A New History of Australian Art: Dialectic between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Art

By Alexander Grishin.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The recent public advent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and its national and international recognition has lead to a major reassessment to the process of writing Australian art. This major commissioned history is part of that process. Whereas earlier histories practiced cultural apartheid, this one traces the active dialectic between Indigenous and non-Indigenous art forms. Australian Art: A history will fulfil a real need for an inclusive and representative historical account of the development of a distinctive art culture. It also will differ from earlier studies in its adopted methodology for the discussion of Australian art. Traditionally the history of Australian art has been viewed as that of a European outpost which was established in the 18th century and which developed over the subsequent 220 years and it has been discussed mainly in reference to changes in visual culture predominantly in Europe and later in the United States. The methodological contention in this study is that non-Indigenous art in Australia has always been to some extent involved in a dialectic with Indigenous art and that this together with the multicultural composition of the population as well as the country’s proximity to Asia, have all contributed to a visual culture which is unique and distinctive. This book sets out to examine all major expressions of visual culture in Australia – painting, sculpture, the graphic arts, the applied arts, installation art and digital art – in the light of a continuous dialectic between Indigenous and non-indigenous art, one, which it is argued, has continued to a varying extent for the duration of European settlement.

Keywords: Art History, Indigenous, Non-Indigenous Art

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 7, pp.97-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 534.194KB).

Prof. Alexander Grishin

Professor and Head of Art Hitory, School of Humnaities, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Professor Sasha Grishin, AM, FAHA is as an art historian, art critic and curator who studied art history at the universities of Melbourne, Moscow, London and Oxford and has served several terms as visiting scholar at Harvard University. He has published extensively in contemporary and especially Australian art. Amongst his seventeen published books are The Art of John Brack, 2 vols (OUP, 1990), S.T.Gill: Dr. Doyle’s Sketches in Australia (Mitchell Library Press, 1993), David Blackburn and the visionary landscape tradition (Hart, London 1994) Contemporary Australian Printmaking: An interpretative history (Craftsman House, Sydney 1994), A Pilgrim’s Account of Cyprus: Bars’kyj’s travels in Cyprus, (GCRC, New York 1996), John Wolseley: Landmarks (Craftsman House, Sydney 1998), Garry Shead and the Erotic Muse, (Craftsman House, Sydney 2001), Six Memos on the Art of Bruno Leti, (Beagle Press, Sydney 2002) and The art of Grahame King (Macmillan, Melbourne 2005). He has also published over a thousand articles nationally and internationally and is an acknowledged authority on Australian art. He has taught many courses on Australian art at the Australian National University and has delivered guest lectures and series of guest lectures on Australian art in Europe, China and America. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and 2005 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Australian art and art history. Professor Grishin is Head of Art History at the Australian National University and has worked for many years as an art critic for the Australian and international press.


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