Journal of Art: Contact
This issue has been guest edited by Geoffrey Batchen and David Maskill, drawing on the 2011 Art Association conference at Victoria University of Wellington, on the theme of 'Contact'. Caroline Jordan exposes the politics underpinning Art of Australia, the 1941 US touring exhibition. Amanda Peacock profiles William Buckley, the nineteenth-century Australian convict who went native, and his treatment in art. Juxtaposing Charles Baudelaire and Tommy McRae, Ian McLean asks: Which was more modern, nineteenth-century Paris or nineteenth-century Yackandandah? Linda Tyler considers the interplay of science and art in the world of New Zealand illustrator John Buchanan. Caroline Vercoe focusses Gauguin's legacy through the work of contemporary Pacific Island artists. Christine Nicholls traces the genesis of Hermannsberg Pottery. Susan Cochrane applauds the Asia Pacific Triennial for profiling art from Papua New Guinea. Plus exhibition and book reviews. This is the sixth and last issue of the Journal to be co-published by the IMA. Future issues will be published by Taylor and Francis. / $20
The Critic's Part: Wystan Curnow Art Writings 1971–2013
Wystan Curnow is New Zealand's longest-serving and, arguably, most important art critic. This edited collection brings together a selection of his art writings from 1971 to 2013, to provide the first comprehensive overview of his work. It includes long-form essays that investigate the stakes for 'high culture in a small province', monographic essays on canonical artists (including Len Lye, Colin McCahon, Billy Apple, Stephen Bambury, Max Gimblett, and Imants Tillers), vivid reports on the contemporary art scene, catalogue essays, and short reviews. Both a map of contemporary theory and practice and a cogent agenda for thinking through the implications and challenges of making art in the antipodes, this compilation is an essential companion for anyone interested in New Zealand art as it has unfolded since 1970. The book includes introductory essays by Robert Leonard on Curnow as an 'antipodean internationalist' and analysis of his approach as a writer by Christina Barton, plus a chronology and bibliography. Jointly published with the Adam Art Gallery, in association with Victoria University Press. / price TBC.
Judy Millar: Be Do Be Do Be Do
Auckland painter Judy Millar has been making ever bigger paintings. A few years back, she surprised and confounded her audience by enlarging her painterly gestures using a billboard printer—it seemed heretical. Was this painting proper or something else? In Be Do Be Do Be Do, she goes the other way, hand-painting monstrously enlarged half-tone dots on ribbons of bendy-ply, which are contorted into complex curves, creating a play between the Arp-like biomophism of the painted imagery and the Serra-like architecture of the scrolling wood. One curly painting, sitting on its edge, barricades a gallery; one, mounted to the wall, is all fleshly folds and love handles; another hangs from the ceiling from a harness, unfurling, flaccid, across the floor, revealing its pink underside. Rosemary Hawker reads Millar's project through Susan Stewart's interest in the play between the miniature (the world within world) and the gigantic (the world without world). / $5
Mikala Dwyer: Drawing Down the Moon
For the last decade, Sydney artist Mikala Dwyer has explored the irrational, the paranormal, the occult. She has convened circles of anthropomorphic, totemic objects (suggesting seances and covens); has toyed with black-arts paraphernalia (including candles and Ouija boards); has employed clairvoyants to serve gallerygoers; has made art professionals dress as crystals; and has collaborated with neodadaist Justene Williams to channel spirits of female convicts of yesteryear. This book surveys Dwyer's dabblings in the occult, focussing on her 2012 IMA show Drawing Down the Moon. It features essays by Anthony Byrt, Toni Ross, and maverick anthropologist Michael Taussig, and an interview with Robert Leonard. / $50
Hot from the Oven
Simon Starling: In Speculum
English artist Simon Starling—who won the prestigious Turner Prize in 2005—is celebrated for his erudite projects. His works explore the legacies of modernism and globalisation by addressing peculiar histories surrounding specific objects and sites of art, design, and science. While they mine real histories, there is always something unexpected, excessive, witty, perverse, serendipitous, convoluted, or crafty about them. Essays by Robert Leonard, Justin Clemens, and Richard Gillsepie. Jointly published with Monash University Museum of Art and City Gallery Wellington. / $20
Former Brisbane-based artist Craig Walsh is known for his stunning video and data projections in public spaces and, more recently, for producing works in collaboration with communities. This book focuses on works produced since 2000, when we published Walsh's last monograph, Insite. While covering a huge range of projects, it focuses particularly on Walsh's recent projects Digital Odyssey (a series of residency-based works made in rural, regional, and remote Australia), Murujuga in the Pilbara (which explores the relationship of the Pilbara's local indigenous communities to Country), and Embedded (which extends that enquiry to consider impact of mining on the Murujuga). Michael Fitzgerald essay provides an overview of Walsh's work. Judith Blackall's and Robert Leonard's essays address Digital Odyssey and Embedded respectively. Annemarie Kohn interviews the artist. Jointly published with Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, with support from Arts Queensland. / $40.
Shane Cotton: The Hanging Sky
For twenty years, Shane Cotton has been one of New Zealand's most acclaimed painters. His works of the 1990s played a pivotal part in that decade's debates about place, belonging, and bicultural identity. In the 2000s, however, Cotton headed in a spectacular and unexpected new direction: skywards. Employing a sombre new palette of blue and black, he painted the first in what would become a major series of skyscapes—vast, nocturnal spaces where birds speed and plummet. New York poet Eliot Weinberger meditates on Cotton's 'ghosts of birds'. Christchurch Art Gallery curator Justin Paton plots his own encounters with Cotton's work, across six years in which the artist was 'finding space'. Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow confronts the haunting role of toi moko—tattooed Maori heads—in the paintings and in her own past. Meanwhile, IMA Director Robert Leonard argues that Cotton is a cultural surrealist exploring 'the treachery of images'. Published by Christchurch Art Gallery in association with the IMA. / $80.
Journal of Art / Open Issue
Sheridan Palmer eulogises Bernard Smith. Isabel Wünsche tweaks our take on Russian avant-garde art. Shelia Christofides defends Clement Greenberg's politics. Helen McDonald asks what's at stake in the dryness of Fred Williams's landscapes. Anthea Gunn rediscovers missing Annandale Imitation Realist Ross Crothall. Keith Broadfoot close-reads Australian sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s. Anne Sanders shows how the Mildura Sculpture Triennial changed the art world. Susan Rothnie wonders why seventies art is simultaneously crucial and invisible. Allan Smith concatenates the geomorphic manners of John Ruskin, Robert Smithson, and Per Kirkeby. Roger Benjamin exposes Tim Johnson's Buddhist sources. Susan Best casts Gerard Byrne as Brechtian. Plus work by American artist Taryn Simon and reviews. Jointly published with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. / $20.
Peter Kennedy: Light Years 1970–1
Brisbane-born artist Peter Kennedy was a key figure in the development of experimental art in Australia. In 2011, the IMA presented an exhibition that reconstructed works from his key shows in 1970 and 1971. These works mark a turning point—in Kennedy's art and in Australian art—from modernist abstraction in painting to post-object art. The show progresses from Kennedy's neon-light installations to his iconic new-media installation/performance work But the Fierce Blackman, which paved the way for his subsequent political and social activist works. Stephen Jones's essay tracks the development and reception of these works at the time and argues Kennedy's seminal position in Australian art. Jointly published with Milani Gallery, Brisbane. / $5
Philip Brophy: Hyper Material for Our Very Brain
Those who follow Australian art, music, or film will have come across Melbourne's Philip Brophy. Over the last thirty years, he has produced important work in all three scenes. He is also a critic and curator. And it is impossible to extricate his work as a commentator from his own work, because, as he admits, his own work is always a commentary on existing forms; it's always art-about-art, music-about-music, film-about-film, or, indeed, art-about-music-about-film.
Brophy's works might initially appear disparate. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he led the group Tsk-tsk-tsk, which operated on the art/music fringe, generating performances, recordings, videos, and writings. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was the filmmaker obsessed with body fluids, directing Salt, Saliva, Sperm, and Sweat and Body Melt. In the 2000s, he was a new-media artist (making The Body Malleable), a manga/anime maven (making Vox and curating Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga), and a sound designer (composing soundtracks for films, his own and others').
Despite their variety, everything Brophy does is underpinned by three connected lines of enquiry: music/pop (pop music, popular culture, manga and anime), body/sex (body-horror films, sex and violence, and gender), and sound/image (the unsung role of sound in cinema). A book surveying Brophy's whole project seemed long overdue. This generously illustrated volume includes an interview with Lara Travis; essays by Darren Tofts, Shihoko Iida, and Chris Chang; a selection of Brophy's own writings; and a CD. / $20
Luke Roberts: AlphaStation/Alphaville
In the mid-1970s, inspired by reading of the exploits of a cross-dressing Native American shaman and rodeo clown, Brisbane performance artist Luke Roberts adopted the female persona of Alice Jitterbug. In the late 1970s, Jitterbug was superseded by his Pope Alice character, who was inspired in part by Erich von Daniken's Chariot of the Gods? and Lewis Carroll's Alice. Through this extraterrestial, alternative pontiff persona, Roberts was able to have it both ways, contesting the Catholicism in which he was raised (particularly its hostility to homosexuality) while revelling in its pomp and paraphernalia, and, at the same time, proposing a 'new clear vision' for humanity.
Roberts's costume dramas can be read as autobiographical or as just the opposite—an attempt to lose himself in an array of characters as a form of personal liberation. As he says, 'I'm a lot of people, and they are all coming to the party.' AlphaStation/Alphaville focuses on Roberts's photographic work, particularly that of the last few years. It features a comprehensive essay by Daniel Mudie Cunningham and Roberts's own account of his life, his 'autoethnography'. Published with support from Arts Queensland and IMA Supporters. / $20
Peter Robinson: Polymer Monoliths
After producing a series of spectacular, baroque polystyrene-chain installations, Auckland sculptor Peter Robinson went minimal, making massive polystyrene monoliths. Where Robinson's chain installations reveled in complexity, offering a dynamic viewing experience, his monoliths refused it. There was something disorienting about the way they recalled hefty stone monuments, while being made of lightweight synthetic material. In his essay, Allan Smith takes Robinson's monoliths as an opportunity to explore the inherent ambiguity and instability of the historical minimalist object, citing Robert Smithson, GWF Hegel, Jean-Luc Nancy, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Incredibles, and obscure New Zealand UFOlogy en route. / $5
Sweat: The Subtropical Imaginary
Does heat have a cooling effect on culture? Sweat argues the reverse: culture thrives in the subtropical zones. While acknowledging that the subtropical generates ambivalence—being cast as alternately idyllic or hellish—Sweat seeks to develop the specific voices of subtropical cultures. The uneasy place of this sweaty discourse is explored across art, literature, architecture, and the built environment. In particular, Sweat focuses on the most commonly experienced situation, the everyday house. While it addresses subjects from Japan, Brazil, and France, Sweat centres on Brisbane, Queensland—long in the shadow of Sydney and Melbourne in the Australian cultural psyche—due to its enduring and self-conscious attention to subtropical living. Edited by Andrew McNamara, withe essays by Atelier Bow-Wow, Susan Best, Chris Brisbin, Susan Carson, Julie Ewington, Catherine De Lorenzo and Deborah van der Plaat, Tracey Moffatt, Courtney Pedersen, Mark Pennings, Julian Raxworthy, Mark Taylor, and Andrew Wilson. / $20.
Grant Stevens: Are You Upset with Me?
Grant Stevens is ambivalent. The young Brisbane-based artist made his name with a series of computer-generated animated-text videos that explore cliches but seem undecided as to whether they are trivial and vacuous, profound and authentic, or somehow both at once. Stevens plunders mass-media sources (the familiar image repertoire dished up by Hollywood, television, pop music, and the internet) as readymade content. He explores this everyday language, sometimes for its ambiguity, but more often for its almost uncanny lucidity. Resembling meditation and relaxation guides, his recent videos beg the question: what made us so anxious? Essays by Mark Pennings and Chris Kraus. Jointly published with Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney, with support from Arts Queensland. / $20.
Journal of Art / Art and Entertainment
With their spectacular presentations, interactive exhibits, and children's activities, today's new contemporary-art museums imply a new visual economy for art. Similarly, within the academy, there is an increased insistence on seeing art as part of a wider spectrum of 'visual culture' or 'creative industries'. What is the relationship between art and entertainment today? Are they simply antithetical? And are we headed into a new 'post-critical' situation? Essays by Catherine Liu, Sven Lutticken, Edward Colless, Jacqueline Millner, Justin Clemens, and Nicholas Croggon and Charles Green. Jointly published with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. / $20
How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art
What lies behind the indigenousness of Aboriginal art is a return of the repressed with a vengeance, an enhanced creativity capable of challenging the colonial order. In this anthology, Ian McLean has brilliantly put together a theoretical discourse that examines critically this multilayered—though sometimes contradictory—complexity of Aboriginal art.—Rasheed Araeen
Ian McLean is one of Australia's leading art historians and the first to write broadly and inclusively about the place of Aboriginal art in contemporary Australian art theory and practice. The anthology guides us through the complex recent literature on Aboriginal art and provides a context for understanding current debates and emergent interpretations of the significance of this exciting new intervention in world art.—Howard Morphy
How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art is the first anthology to chronicle the global critical reception of Aboriginal art since the early 1980s, when the art world began to understand it as contemporary art. Featuring ninety-six authors—including art critics and historians, curators, art centre co-ordinators and managers, artists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers and novelists—it conveys a diversity of thinking and approach. Together with editor Ian McLean's important introductory essay and epilogue, the anthology argues for a re-evaluation of Aboriginal art's critical intervention into contemporary art since its seduction of the art world a quarter-century ago. Jointly published with Power Publishing, with support from the Australia Council, Getty Foundation, and Nelson Meers Foundation. / $49.95
Not since van Gogh lopped off his ear has an artist's knife been put to such good use.—Tessa Laird
New Zealand collage artist Peter Madden draws much of his imagery from old issues of National Geographic. He plunders and reworks the magazine's discredited 'empire of signs' to forge his own. His surrealistic pictures, objects, and installations—with their watchmaker detail and intensity—have been described as 'microcosms' and 'intricate kingdoms of flying forms' Madden has one foot in the vanitas still-life tradition and the other in new-age thinking. On the one hand, he is death obsessed: a master of morbid decoupage. (Moths and butterflies—symbols of transient life—abound. His assemblages in bell jars suggest some Victorian taxidermist killing time in his parlour.) On the other hand, with his flocks, schools, and swarms of quivering animal energy, he revels in biodiversity and magic. Madden's works manage to be at once morbid and abundant, rotting and blooming, creepy and fey. This book serveys Madden's work of the last ten years, features an essay by Tessa Laird and an interview with Robert Leonard, and was supported by Creative New Zealand. / $20
Feminism Never Happened
Feminism Never Happened considers the work of nine Australian and New Zealand artists whose work nags the boundary between the feminist and the not-feminist: Del Kathryn Barton, Pat Brassington, Kirsty Bruce, Jacqueline Fraser, Anastasia Klose, Fiona Lowry, Fiona Pardington, Yvonne Todd, and Jemima Wyman. Reveling in gender, it serves up romanticised sex-crime landscapes; twisted glamour photography; appropriated pornography; women-and-children cavorting in a pagan Eden; a love/hate relationship with haute-couture; tales of rejection, heartbreak, and true-love; and a lady in red. Essay by Robert Leonard. / $5
Journal of Art / The Conference
This issue of the Journal draws on papers from the 2008 Art Association conference in Brisbane. Glenn Adamson maps craft. Pamela M. Lee reads Oyvind Fahlstrom's work through game theory. Richard Read looks at paintings of the backs of paintings. Leonard Bell links Augustus Earle and Charles Darwin. Juliette Peers ponders the neglect of early Australian fashion. Fae Brauer exposes double standards in depictions of children. Stephen Jones celebrates Australian computer-graphics pioneer Frank Eidlitz. Uta Daur characterises Tracey Moffatt's work as melodramatic. Anthony Gardner applauds dissident artists Lia Perjovschi and Tom Nicholson. Plus reviews. Jointly published with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. / $20
Brook Andrew: The Cell
Brook Andrew has created a huge new inflatable sculpture. Twelve by six by three metres, The Cell is decorated inside and out with Andrew's trademark Wiradjuri/ op-art pattern. To enter, one must first don a costume, also covered in the pattern. These costumes recall those worn by forensic technicians to avoid contaminating crime scenes. In wearing them, are we donning 'the skin of the other', to merge with his environment and feel at one with him? Or, conversely, are the overalls camouflage or disguise, allowing us to lurk? Is Andrew's padded-cell-cum-jumping-castle punishment or playpen—for us or against us? Our book, which documents the work and its production, includes an incisive essay by Art Gallery of New South Wales curator Wayne Tunnicliffe and an illuminating interview with the artist. Designed in consultation with the artist, it has a perforated plate section. The buyer-reader must overcome their threshold anxiety and 'rip into' it, just as the user of The Cell must 'get over themselves' in order to don a stripy costume and crawl into the work. Brook Andrew: The Cell was jointly published with Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney. / $10.
Mirror Mirror: Then and Now
In the 1960s, artists across a spectrum of international movements—including pop, kinetic, minimal, and conceptual art—began to use mirrors in their work. Mirror surfaces reflect the environment and the viewer, 'like a visual pun on representation', Ian Burn observed. Indexing the instability of perception, they invited viewers to participate in the purported endgame of late modernism. Our exhibition Mirror Mirror presents classic mirror pieces from the 1960s and early 1970s by major international artists (including Art & Language, Robert Smithson, and Michaelangelo Pistoletto) alongside more recent mirror works by contemporary Australian artists. This catalogue features a curatorial essay by Ann Stephen and essays by Keith Broadfoot and Andrew McNamara. Supported by Gordon Dowling Foundation. / $10.
Cao Fei: Utopia
Cao Fei is a rising star in Chinese art. Her work responds to her country's rapid urbanisation—its giddying pace of social change and economic development—from a generational perspective. Her early work, Cosplayers, explored subcultural resistance of fantasy role-players. More recently, she has been making works in the parallel world of Second Life. Harold Grieves's essay explores Cao Fei's work through architectural theory while Justin Clemens's focuses on her forays into Second Life. Jointly published with Artspace, Auckland. / $5
The Same River Twice
Angela Goddard and Robert Leonard address the theme of historical reenactment in art through the work of Gerard Byrne, Jeremy Deller, Thomas Demand, Omer Fast, Pierre Huyghe, Emma Kay, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, and Slave Pianos. As a starting point, they take the Greek philosopher Heraclitus's observation that 'no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.' Essay by Angela Goddard and Robert Leonard. / $5
'This is an absorbing brochure about a knowingly provocative artist, one expert at winding his audiences up while also retaining their enthusiasm so they become complicit. Misha Kavka's superbly crafted, informative text is thorough, complex, and richly layered. It repays many readings. Te Tuhi and IMA have created an important publication. Like Zmijewski's videos, it deserves a large and appreciative (even if also condemnatory) audience.'—John Hurrell. Essay by Misha Kavka. Jointly published with Te Tuhi, Pakuranga, Auckland. / $5
Journal of Art / 21st-Century Art History
This bumper issue speculates on the forms art history will take in the wake of globalism, with contributions by Okwui Enwezor, Nakamura Kazue, Darren Jorgensen, Jan Baetens, John Clark, Alexander Alberro, Huw Hallam, Jennifer A. McMahon, Catherine Speck and Georgina Downey, Rex Butler and A.D.S. Donaldson, Christina Barton, and Melissa Miles; a forum on the history of the Asia-Pacific Triennial; projects by artists Michael Stevenson and Mladen Bizumic; plus book reviews. Jointly published with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. / $20
Because I am Aboriginal, because I was born with dark skin and dark, curly hair, I've never had the opportunity to be perceived as anything other than Aboriginal, and it has never occurred to me that I could be anything other than Aboriginal. So everything I think, say, and do is done from that position—never from outside that framework. I don't think I'm always being overtly political. Mostly my works are simply about my life as an Aboriginal person. I use my work to establish some sort of equilibrium for myself.—Vernon Ah Kee
Brisbane-based Indigenous artist Vernon Ah Kee is known for his ennobling portrait drawings of family members, his declamatory agitprop textworks, and his video project Cant Chant, which reclaims the beach from white Australia. To coincide with Ah Kee's work appearing in the Australian exhibition Once Removed at the 2009 Venice Biennale, we produced a monograph on his work. Born in this Skin includes essays by Robert Leonard, Anthony Gardner, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, and Blair French, and an interview with Glenn Barkley. Supported by QIAMEA. / $30
Rose Nolan: Why Do We Do The Things We Do
Melbourne artist Rose Nolan traffics in and complicates forms, codes, and ideals founded in utopian strands of twentieth-century avant-gardism, particularly Russian constructivism. In 2008, she presented two full-gallery exhibitions, at Artspace, Sydney, and the IMA, both titled Why Do We Do The Things We Do. They incorporated works made in the previous six years, including paintings, banners, books, sculptures, photographs, videos, and found objects. The book documents both exhibitions and includes essays by Michael Graf, Ingrid Periz, and Blair French that range across the diversity of Nolan's practice, reaching back to the early 1980s, and examining rarely discussed areas such as her photography. Jointly published with Artspace, Sydney. / $20
Paul Foss et al.: The &-Files: Art & Text 1981–2002
Modelled after a famed sci-fi TV series, The &-Files gathers a covert body of documents following the long and often controversial career of Art & Text, one of the landmark contemporary art magazines of the 1980s and 1990s. Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1981 by Paul Taylor (1957–92), who quickly moved to New York to make his mark as an art critic, the magazine became one of a handful of international art magazines that succeeded in capturing the turmoil and passing brilliance of those postmodern years. Narrated through the eyes and ears of its longtime publisher and editor, Paul Foss, The &-Files comprises an open letter, a lengthy interview, two questionnaires, and other commentaries and bibliographies, offering an insider's account of the extraordinary advantages and pitfalls of publishing an art magazine. Jointly published with Whale and Star, Florida. / $10
Stuart Koop: Crackle: Contemporary Art from the Middle of Nowhere
NHHHHNNNHHNNNNNNNNNHHH . . . beep . . . crackle. That's the sound of the transporter's malfunctioning in Star Trek . . . Ten years ago I wrote of Callum Morton's work, that it was as if it had got stuck between two material conditions—a slightly reduced platonic form and grim reality; as if it were beamed into the real world from faraway, but only partially. I still find this image of the transporter a concise coda for contemporary Australian art. Much of it falls between different conditions or states, as if 'beamed up' incompletely, or obliquely, or in some radical admixture, or into the wrong place or time, producing an unstable fascinating amalgam or situation.—Stuart Koop
Crackle showcases the work of seventeen contemporary Australian artists: James Angus, Kate Benyon, Pat Brassington, A Constructed World, Michael Doolan, Fiona Foley, Marco Fusinato, Simryn Gill, Andrew Hurle, Mathew Jones, Danius Kesminas, Callum Morton, Patricia Piccinini, Tim Silver, Ricky Swallow, Louise Weaver, and Ah Xian. It includes short essays on each artist by Stuart Koop and lots of pictures. Supported by the Besen Family Foundation. / $10
Chris Marker: Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men
This is a heavily illustrated study of French filmmaker Chris Marker's portentous video installation Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men. The piece takes its starting point and title from T.S. Eliot's 1925 poem 'The Hollow Men', which reflected on the European wasteland that resulted from the first World War. Marker's meditation mixes his thoughts on the the poem with images of wounded veterans and achingly beautiful women, evoking the hopelessness of those who lived through Europe's near suicide. As this war comes back to haunt us in both the Balkans and the Middle East, Marker combs a vast beach of images to create an echo chamber in which the viewer can either remember or witness for the first time the reality of a civilisation's self-slaughter. With essays by Adrian Martin and renowned French film theorist Raymond Bellour. / $10
Diena Georgetti: The Humanity of Abstract Painting
Essays by Max Delany and Robert Leonard, jointly published with Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne. / $10
Hany Armanious: Morphic Resonance
Sydney sculptor Hany Armanious makes formally diverse work, marked by its perverse conflation of opposing values. He morphs high-minded modernist formalism into hippy neo-paganism, confuses Scandanavian modernism with Arabian bazaar kitsch, and short circuits Bauhaus 'intelligent design' with Christian fundamentalist 'intelligent design' and Raelian 'intelligent design'. His work exploits our tendency to make links between things which resemble one another in form, material, function and process. He makes bogus analogies, sometimes with the seriousness of a conspiracy theorist, other times with prankster humour. There is a perversity to his project—sometimes he seems intent on elaborating some 'big picture' cosmology, at other times on scrambling the sensible. His underlying point is, however, phenomenological, pointing to our turns of mind. Our new monograph on Armanious surveys his work over the last decade or so, and features substantial new essays by Robert Leonard and Jason Markou. Jointly published with City Gallery Wellington. / $10
Journal of Art / Post-Medium
We now co-publish Australia's premier refereed art history journal with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. Our first issue investigates the role of the medium today, when artists routinely work in and across different media. References to our current 'post-medium condition' have become ubiquitous and the old ideal of medium-specificity is firmly identified with high modernism. Do today's post-medium practices demonstrate the redundancy of medium as a category for understanding art, or is medium still crucial to aesthetic judgement? Indeed, do post-medium practices mark a return to an earlier form of modernism? This issue examines a range of critical positions and art practices which focus on the question of the medium in art. It features essays by Diarmuid Costello on Jeff Wall and Gerhard Richter, by Rosemary Hawker on Gerhard Richter, by Donna McColm on Morris Louis, and by Toni Ross on Andrea Zittel; an interview with French philosopher Jacques Ranciere; a pictorial by Berlin painter Katharina Grosse; and book and exhibition reviews. Jointly published with the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. / Out of print
Richard Bell: Positivity
Richard Bell will always be remembered for collecting his 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in a T-shirt explaining 'White girls can't hump'. Bell's project first took shape in the early 1990s when two aspects of his life became intertwined: painting boomerangs and 'pretty pictures' for the tourist market and political activism. Combining pleasing generic Aboriginal imagery with rude vernacular slogans, his agit-pop work frustrated white engagement and romantic identification. This idea evolved into his recent Roy Lichtenstein parodies, which explore the contradictions of the doomed 'love affair' between white people and Aboriginals. This time last year the IMA presented Positivity, a mini-survey of Bell's work. Now we follow up with a monograph on his work featuring new texts by Gary Foley, Morgan Thomas, Franca Tamisari and Rex Butler; Bell's own treatise, 'Bell's Theorem'; and an anthology of past writings. Supported by QIAMEA. / $10
Dead Starlets Assoc. by Yvonne Todd
Dead Starlets Assoc. by Yvonne Todd showcases images from the New Zealand photographer's last four series. Todd is famous for her quirky studio portraits of imaginary female characters, all suffering from some malaise or affliction, obvious or implied. In his essay Justin Clemens writes: 'There is rarely an enormous intricacy to her compositions—on the contrary, she almost always arrays simple figures on a near-featureless ground—but the details are bafflingly fine-grained. The flatness, the chromatic modulations, the very simplicity of the compositions forces you to attend to the details with such care you no longer know what the details mean: those upper lips parted over almost-imperceptibly yellowed teeth; the pale burst of knuckles above a delicate tracery of veins; the complex knit of an industrially-produced sweater; peroxided hair tumbling over dark brows or curling down over upturned extended lashes; tiny pits and wrinkles marking otherwise immaculately youthful skin; the sag and fold of synthetic fabrics; and, above all, the alpha and omega of the entire operation, the unleashing of the sickly shine of appearances.' The book also features an interview with the artist by Robert Leonard. Supported by Creative New Zealand. / $20
Scott Redford: Bricks Are Heavy
Queer was big in the 1990s. Bricks Are Heavy surveys Brisbane's Scott Redford's 'Queer Project', with works from the early 1990s until now. Redford rereads and rewrites familiar modernist artforms, excavating or imputing queerness. The show includes his iconic Not the Formula for Population Standard Deviation; a minimalist wall painting of white paint laced with AIDS and other medications; an installation of life-size photos of sublime, glistening metal urinals recalling Rothko and Newman; various devotions to Kurt, River and Keanu; plus several recent videos. The exhibition title—Bricks Are Heavy—implies the weightiness of identity politics. Includes new writing by Chris Chapman, Robert Cook, Jose Da Silva, and Chris McAuliffe, and a massive new interview with Kris Carlon, plus an archive of writings by Rex Butler, Chris McAuliffe, and Robert Schubert. / $10
Supercharged: The Car in Contemporary Culture
The car has played a pivotal role in Australian cultural life. While travel and communication have been restricted by the tyranny of distance, the car has provided freedom. It has come to play a major role in the business and leisure activities of Australians from every corner of the continent. But the car is more than practical, it is symbolic, a marker of status and identity. Our new touring show Supercharged brings together the work of twelve Australian artists exploring the car's iconic status: Roderick Bunter, Sadie Chandler, Bill Henson, Martin Mischkulnig, Tracey Moffatt, Ben Morieson, Louise Paramor, Patricia Piccinini, Scott Redford, Tim Ryan, Daniel Wallwork, and Anne Zahalka. Essays by Vanessa McRae and Glen Fuller. Supported by Visions of Australia and the Gordon Darling Foundation. / $5
And the Classics
Radical Revisionism: An Anthology of Writings on Australian Art
Edited by Rex Butler
Radical Revisionism is a sequel to What Is Appropriation?, also selected and edited by Rex Butler. Radical Revisionism gathers important recent writings on Australian art. These writings are 'revisionist' insofar as they seek to bring a series of present-day perspectives to the study of art of the past: feminism, post-colonialism, the overturning of the legal doctrine of terra nullius. Radical Revisionism asks: What is the proper role for art history? Is it merely to chronicle the truth of the past, or is it to actively intervene in the events it records? These questions obviously bear a relationship to the 'history wars' that raged throughout the 1990s in Australia. The anthology concludes by asking whether there can in fact be a history of 'Australian' art in which white and indigenous artists come together. It proposes that the twenty-first century will be characterised by a certain 'unAustralian' history of Australian art. Radical Revisionism features a substantial introduction by Rex Butler and essays by Leonard Bell, Peter Beilharz, Tim Bonyhady, Kate Briggs, Keith Broadfoot, Ian Burn, Paul Carter, Brenda L. Croft, Mary Eagle, Ross Gibson, Anne Gray, Richard Haese, Jeanette Hoorn, Joan Kerr, John Lechte, Nigel Lendon, Chris McAuliffe, Ian McLean, Charles Merewether, Catriona Moore, Djon Mundine, Ian North, Juliette Peers, Toni Ross, Bernard Smith, Virginia Spate, Ann Stephen, and Nicholas Thomas. / $40
What Is Appropriation?: An Anthology of Writings on Australian Art in the 1980s and 1990s
Edited by Rex Butler
The classic anthology on contemporary Australian art, first published in 1996, and now in reprint. It was probably Ad Reinhardt, though it could have been Sherrie Levine or even Andy Warhol, who remarked that you only know you are doing something original when everybody else is doing it. This book explores this and other paradoxes raised by the practice of appropriation—the quotation and use of other artists' work—that became widespread in the 1980s. Why was the practice so uniquely popular in Australia? What did it say about the relationship of Australian art to the art of other countries; about white art to Aboriginal art; and about contemporary art to the art of the past? How and why does appropriation fundamentally challenge habitual ways of looking at pictures and thinking about art? The essays and pictures in this book provide answers to these questions, but always in the knowledge that the enigma of appropriation remains. What is Appropriation? features a substantial introduction by Rex Butler and essays by Judy Annear, Roger Benjamin, Ian Burn, Naomi Cass, Edward Colless, Peter Cripps, Juan Davila, Richard Dunn, Juliana Engberg, Paul Foss, Tony Fry and Anne-Marie Willis, Jeff Gibson, Memory Holloway, Tim Johnson, Vivien Johnson, Adrian Martin, Chris McAuliffe, Eric Michaels, Catriona Moore, Ingrid Periz, Nelly Richard, Terry Smith, Paul Taylor, and Imants Tillers. / $40