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The Australia Council for the Arts today announced the appointment of Doug Hall AM as commissioner for the Australian exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale Festival in 2009.

‘The 2009 Venice Biennale will be key to growing the already high level of international interest in Australian contemporary visual arts, and Doug Hall’s contribution as commissioner will be vital to achieving this outcome,’ said chairman James Strong AO.

Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said: ‘We are honoured that Doug has accepted the role. His extraordinary knowledge of Australian contemporary art and his outstanding track record of success with innovative, large-scale contemporary art exhibitions, combined with his professional standing in the international art community, will be great assets to our participation in 2009.’

Doug Hall said he was delighted to accept the role: ‘Australia’s contribution to the Biennale in 2007 received such a phenomenally positive reaction, and it’s a great personal honour to work with the Australia Council to build on that success, by showcasing more of the finest contemporary art talents Australia has to offer.’

The Australia Council will again be responsible for managing Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale 2009. It will allocate a base budget of $700,000 to the project.

As in previous years, the commissioner will lead a fundraising program to supplement the Australia Council’s contribution. The role of deputy commissioner and commissioner’s council (yet to be named) will support Doug Hall in the fundraising effort.

Total project expenditure will be confirmed following selection of the artists and development of a detailed exhibition plan.

For 2009, the Australia Council will adopt several new approaches to the selection and presentation of the Venice Biennale artists.

  • The Australia Council will form a selection panel comprising the Australia Council’s seven-member visual arts board, the commissioner and three senior curators – Linda Michael (independent curator, and curator 2003 Australian exhibition in Venice – Patricia Piccinini), Tony Ellwood (director, Queensland Art Gallery) and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (artistic director 2008 Biennale of Sydney)
  • The Australia Council will invite a shortlist of artists chosen by the selection panel to submit proposals for participation in the event
  • The Australia Council will select one senior artist for presentation in the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini, and a small group of emerging artists for presentation in one other yet-to-confirmed venue outside the Giardini.

The appointment of a curator for the overall presentation, or curators for components of the project, will be determined following assessment of the works proposed by the selected artist/s.

Media contact

Victoria McClelland-Fletcher
Tel: (02) 9215 9008
Mob: 0409 223 719



Brianna Roberts


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