informal, the twenty-first-century salon—rebranded in one of its iterations as the “house gallery”—reminds us that an art world so utterly deracinated from the economic structures that defined classical patronage produces some seriously unstable and topsy-turvy hierarchies.

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