How one woman helped to shape the Australian art world
Kiffy Rubbo was a dynamic and unique force in Australian art in the 1970s. It was the time of ‘the personal is political’, of the Vietnam War and the draft, of Indigenous rights and feminism. It was under Kiffy Rubbo’s leadership — and at a time when the artistic community was increasingly seen as an alternative to the mainstream political rhetoric — that the George Paton Gallery, at the University of Melbourne, would become known as a vital, nationally recognised centre for contemporary art.
Through Kiffy’s visionary and progressive approach, the gallery was transformed into a hub for ideas and discussion, and art-political activism. It became the home for feminist enterprises such as the Women’s Art Movement and the Women’s Art Register, as well as fostering publications such as the Art Almanac and Arts Melbourne. Many major contemporary artists, such as Elizabeth Gower, Stelarc, Peter Tyndall, and Lyndal Jones, were early exhibitors there.
Featuring contributions by significant curators, artists, and critics, Kiffy Rubbo: curating the 1970s explores for the first time Rubbo’s enduring legacy — and the immense role that she played in nurturing Australian visual-art culture at such a crucial time in its history.