Art and art history related news. Please send news item and media releases to Katrina Grant The decision of what news to publish lies with the editors and their decision is final.

NGV acquires Degas sculpture

Edgar Degas Dancer looking at the sole of her right foot (Second study) c. 1900–10, cast 1919–37 or later bronze 47.3 x 24.3 x 20.8 cm Czestochowski/Pingeot 59 (cast T) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased with funds donated by Leigh Clifford AO and Sue Clifford, 2016

At today’s preview for the new Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition – Degas: A new vision – the NGV announced that one sculpture in the exhibition will be staying in Melbourne. Degas’s ‘Dancer looking at the sole of her right foot (Second study)’ has been purchased for the NGV collection with funds donated by Leigh and Sue Clifford. Many of Degas’ sculptures were unknown during his lifetime. After the poor reception of his now-famous ‘Little Dancer’ (a cast of which is in the exhibition) in 1881 he kept much of his work in sculpture secret. He modelled in wax and is known to have remade and often destroyed works. Around 150 wax studies were found in his studio when he died in 1917 and 74 of these were…

Wednesday News Round Up | 15th June 2016 | Writing about art, Arts Funding, Australian Museum Director’s salaries + more

Julia deVille's prize-winning entry: Neapolitan Bonbonaparte. Via ABC News: Photo by Tom Fedorowytsch

A new column from Burnaway will examine ‘Artspeak’ – the first column takes apart that the arts press release, the forum where I personally read some of most breathlessly nonsensical statements about art. Matthew Terrell observes that ‘A bit of simple explanation goes a long way in engaging the public. Tell us what it is: a dance show, an art installation, a DJ performance, an online event, etc. Don’t overinflate your words until your sentences are bulging at the seams. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it clear.’ Yes! Fisun Güner in the Spectator observes that good art writing is not necessarily simple, while she agrees that ‘art-speak should be blasted, I dread the spread of the far more…

News | NGV Senior Curator Dr Ted Gott awarded Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government

Photo via The Age [Dr Ted Gott, Head of International Art, NGV. Theo Van Rysselberghe, The Canal in Flanders. Photo: Jason South

On Thursday 9 June 2016, Dr Ted Gott, Senior Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, received a Knighthood from the French government for services to French culture, The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters). The insignia was presented by His Excellency M. Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France, in a ceremony which took place at Alliance Francaise, St Kilda. Ted Gott is Senior Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. He has curated and co-curated 26 exhibitions, including The Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay (2004), Kiss of the Beast: From Paris Salon to King Kong (2005), Modern Britain 1900-1960 (2007), Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire (2009) and Napoleon: Revolution…

Wednesday News Round Up | 8th June 2016 | Arts and the election, the rise of the Private Museum, NGV MoMA + more

A DISCURSIVE PRACTICE in Broadsheet Journal 45.1

The recent cuts and restructure of the Australia Council means that the arts sector is pushing harder than usual for arts to be a factor in the election. This week the Greens have proposed the idea for a ‘living wage’ for creatives to cover the fact that many artists are paid very little, or nothing at all, as they try to establish themselves. A report in Arts Hub on the first of several discussions organised by NAVA (National Association for Visual Arts) and Artspace looking at how to push a vote for culture onto the stage. Labor has promised to boost arts funding by $160 million if elected and promises to dump the Catalyst program. An article by Sharon Verghis in The Australian…

New Book | Representations of Renaissance monarchy Francis I and the image-makers


New book Representations of Renaissance monarchy Francis I and the image-makers by Lisa Mansfield from the University of Adelaide. About the book Representations of Renaissance monarchy analyses the portraits and personal imagery of Francis I, one of the most frequently portrayed rulers of sixteenth-century Europe. The distinctive likeness of the Valois king was widely disseminated and perceived by his French subjects, and Tudor and Habsburg rivals abroad. Complementing studies on the representation of Henry VIII, this book makes a dynamic contribution to scholarship on the enterprise of royal image-making in early-modern Europe. The discussion not only highlights the inventiveness of the visual arts in Renaissance France but also alludes to the enduring politics of physical appearance and seductive power of the…

News | Wurundjeri group raising funds to purchase William Barak painting

William Barak's Ceremony (1897) has an estimated price range of $180,000 to $250,000.

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A group representing Melbourne’s Aboriginal population is trying to raise money to buy a work by William Barak From The Age Ceremony, a relatively small work in earth, ink and charcoal on paper, will go to auction at Bonham’s in Sydney on Tuesday night. The picture was created by Wurundjeri elder Barak – known by some in the Aboriginal community as “Uncle William” or “Grandfather” – in 1897. It was exchanged by its creator for a glass work by English craftsman Frank Piggott Webb, and has remained with Webb’s descendants until now. You can find their crowdfunding page here:

New Book | Hegel’s Owl: The Life of Bernard Smith – Sheridan Palmer


A new book by Sheridan Palmer documenting the life and work of Bernard Smith has recently been published. ‘Better to make history than to write about it. What is needed is a brotherhood of some kind, compact, devoted, with a colourful title . . .’ Bernard Smith, letter to Robin Boyd, 1957 Bernard Smith’s ‘brotherhood’ was to become the famous group of Australian artists called The Antipodeans, and Smith was to write their manifesto. ‘The Antipodeans’ exhibition in 1959 was a watershed moment for Australian art. The exhibition included work by Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, John Perceval, Clifton Pugh and, of course, Bernard Smith. But this is just one of Smith’s significant contributions to…

Wednesday News Round Up | 1st June 2016 |

The rediscovered portrait of Costanza Sforza by Bolognese painter Lavinia Fontana. The sale by Uppsala Auktionskammare takes place 14 June 2016. Credit: Uppsala Auktionskammare

The rediscovery of a portrait by Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was announced this week. As announced on the Villa Ludovisi website the subject shows “Costanza Sforza of Santa Fiore (1560-1617), wife of the Duke of Sora, Giacomo Boncompagni (1548-1612). Giacomo himself was the legitimated son of Ugo Boncompagni = Pope Gregory XIII (1505-1572-1585). So at the time of her marriage in 1576—at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, with the whole College of Cardinals in attendance—Costanza Sforza found herself in the unusual position of daughter-in-law to a reigning Pope.” Plans for a Ballarat Biennale of Australian Art that would ‘draw in $10 million to Ballarat’s economy from an anticipated 100,000 visitors‘ were flagged last week. The proposal is headed by Julie…

Wednesday Art News Round Up | May 25th 2016 | Rediscovered sculptures, more on the Arts Cuts, robots in the gallery, reflections on curating + more

mino da fiesole

A fascinating story broke last week in the Arts Newspaper about the rediscovery of 59 Italian Renaissance sculptures missing from Berlin’s collections since the Second World War. The sculptures have been identified in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and include works by Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Andrea del Verrocchio, Francesco Laurana and Mino da Fiesole that were housed in Berlin’s Bode Museum before the war. They had been assumed destroyed (alongside other masterpieces such as Caravaggio’s Saint Matthew and the Angel) after the building they were stored in caught fire. It seems that they are not in good condition but there are plans to restore them and put them back on display. More on the Arts Cuts A great…

News | Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab Artists announced

Vinyl, Performance, Inkjet print.  Dimensions variable

Last week the City of Melbourne announced the artists who will participate in the inaugural Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab: What happens now? at Queen Victoria Market. The selected artists are: Hiromi Tango; Jessie Bullivant; Kiron Robinson; Steven Rhall; Willurai Kirkbright; Sanné Mestrom and Jamie Hall from The Mechanic’s Institute; Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine; Jason Maling and Martyn Coutts from Field Theory; Will Foster from A Centre for Everything and Timothy Moore from SIBLING. From the City of Melbourne: More than 150 artists from around Australia applied to take part in the Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab: an experimental temporary art project run by the City of Melbourne which will result in major new public art installations at the Queen…

Wednesday Art News Round-up | 18th May 2016 |

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) listens to explanations while looking at paintings, which were stolen by armed robbers from the Castelvecchio museum in Verona in Kiev, Ukraine, May 11, 2016. Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Mikhail Palinchak/Handout via Reuters

Happy International Museum Day! The big news in the arts over the past week was the new of who missed out on renewed funding from teh Australia Council, after the funding budget was drastically cut to create the new Catalyst funding program. Below are some of the main stories and analysis, we are obviously still in the midst of the fall-out from this, though unfortunately arts and the funding of it doesn’t look to be much on the radar of the election campaign, though at least one new party wants to change this – the newly registered Arts Party, led by Sydney-based artist PJ Collins, will take a stand for the arts, cultural life and creative industries of Australia. Collins,…

News | ArtsPeak calls for restoration of Australia Council Funding


A press release from ArtsPeak yesterday calls on the government to restore funding to the arts. “With the Federal election looming, ArtsPeak is calling for the restoration of Australia Council funding as a matter of urgency so that the Australian arts ecology can remain viable and vibrant. This call was made unanimously by 2700 individuals and organisations in submissions to last year’s Senate inquiry into arts funding, the largest ever response to such an inquiry.” The full release is below and is online here: ArtsPeak, the national confederation of peak arts and cultural organisations, says the Australian arts ecology is under serious threat following the announcement of four-year funding decisions by the Australia Council. Sixty-five previously funded organisations have lost funding…

Wednesday Art News Round Up | May 11th 2016 | Arts Funding, Leonardo madness, those Aussie posters + more

Hans Heysen’s home, The Cedars in Hahndorf image via The Australian

A great piece from the sporadically posting but always entertaining Grumpy Art historian on reviewing the reviewers. He takes issue with the gushing nonsense becoming increasingly common in reviews of art exhibitions and the way that they really don’t engage critically with much of the art or exhibitions that they profess to review (the piece is also a very good review in and of itself of the current royal Academy Giorgione exhibition). A thoughtful article by William Scates Frances on those ‘Aussie’ posters by artist Peter Drew that have been popping up around the streets of Australian cities. He points out that taking these images of historical figures and simply labeling them as Aussie raises (or ignores) broader issues and…

News | Major Georgia O’Keefe, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington-Smith exhibition to tour Australia in 2016-2017

Georgia O’Keeffe Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory 1938 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia ’Keeffe Museum

O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith: Making Modernism The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery have partnered with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe. O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith: Making Modernism. The exhibition will open at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 12th October 2016 until 17th February 2017, after which it will travel to the Queensland Art Gallery from 11 March – 11 June 2017 and the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 1 July – 1 October 2017. The exhibition will include the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by Australian artists Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington-Smith. The paintings of…

News | MUMA unveils new public artwork by DAMP and Monash Art Projects

Gormenghast, 2016
Damp and Monash Art Projects (MAP)
Commissioned by MAP with support from Curatorial Practice, MADA and MUMA
Hosted by Monash University Museum of Art in the Ian Potter Sculpture Court
Curated by Rosemary Forde
April – September 2016

The new work, called Gormenghast is by the artist group Damp and Monash Art Projects (MAP) and can now be seen at the Ian Potter Sculpture Court at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). The work is a a temporary and evolving architectural structure and will be a key site for Art holds a high place in my life | Damp: study of an artist at 21 – a series of exhibitions and events curated by Rosemary Forde, a Monash University Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) PhD candidate. Throughout the year, the two-level structure at Caulfield campus will provide a base for Forde’s curatorial project, with exhibitions, events, and study group seminars to take place at the site. The program presents a survey of new and…