As described in an interview with Gina Fairley in ArtsHub, the family now want to extend that passion by sharing their 250+ art objects with the public. Opening an art-focused home to the public is not new to Europe or America. Think of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Frick Collection in New York, Sir John Soane Museum in London and the Sammlung Hoffmannn House Museum in Berlin.
In Australia we certainly have witnessed the slow rise of the private museum in Australia, galleries such as the White Rabbit Gallery and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Sydney, TarraWarra and Heide Museums of Modern Art in Victoria, and now the famous Museum of New and Old Art in Hobart. But a new kind of private museum is developing here, situated in a private home and crossing the boundaries between house and museum.
The idea was inspired by the Lyon Housemuseum in Cotham Rd Kew. In 2000 Corbett Lyon and Yueji Lyon built on their interest in contemporary art and architecture, and developed the concept of a house museum to accommodate their family and their art. The family living areas flow around the museum spaces and accommodate further artworks, architectural drawings and artefacts, intermixed with the domestic settings of the house. The Lyon Housemuseum challenges conventional perceptions of public and private, and explores new relationships between art and architecture.
The Justins have recently completed building their new home which will also feature a major new private gallery to show off the work as well as providing a space for exhibitions. Located in Lumley Court Prahran, Justin Art House Museum has been designed by their architect daughter, and stands out for its striking zinc façade. This 3 level building, with a dedicated gallery space at first floor level and residence at second floor level, has abstract geometric lines that echo the works in the Justin Collection. While the scale of JAHM is equivalent to a commercial gallery, the structure is quite different because it includes living spaces.
JAHM in Prahran
striking zinc façade (above)
gallery space first floor (below)
Some of the artists held in the Justin collection include: Richard Blackwell, Stephen Bram, Don Deieso, Gina Jones, Melinda Harper, Anne Mestitz, Justin Andrews. The opening exhibition in March 2016 will be guest curated by Rachel Kohn, ABC presenter and producer of The Spirit of Things. This exhibition will explore the notion of the Divine in today’s secular, post enlightenment world and raise questions of whether art can be a meaningful alternative to religion to contribute meaning and spirituality in all our lives.
The house museum opens for bookings on 1st March 2016 via the JAHM website and will conduct the first tours on 3rd April. It will operate as a non profit organisation, and the costs will be defrayed by an admission fee. Each exhibition will be augmented by a public program of talks, panels and performances, conducted in conjunction with educational institutions.
InsideArt’s Michel Lawrence was commissioned to produce a half hour documentary on the collection to coincide with the opening of the new gallery. You can see the trailer for Perceptions of Space: the Justin Collection at Miro Films.