October 2011

Arts & Letters

Architecture masterpiece

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

Nowadays ‘masterpiece’ refers to a work of extraordinary artistic merit. But it once described a work by a craftsman made specifically to demonstrate mastery of (his) craft and so gain entry to a guild. This older meaning is appropriate to architecture, a practice lodged somewhere between fine arts and craft. The Gold Medal of the Australian Institute of Architects is a contemporary measure of mastery.

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, designed by 2010 Gold Medallists Lindsay and Kerry Clare (with James Jones), is a building readily available to the public. With its large overhanging roof, open verandahs and timber-batten screening, GoMA conveys a typical, familiar and regional expression of subtropical informality at a civic scale. It is a friendly, welcoming building, unexpectedly filled with natural light and with tactile surfaces that successfully deflate conventional expectations of the art gallery as an imposing institution. Here, grandeur and hauteur are exchanged for ideas of accessibility and the ordinary, refined and made beautiful and extraordinary.

—Haig Beck and Jackie Cooper

© Chris Harvey
Cover: October 2011

October 2011

From the front page

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Missing witnesses: Valeria Luiselli’s ‘Lost Children Archive’

The Mexican ‘documentary fiction’ writer delivers a polyphonic road trip

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New developments in watergate scandal

The EAA deal is not the only buyback that warrants scrutiny

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The vision thing

So far, the federal election campaign of 2019 is a surprise return to the politics of yesteryear


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

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Missing witnesses: Valeria Luiselli’s ‘Lost Children Archive’

The Mexican ‘documentary fiction’ writer delivers a polyphonic road trip

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David Malouf’s new worlds

Consciousness is at the heart of the celebrated author’s body of work

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A black woman in space: Solange’s ‘When I Get Home’

Songs distilled from the quiet expanses of high art and black culture

Haruki to Highsmith: Lee Chang-dong’s ‘Burning’

Mr Ripley echoes through a masterful tale of class tensions in Seoul


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

Opera masterpiece

Neil Armfield - ‘Peter Grimes’, 2009


Read on

Image of Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison

The vision thing

So far, the federal election campaign of 2019 is a surprise return to the politics of yesteryear

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Much ado about Barry

On Humphries’s brand of confronting comedy and the renaming of the Barry Award

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Can ‘Eat the Problem’ solve the problem?

Mona’s new project explores our fraught ethics of consumption

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‘Janet Laurence: After Nature’ at the MCA

This survey offers a root and branch study of the natural world’s fragility


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