Matthew Brown

Operating from a small storage space in the West End of Walyalup, artist Matthew Brown runs Bill’s PC, an exhibition program informed by a number of global artist run programs that deviate from the traditional gallery and ARI paradigm. Brown started the project after meeting David Attwood, whose exhibition program in Boorloo, ‘Disneyland Paris’, has been profoundly influential in his direction of Bill's PC and his broader art practice.

“Dave is one of the best artists in Australia working with readymades and found-object sculptural assemblage,” says Brown. “He is a kind of idol and hero figure to me, and in many ways the Bill’s project has been made possible through support and encouragement from him.”

This acknowledgement of influence and admiration extends globally to artists like Joshua Abelow and his exhibition program ‘Freddy’, which operates from a converted church in upstate New York. While these exhibitions programs have physical spaces, their digital presentations are equally as important, dispersing documentation of the shows on the internet through web infrastructures such as Contemporary Art Library and Contemporary Art Daily. These online platforms serve as archives and act as international circulation paradigms, facilitating economies of attention and exchange among interested audiences online.

Since its inception in September of 2023, Bill’s PC – named after a computer system within the Pokémon Gameboy franchise – has presented two shows: Story of eggs (bird gallery for bird) – a solo presentation by Tokyo-based artist COBRA, and (video art) – a solo presentation by Bangalore-based artist Nihaal Faizal. It operates as a one-person venture, granting Brown the autonomy to direct the program without major constraints. “I don’t have to appease a board of stakeholders, nor consider the commercial viability of works when deciding who and what to show,” he says.

These types of exhibition spaces offer an innovative approach for artists seeking to cultivate a community and stimulate discourse around work that is pertinent to their practices and interests. While having a program that revolves around Brown could be assessed as self-serving, an acknowledgement the artist does not shy away from, it provides him a platform to engage with pre-existing networks of attention and exchange that might otherwise be inaccessible.

“Bill’s is ultimately about exchange; the shows are most rewarding and successful when they become moments of exchange and conversation,” says Brown. “The artists presented at Bills are all artists that I have first encountered on the internet and have followed over many years. In certain ways I am acting as a fan or collector.”

The upcoming show at Bill’s PC is a solo presentation by Olia Lialina, a pioneering figure in ‘netart’. She is an animated GIF model and regularly writes and publishes theory about new media, digital folklore, and the early history and conventions of the web. Following Lialina's show, Brown adds that future programming includes “a solo show by the king, David Attwood”.

This article was originally published in the 2024 annual ‘50 Things Collectors Should Know’ issue of Art Collector. Photos curtesy of the artist.