Event Rex Butler: UnAustralian Art

Rex Butler: UnAustralian Art

Book Launch + Lecture

12 August 2023

In their new book, UnAustralian Art: Ten Essays on Transnational Art History, Rex Butler and A.D.S. Donaldson radically rethink Australian art history. Instead of isolating some distinctive national sensibility, they show that Australian artists have always been engaged in exchanges with the rest of the world—that Australian art has long been porous and globalist.

Examining Australian art history from the outside in, they open it to a multitude of previously excluded stories. As Helen Hughes explains: ‘There is a political point at stake here. Reclaiming the term “unAustralian” from the conservative former prime minister John Howard, who popularised it as a pejorative in the 1990s, Butler and Donaldson seek to open, not seal, Australia’s highly politicised borders’.

For the Brisbane launch of UnAustralian Art, Butler will deliver his and Donaldson’s new paper on gay Australasian artists in Britain before and after World War II. UnAustralian Art is published by Power Publications, Sydney.


COVID-19 Advice

The IMA encourages mask-wearing onsite in the galleries and for events to keep our community safe. If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling unwell, please stay home. ⁠



We are committed to making the IMA accessible to people of all abilities, their families, and carers, as well as visitors of different ages and different backgrounds.

The gallery entrance is on the ground floor of the Judith Wright Arts Centre, on Berwick Street. There is wheelchair access and an accessible toilet with baby changing facilities also located on the ground floor, and we welcome guide and support dogs.

If you plan to attend this event and have specific support needs we can accommodate, please contact engagement@ima.org.au, call (07) 3252 5750, or ask our friendly staff on-site. Read our access information for visitors here.

Guest Info
  • Dr Rex Butler is an art historian, writer and professor (Art History & Theory). His research interests include Australian art and art criticism, Post-War American art and Critical Theory. He has recently completed a book, UnAustralian Art, with ADS Donaldson, to be published by Power Publishing, University of Sydney, and another, Stanley Cavell and the Arts, for Bloomsbury Publishing, London. He is currently editing two collections, one on the Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and another on the documentary film-maker Joshua Oppenheimer.

    He is the author or editor of eleven books, including What is Appropriation? (1996), Jean Baudrillard: The Defence of the Real (1999), A Secret History of Australian Art (2002), Slavoj Zizek: Live Theory (2005), Radical Revisionism(2005), Borges’ Short Stories: A Reader’s Guide (2010) and Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy?: A Reader’s Guide (2015).

Image: Roy de Maistre, ‘Portrait of Francis Bacon’, 1935, oil on board, 64.5 x 41.5 cm.

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The IMA acknowledges, thanks, and pays our deepest respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we work with and the Country we work on.