Cover image of the review

Yusi Zang, My Dad Used to Put Walnuts In the Door Crack and Close the Door to Crack Them Open, 2024, door handles, chestnuts, screws, 5 x 13 x 4.5 cm. Photograph: Tommaso Nervegna-Reed. Image courtesy of the artist and Cache.

Yusi Zang: Eating and Living; Tommaso Nervegna-Reed: Kellogg's: Colour Charts

8 Jun 2024
Yusi Zang: Eating and Living, Cache 25 May - 26 May 2024 Tommaso Nervegna-Reed: Kellogg's: Colour Charts, Cache 2 Jun - 2 Jun 2024

It’s happening again. Just like they said it would.

You could write the whole history of Melbourne art as a battle between DIY tendencies and professionalising urges. A rash of DIY tendencies in art is a symptom of a recession, as the artist Peter Cripps once told us. While professionalism is elsewhere taken to be the universal mark of success, in Melbourne we have confidently flushed a lot of paper reviewing DIY galleries, ARIs, or whatever you want to call a place that’s open for four hours on Saturday and Sunday where you show your friends’ art. While we have studied artists’ self-organisation and self-curation, there has been less theorising about the more interesting proposition Cripps made in the 1980s, when he and his peers (such as John Nixon and Peter Tyndall) coined the category of Recession art. Recession art was not just a description of art made in hard times, it was really a category for Australian art in general, i.e. they’re all hard times here. “Recession Art refers to art which is made under the pressure of no money and a small market,” Cripps wrote in an exhibition text for Monash University Gallery in 1983: “It tends to be small, easy to produce, store and dispose of.”

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.