Where to Begin - Writing a history of Australian art
Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, Arts West (Building 148) University of Melbourne Parkville VIC 3010Map
This lecture seeks to understand what is required of national art histories and in particular, what Bernard Smith called 'a national tradition in Australian art'.
Histories of Australian art generally begin with natural history drawings by artists on Cook’s brief visit to a few sites on the eastern coastline of Australia during 1770 and/or the first decade of the penal colony of NSW, and not the much more impressive Ice-Age rock art in the north of the continent, or as Fred McCubbin had hoped, with the art of his Impressionist mates. In examining why this is this case, this lecture seeks to understand what is required of national art histories and in particular, what Bernard Smith called 'a national tradition in Australian art'.
Professor Ian McLean is Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History at the University of Melbourne. He has published extensively on Australian art and particularly Indigenous art. His books include Indigenous Archives The making and Unmaking of Aboriginal Art (with Darren Jorgensen); Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art; Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous art; How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art; White Aborigines Identity Politics in Australian Art; and The Art of Gordon Bennett (with a chapter by Gordon Bennett).