Gallery Guru’s Goodbye

How do you put down on paper who and what Joe Eisenberg is, and how he has shaped and moulded the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) over the last decade?

Maybe 170 different pieces of paper can better tell the story, art telling the story of a man who has worked in imagery for more than 40 years.

That is what is coming to MRAG this May – just over 170 works on paper from some of Australia’s best and brightest, the most established and most promising artists, all being donated to the gallery as a parting gesture, a collaborative gift to the community.

“It’s an educational and entertaining exhibition all at once; it’s a nice way of saying goodbye,” enthuses Joe. “The public will see an amazing array of contemporary art, in a whole lot of mediums, yet all of the works are paper based,” he continues.

Late last year Joe flicked through his address book and contacted nearly 200 artists he has known and worked with over the last four decades, asking them to get involved in one last show. Many he mentored and championed, and now it seems they are keen to return the favour. He gave them the lyrics of a Tom Waits song, “The piano has been drinking (not me)” and asked them to interpret that on paper…

Story: Penny Evans.