Eleven artist-led initiatives shine in NO SHOW


While 2020 wasn’t exactly a year of no shows, art exhibitions certainly were a bit thin on the ground at times as galleries and museums, large and small, scrambled to react to Covid-19 induced restrictions. Carriageworks is making up for lost time with NO SHOW an ambitious group exhibition that features the work of more than 50 artists, writers, curators and editors associated with 11 NSW-based artist-led initiatives.

Aarna Hanley, curator of programs at Carriageworks, says that the genesis of the show was a desire to support emerging creatives. “And then from there we thought, ‘How do we do this?’ And we decided to present the organisations that support these practitioners.”

The 11 artist-led initiatives selected for NO SHOW are incredibly diverse, ranging from Sydney-based institutions Boomalli and Firstdraft – which have both been around for decades – to relative newcomers like Pari (Parramatta) and WAYOUT Artspace (Kandos, NSW).

WAYOUT Space, Alex Wisser, Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, 2021.

“We wanted to make sure we represented different audiences, different types of practitioners, different ways of working and organisational models,” Hanley says. Each artist-led initiative designed their own program for NO SHOW and their selected artists’ projects promise to be equally diverse. For instance Kath Fries (presented by Pari alongside four other artists) will be showing sculptures which feature live mushrooms, while Wiradjuri artist Jazz Money (hosted by Firstdraft) will focus on First Nations storytelling, sovereignty and issues of social justice.

Hanley adds that it was important for her to highlight the digital realm “because I think artist run initiatives (ARIs) are able to do exciting work there, and sometimes do the most exciting work digitally.” As an example she cites Prototype, an online portal for new Australian art videos, that will present a film series titled Radical Ecologies in which six artists respond to the climate crisis and the Anthropocene.

The architect designed exhibition layout for NO SHOW will provide each of the 11 artist-led initiatives with discrete space, while simultaneously allowing them to be part of a dynamic synergistic whole.

“After a year of no shows it’s nice to come together, literally,” explains Hanley, “Not in your bedroom, in the hall, or in your kitchen; but in a public space, together again.”

NO SHOW showcases projects and residencies by ANKLES, Boomalli, Firstdraft, KNULP, Our Neon Foe, Pari, Prototype, Running Dog, Runway Journal, Studio A, and WAYOUT Artspace.

12 February – 7 March 2021

Preview Words by Tracey Clement