Some time ago, I had an awful experience with the Melbourne-based gallery, Metro 5. I vowed never to have anything to do with it again. Then the Italian-born Andrea Candiani was appointed as the gallery's new director. Right from the start, Andrea had to confront the Herculean task of restoring the gallery's badly damaged reputation and credibility, as well as re-establishing the trust of many well-known artists who felt they'd been burned in their past dealings with the gallery. It was, and still is, hard and thankless, but Andrea has persisted. He genuinely loves art. Moreover, if he believes in a particular artist, he will put the gallery's money where his mouth is to support them. He manages to resist the gallerist's natural inclination to be controlling, manipulative and possessive. Andrea is bright, imaginative, and blessed with boundless enthusiasm. Unlike a lot of gallerists, he doesn't hesitate to get involved in polemical discussions and I often come across his name under posts in art-related fora on the web. He is quick to embrace new ideas, new media, and new ways of promoting them.
It is probably too much to hope that he's the first of a new breed of Australian gallerists – gallerists who actually care about art and artists, rather than the money they can make from them – but the fact that Andrea exists at all is enough to reassure me that all is not lost when it comes to the business of art.