10 minutes with Sullivan+Strumpf

Australian gallerists Joanna Strumpf and Ursula Sullivan tell us about their first art buys and why every home needs great art

By Medina Azaldin | Published: 26 Jan 2017

Ursula Sullivan and Joanna Strumpf (Photo: Nikki To)

On their first art piece…

Joanna Strumpf: In university, I wrote art reviews for a local newspaper. I went into an exhibition, I can't even tell you the artist's name anymore, but I was so grateful to have this job that I just bought one of his artworks and gave him a good review as well. I still have it!
Ursula Sullivan: Mine was also bought when I was a student. I went to an art performance in a performance space in Sydney. This artist had done some work on paper as well and I bought that. Very cheap, but still, it's good to start young.

On coming back to Art Stage…

JS: We just love catching up with people that we see here every year. There are some people who are collectors and they go to fairs, exhibitions, and then there are other people who just really love the fair and love the atmosphere and its convenience because they live busy lives.
US: We have this space in Singapore now (in Gillman Barracks) and it's given it a different dynamic for being here at the fair, which we're really enjoying.

On dream dinner party guests..

US: John Baldessari, because I think he's really good. Frida Kahlo. Leonardo da Vinci.
JS: I was tossing up in my head between da Vinci and Michelangelo, maybe both. And then I'll want to have Sam Leach who's one of our artists – we'd just want to have them sit together. We'd be fascinated to draw up a list, but we'd also really be fascinated to do the seating arrangement!

On their Insta-feeds…

JS: I know this sounds a bit 'in-house' but I love following our own artists on Instagram. Even though we might have conversations about what they're doing, where they're going, their new work... There's an immediacy about them posting something on Instagram. It's like "Oh my gosh. Are we getting [this artwork]? Tell me we're getting this."
US: It's usually followed by a phone call of "When are we getting that??"

Their advice to amateur art collectors…

US: Do it properly.
JS: Buy something really significant for yourself each year for your own art collection. You can have amazing exhibitions, and you can sell thousands of artworks every year but if you don't keep something really fabulous for yourself, when you're 60, 70, you've got lots of money in the bank but nothing great on the walls.

Planning a trip to Australia or Singapore anytime soon? Be sure to check out the Sullivan+Strumpf Gallery in Sydney or Gillman Barracks, Singapore. For more info, head to and follow them on Instagram.

Related: Our top 10 picks from Art Stage Singapore
Related: Singapore Art Week 2017


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