Sunday, 31 May 2015

1970 - 1973

This Yellow House digital archive site contains a list of people and timeline for Martin Sharp's Yellow House artist community located at 57-59 Macleay Street, Potts Point, Sydney between February 1970 and March 1973. Included within the timelare are references to newspaper and contemporary reports. The idea for an Australian version of the artists colony first envisaged by Vincent van Gogh during the 1880s, took shape in conversations in London around 1968 between Martin Sharp and film maker Albie Thoms.Upon his return to Sydney early in 1970 Sharp began to put some of these ideas into place.

Of the origins of the Yellow House, Martin Sharp noted the following in a 1982 interview: The outrageous cynicism of Martin's early OZ cartoons is over, and the collaction and relocation of popular images began with his production in the Yellow House, Sydney in the early 1970s. "There was some urge to do the Yellow House. I could not have done it in London. Maybe it was bringing back to Australia all that I'd learned in England," he said. Collecting again. "I remember packing a suitcase with things. A Magritte print, some etchings of his, some records by R.D. Laing, certainly the Tiny Tim record; and it was like a time capsule. People here got int the spirit of it all." It was quite a crowd. Brett Whiteley, Peter Kingston, Willy Young, Greg and Dick Weight, among "thegangang." Martin beams: "They rose to the occasion. It was impossible to keep going. A pretty ragbaggy crew we were ...." The Yellow House was put down by all the critics except Laurie Thomas, and died after two years of wild dreaming. "The Yellow House in Macleay Street does have a lot of history. John Passmore, Russell Drysdale lived there. it was the home of the Clune Gallery .. Vadims, the really seminal restaurant...." (Sydney Morning Herald, 18 September 1982)


The timeline begins with precursor events in Sydney at the Yellow House site, and then covers the period of its opening between early 1970 and the beginning of 1973 when the doors were closed. The building was subsequently redeveloped, though its essential fabric remains, even though the many artworks which became part of its structure no longer survive.

The Clune Gallery years


59 Macleay Street, Potts Point - the Clune family of Frank, Thelma and Terry open the Clune Gallery.  It is operated by Terry Clune and Frank McDonald. Initially it was supportive of Australian Expressionist and Modern artists. McDonald later left to form a gallery specialising in art of the colonial period.


Muffled Drums exhibition at the Terry Clune gallery, featuring Dadaesque works.

6 December - Art for Mart’s Sake - Martin Sharp’s first solo exhibition of his work, held at the Terry Clune Gallery. Aims to raise money for his trip to London via Asia.


January - OZ Super Art Market exhibition at Terry Clune Gallery. Cited as Australia's first true Pop Art exhibition, it included works by Martin Sharp and Peter Kingston, amongst others.

February – Martin Sharp and Richard Neville leave Sydney for London, via South East Asia.

July - Sharp leaves Neville around July and heads directly to London, where he arrives around August. Neville reaches London in September.


January – Richard Neville and Martin Sharp launch OZ magazine in London.

December – Martin Sharp leaves England to return briefly to Australia.

January – reception at Paddington RSL welcoming Martin Sharp back to Australia. Report in Go-Set of his return.

July – Martin Sharp back in London. Does art for OZ and Big O Posters.


The Yellow House

Martin Sharp at the opening of a Yellow House exhibition, circa 1970. Photograph: Rennie Ellis.

c. January - Martin Sharp returns to Sydney early in 1970 with plans for an exhibition at the Holdsworth Galleries, which was then managed by Peter (Charlie) Brown. This does not proceed. Sharp instead approaches Thelma and Terry Clune regarding the use their old art gallery building in Macleay Street, which was in the process of being sold to Ian Reid for development. Sharp and Brown take over the 3-storey terrace and start repainting its walls orange, red and blue. Sharp then installs an exhibition of his own works. The building is known as the Martin Sharp Gallery during this initial period, prior to its official transformation into the Yellow House on April Fool's Day the following year.

17 May – What a way to go ..., Sunday Telegraph. Review of theMartin Sharp exhibition.

20 May – The Australian – report on the opening of the gallery.

Martin Sharp in the Yellow House, cira 1971. Photograph: Greg Weight.

21 May – Sydney Morning Herald – item by Donald Brook.

23 May – The Australian – items by John Henshaw.

23 May – The Australian – items by Jane Perlez.

24 May – Sydney Mirror – report on the opening of the gallery.

30 May – Daniel Thomas, ‘Martin Sharp’s past’, The Bulletin. On Martin Sharp exhibition at the old Terry Clune gallery.

13 June – Sharp's Clune Exhibition, The Bulletin. Item by Elwyn Lynn.

15 June – Women’s Day. Item re the Martin Sharp exhibition.

July – Stockhausen, Karleheinz Hymnen concert held at the gallery.

July – Jeannie Lewis concert.

July – Ian Farr and Richard Meale concert.

5 July – Daily Telegraph – Daniel Thomas reviews the gallery show.

Martin Sharp, Catalog No.3, Yellow House, Sydney, 1971. Complied during 1970.


March - 1 page newsletter - Space Environment Presents Things at the Yellow House. Notes the screening of films, ongoing exhibition of works by Chester Harris, continuous sale of works by Martin Sharp and Phillippe Mora, and continuous vintage film screenings.

1 March – The film Highway is screened at the gallery.

Tuesday, 9 March – Expanded Filmakers Cinema - Marinetti film by Albie Thoms.

11 March – Frank Clune dies, father of Terry Clune and founder of the Clune Gallery.

14 March – Daily Telegraph – Daniel Thomas item.

Thursday, 16 March - Jane Oehr "Easy Rider goes to Hollywood", Judy Bray "The Changing Heart" and Aggy Read "Far Be It Me From It" films.

29 March – Sydney Morning Herald.

April / June – Puppet Theatre and Mime.

1 April - official opening of the Yellow House at 59 Macleay Street. The Incredible Shrinking Exhibition opens.

1 April – Watch out for the Incredible Shrink, The Australian.

2 April – Hardly room to shrink, The Australian + Leslie Walford column.

April – This Day Tonight, ABC Television. Story on the Yellow House, including interview with Martin Sharp.

Albie Thoms remembers the Yellow House, The Sharp Edge (excerpt) 2013.

4 April – Sun Herald – Lesley Walford item.

7 April – Bop Scotch + The Blue Angel + Fiddlesticks + Kid Stakes + A Colour Box, film.

8 April – Sydney Morning Herald – item by Donald Brooks.

8 April – Sunday Telegraph – item by Julie Clarke.

8 April – Marinetti + The Spurt of Blood + Bluto + Bolero + David Perry, films.

9 April – Dada Soiree. Plays, poems and film.

11 April - Sunday Telegraph – review of the exhibition by Daniel Thomas.

15 April – Talahasse Lassie + The Lovers + Live Between Evil + De Da De Dum, films.

16 April – Surreal Soiree. Plays and poems.

17 April – Tobias Icarus Age Four + The Adventures of Prince Achmed + Better to Reign in Hell + Fiddle De Dee + Pow Wow + On the Edge + Jazz of Lights + Bells of Atlantis, films.

18 April - An artist speaks, Sunday Telegraph – review of the exhibition by Daniel Thomas. 

18 April – Thirties Carbaret. Mixed performances.

19 April – Graeme Lowndes, Greg Quill and Margaret Roadknight. Concert.

22 April – World + A Stone in the Bush + Time / Life / Kennedy / Mirror + Levi + Tommy + Uluru Tests, films.

24 April – The Beginnings of Cinema + Mad Mesh + Dumbo + Toccatto for Toy Trains, films.

25 April – Fifties Cabaret. Poetry and jazz.

29 April – Brett & Butter + Dr. Kingston’s Casebook + Leichhardt, films.

30 April – The Seashell and the Clergyman + The Sentimental Bloke + Dumbo, films.

30 April РAn Invocation of the Spirit of Antonin Artaud. Mixed media s̩ance.

31 April – A Lumiere program + The Spurt of Blood, films.

1 May – Film Exercise + Berlin - Symphony of a City, film.

2 May - Sunday Telegraph – item by Sandra Symonds.

5 May – Journey by Sound and Vision, Lindsay Bourke.

6 May – The Machine Gun + The Girl from the Family of May + The American Poet’s Visit, films.

7 May – An Evening Dedicated to Tightrope Walkers Everywhere.

8 May – A Moment in Love + Muscle Beach + The Stringybark Massacre + Arcade + Obmaru, films.

9 May – A Tribute to Harry Hooton. Readings of poems.

12 May – Tommy, film.

13 May – Vision for a New World + Or Forever Hold Your Breath, films.

Greg Weight (photographer), The Stone Room, Yellow House, cira 1971..

14 May – Kinetic Poetry.

15 May – Charlie Chaplin + Metropolis, film.

16 May – Modern Jazz.

16 May - Sunday Telegraph – item by Julie Clarke.

23 May – Olympia, film.

23 May - Sunday Review – item by Barry Humphries.

26 May – The Extraordinary David Litvinoff.

28 May – Ubu Cocu, play.

29 May – Begone Dull Care + Al Ye, film.

29 May - Nation – item by Ken Quinnel.

30 May – A Night of Magic. Kingo the Great (Peter Kingston) and Arkie Whiteley.

30 May – Sunday Review – item by Garrie Hutchinson.

30 May – Sydney Morning Herald – item by David McNicoll.

June – Yellow House Cabaret.

June – The Beard, play by Michael McLure.

June – The Yellow House : The Ginger Meggs Sckool of Arts, 2 page newsletter.

2 June – Allen Marawalla. Aboriginal music.

3 June – The Mechanics of the Brain + Analysis / Mood Evolution + Project One, films.

3 June – Sydney Morning Herald – Ursula O’Connor: Taking Hop back to genteel Victorian era - The Yellow House in Potts Point, home of the Ginger Meggs Skool of Art, usually houses such characters as artist Martin Sharp, Jewellion the Mime, and assorted stylish friends. From last night to Saturday evening, it is the resting place for such almost forgotten personalities as the Little Boy at Manly, the terrifying lady from the Politcal and Moral Reform League, the cheerful Heathen-in-his-Blindness, with Sir Henry Parkes and Sir George Reid. The passage and rooms of The Yellow House are hung with 38 oriignal cartoons by Hop, or Livingston Hopkins, the American cartoonist who started his career on "The Toledo Blade", his local paper, and came to Australia as cartoonist for the Bulletin magazine, from the 1880s to 1914. The collection is now owned by Martin Sharp, who is selling the drawings to help keep the Yellow House going. He found them in the basement of a second-hand bookshop on his 21st birthday (seven years ago) and brought them for about $2 each. Most have no fixed price, but some are selling for as much as $90 or $100. The are yellowing with age, the hand-written captions and editorial instructions faded, the satiric cutting edge blunted by time. It would take a true scholar of Australian history to get a chuckle out of most of them - G.H. Reid throwing a stick labelled "Censure" out to sea for a small dog, for example, or a group of fearsome ladies preparing to tar and feather one Wade "along of his Sabbath desecration." The Kaiser's Moustache, too, is not today's most rib-tickling object, and as for "Goodbye to Willis - the Pollytickle Situation"... But certain parallels can be seen - a picture of a trolley-bus being held up by a mounted policement "demolishing the tradtion that was once a police force in NSW." And those feeling threatened by Women's Lib might feel sympathy for "downtrodden Adam" faced by a highly unattractive "emancipated Eve." (Photograph: Artist Martin Sharp with his painting of Hop's self-portrait at the exhibition of cartoons last night)

5 June – Sydney Morning Herald – Michael Symonds. Puppets under the stars - A quiet voice interrupted the chatter of the group drinking coffee under the cold stairs. "Please stop talking," pleaded the voice. "It is time for the puppet show." The boy puppet thrust between the miniature curtains was talking to a Friday night audience at the lively Ginger Meggs School of Arts. The gaily painted booth stood in the garden behind the school's pair of three-storey terraces. The grand buildings, called jointly the Yellow House, are at 59 Macleay Street, Potts Point. Two dozen people turned towards the theatre and obediently sat at tables and on the ground to listen. the tiny figure explained that three other puppets were about to tell their stories. By the time the gentle puppeteer, George Gittoes, had finished the touchnig trio of tales, only a half dozen dedicated fans remained. The rest had gone to see the controversial play "The Beard", far more lively entertainment elsewhere in the rabbit-warren school. But the puppet show was the most haunting delight so far at the Ginger Meggs school, where there is public entertainment every night, Wednesday to Saturdays. George Gittoes, who is one of more that a dozen atrists who work at the school, seemed to believe as firmly as a child that his creations lived in a world of their own. Why, his first story-teller, a harmless but ugly dragon, told of the seven trials he underwent in the dragon heaven, until his leg turned dirt, the dirt became a whirlpool. Then, the white lady, painted by many famous artists, told in the same sad voice how she loved only one - the artist who lived in South America and who covers his canvas with nothing but white primer. And, finally, a clown explained how he followed a road to a machine, called a city, where he found a weed. The Ginger Meggs School of Arts as opened on April Fool's Day under the inspiration of artist Martin Sharp. The two buildings have been lent by grazier Ian Reid, who met Sharp when he held an exhibition in the bulding, which was once the Terry Clune gallery. The Yellow House, which is named after a plan of Van Gogh's, is a living work of art with the walls of the main room changing this week from silver to black. The other leader of the commune is stage and film director Albie Thoms, who wants the place to become a magic theatre where dreams come true. "It will be a sophisticated playland where everyone can realise their artistic potential," he said. Peter Wright and Dick Wright are other painters living there. Peter Kingston and Mick Glasheen work in films. There is a mime, Jewellion, and an actor, Mel Carmicheal. The stage driector, Nigel Triffit, starred in this column a forthnight ago. David Litvinoff is a London raconteur and sound recording collector after whom the Rolling Stones "Jumping Jack Flash" is reputedly named. Nicholas Lyon is a violinist and Aggy Read a baloonist. As well as an art gallery and entertainment centre, the Ginger Meggs establishment follows last centuries tradition of schools of arts in being a place where trades are taught. Tutors for afternoon courses are Nicholar Lyon (music), Albie Thoms (film), Nigel Triffit (theatre) and Martin Sharp (painting).

9 June - Marion Henderson. Concert.

10 June – The Seashell and the Clergyman + Un Chien Andalou + Entr’acte + The Life and times of Reverend Buck Shotte + Homesdale + Count Vim’s Last Exercise + Conquest of the Pole, films.

16 June – Electronic Music.

17 June – Australian History + Hearts and Minds, films.

22 June – Contemporary Australian Folk Compositions.

24 June – Celery Stalks at Midnight + Far Be it Me From It + On Our Selection, films.

29 June – The Incredible Oz Band.

29 June – Culloden, film.

1 July – New York New York + Conquest of the Pole + Alice and the three bears + The Innermost Limits of PureFun, films.

Clip from Yellow TV 1971. Bruce Goold, Martin Sharp and Unknown woman.

2 - 9 July - Yellow TV - Yellow House artists make 90 video tapes covering 30 hours of activities in and around theYellow House. Reference: Yellow TV.

8 July – The Italian Straw Hat + Marinetti + The Lovers + Live Between Evil+ De Da De Dum + The Great Train Robbery, films.

11 July – Sunday Telegraph.

17 July – The Australian – item by Julia Orange.

18 July – Sunday Telegraph – Groovers’ Magazine story by Julie Clarke.

22 July – Imago + Hey Mama + Unstrap Me, films.

29 July – Analysis / Mood Evolution + Project One, films.

12 August – Financial Review – item by Terry Ingram.

September – Yellow House Band. Director – Sebastian Jorgenson.

September – Shirley Thompson verses the Aliens + The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun (every day), film.

September - collection of photographs by Sam Bienstock.  Sam was an American who can be seen playing the sitar in the Yellow House GTK ABC television clip from this period.

 Collection of photographs by Sam Bienstock, circa September 1971.

1 September – Yellow House poster / catalogue / newsletter.

3 September - Sydney Morning Herald: Martha DuBose - Good news ... The Yellow House is open again. The artists' co-op, 59 Macleay Street, Potts Point, has been renovated and is celebrating the coming of spring with a mixed media showing. Graphics, drawings, paintings, photos and posters by Rene Magritte, Eduardo paolozzi, Martin Sharp, Greg Weight, De Chirico, Odile Redon and more. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 to 8. Admission $1 with students and childrens' concessions.

5 September – Sunday Telegraph – report on visit to the Yellow House by Daniel Thomas.

7 September - The Australian. Review by Laurie Thomas.

9 September – Sydney Morning Herald – report on visit to Yellow House by Noel Hutchinson.

11 September – The Australian – item by Royston Harpur.

12 September – Yellow House Spring, Sunday Telegraph – item by Daniel Thomas.

15 September - Martin Sharp's Yellow House, Jobsons Investment Digest.

18 September – Go-Set – items by Stephen McLean and Paul Hock. Includes 4 photographs of the inside of the Yellow House: Sharp's house is a very fine house - Stephen Maclean visits Martin Sharp's Yellow House - an art environment unique to Australia. Sydney: If America can make such a fuss about their Andy Warhol's and Frank Zappa's, how come Australians can be so cool about Martin Sharp? Around the corner from Kings Cross, at 59 Macleay Street is the Yellow House, thee stories of acid art and natural creation. The house was opened to the public last week .. and a trip through this place should make you feel like Dorothy skipping down the yellow brick road in the land of OZ. For myslelf, I can only say it laid me on my ear. Sitting on the door, collecting admission money, was Sebastian Jorgenson, who has weathered a brawl with the PM, banishment from Montsalvat, the bust-up of his Oz band, and a few dreams which didn't come true. The Yellow House did though, and it's a tribute to Martin Sharp, Bliss, Albie Thoms and several others who pieced it together. Sharp claimed that the thing was "slapped together a little too quickly," but it's hard to find fault. The ground floor has a small theatre for rock bands. If they ever make a movie out of the Zap comics, this would be a perfect set. Upstairs, an exhibition of paintings for sale makes up part of the show, but the place is hardly a mere art gallery. Ellis D. Fogg has contributed a womb-room complete with strobes, and as you can imagine, getting through the entrance is a tight squeeze. But the most exciting parts are the rooms - complete environmental art and very trippy too, for want of a better expression. Each main artist involved has created his own room. Artist Bruce Ghoul (sorry, I meant Goold), when he wasn't leaping in front of our photographer, explained that his aim was to capture the atmosphere of Sarah Bernhardt's boudoir. The house will be open for an indefinte period, as it's in the process of being sold. Those of you outside Sydney who won't get a chance to see it, man, you're really missing something.

18 September – Pleasant Nightmares, The Bulletin. Item by Elwyn Lynn on the Yellow House.

19 September – Bin for blurred rubbish, Sunday Australian – Terry Smith's critical review of an exhibition at the Yellow House.

21 September - ABC television crew films for the program GTK at the Yellow House. The item is broadcast on 23 September 1971. Includes interviews with people such as Albie Thoms and Sebastian Jorgensen.

The Yellow House, GTK, ABC Television, 21 / 23 September 1971.

2 October – Nation.

2 October – Go-Set.

5 October – The magic of an artistic Luna Park, The Australian – item by Laurie Thomas.

27 October – Daily Planet.

October – Dolly.

October – Man.

13 November – The Australian – item by Janet Hawley.

15 November – Sydney Morning Herald. Gay Codner, Fantasy behind a green apple - The enchanted picture-book world of the Yellow House opened its second exhibition this weekend. Hidden behind a huge green apple in Macleay Street, Potts Point, the Yellow House is a fantasy of music, theatre and art. Since Friday night hundreds have come to look, prod, admire and giggle as they explore the maze of painted rooms. A flood of music and perfume spreads through the Yellow House while visitors watch films and their children explore the dark and mysterious "Spookyland." Creation is everywhere - from the plaster faces, modelled in the mask room, to the sandcastles under a painted blue sky. The resident artists work on, surrounded by visitors, helped by a grant from the Arts Council of Australia, and a benevolent landlord. Vincent Van Gogh founded the Yellow House last century as an art colony in the south of France. A Sydney artist, Martin Sharp, recreated the original spirit for the 70s of this century. The house is now managed by Sebastian Jorgensen, a member of the art dynasty that founded the Melbourne art colony Montsalvat.

20 November – Sydney Morning Herald.

25 November – Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney is our City - Sammy Lee, the drag queens and many of the characters of Kings Cross were at the enfant terrible gallery, The Yellow House, on Tuesday night. It was the official launching party for the latest book on the Cross - by Rennie Ellis and photgrapher Wes Stacey (photograph). In the first book the Cross for seven years the collaboration set out in 78 pictures to prove that the strippers are more buxom, the tattoos more shocking, the streets seamier, the hamburgers bigger than they were in 1965. Photograph: The photographer Wes Stacey at the launching of his new book "Kings Cross" in collaboration with Rennie Ellis, at the Yellow House, Kings Cross, on Tuesday.

28 November – Sun Herald – item by Lesley Walford.

28 November – Sunday Mirror.

November – Tracks – item by Albie Thoms.

4 December – The Bulletin – item by Marian Macdonald.

4 December – The Australian.

4 December – Sydney Morning Herald.

15 December – Daily Planet.

21 December – Sydney Morning Herald. Something Different - The Yellow House, 59 Macleay Street, Potts Point; Wednesdays to Sundays, 1 to 11 pm; admission, $1 for adults, 50c for children. The artists of the Yellow House are devoting their holidays to the kids with music, magic, mime and art forms of all varieties to interest and amuse children. It's a real fun factory, with 20 rooms and a magic garden to play in.

December – High Times.

December – Art & Australia – item by Noel Hutchinson.


8 January – Sydney Morning Herald.

10 January – Go-Set.

16 February – Asko Sutinen and Colin Little, Summer Show at the Yellow House, Earthworks Poster Collective, Sydney (poster).

5 March – Sunday Telegraph.

20, 27 August – Rock Ballet and Concert with Co-Caine and Sun (poster). Fund raiser for the Yellow House, held at the Cell Block Theatre, National Art School, Darlinghurst.

September - Westerly – item by Albie Thoms.

26-29 October – Yellow House Presents Mickey Magic Band Plus Folk Music. Also Films Theatre (poster).

3-5 November – Mickey Magic Sun + Vintage Movies and Live Theatre (poster).

21 December – Open of Martin Sharp’s Art Exhibition by George Melly, at 95 Mount Street, Mayfair, London, England.

31 December – Sydney Morning Herald.

circa March - Roger Foley closes the doors to the Yellow House.

14 April – The Bulletin – item by Nancy Borlase.

15 April – Sunday Telegraph – item by Bruce Adams.


Yellow House People
(artists, performers, helpers, vistors)

Bee, John
Bienstock, Sam - photographer, sitar player
Bliss – artist and performer
Briebauer, Magdalene (Marie) – artist, mime
Brown, Charlie – curator, art educator
Burns, Tim - artist
Campbell, Nell “Little Nell” – performer
Clarke, Julie
Crozier, Jeff – magician
Daley, Bob
Ellen, Sue
Feldman, Marty - UK actor / comedian and friend of OZ
Fogg, Roger aka Ellis D. Fogg – light show
Fuller, Lyn
Gemes, Juno – photographer, film maker
Glasheen, Mick – film maker
Jewellion - performer
Gittoes, George – artist, puppet theatre  creator, photographer, performer
Gittoes, Joyce – artist
Hobby, Karen
Goold, Bruce – artist, performer
Johnson, Franklin – artist
Jorgenson, Sebastian
Jovic, Slavka
Karvan, Arthur
Kingston, Peter – artist, magician “Kingo the Great”
Lewis, Jon – student who did lots of stuff
Lewis, Tim – artist
Litvinoff, David – raconteur
Lyon, Nicholas - musician
Mora, Philippe - artist
Moth - performer
Pengilly, Vivienne - tapestry
Pink Floyd - UK band
Powditch, Peter – artist
Rammage, Mal
Read, Aggie / Aggy – film maker
Reid, Jan
Rhodes, Zandra
Royal, Peter
Sale, Julie – sculpture
Sharman, Jim - theatre director
Sharp, Jo – artist, mother of Martin
Sharp, Martin – artist
Shead, Garry – artist
Starkiewicz, Antoinette - artist and performer
Sutinen, Axel / Asko - artist
Thoms, Albie – film maker
Thomson, Brian
Weight, Greg – photographer
Weight, Richard - artist
Whiteley, Brett – artist
Whiteley, Wendy - artist
Wright, Peter – light show

Michael Organ
19 May 2016