2008 Prizes

Large and Small Catalogues: Judges comments

The judges were given the difficult task of choosing from a variety of impressive large and small catalogues. These ranged from volumes dealing with contemporary art to those on various periods from the history of art and from thematic exhibitions to solo shows. Some were based on collections located all over the world while others focussed upon the collections of the institutions sponsoring the exhibition. Many catalogues accompanied exhibitions that had been planned for some years and demonstrated a lengthy research and writing time. There were many more very worthy entries than were able to be short-listed. The judges short-listed three large catalogues and three small catalogues.

Best Large Catalogue: “Andy Warhol”

Tony Ellwood et al., Queensland Art Gallery

Andy Warhol

The judges were impressed by the freshness of approach in both the design of the catalogue and in the essays contained in this volume. Published by QAG in co-operation with the Andy Warhol Museum for the opening exhibition at GoMA, with extremely high production values. This is an historically, intellectually and visually exciting catalogue to accompany an internationally important Warhol survey. It includes ten freshly commissioned essays by Australian art critics and writers, and a handful of essays and interviews by US writers. One of the most important of the US essays, by Crimp, was originally published in 1999, but is crucial for locating the book in relation to the turn from art history to cultural and visual studies, and importantly shows the role of Australian scholarship in this in references to Meaghan Morris, Ian Burn, John Fiske, Terry Smith and others. The catalogue illustrates the key themes of transnational modern pop culture—death, fear, consumer desire, celebrity—and offers an original perspective by illustrating the relation between mid 20th Australian culture and these NY movements rather than the usual British perspective.

SHORT-LISTED: Bertram Mackennal, Deborah Edwards (ed.)

A very high quality exhibition catalogue designed as a near comprehensive scholarly research record with a biography, catalogue raisonné on CD, and interpretive and historical essays by numerous important contributors, mostly Australian, assessing the career in terms of British/Australian cultural exchanges; the New Sculpture; and Edwardian ideologies. The judges were impressed by the volume’s thoroughness and innovative approach, and by its outstanding production values. This history of an Australian sculptor is comprehensive, and the treatment of the whole historiographic question of transnational careers in this era makes the volume a fascinating and timely study.

SHORT-LISTED: “Printed Images in Colonial Australia 1801–1901” and “Printed Images by Australian Artists 1885–1955”, Roger Butler

These two large exhibition catalogues are based on exhibitions mounted covering the extensive print collections of the National Gallery of Australia. The judges wish to commend Roger Butler and his staff for their remarkable achievement in gathering together an impressive body of research in what are now definitive volumes on the history of printmaking in Australia. Printed Images in Colonial Australia 1801–1901 covers the earliest days of Australian white settlement until the period encompassing the federation of the Australian states. Incorporating a vast range of materials that map both the development of printmaking as well as the history of colonial Australia itself, this represents many years of assiduous collecting and of research. Printed Images by Australian Artists 1885–1955, presents equally high standards of research and writing. This volume covers the emergence of modernism and deals in admirable depth with the new techniques that played such a crucial role in the emergence of modern printmaking.

Best Small Catalogue: “Pulp Fictions: The Art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi”

David Maskill (ed.)

Pulp Fictions: The Art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi

An admirable catalogue of short essays by art history honours students at Victoria University Wellington, responding to prints by Piranesi in good scholarly essays. The volume is attractively designed and printed with a feel for classical principles of book design appropriate to the period. The judges wish to commend David Maskill for his role as editor and the contributors for their scholarly contributions to an excellent small catalogue.

SHORT-LISTED: “Translucent World: Chinese Jade from the Forbidden City”, Liu Yang with Edmund Capon

This is an exemplary small catalogue covering an important exhibition shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on the Chinese art of jade carving, an art form that stretches over many millennia. The judges wish to congratulate Liu Yang and Edmund Capon for the high production values pertaining to the reproduction of each work of art, and for the concise entries accompanying them. Overall, a user-friendly catalogue, conveying great scholarship in accessible language.

SHORT-LISTED: “Black Robe White Mist: Art of the Japanese Buddhist Nun Rengetsu”, Melanie Eastburn et al.

This catalogue accompanied the exhibition of the work of Otagaki Rengetsu, (Lotus Moon), a Buddhist nun who lived in Kyoto from the late eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth century. This beautifully designed small catalogue reveals the biography of her life spanning the late Edo and Meiji periods and deals especially with her ceramic output in the context of her involvement in the cultural life of the city of Kyoto as well as the poverty that led her to turn to pottery in her late forties. Eight essays written by a team of scholars, curators and specialists, trace the development of the remarkably delicate ceramic work that she produced over the latter part of her life. The judges wish to commend Melanie Eastburn, John Stevens, Patricia A. Graham, Meher McArthur, Sandra Sheckter, Sayumi Takahashi and Chiaki Ajioka for their various roles in producing this outstanding small catalogue.

The Judges

Jeanette Hoorn and Jennifer Milam

aaanz journal prizes 2008

Judges Comments on Journal Prize

A very good range of high quality articles were included this year in the four issues  of the journal considered for the 2008 prize. There were many other articles apart from those that were short-listed that were of excellent standard and worthy of commendation. The judges however were able to settle on a short-list of three. They are the following:

Ian McLean, “The Australianness of the English Claude…”

Ian McLean’s article assesses the shifting place of John Glover’s art in the canon of early Australian landscape painting exposing the investment of Australian art history in revealing what constitutes ‘Australianness’. In addition to its contribution to current ‘state of the field’ discussions around Australian landscape painting, the article convincingly demonstrates how Glover’s work has been enlisted to support some dubious nationalist agendas and proposes instead a new direction for consideration of the picturesque as a global style.

Petra Kayser, “The Intellectual and the Artisan”

The judges were impressed by the manner in which the author was able to demonstrate, in admirably clear prose, a keen understanding of the period and of the role of two artists who have been marginalised in conventional accounts. Through careful research into processes of production and casting techniques, a better understanding of the relationship struck between art and nature by the sixteenth-century artisan is revealed to the reader.

Catherine de Lorenzo and Deborah van der Plaat, “Southern Geographies…”

The judges were persuaded by the originality of the arguments presented by the authors in their reading of a series of photographs of J.W. Lindt’s famous botanical paradise, “The Hermitage”. Catherine de Lorenzo and Deborah van der Plaat uncover the influence of Humboldtian theories on Lindt’s botanising while contributing a feminist perspective to both garden history and the history of science in the late nineteenth century. They demonstrate that cross-disciplinary research provides a multitude of rewards for the art historian.