House museums are double-barrelled in name as they are in nature, and rare to boot—a residence on one hand, and a semi-public art space on the other. For former architect Charles Justin and Leah Justin, an education coordinator at Melbourne’s Jewish Museum, retiring quietly was not an option. While others tend to look towards downsizing their homes, the Justins commissioned a triple storey apartment, dedicating the two lower floors to their considerable art collection. April 2016 saw their inaugural exhibition Divine Abstraction ruminating on the topic of God and the divine with works by Gabriella Possum Nungarrayi, Penelope Davis and Ash Keating, to name a few.
After three exhibitions, Leah and Charles Justin are handing over their floor space to Canberra-based couple Susan Taylor and Peter Jones, who began collecting just under two decades ago. A mutual interest in Justin Andrew’s work, which they both collect in depth, drew the two couples together.
“There are very strong common threads to our collections both in our interest in non-objective art and geometric abstraction,” says Charles Justin. Taylor and Jones have also converted a spare bedroom in their home into Spare Room 33. “Most art sits in private environments which is only accessible to a limited audience and therefore the general public does not have an opportunity to see it,” says Justin.
timeFRAME refers to the periods of acquisitions which make up the three sections of the exhibition beginning from 2000–2003. While geometric abstraction was an early interest, with works by John Nixon, Marie Hagerty, and Peter Vandermark sought, Taylor and Jones soon began collecting “concrete poetry, art ephemera relating strongly to conceptual art, posters from geometric abstractionists from Germany and Netherlands and contemporary jewellery,” says Justin. With over 200 works in their private collection, about one fifth will be on display.