Australian Art Review's editor PATRICIA ANDERSON has written extensively on the visual arts for Australian and international journals. She is a member of the Society of Jewellery historians and a member of the International Association of Art Critics.

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Patricia Anderson - Editor

The art world's shifting sands

Conventions have always (subliminally) ruled the art world, but conventions mutate. White wine is the usual choice for gallery openings, unless, like Rex Irwin Art Dealer, you generously stretch to gin and tonic. But in the 1950s, it was sherry - usually sweet - which exercised newspaper cartoonists regularly. Tongue-in-cheek articles appeared regularly in the broadsheets. "Art is smart nowadays, so go to the opening of every exhibition - there are at least three a fortnight. You won't know a Dobell from a Drysdale, but you can bone up on the critics' reviews. Anyway, you don't have to look at the pictures - just be there and be decorative." [  View article  ]

The collecting imperative

Museums make their appearance for all sorts of reasons. In Buenos Aires there is a crime museum with a room containing glass boxes of decapitated heads preserved in formalin. Definitely not an art museum, but it may put the reader in mind of Damien Hurst's preserved sharks and Marc Quinn's self-portrait head made from more than four litres of his own frozen blood. And if we look further afield, we find more museums whose musty rooms hold jar after jar of miniature horrors: body parts of forgotten races, condemned characters and unrecognisable organs. [  View article  ]

An uncertain journey

In the 1990s the arts bureaucracy tried to solve the puzzle of why visual artists earnt an average of less than $20,000 a year. The answer was simple enough and did not require the astonishing $1 million spent in its pursuit. There is too much art-student toothpaste being squeezed onto too small an art-world toothbrush. So, how does a young artist achieve a presence today? [  View article  ]

The art of collecting

The painted canvas remains the main quarry of the art collector, while works in other media are often found at the bottom of the shopping list. Yet works in metal, fibre, stone, glass, acrylic and ceramic constitute some of the most exciting work being produced in Australia today. This issue spotlights several examples. [  View article  ]

Dreaming in colour

Whether it is sourced directly from the art centres dotted around the country or the growing number of galleries devoted exclusively to it in our major cities, Aboriginal art has undergone transformations which the first group of Western Desert artists to paint on board with acrylics could never have anticipated [  View article  ]

The changing faces of realism

As a historical phenomenon, representative painting — some may think — has gone as far as its legs could carry it and handed the baton over to montage, photography and video. But even when realism appears to have been ceremoniously dismissed, it comes strolling back into the party, heedless of its unfashionability, mingling and chatting with the conceptual and installation crowd in the salons of the ‘arterati’, getting along remarkably well — even making new friends. [  View article  ]

The fugitive image

In the final years of school at Canberra High School, each art student (barely nine of us — art being dismissed as the choice of layabouts, misfits, the beard-sprouting and those of indeterminate sexuality) were supplied with Helen Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Between its pages was a black and white image of an unforgettable painting by Degas: Viscount Lepic and his Daughters Crossing the Place de la Concorde (1875) — “whereabouts unknown” [  View article  ]

The mutating museum

Museums in the western world began their lives as the public face of the private fetish. The Vatican, the British Museum, the Louvre and the Hermitage all bear witness to this simple fact. When they opened their doors to the hoi polloi, both high-mindedness and naked trophy-seeking were seen as equal partners in the enterprise [  View article  ]

Abstraction’s trajectory

If Impressionism looks tame to us today, that is because in some respects it was. We associate the impressionists with loose paint, unruly brushstrokes and a new and brighter palette, when in fact they were not the first to do so. [  View article  ]

The adventure in three dimensions

The Australian sculpture scene is a lively and expanding arena, and in this issue we have focused on five practitioners: two Australians (Peter Vandermark and Richard Blackwell); the Japanese sculptor Kensuke Todo; the Englishman Phillip King; and an American, Bill Thompson. [  View article  ]
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Issue 38