Immerse yourself in Art Late: Art Gallery of Ballarat’s new after-hours experience

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


Immerse yourself in Art Late: Art Gallery of Ballarat’s new after-hours experience

Nan Goldin, French Chris on the convertible, New York City, 1979
Nan Goldin, French Chris on the convertible, New York City, 1979
Nan Goldin, French Chris on the convertible, New York City, 1979
Nan Goldin, French Chris on the convertible, New York City, 1979
Nan Goldin, French Chris on the convertible, New York City, 1979
1 / 5
Words by Talia Rinaldo

Prepare to immerse yourself in a world of art and music after-hours with Art Late, the Art Gallery of Ballarat's innovative new series of late-night encounters set against the backdrop of Nan Goldin's captivating exhibition, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.

From 2 March to 2 June, the series will deliver an evening of sensory delights, where contemporary indie bands and evocative photography collide to create an unforgettable experience.

Louise Tegart, the Gallery Director, describes Art Late as an invitation for visitors to explore the Gallery in a new light, emphasising the element of curiosity and discovery. “Art Late is about curiosity and discovery,” she says, “With our schedule of exhibitions for 2024, we wanted to enhance the visitor experience with a series of late-night encounters, highlighting the Gallery in a new light.

“We encourage visitors to wander the gallery after work and take part in an art making activity, or enjoy a band, our inspired menu and curated bar and be a part of something special.”

Stay up to date with what’s happening within the region’s art scene here

Kicking off the series are two compelling Australian indie bands, Gut Health and The Belair Lip Bombs. On 16 March, delve into the hypnotic sounds of Gut Health, a six-piece ensemble hailing from the Naarm/Melbourne underground scene. Their sonically daring, visually adventurous performance promises to transport you into a world of post-punk edge and raw energy.

Following suit on 13 April, The Belair Lip Bombs take the stage with their masterful melodies that weave stories of longing and self-discovery. Fresh from their successful stint at SXSW in the US, this indie band promises an enthralling performance that intertwines evocative narratives with indie arrangements, leaving you spellbound.

The choice of Gut Health and The Belair Lip Bombs as the featured bands was inspired by the essence of New York and the themes portrayed in Nan Goldin’s exhibition. Tegart explains, “We curated an Art Late lineup for March and April with the Nan Goldin exhibition and New York as the inspiration behind selecting the bands and style of music.

“Gut Health is a major supporter of the LGBTQI+ community and culture development and we are honoured to have them as part of our inaugural Art Late series, their music resonates with the in-depth documentary-style photographs of New York underground in the 1970s and ‘80s taken by Nan Goldin and on display right now.”

Central to the Art Late series is Nan Goldin’s groundbreaking exhibition, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Making its Victorian debut in Ballarat as part of PHOTO 2024, this highly anticipated showcase delves into Goldin’s exploration of subcultures, moments of intimacy, and the impact of societal issues like HIV/AIDS and opioid epidemics. Goldin’s deeply personal and candid portraiture acts as a visual autobiography, inviting viewers into her world of love, empathy, and the struggles of human relationships.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency began life as a slide show and was published as a now-iconic book in 1986 that established Goldin as a major contemporary artist. Goldin refers to The Ballad as her ‘public diary’, stating that her photographs ‘come out of relationships, not observation’. 

“The Ballad was Goldin’s first book and remains her best known, a benchmark in the narrative of the private and public self. She is currently an activist who has used her status as an artist to radically change the landscape of the American and European art world,” Tegart explains. “Goldin’s much-publicised war on the billionaire Sackler dynasty, whose company, Purdue Pharma, fuelled the deadly opioid epidemic in America, has resulted in the family’s name being removed from a raft of major galleries and museums, including the Tate, the Louvre and the Guggenheim.” 

Curated by Anne O’Hehir of the National Gallery of Australia, this exhibition offers a poignant tribute to the losses experienced by Goldin and her community while serving as a powerful tool for social activism. Goldin’s work transcends mere observation; it emanates from relationships and serves as a testament to the enduring human spirit amidst adversity.

When asked about the significance of Nan Goldin’s exhibition, Tegart highlights its ability to resonate deeply with audiences.

“Audiences will be moved by Nan’s work,” she states, “The compelling nature of Nan’s work is that she pulls no punches – she captures the good and bad sides of love and friendship as well as the devastating effects of addiction and loss of loved ones. Her work pulls you into a time and place and the relationships she held and lost.”

Reflecting on the broader goals of the PHOTO International Festival of Photography and its alignment with the mission of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Tegart emphasises the importance of universal access and progressive conversations. “Photography is a great way to interrogate and challenge the society we live in,” she explains, “and through this, we grow as a community.”

In addition to the captivating exhibitions and live music performances, Art Late offers a culinary journey with supper, sweets, and drinks to complement the evening’s festivities. Priced at $50 for the show, exhibition, and supper, with drinks available at bar prices, it’s an all-encompassing experience that will no doubt leave you inspired.

As for what visitors can expect from Art Late, Tegart paints a vivid picture of immersive art, music, food, and beverage experiences. “Art Late is for cultural lovers looking for new experiences,” she says, “Ticket holders receive themed-supper delights and a curated bar with our hospitality partners, and can discover the exhibitions and collections in an after-hours time zone.”

 “Visitors to Ballarat and locals to the region will be nurtured in Art Late, the nocturnal series of curated art, music, food and beverage designed for the curious and art fans looking to shake up their Gallery visits with a whole entertainment program,” she adds. “Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency opens up a conversation about time, environment and culture and we’ve compiled a series of events for the arts engaged to experience art, culture and music all under the one roof.”

So, whether you’re a local looking to explore Ballarat’s vibrant night-time scene or an out-of-town visitor seeking a unique cultural experience, Art Late is a must-see celebration of art, music, and community. Step into the nocturnal world of creativity and let the magic unfold at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Art Late runs until 2 June 2024 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Find out more and get your tickets here

This article was made in partnership with Art Gallery of Ballarat.