For some of us, sartorial style comes naturally. We dress with ease and expression, distinction and sense-of-self. But when faced with the challenge of collecting interiors and artworks that reflect that inimitable style at home, we’re at a loss. Where does one begin?
Alana Kushnir is the ever-chic and brilliant-minded curatorial expert (what a title) at the helm of Guest Club: a membership-based network of emerging art collectors and enthusiasts, based in Melbourne.
The community curates and presents a series of in-person events, virtual tours and masterclasses, fusing them with transparent advisory designed for the next generation of art enthusiasts.
Alana’s mission is to bridge a gap between emerging collectors and the gatekeepers of the oft-elusive art world. In the 24 months since its inception, Guest Club has held events with the likes of Sydney Contemporary, NGV, STATION, RoslynOxley9, Sullivan+Strumpf and Neon Parc.
Today, Alana sits down with Harrolds to demystify the art of curation, share some emerging artists to watch this year, and guide us on selecting masterpieces based on our favourite fashion houses.
Alana's mission is to bridge a gap between emerging collectors and the gatekeepers of the oft-elusive art world
Alana Kushnir, Founder and Director of Guest Club
Alana Kushnir, Founder and Director of Guest Club
Who is an emerging artist the Harrolds reader should know about?
My latest purchase was a piece by Melbourne-based Nick Modrzewski. Nick moonlights as a barrister by day, but is also an incredibly talented artist. Like many artists these days Nick works across mediums – including performance, writing, sculpture and painting. His recent work is focused on the quirky aspects of the law and he paints these spectacular scenes of debauchery, with humour, intellect and a dose of every-day reality thrown in the mix.
For the Tom Ford regular, what local artist would be a perfect match?
Dale Frank. Both ooze confidence, glamour and go bold with colour. Over the past few years Dale has perfected the process of pouring tinted varnish onto a mirrored perspex surface, so the Tom Ford regular will enjoy catching a glimpse of themselves in the artwork’s reflection.
…And what about for the millennial enamoured by the likes of Christopher Esber and BY FAR?
For a Christopher Esber fan I would suggest Zoë Croggon. Zoë’s collage-based works use texture, light and form to encourage us to think about how the human body interacts with its surrounding environment. She combines found photographs and magazine cut outs in unexpected but delicate ways, bringing new lines and shapes into focus for the viewer.
For BY FAR I’d suggest Grace Wood. Grace also works with collage but layers her images in digital form, be they images of flowers, runway models or impressionist artworks. She prints her digital collages on different surfaces, and one of those surfaces tends to be silk, giving them a softer, floatier feel.
Name a few trends we should know about for this autumn/winter when it comes to home art?
The obsession with modernist-inspired ceramics is evolving into other materials and more contemporary forms, like glass and resin for example. Painting continues to be a strong first preference for those who are buying art to enliven their home environment. That said, art tends to have a slower trend cycle than fashion. The 2010s were all about gestural, abstract works. Now figurative painting, and “bad” painting is de rigueur. But like designers, the true pioneer artists don’t follow trends – they make them.
When collecting art, where does one begin?
I recommend looking at art online on Instagram, Artsy and Artnet, and in-person at galleries and art fairs. While images of art online are more accessible than ever before, and can allow you to take in a lot quickly, for art that is created to be experienced in the real (as opposed to digital art for example), seeing art in-person will allow you to pick up on subtle details that you may not otherwise note – the scale, the texture, the physical effect an artwork may have. To begin collecting, you must take the time to look at the art.
True pioneer artists don’t follow trends - they make them.
Liam with 12 percent vision in one eye and 25 percent vision in the other eye is finishing his third year as a builders apprentice
Pigments in easycast resin, epoxyglass on iridescent perspex
120 x 120 cm
Courtesy the artist and Neon Parc
Most underrated spots in Melbourne to find brilliant new art?
I wouldn’t call these underrated by any means, but some new spaces I am enjoying are Discordia, which is in the historic Nicholas Building on the corner of Swanston St and Flinders Lane and LON Gallery, which has recently relocated to Bridge Road in Richmond. There’s also some interesting new spaces which present work at the intersection of art, design and fashion (something that Melbourne is particularly good at!), like At the above on Gertrude Street.
COMA in Darlinghurst consistently produces good shows which profile up-and-coming artists. There’s also Jerico Contemporary in Woolloomooloo, which does a great job at pairing emerging artists with emerging collectors. A (fairly) recent addition to the Sydney scene is Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, which is one of the only commercial galleries in Australia that consistently brings together art and design, and champions collectible design, otherwise known as “functional” art.
What’s happening on the Australian art scene in 2021?
After many exhibitions, festivals and other art events were cancelled or postponed in 2020, there is a lot of hope for the Australian art scene in 2021. Many of Australia’s signature art events are now back on the calendar, from the NGV’s Triennial which runs until mid-April, the recently completed Photo 2021, RISING – the newly combined Melbourne Festival and White Night in May, the inaugural international festival of photography, to Sydney’s Art Month in March and Sydney Contemporary in September. There is always something to see, do and experience when it comes to art.
Explore the beguiling brushstrokes of new and old artists via the Guest Club.