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48th Venice Biennale: Howard Arkley 1999

12 June - 7 November 1999

Australia Council for the Arts

Curator: Timothy Morrell

Project Manager: Global Art Projects

Howard Arkley's exhibition The Home Show was Australia's official presentation for The 48th Venice Biennale 1999.

The exhibition of large, luminescent canvases by Melbourne-based artist Howard Arkley ingeniously engaged with the distinctive building, designed by noted Australian architect Philip Cox and erected in 1988 to mark Australia’s bicentenary celebrations.

On entering the Pavilion the viewer encountered an overstuffed dream world of fantastic colours and vibrating shapes - a creation replete with oversized armchairs, kitsch lamps, modular dining settings and geometric curtains through which one spies the lure of a backyard pool and waiting banana lounge.

The Home Show installation was composed of three suites of paintings: Residential Subdivision (1994-99), Fabricated Rooms (1997-99), and Outside-Inside-Out (1995) based respectively on suburban exteriors, interiors and the decorative patterns usually applied to domestic surfaces.

During the five-month exhibition period at the 48th Venice Biennale, The Home Show was seen by more than 124,000 people from all parts of the globe. The exhibition received acclaim from both critics and the general public alike, many of whom drew parallels between Arkley and the work of Lichtenstein, Warhol and the British Pop artist Patrick Caulfield. Many critics also were drawn to the luminosity, power and vibrancy of the works.

The Home Show tour of Australia in 2000 included The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland, Museum of Art, Brisbane.