Gallery A was a private gallery of contemporary art that began in Melbourne in 1959. The gallery’s original director, Max Hutchinson (1925–1999), was involved initially in furniture and industrial design. Under the influence of the sculptor Clement Meadmore, Hutchinson began to exhibit contemporary Australian art, particularly abstract painting and sculpture, in his Melbourne showrooms - the origin of Gallery A.
Max Hutchinson wished to expand Gallery A to Sydney. He formed a partnership with fellow directors, Ann Lewis, Rua Osborne and later Rowena Burrell, and opened the gallery in November 1964. Gallery A Sydney was located at 21 Gipps Street Paddington in a colonial Georgian cottage that was refurbished as a simple, white-walled gallery.
This exhibition portrays the period that Gallery A operated in Sydney through selected aspects of its history. These include Mike Brown’s challenge to censorship with his 1965 exhibition, Paintin’ a-go-go!; the anti-Vietnam War demonstration, Arts Vietnam of 1968; the influential series of Ralph Balson memorial exhibitions; and Peter Kennedy’s experimental installations of the early 1970s.
The selection of art works has also been shaped by a wish to evoke varied responses to the temperament of Sydney during this period – to its gathering places at harbour-side beaches and public squares, its pastimes, architecture and performing arts.
Gallery A Sydney closed in September 1983, after approximately two decades of exhibitions that fostered abstraction in painting and sculpture, and introduced to its audience new artists and innovations in artistic form and style.
Virginia Cuppaidge installation at Gallery A Sydney 1974
This exhibition is the first in depth survey of Sydney's most controversial and ambitious gallery and will feature artists including Ralph Balson, Virginia Cuppaidge, Janet Dawson, Bert Flugelman, Rosalie Gascoigne, Frank Hinder and Michael Johnson amongst others. The exhibition is a collaboration between Newcastle Region Art Gallery and Campbelltown Arts Centre, curated by John Murphy.
Education kit: Gallery A Sydney 1964-1983 (663.0 KB pdf)
Article: Gentle art of shocking a staid older Sydney, Daily Telegraph, 10 May 2009 (1.2 MB pdf)
Article: The A List, The Weekend Australian, 28 February 2009 (625.6 KB pdf)