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UnAustralian Art

Ten Essays on Transnational Art History


Contributors: Rex Butler, ADS Donaldson

Publisher: Power Publications

275 Pages

ISBN: 978-0-909952-10-5

UnAustralian Art: Ten Essays on Transnational Art History proposes a radical rethinking of Australian art. Rather than identifying a national sensibility, Rex Butler and ADS Donaldson demonstrate that Australian art and artists have always been engaged in struggles and creative exchanges with the rest of the world. Examining Australian art as much from the outside in as the inside out, Butler and Donaldson’s methods open Australian art history to an encyclopaedic multitude of hitherto excluded stories.

“This long-awaited volume is a true polemic. Its controversial arguments are squarely aimed at the practices of art museums, art historians and curators. The globalising of art in the current era requires such audacious rewriting of cultural exchanges.” —Ann Stephen, Senior Curator, Art, University of Sydney

“This book raises an important matter for artists subjected to a myopic nationalism in the arts. By proposing an ‘unAustralian art’, Butler and Donaldson show what and who is revealed with a hybrid concept of culture.” —Juan Davila

“Though its temporal and geographic scope is limited to twentieth-century Australian art, UnAustralian Art offers a striking and original model of art historiography for the global contemporary. Butler and Donaldson both critique national art history and present a new account of art on the continent now called ‘Australia’. Against ‘isolationist’ histories of national art, this is a story of connections: between artists, curators, galleries, and museums, between cities and countries. 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.” —Helen Hughes, Monash University


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900 g