Home' Scoop Homes and Art : SHAA 34 Spring 2012 Contents 206 HOMES & ART SPRING 2012
Doug and Madga Sheerer have
been presenting the work of local
artists to a West Australian and
national audience since they opened
Galerie Düsseldorf in the basement of
Allendale Square in 1976. A vibrant
commercial gallery scene is fundamental
to the cultural life of any community, and
Galerie Düsseldorf has been a cornerstone in
creating that community in Perth.
The early exhibitions in Allendale Square
and later in Hay Street are some of the most
significant cultural events in our visual
culture, and the program of exhibitions that
continues to this day in their purpose-built
gallery in Mosman Park is an indication
of the support they have provided to so
many artists in Western Australia, and in
particular to so many young artists.
In the 1990s they established a generous
prize at the end of each Postgraduate
Exhibition at the John Curtin Gallery –
the fortunate artist who won that award
was given an exhibition at the gallery and
DOUG AND MAGDA SHEERER
The work of Doug and Magda
Sheerer at Galerie Düsseldorf has
helped to create a community of
significant West Australian artists.
became a part of the Galerie Düsseldorf
family. The various alumni of that act of
faith are a community of some of the most
significant artists working in Western
Australia and internationally.
In 2013, Galerie Düsseldorf will be
closing, one of many galleries to do so over
the last year. Much has been made of the
col lapse of the sector, but such closures have
happened before. In 1976, Skinner Galleries
closed after twenty years as Perth’s leading
commercial gallery, and the Old Fire Station
Gallery closed in the same year. New
galleries emerged then and others will now.
Doug and Magda are disappointed to
hear and read all these negative statements
“ touting doom and gloom”. “This is
unproductive and certainly doesn’t help
anyone, or the situation in general,” they
explain. “Optimism and staying positive is
the only way to go forward!”
Their decision to close, they say, had
“nothing to do with economic conditions or
other gallery closures either here in WA or
elsewhere”. Beyond thei r first concern – to
ensure that their artists would be looked
after – the pair are focusing on the future.
“As far as we’re concerned we have our
own very personal reasons for calling it a
day mid-2013 after 37 years,” they say. “We
need to take time out to ensure our future
plans (whatever they may be) come together
with clarity of both mind and vision, and
that’s what we will be doing in 2013”.
Galerie Düsseldorf has been the locus for
so much that was important and exciting
in Australian art. Everyone will have
their favourite exhibitions from almost
four decades of activity, but every list will
undoubtedly include amazing exhibitions
of Howard Taylor’s work, from the mid-
eighties up to the artist’s death and beyond.
Add to that exhibitions by young artists
from Galliano Fardin to Brendan van Hek
and interstate shows by Janet Laurence and
Hilarie Mais, plus international exhibitions
from the likes of Paul Wunderlich, Joan
Miro and Henry Moore, and the impact of
their contribution begins to gel.
It will be a different cultural landscape
without Doug and Magda, but it is by no
means barren terrain.
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