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As Australia opens its doors to its exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale Hany Armanious The Golden Thread – Australia Council announces plans for a new Australian pavilion in Venice.

Australia Council CEO, Kathy Keele made the announcement in Venice this morning at the press conference for the 2011 Australian exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

James Strong, Chair of Australia Council said today: The current pavilion was designed and generously gifted by Philip Cox and other arts supporters. It was built in 1988 as a temporary structure an artistic statement reflecting the nature of Australia at the time. The pavilion is owned and managed by the Australia Council and has served us extremely well. We feel the time is right to begin working with the private sector towards a new pavilion on this site.

The design and condition of the Australian pavilion is a longstanding issue, drawing comment from both the arts and architectural sectors over many years. The Australia Council will project manage the fundraising process and any subsequent redevelopment.

We are delighted to announce that Simon Mordant – Co-chief Executive of Greenhill Caliburn, Commissioner for 2013 Venice Biennale and Chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art and member of the Tate International Council and New Museum Leadership Council – has agreed to work with us in the evaluation and the fundraising process. He and his wife Catriona are passionate about this initiative and have agreed to make a leadership gift of $1 million should the project proceed, Mr Strong said.

Simon Mordant said The Venice Biennale is the most important event on the contemporary art calendar globally and it is critical that Australia maintains its leading presence in Venice. Arts infrastructure is fundamental to this and with the temporary pavilion now almost 25 years old it is timely to consider a new pavilion,

I am excited to be leading the private sector support for this project this is a wonderful example of a collaborative partnership between the Government as owner and the private sector as prospective funders. I would hope that we could have a new Pavilion in place for the 2015 Biennale, Mr Mordant said.

The Biennale is considered the most important and prestigious event on the international contemporary arts calendar, and is the oldest and largest established biennale in the world. Australia has been consistently represented in the Venice Biennale for more than three decades, through the financial support and management of the Australia Council for the Arts.

The 2011 Venice Biennale opens to the public on 4 June and continues until 27 November. Visit for more information.

Media contact:
Victoria McClelland-Fletcher
02 9215 9008



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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