3 May – 22 June 2003
Curator: Victoria Harbutt with John Kirkman, Martin Kirkwood and Jonathan Wilson
A high intensity, low tech, interactive collection installation. Vinyl House gave visitors the opportunity to play over 1,000 records – LPs and singles, all released between 1969 and 1981. A third of the records were labeled and critiqued after the style of acclaimed Australian music writer, Lillian Roxan. The exhibition was installed in the four rooms of Lewers House and the Bath House building, each room contained a genre based collection of records and a record player.
The rooms were:
- Barry Crocker Breakfast Bar – Rock
- Bon Scott Memorial Bedroom – Pop and Disco
- Elton’s Den – Soul, Funk, Punk and Electronic
- Diana Ross Conservatoire – M.O.R., Stageshows, Soundtracks and New Wave
- Joy Division Bathroom – 7” singles
….Adjoining the gallery is the Lewers House, each room of which has been turned into either a bedroom, lounge or study with at least one old-fashioned record player to experiment with. Lift the arm, keep your hand steady, and when you place it on the lip of the album the room will immediately fill with what sounds like a swarm of bees being chased by a dentist’s drill. This lasts for only a few seconds and then, as if floating on a sea of honey, the sounds of Lou Reed, David Bowie or Jefferson Airplane will transport you to a magical vinyl kingdom….people have been found dancing, and singing, and reliving other aspects of the era of free love, in various parts of the house and gallery. But it was the smaller details I most enjoyed – for instance, the walls of the rooms lined with thick stacks of records, the way students from Sydney to Stockholm to San Francisco used to do… Peter Hill, Sydney Morning Herald, June 21 2003
….It’s a rare exhibition that gets people dancing and all sorts were jiving at The Vinyl House (1969-1981), curated by Victoria Harbutt at the Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest. A thousand ’70s records were installed in theme rooms at Lewers House, each with its own sound system and ’70s decor. The elation felt by visitors to Harbutt’s show was almost matched by the concurrent show at Penrith Regional Gallery, Vernon Treweeke – The Secret Paintings. Viewed with 3D glasses under ultraviolet neon light, Treweeke’s psychedelic abstracts and figurative paintings were a thrilling, spectacular experience.
Anne Loxley, Sydney Morning Herald, January 1, 2004