Barbara Cleveland Thinking Business

National Exhibition Register

  • This is a stained glass window (still)
    Barbara Cleveland This is a stained glass window (still), 2019
    Single Channel HD Video, 13’28”
    Image Credit
    © and courtesy of the artists

About the exhibition

Thinking Business is an exhibition by Barbara Cleveland that explores forms of female friendship, collaboration and artistic labour. The project takes its title from Hannah Arendt’s description of her friendship with Mary McCarthy. As Arendt wrote, “it’s not that we think so much alike, but that we do this thinking-business for and with each other.” This idea of an intellectual and creative connection between women is at the centre of this project, which focuses on the 15-year-long working relationship between the members of Barbara Cleveland.

Presenting five video works spanning ten years of the collaborative’s prolific career, each work contributes to a fascinating study of humour, absurdity and feminist practices. Thinking Business highlights the performative aspect of Barbara Cleveland’s work which brings endurance, labour and time to the exhibition, with great impact. The exhibition will be presented as a theatrical installation and has been designed in collaboration with architect Luke Pigliacampo.

With the rise of neoliberalism and the acceleration towards individualism and precarity, this project turns towards the collective and the collaborative to consider alternative support structures and other ways of thinking and working together.

Thinking Business is a carefully curated survey of Barbara Cleveland’s work and their inaugural solo exhibition at a public gallery in Australia.

Artists and Curator

Barbara Cleveland and Gina Mobayed

Barbara Cleveland is an Australian artist collective directed by Diana Baker Smith, Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore, and Kelly Doley, working on Gadigal land (Sydney). The collective take their name from the mythic feminist performance artist who they recovered from the margins of Australian art history and who has been a key feature in their work since 2010. Barbara Cleveland’s projects are informed by queer and feminist methodologies that draw on the historical lineages of both the visual and performing arts.

Barbara Cleveland have shown their projects at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Biennale of Sydney, Queensland Art Gallery Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane and Hayward Gallery, London.

Diana Baker Smith is an artist and writer. Her projects are research driven and typically develop through methods and practices of performance and collaboration. Her current research focuses on revisiting marginalised narratives in art history through performative practices. Diana has a PhD in art history and works as a lecturer at UNSW Art & Design.

Frances Barrett’s recent projects pivot around the modalities of listening and touch: Meatus, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2020; All Ears: A listening party, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2018; Into My Arms, Ace Open, Adelaide, 2018; and Handle, CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, 2018.

In 2019 she was one of the recipients of Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship. Frances is currently a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash Art Design and Architecture.

Kate Blackmore’s films have been presented across cinematic, broadcast and contemporary art contexts and aim to extend the theoretical limits of what is traditionally meant by the term ‘documentary’. She has written, directed and produced several films for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation including the Walkley Award nominated dance series, THE MOVEMENT. Kate is currently teaching at UNSW Art & Design.

Kelly Doley was born in Naarm/Melbourne and is of Scottish descent. Her projects often use performance, conversation and painting, specifically the craft of hand painted sign-writing, a skill passed on by her Dad who was a commercial set painter.

She has exhibited most recently at Sullivan+Strumpf, the 2018 Adelaide Biennial and Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne). Her works are held in various collections including Sheila Foundation, Artbank, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
31/10/2021 onwards
Exhibition size
Between 75-100 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
Contact to discuss
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Catalogue/Book, Education Kit, Exhibition Tour Manual, Installation Support Available, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Invitations or Invitation Template, Labels, Media Kit, Public Program Opportunities, Signage
Primary contact
Rachel Arndt
Gallery Programs & Touring Exhibitions Manager
Museums & Galleries of NSW
0439 383 899
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and Museums & Galleries of NSW touring exhibition