Hours of operation

Hope Dies Last: Art at the End of Optimism
Curated by Mark Feary

5 October -
9 November 2019

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High St, Preston VIC 3072

Opening:  Friday 4 October, 6-8pm

Hope Dies Last: Art at the End of Optimism was curated by Gertrude Contemporary Artistic Director Mark Feary. 

Hope Dies Last: Art at the End of Optimism was a curated exhibition of Australian and international contemporary art presented across two sites, Gertrude Contemporary and the Margaret Lawrence Gallery at the Victorian College of the Arts. The project focused on how artists consider the depletion of optimism, how they might envisage the end of days, and how they make sense of these tumultuous times. Exploring themes of mortality, fatalism, extinction, pain (both emotional and physical), failure and downfall, the works largely focused on the specific moment when hope evaporates for the final time. Explored with compassion, humour, sadness and resignation, Hope Dies Last confronted our individual and collective anxieties around death, reminding us of the certainty of this fate, yet recognising this conclusionary moment as one we will experience alone. Hope Dies Last will be one of the most depressing events of the year, an exhibition that will riddle us with sadness, and likely leave us more pessimistic than we have ever been before.


  • Tony Garifalakis
  • Vernon Ah Kee
  • Eric Jong
  • Escape from Woomera
  • Todd McMillan
  • Andrew Liversidge
  • Tracey Moffatt
  • Sanja Pahoki
  • Alex Seton
  • Myuran Sukumaran
  • Grant Stevens
  • Nell
Public Program

On Optimism and Death

Panel discussionThursday 19 November, 3amGertrude Contemporary

The panel discussion assembles a selection of esteemed speakers whose professional lives can involve considerations of death and grief. Drawing in a range of perspectives, the discussion traversed across ideas of mortality, memorialisation, the defence of life, and the pragmatics of death. Hopefully not as bleak as it sounds, On Optimism and Death offered a unique platform to consider the prospect of death and its impacts – personally and collectively – through the lenses of anthropology, the legal system, the arts and the funerary industry. 

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Presented in partnership with Melbourne International Arts Festival and Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne.

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Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm