Issue 223 September 2009

1 The magician’s hat: Togart 2009 IAN McLEAN Adrienne Kneebone, Town and Kantri, fibre pandanus spiralus, 32 x 45 x 57cm.

1 The magician’s hat: Togart 2009 IAN McLEAN

Adrienne Kneebone, Town and Kantri, fibre pandanus spiralus, 32 x 45 x 57cm.

2 China Project, GOMA: SOPHIE McINTYRE Zhang Xiaogang, Father and Daughter, 1999, oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm. Collection: Zhang Xiaogang.

2 China Project, GOMA: SOPHIE McINTYRE

Zhang Xiaogang, Father and Daughter, 1999, oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm. Collection: Zhang Xiaogang.

3 Spirited moment endures: The White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney MAURICE O'RIORDAN Bai Yiluo’s Recycling, 2008, and (right) Cang Xin’sShamanism Series – Variation, 2005;

3 Spirited moment endures: The White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney MAURICE O'RIORDAN

Bai Yiluo’s Recycling, 2008, and (right) Cang Xin’sShamanism Series – Variation, 2005;

4 Convergence or Submergence? PATRICK FILMER-SANKEY The old Southern Gallery in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s Royal Park venue showing the original roof beam and skylights which will be restored in the building’s art gallery redevelopment, as the related artist’s impression (shown here) shows.

4 Convergence or Submergence? PATRICK FILMER-SANKEY

The old Southern Gallery in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s Royal Park venue showing the original roof beam and skylights which will be restored in the building’s art gallery redevelopment, as the related artist’s impression (shown here) shows.

5 Letter to Editor: Honouring Nolan     If I were Lady Mary Nolan, member of the distinguished Boyd family and widow of the famous Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan who, in 1974, gifted twenty-four of his paintings to the Commonwealth Government to be hung in Lanyon Homestead in the ACT; and if, after his death, the ACT Government charged with the management of that gift removed the paintings and hung them in another place of its own choosing, then I would feel, as Lady Mary herself put it, ‘outraged’ (Megan Doherty, ‘The Battle for Nolan’s Legacy’, The Canberra Times, 26 April 2009). If I, like her, were eighty-two years old, in failing health and living away from Australia, I would in addition feel helpless, betrayed and abused. And yet, this is what has happened. The removal of Sidney Nolan’s paintings from the Nolan Gallery in the grounds of Lanyon, following damage to the building from a severe hailstorm in January 2006, the refusal of the ACT government to restore the building and reinstall the paintings, despite Lady Mary’s protests, and the ensuing argy-bargy between the Commonwealth and ACT authorities, are nothing short of a disgrace.  Is this the way to treat Lady Mary? Is this the way to handle a priceless gift to the nation from a great and generous Australian? Quite apart from the legal niceties, is this how the Commonwealth and the ACT wish to be seen to treat their cultural benefactors? What message does this give to other would-be benefactors? Wouldn’t it completely destroy their faith in the possibility of their wishes about the management of a gift being honoured? Wouldn’t it change their minds about the advisability of giving at all?  Cultural and heritage luminaries like Betty Churcher and Eric Martin have urged the return of the paintings to a restored Nolan Gallery, to honour the wishes of Sir Sidney and his wife. If the ACT government, as current custodian of the works, is not willing to divert to the Nolan Gallery’s restoration some of the monies recently pledged to it by the Commonwealth, then the Commonwealth itself should reassert its ownership rights and return the twenty-four paintings to the nation by reuniting them with the rest of the Nolan collection in the National Gallery of Australia. Only then would the Commonwealth be honouring the spirit of its undertaking to the Nolans; only then could the nation and Lady Mary rest easy in the belief that justice had been done. Ann Kent, July 2009 [Apart from the controversy surrounding this particular bequest, Nolan’s paintings continue to command attention in the nation’s capital through the Australian War Memorial’s current Sidney Nolan: the Gallipoli series exhibition, until 18 November (forthcoming review in AMA); and with work begun on a permanent, more prominent re-installation at the National Gallery of Australia of Nolan’s Ned Kelly series due to be unveiled in 2010. Ed.]

5 Letter to Editor: Honouring Nolan

 

 

If I were Lady Mary Nolan, member of the distinguished Boyd family and widow of the famous Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan who, in 1974, gifted twenty-four of his paintings to the Commonwealth Government to be hung in Lanyon Homestead in the ACT; and if, after his death, the ACT Government charged with the management of that gift removed the paintings and hung them in another place of its own choosing, then I would feel, as Lady Mary herself put it, ‘outraged’ (Megan Doherty, ‘The Battle for Nolan’s Legacy’, The Canberra Times, 26 April 2009).

If I, like her, were eighty-two years old, in failing health and living away from Australia, I would in addition feel helpless, betrayed and abused. And yet, this is what has happened. The removal of Sidney Nolan’s paintings from the Nolan Gallery in the grounds of Lanyon, following damage to the building from a severe hailstorm in January 2006, the refusal of the ACT government to restore the building and reinstall the paintings, despite Lady Mary’s protests, and the ensuing argy-bargy between the Commonwealth and ACT authorities, are nothing short of a disgrace. 

Is this the way to treat Lady Mary? Is this the way to handle a priceless gift to the nation from a great and generous Australian? Quite apart from the legal niceties, is this how the Commonwealth and the ACT wish to be seen to treat their cultural benefactors? What message does this give to other would-be benefactors? Wouldn’t it completely destroy their faith in the possibility of their wishes about the management of a gift being honoured? Wouldn’t it change their minds about the advisability of giving at all? 

Cultural and heritage luminaries like Betty Churcher and Eric Martin have urged the return of the paintings to a restored Nolan Gallery, to honour the wishes of Sir Sidney and his wife. If the ACT government, as current custodian of the works, is not willing to divert to the Nolan Gallery’s restoration some of the monies recently pledged to it by the Commonwealth, then the Commonwealth itself should reassert its ownership rights and return the twenty-four paintings to the nation by reuniting them with the rest of the Nolan collection in the National Gallery of Australia. Only then would the Commonwealth be honouring the spirit of its undertaking to the Nolans; only then could the nation and Lady Mary rest easy in the belief that justice had been done.

Ann Kent, July 2009

[Apart from the controversy surrounding this particular bequest, Nolan’s paintings continue to command attention in the nation’s capital through the Australian War Memorial’s current Sidney Nolan: the Gallipoli series exhibition, until 18 November (forthcoming review in AMA); and with work begun on a permanent, more prominent re-installation at the National Gallery of Australia of Nolan’s Ned Kelly series due to be unveiled in 2010. Ed.]

6 West Coast Rules: Perth out-exhibiting Melbourne ASHLEY CRAWFORD Nick Cave's notebook known as Sacred and Profane, 1985. Gift of Nick Cave, 2006 the Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection. Photograph courtesy Dan Magree © 2007.

6 West Coast Rules: Perth out-exhibiting Melbourne ASHLEY CRAWFORD

Nick Cave's notebook known as Sacred and Profane, 1985. Gift of Nick Cave, 2006 the Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection. Photograph courtesy Dan Magree © 2007.

7 Gallery A Sydney 1964–1983 DAVID PESTORIUS Poster for the inauguration of Gallery A Sydney, 1964. Gallery A Sydney archive.

7 Gallery A Sydney 1964–1983 DAVID PESTORIUS

Poster for the inauguration of Gallery A Sydney, 1964. Gallery A Sydney archive.

8 A Lake in process: Floating Land 2009 Authors: Tamsin Kerr; Nick Tapper; Ilka Nelson & Maurice O’Riordan Image: Jocelyn Carlin, Untitled (detail), photograph from exhibition Legacy Tuvalu, The Footprint on Funafuti, 2006, digital print from colour negative, 60 x 75cm. Image caption: ‘For families living in the taisala or borrow pits, high tide makes an already severely compromised domestic situation even more challenging as the seawater seeps up through the ground.’ Image courtesy the artist.

8 A Lake in process: Floating Land 2009

Authors: Tamsin Kerr; Nick Tapper; Ilka Nelson & Maurice O’Riordan

Image: Jocelyn Carlin, Untitled (detail), photograph from exhibition Legacy TuvaluThe Footprint on Funafuti, 2006, digital print from colour negative, 60 x 75cm. Image caption: ‘For families living in the taisala or borrow pits, high tide makes an already severely compromised domestic situation even more challenging as the seawater seeps up through the ground.’ Image courtesy the artist.

9 Talbet Fulthorpe and the Art of Preservation YOLANDE NORRIS Still from Talbet Fulthorpe’s Jangil (Homesick), 2008, interactive software, dimensions and length variable

9 Talbet Fulthorpe and the Art of Preservation YOLANDE NORRIS

Still from Talbet Fulthorpe’s Jangil (Homesick), 2008, interactive software, dimensions and length variable

10 Yellow Vest Fever: digging and dealing KATE VICKERS Tim Burns, Autogeddon Hood 6 and Autogeddon Hood 7,2009, steel and car wrap, dimensions variable. Photograph by Bewley Shaylor.

10 Yellow Vest Fever: digging and dealing KATE VICKERS

Tim Burns, Autogeddon Hood 6 and Autogeddon Hood 7,2009, steel and car wrap, dimensions variable. Photograph by Bewley Shaylor.

11 The Numbers Game – On Counting the Arts PETER ANDERSON

11 The Numbers Game – On Counting the Arts PETER ANDERSON

12 Allegory in smog: the art of Stormie Mills URSZULA DAWKINS Stormie Mills,  Untitled graffiti, 2007, Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

12 Allegory in smog: the art of Stormie Mills URSZULA DAWKINS

Stormie Mills,  Untitled graffiti, 2007, Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

13 Sunlight under ice: Intensely Dutch, AGNSW: PRUE GIBSON Bram Bogart, Daybreak, 1997, pigment, oil, whiting on jute, 238 x 190cm. Collection of the artist. 

13 Sunlight under ice: Intensely Dutch, AGNSW: PRUE GIBSON

Bram Bogart, Daybreak, 1997, pigment, oil, whiting on jute, 238 x 190cm. Collection of the artist. 

14 Book: Murray Bail, Fairweather JEREMY ECCLES Book cover: Murray Bail, Fairweather Murdoch Books, 2009, 280pp, 203 colour plates, $125 rrp

14 Book: Murray Bail, Fairweather JEREMY ECCLES

Book cover: Murray Bail, Fairweather
Murdoch Books, 2009, 280pp, 203 colour plates, $125 rrp