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.

Cover: October 2011

October 2011

From the front page

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Cold comfort

The Morrison government gave us a recession we didn’t have to have

What elitism looks like

Flagrant conflicts of interest abound at the top

Image of Guy Sebastian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, June, 2020

And now for something completely indifferent

The Morrison government is yet to fully realise that sidelining the arts hurts the economy

Image of Anne Ferran, Scenes on the Death of Nature I, 1986

‘Know My Name’ at the National Gallery of Australia

An exhilarating exhibition considers a persistent gender bias in the visual arts


In This Issue

Scene from 'The Theft of Sita'. Image courtesy of Melbourne Festival.

Music theatre masterpiece

An Australian–Indonesian production - ‘The Theft of Sita’, 2000

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Robert Helpmann & Anna Pavlova

Theatre masterpiece

Tom Wright & Benedict Andrews - ‘The War of the Roses’, 2009

The incendiary Meow Meow, 2011. © Magnus Hastings

Queen of the night

Meeting Meow Meow


More in Arts & Letters

Image of Dhambit Munuŋgurr's Bees at Gäṉgän, 2019

Blue is the colour

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Image of ‘Empire and the Making of Native Title’

Dividing the Tasman: ‘Empire and the Making of Native Title’

Historian Bain Attwood examines the different approaches to sovereignty in the New Zealand and Australian settlements

Image of Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard’s wider world

The celebrated Australian author’s ‘Collected Stories’ sets private desperation in the cosmopolitan Europe she revered

Image from ‘Mank’

Citizen plain: ‘Mank’

David Fincher’s biopic of Orson Welles’s collaborating writer favours technique over heart


More in Masterpieces

Poetry masterpiece

Jennifer Maiden - ‘Friendly Fire’, 2005

© Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Design masterpiece

Marc Newson - ‘Qantas A380 Economy Seat’, 2008

Fiction masterpiece

JM Coetzee - ‘Summertime’, 2009

© Chris Harvey

Architecture masterpiece

Lindsay & Kerry Clare - ‘Gallery of Modern Art’, Queensland, 2006


Read on

What elitism looks like

Flagrant conflicts of interest abound at the top

Image of Anne Ferran, Scenes on the Death of Nature I, 1986

‘Know My Name’ at the National Gallery of Australia

An exhilarating exhibition considers a persistent gender bias in the visual arts

Image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Morrison’s climate flip

Australia has a lot of catching up to do on emissions reduction

Image of album artwork for Brazen Hussies soundtrack

Song sisters

The soundtrack to documentary ‘Brazen Hussies’ shows a breadth of feeling about women’s liberation in Australia


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