diversity and accounting for the unassimilable

Archie Barry

Countess @ Campbelltown Art Centre (Part I)

Countess Editorial

Countess @ Campbelltown Art Centre (Pt. II)

Countess Editorial

representation at Sydney

Miranda Samuels

Gallery Director’

Rebecca Gallo

secondary art

Miranda Samuels

  1. Clear Expectations
    Guidelines for Institutions, Galleries and Curators Working with Trans, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Artists
    by Spence Messih & Archie Barry, copy-edited by Bobuq Sayed and proofread by EO Gill
→ Countess Report (2019)
01.06.2019, Countess Editorial

Countess @ Campbelltown Art Centre (Part I)

In 2018 The Countess Report was invited to participate in Borrowed Scenery at Campbelltown Art Centre.

“With over 50 artworks from the Campbelltown City collection including ceramics, weavings, sculpture, paintings prints and new media… Borrowed Scenery creates a reflection of unique achievement and explores the discourses of female representation within collections and exhibitions.” (C-A-C website)

In formulating our response to the exhibition we were interested in experimenting with a style of working that could operate as both artwork and advocacy. We wanted to explore the use of data and its relationship to Countess’ feminist politic from philosophical and conceptual perspectives, alongside our usual instrumentalization of data as a tool for benchmarking and transparency within the arts.

The work we produced comprised of three parts:

  • ‘52 commas’, 2018, bronze
  • A room sheet which provided perspectives data from the collection, and relevant policy documents related to the collection.
  • Closing night presentation, written by The Countess Report, performed by artist Safari Lee. (see Countess @ C-A-C part II)
  • Policy advice to improve C-A-C’s collecting practices (forthcoming)

‘52 commas’ was informed by the importance of the comma as a delimiter in data analysis. The comma is an object that both separates fields of data and indicates a pause, or a moment of reflection between one idea/artwork/data field to the next. At C-A-C the number of commas corresponds to the number of artworks in the Borrowed Scenery exhibition. The work was installed between each artwork at the height of our knees, in lieu of didactic wall panels. The commas were as reliant on the artworks in the exhibition as the artworks were on ours.

In June 2019 we accepted C-A-C’s invitation to offer feedback and advice on an updated institutional collection policy that has been drafted in response to our findings on gender disparity.

Reviews of our work:

Image 1: Install mockup for 52 Commas
Images 2-4: Borrowed Scenery (2019), installation view, Campbelltown Arts Centre. Image credit DOCUMENT PHOTOGRAPHY.