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The Year of the Phantom Exhibition

1991 was dubbed by Frew Publications as the year of the Phantom which included a Phantom exhibition along with the first Annual issue #972. The Phantom art Gallery opened on 1 February 1991 and ran until 22 February at the D.C. Art Gallery in Paddington, Sydney.

The exhibition was curated by art director Michael Naggy with artist Peter Kingston and Frew Jim Shepherd contributing with artwork and merchandise. Together 30+ artists contributed to the gallery,

The opening night was a black tie event which was invite only with limited public spots available. All funds from tickets and the auction of specific artworks went to the Starlight Foundation of Australia. Double tickets were sold for $80 - to the right is a scan of a ticket for the event.

Some art pieces were donated by celebrities like cricketer Ian Chappell, TV personality Jeff McMullen, Richard Morecroft among others. We have been able to hunt down some prices that some of the artworks sold for.

  • Phantom Fetish by Richard Morecroft sold for $700

  • A triptych from David Lyle sold for $210

  • The Ghost who Baulks by Brett Whiteley featuring a Mona Lisa cut out wearing a black mask sold for $3,250

  • Ian Chappell's sporting print titled The Phantom Lawry on the Attack dedicated to his cricket co-commentator Bill Lawry sold for $100.

  • The Phantom at Glenrowan by Jeff McMullen sold for $200

The exhibition also included other items besides art pieces including many items from the Frew archives including printing plates from the 1930's, Phantom comics books from around the world, original cover art, merchandise and much more.

One of our favourite pieces from the gallery has to be the chess set - instead with white and black, it features the good guys and bad guys including the Google Eyed Pirates, Lady Luck Pirates, Guran and the Pygmies and of course Diana.

Some eager eyed phans will spot a few similar pieces in other more recent 2014-2017 Phantom art galleries organised by Peter Kingston and Dietmar Lederwasch. This is just a small sample from the evening:

Hundreds of phans attended the event and the event helped raise the profile of the Phantom with newspaper articles around Sydney and other mediums it also did cause some negative attention including an article by the Post Magazine highlighting three pieces that show the Phantom in rather unique situations.

Artist David Nelson (right) painting titled "Take That" with The Phantom with his hands bound. Ron Waugh's depiction of the Phantom cupping a mans face all caused some different reactions. One famous phan Max Walker who played senior AFL for Melbourne and Cricket for Australia was apparently one of those not impressed.

To help capitalise on this event and the 1000th Frew issue, Frew also released a Media Kit which went out to celebrities', media houses and much more.

Thanks to Peter Kingston he was able to send through some photos from phans and people who attended the opening night. Some of these photos are in colour while others are scans from newspaper articles we were able to hunt down. Some prominent attendees who attended the opening night were Martin Sharp, Jennifer Byrne, Andrew Denton, actor Noah Taylor and politician Malcolm Turnbull.

Photos and some information has been sourced by Peter Kingston, Trevor Clark and Keith Bennett who attended the event. Thanks also to Jon Cookson and Glenn Ford for their input and access to files that has been scanned and are included in the Phantom Preservation Project - you can find out about the project here.


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