Monthly Archives: December 2009

Exciting News! Installation of Contemporary Aboriginal Painting Opens at Metropolitan Museum

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Press Room, this was posted on December 11, 2009 but I didn’t see it until today (thank you to my source):

Installation dates: December 15, 2009 – June 13, 2010
Location: The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing corridor, first floor, opposite Modern Art

An installation of 14 bold and colorful paintings created by contemporary Aboriginal Australian artists will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 15. Drawn from a U. S. private collection, Contemporary Aboriginal Painting from Australia will provide an introduction to Aboriginal painting, which has become Australia’s most celebrated contemporary art movement and has attained prominence within the international art world. The installation will present works created primarily over the past decade by artists from the central desert, where the contemporary painting movement began, and from adjoining regions, to which the movement spread. The works on view—all of which have never before been on public display Continue reading


Reviews of December reading

On Monday when we read Chapter 7 of Howard Morphy’s Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-Cultural Categories, I was pleased to see that many people purchased their own copies of the book. Here are some reviews to supplement your reading:

+ Elizabeth Burns Coleman, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 1740-9314, Volume 10, Issue 1 , 2009

+ Susan Lowish, History Australia, Volume 6, No. 2, August 2009

+ Will Owen, Howard Morphy’s Latest, “Becoming Art”

+Marion Redmond, Indigenous Art: Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-Cultural Categories

Call for January reading suggestions

Thank you to all of those that were able to come and make the first meeting of the Aboriginal Art Reading Group a success! We had a medium-sized group, in future we may divide into smaller clusters for even more discussion.

The next meeting will be on Monday, January 18, 2010, at 5:30pm, Elisabeth Murdoch Building, the University of Melbourne. I am taking reading suggestions for our January meeting, if you have any please feel free to email me, or leave a comment on this post.

Some articles to consider, available for reading online, are:

Nina Berrell’s, “Inroads offshore: The international exhibition program of the Aboriginal Arts Board, 1973–1980” on the reCollections, Journal of the National Museum of Australia website

Selected full text publications by Fred Myers, Silver Professor and Chair Department of Anthropology at New York University, are available on his home page.

December Reading: Chapter from Howard Morphy’s “Becoming Art”

Tonight, Monday, December 14 at 5:30, Room G38, Elisabeth Murdoch Building, the University of Melbourne, is the inaugural meeting of the Aboriginal Art Reading Group!

We are discussing Howard Morphy’s, ‘Art Theory and Art Discourse Across Cultures’, in Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-Cultural Categories, Sydney: UNSW Press, 2008, pp: 140-167.

Copies of this chapter, available for photocopying, are in an envelope on the notice board outside Dr Susan Lowish’s office, room G27, ground floor Elisabeth Murdoch Building, as well as inside the post-graduate resource room, also on the ground floor.

To learn more about Professor Howard Morphy, see his profile on the Australian National University.

The University of Melbourne’s own Dr Susan Lowish recently published a review of Morphy’s book in History Australia, here is an excerpt from Susan Lowish, “Review of Howard Morphy’s Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-Cultural Categories,” History Australia, Volume 6, No. 2, August 2009:

Expressed with some of the lucidity that characterised his previous monograph Aboriginal Art (1998) and a degree of complexity that echoes his first major publication, Ancestral Connections: Art and an Aboriginal System of Knowledge (1991), Becoming Art draws on Morphy’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of Yolngu art production and combines it with a discussion of the issues surrounding the way this art has been and currently is received in the Western world. A seasoned reader of Morphy’s prose will find in this book a confluence of ideas drawn from previously published essays, new thoughts and little known work from the late 1970s, when Morphy facilitated a visit by Narritjin and Banapana Maymuru to the Australian National University (ANU): the first residency awarded to Indigenous artists by any Australian university.

Comprising three sections: ‘A short history of Yolngu art’, ‘Engaging with Art History’, and ‘Yolngu art and the chimera of fine art’, Becoming Art moves from a discussion of the ways in which Yolngu art was used in different contexts for different purposes by both Yolngu and non-Yolngu people to a more conceptual discourse on the role of art and the shifting values ascribed to it by various groups and individuals. Continue reading

Announcing a new School of Culture and Communication Reading Group!

This blog is to keep participants of the new School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne Aboriginal Art Reading Group up to snuff on our monthly readings. As the group gets underway it will hopefully evolve into a forum for discussion.

Please join us for the inaugural Aboriginal Art Reading Group on Monday, December 14 at 5:30pm, Room G38, Elisabeth Murdoch Building, the University of Melbourne.

This group will meet monthly to read articles, talk about exhibitions and share ideas about Australian Aboriginal art.

This reading group is established and supported by staff and students from the Art History Department and the Indigenous Studies Department in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne and is open to staff, students and interested members of the public.

To join the list serve or if you have questions/ comments/ suggestions, please email: Kira Randolph: or Dr Susan Lowish.