October 2011

Arts & Letters

Visual art (three-dimensional) masterpiece

By Doug Hall
Hany Armanious & Mary Teague - ‘Lines of Communication’, 2010

Quietly installed in the old North Sydney Telephone Exchange – now a newly developed commercial building – in Mount Street, North Sydney, is a large commission, launched in 2010. Hany Armanious (Australia’s artist at this year’s 54th Venice Biennale) and Mary Teague have produced a work that is at once playful and serious, and refers to the history of the site it occupies.

Two massive polystyrene look-a-like cups (actually moulded in polyester resin) rest on old school desks; as with many of Armanious’ works, materials are not as they appear. The cups are connected by clusters of telephone cabling gathered from the old site. It’s a work that plays with so-called high and low art – old technology in a technologically advanced building. It invokes the past, inviting us to recall backyard childhood games and to think about technology and change. The application of these ideas is complemented by the materials themselves. In re-creating art as a game from childhood and placing it in a contemporary setting, it personalises our relationship to it.

—Doug Hall

Doug Hall
Doug Hall is a former director of the Queensland Art Gallery and Australian Commissioner at the Venice Biennale.

From the front page

Image of US President Joe Biden meeting virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, November 15, 2021. Image © Susan Walsh / AP Photo

The avoidable war

Kevin Rudd on China, the US and the forces of history

cartoon:In light of recent events

In light of recent events

Who’s preferencing whom?

Detail of cover of Simon Tedeschi’s ‘Fugitive’

Ghost notes: Simon Tedeschi’s ‘Fugitive’

A virtuoso memoir of music and trauma, and his experiences as a child prodigy, from the acclaimed Australian pianist

Composite image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese speaking during the first leaders’ debate on April 20, 2022. Image © Jason Edwards / AAP Images

Election special: Who should you vote for?

Undecided about who to vote for in the upcoming federal election? Take our quiz to find out your least-worst option!

In This Issue

Performance art masterpiece

Mike Parr - ‘Close the Concentration Camps’, 2002

John Bell rehearsing 'King Lear'. Sydney Opera House, 2010. © Greg Wood/AFP

Bowing to the bard

John Bell’s ‘On Shakespeare’

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Summit season

Julia Gillard, foreign policy and the summit season

Popular music masterpiece

Sarah Blasko - ‘As Day Follows Night’, 2009


More in Arts & Letters

Image of Steve Toltz

The quip and the dead: Steve Toltz’s ‘Here Goes Nothing’

A bleakly satirical look at death and the afterlife from the wisecracking author of ‘A Fraction of the Whole’

Detail of cover of Simon Tedeschi’s ‘Fugitive’

Ghost notes: Simon Tedeschi’s ‘Fugitive’

A virtuoso memoir of music and trauma, and his experiences as a child prodigy, from the acclaimed Australian pianist

Still from ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’

One small step: ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’ and ‘Deep Water’

Richard Linklater’s rotoscoped film evokes the optimism of late-1960s America, while Patricia Highsmith’s thriller gets another disappointing adaptation

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, ‘Dibirdibi country’ (2008

Art heist: The landmark conviction of an Aboriginal art centre’s manager

The jailing of Mornington Island Art’s chief executive for dishonest dealing has shone a light on ethics and colonialism in the Indigenous art world


More in Masterpieces

Contemporary dance masterpiece

Tanja Liedtke - ‘construct’, 2007

Fashion masterpiece

Romance was born - ‘The Oracle’, 2011

Television masterpiece

Chris Lilley - ‘Summer Heights High’, 2007

20 Australian Masterpieces Since 2000


Online exclusives

Image of US President Joe Biden meeting virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, November 15, 2021. Image © Susan Walsh / AP Photo

The avoidable war

Kevin Rudd on China, the US and the forces of history

Composite image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese speaking during the first leaders’ debate on April 20, 2022. Image © Jason Edwards / AAP Images

Election special: Who should you vote for?

Undecided about who to vote for in the upcoming federal election? Take our quiz to find out your least-worst option!

Image of the Stone of Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Image © Lukas Coch / AAP Images

Remembrance or forgetting?

The Australian War Memorial and the Great Australian Silence

Image of Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, Labor MP Emma McBride and shadow housing minister Jason Clare after meeting with young renter Lydia Pulley during a visit to her home in Gosford on May 3, 2022. Image © Lukas Coch / AAP Images

Property damage

What will it take for Australia to fix the affordable housing crisis?