After the huge success of 2014’s Fashion Icons exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia, get ready to see more fashion intertwined at the Gallery after the appointment of their new Decorative Arts Curator Rebecca Evans. Although the decorative arts collection also includes ceramics, furniture and metalwork, Rebecca’s true passion lies within the fashion – both contemporary and historic. Swoon!
She has worked on previous fashion exhibitions and acquisitions over the years and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us. She has already hinted to an exhibition during the upcoming Adelaide Fashion Festival with the pieces acquired from this year’s Australian Fashion Week.
We chat to Rebecca about her appointment, love for art and what she loves about living in Adelaide since moving here earlier this year from Sydney.
Tell us more about your role of Decorative Arts Curator at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
I look after the Gallery’s collection of Australian and European decorative arts. This includes ceramics, furniture, metalwork, jewellery, textiles, glass and fashion – historic to contemporary.
Day to day, I develop exhibitions and build the collection through acquisitions. I’ve been in the role since mid-March this year so I am slowly getting acquainted with the Gallery’s exquisite collection of decorative arts and I think I’ve got one of the best collections in the country to work with!
We hear fashion is your speciality, please tell us more…
Sure is, I love fashion, especially Australian fashion, both contemporary and historic. I am interested in the connections between historic and contemporary fashion in Australia, many of the issue and topics of discussion in the contemporary Australian fashion industry are as relevant now as they were in 1800.
Some of my favourite fashion designers working now include Romance was Born, Discount Universe, Dion Lee and Toni Maticesvki. Internationally I enjoy the work of Iris Van Herpen, and Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri for Valentino.
How did you land the role?
Previously, I was an Assistant Curator at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney working mainly in the area of fashion, dress and textiles. I’ve worked on a number of fashion related exhibitions and acquisitions over the years. Last year I acquired two outfits from Romance was Born from their spring/summer 15/16, a collection inspired by the work of iconic Australian fashion designer and artist Linda Jackson whose archive is held in the Powerhouse Museum collection.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with and being inspired by some extraordinary designers and artists!
What does a typical day in the Gallery entail for you?
Each morning before the Gallery opens, I Windex the showcases to remove all the nose and finger prints from the day before and wind our 1930 Ernest Choate longcase clock in Gallery 2. Sometimes I work with the install team to changeover works on display.
I usually try to get some writing down for an essay or upcoming talk before morning meetings with colleagues to talk upcoming acquisitions and exhibitions. The afternoon is usually spent visiting an artist in their studio or a local collector. After work I’ll try and catch an exhibition opening or two before heading to my local for a drink with my housemates.
You made the move from Sydney to Adelaide earlier this year, what have you enjoyed most about SA so far?
I have enjoyed the close knit arts community and the ease of the lifestyle. Less traffic, less expensive (!) and with all the things I enjoy, extraordinary art, excellent food and wine, beautiful beaches, hills, a wonderful swing dancing scene and even better vintage clothing shops to Sydney.
What’s your favourite piece of art at the Gallery?
The William Morris collection which is the largest collection of Morris art outside of the UK. I’ve got grand plans to redevelop the display in Gallery 19a in the near future.
Are there any future plans to introduce and involve fashion more at the Art Gallery of South Australia?
YES! I think that’s one thing you can guarantee of my appointment as the Decorative Arts Curator. I am currently working on some acquisitions from Australian Fashion Week in May, that will go on display for the Adelaide Fashion Festival in October (watch this space).
Photography by Andre Castellucci.