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Australia Council for the Arts invites Expressions of Interest for the 2019 Venice Biennale

The Australia Council has announced its approach to managing Australia’s 2019 national representation at one of the most prestigious international contemporary art events.

The Council has extended an open call for artistic proposals for the 2019 exhibition at the Australian Pavilion in Venice, enabling all Australian artists and curators who meet the published criteria to submit proposals. The successful artist and curator will be selected by an independent external selection panel comprising national and international visual arts experts with deep artistic and curatorial knowledge and experience. This panel will be chaired by respected artist and academic Callum Morton, who represented Australia at the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Australia Council Chair Mr Rupert Myer AO said he was pleased to announce the approach for 2019 which will expand the involvement of external experts through the Artistic Selection Panel and Venice Council.

“This approach will ensure Australia’s representation in Venice continues to be a rich source of exciting new Australian work. The success of the project over many years is testament to the leadership and commitment of a national network of philanthropists and visual arts advocates,” Mr Myer said.

“Many elements of the project will continue with little change. The Australia Council has been the pavilion owner and project manager for many years and will also continue to deliver a professional development program which provides invaluable opportunities for visual arts professionals from across the country. The highly successful public-private partnership model will continue to be absolutely central to realising Australia’s representation in Venice, with advocacy and fundraising led by the Venice Council, an external group of leading contemporary visual arts advocates and distinguished arts philanthropists.”

The Australia at the Venice Biennale project will benefit from input by a diverse and impressive range of external experts. The project will include:

–  the Venice Selection Panel comprising national and international visual arts experts, chaired by Callum Morton, who represented Australia at the 2007 Venice Biennale;

–  the Venice Council comprising leaders from the contemporary visual arts community and distinguished arts philanthropists, who will spearhead advocacy and fundraising efforts; and

–  the Venice Commissioning Panel comprising Australia Council Board members, to provide project strategy and governance oversight, chaired by Sam Walsh AO.

La Biennale di Venezia is the governing body of the Venice Biennale. Australia is a National Participant and one of only 29 countries with a permanent national pavilion in Giardini (Biennale gardens).La Biennalerequirements for National Participation now include that the Commissioner ‘will have to belong to the Governmental Authority’ and that they are the project manager. The Australia Council is already the project manager and will hold the role of the Commissioner for Australia in 2019. In the past the role has been held both by the Council and, most recently, by eminent arts patrons appointed by the Council.

Australia at the Venice Biennale has become an exemplary project which sees the Council bringing together a remarkable group of philanthropic, corporate and government partners who are committed to showcasing contemporary Australian visual arts globally.


Click here to view the available Expression of Interest.


Media contact: 

Brianna Roberts

Media Manager, Australia Council for the Arts

Phone: (02) 9215 9030 / 0498 123 541   Email:



Australia at the Venice Biennale

Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale began in 1954, and since then 38 distinguished contemporary visual artists have exhibited under the Australia banner. The Venice Biennale provides Australian artists with critical international coverage, exposing them to key new audiences, markets and contexts. This exposure helps build the profile of Australian contemporary visual arts and establishes international cultural links, networks and dialogue for individual Australian artists. The Biennale represents a significant platform for the Australia Council for the Arts and our supporters to showcase contemporary Australian visual arts across global borders. Click here to find out more about previous artists.

Australia’s national participation in the Venice Biennale is managed by the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s principal arts funding and advisory body. The Australia Council also owns the Australian Pavilion.

About the Australian Pavilion

The opening in 2015 of the award winning Australian Pavilion designed by Denton Corker Marshall, celebrated the first 21st Century pavilion in the Giardini. The Australian Pavilion provides an elegant home to showcase the best of Australian art and architecture. The Australian Pavilion is positioned within the Giardini della Biennale or the Biennale Gardens. The pavilion is one of only 29 national pavilions within the Biennale Gardens, all built at different periods by various countries.

The Australian Pavilion is the first 21st Century building to be constructed in the Giardini. The original pavilion designed by Philip Cox opened in 1988 hosted 22 artists during its lifetime.

The development of the Australian Pavilion was made possible through a public-private partnership led by the Australia Council with the then Commissioner Simon Mordant AM, affirming Australia’s commitment to the Venice Biennale and to presenting the best of Australia’s contemporary visual art and architecture.

La Biennale di Venezia Procedure for National Participation from Countries that have a permanent Pavilion at Giardini or long term Pavilion at Arsenale

New requirements stipulate that:

“The Commissioner will have to belong tothe Governmental Authority or to the delegated Public Institution representing the Country.” 

“As representative and direct expression of the Governmental Authority of the Country, the Commissioner will guarantee the transparency of the organizational process, supervise the project of the National Participation and be responsible for the exhibition in the Country’s own pavilion, in agreement with la Biennale and in compliance with the Exhibition’s cultural and organizational standards.”



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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