The Porter Street Commission is ACE Open’s newly established annual art award supporting new artwork commissions by South Australian artists at any stage of their career.
Each year, $20,000 will be awarded to a selected artist for the purpose of producing an ambitious new work, and will be presented as part of ACE Open’s exhibition program as a 9-week solo exhibition at ACE Open across July and August. An artist fee will be provided by ACE Open in addition to the $20,000.
Bridget Currie is the inaugural recipient of the newly established Porter Street Commission.
Currie has been an active part of South Australian contemporary art for over 15 years, including previous exhibitions at Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (The New New, curated by Peter McKay and Alan Cruickshank, 2010) and Adelaide Experimental Art Foundation (Regulators, 2009; and Scivias, 2003). More recently, she has presented significant new work the Art Gallery of South Australia (Versus Rodin: Bodies across space and time, curated by Leigh Robb, 2016) and the Adelaide Central School of Art Gallery (Warm Earth, with Bernadette Klavins, 2019).
Applications for this year’s inaugural Porter Street Commission were considered by a selection panel composed of ACE Open’s Artistic Director Patrice Sharkey (South Australia); Pablo León de la Barra (Chief Curator at MAC Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro; Curator at Large, Latin America at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC); and Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace, Sydney).
How did the Porter Street Commission come to be?
The Porter Street Commission exists thanks to the Porter Street Fund and launches off the back of ACE Open’s winding history. In understanding why and how the Porter Street Commission exists, one must first understand why and how ACE Open exists too.
Established in 2017, ACE Open was founded on the legacy of its predecessors, Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) and Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), to serve and lead the South Australian contemporary visual arts sector into the next era. As the flagship contemporary visual arts organisation in South Australia, ACE Open honours the ambitions and intent of these two pioneering organisations through a commitment to experimental practice and support of contemporary artists.
Let’s jump even further back in time, shall we? From 1964 until 2016, CACSA was the longest running contemporary art space in Australia. It was created by the young artists of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) — itself dating back to 1942. These artists recognised the need for a space of their own to freely experiment and present work to the public. So, in 1964, they purchased a four-bedroom villa at 14 Porter Street, Parkside to convert into an art gallery, and there it operated until the property was sold in 2018. The proceeds were invested to establish the Porter Street Fund, which honours the vision of the CAS artists and the legacy of CACSA, and serves to directly benefit the community for whom ACE Open exists.
Clear constitutional guidelines — determining that 50% of revenue be reinvested and the remainder spent to support artists and art practice — ensure that the fund serves the community for whom ACE Open exists, and that it will benefit South Australian artists for decades to come.