University of Tasmania

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Criticising the Critics: Art and Craft Criticism and Art and Craft History in Australia, Post 1950, Part 1 and 2

posted on 2023-05-22, 08:51 authored by Denholm, M
Australia has had a number of art critics. Some have been extremely influential, most notably, Bernard Smith, the 'father figure' of Australian art, and Robert Hughes, who went on to achieve international renown, after writing a history of Australian art. Yet despite the impact of these critics, very little if anything has been written about their effect on Australia other than a study of Bernard Smith's writing.' published in 1997, and studies of Robert Hughes and Elwyn Lynn published in 2001 and 2009. This lack of analysis denotes a short-sightedness in Australia on the part of many people, an inability to think long and hard about the contributions of previous generations and the impact of tradition. It reflects the nature of a consumer society where the latest product, or trend, is more appealing than what already exists, a failure to learn from the past, and is an illustration of the rarity of art historiography in Australia. This study is a contribution towards helping to create a more sophisticated society in Australia, one sceptical about the latest fashion and able instead to make discriminating, informed decisions about the new. It is a meditation on the history of art and craft criticism and art and craft history in Australia since 1950, a contribution towards a greater understanding of Australia's past, hopefully resulting in a deeper awareness of the contribution of the various art and craft critics and art and craft historians of this time. As such it salutes Bernard Smith in his desire to create a more educated audience for art in Australia. It does not cover all the art and craft critics of the period it surveys but, on the whole, covers those who had the most impact.







School of Humanities


Carlton Street Press

Place of publication

North Hobart

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Understanding Australia’s past

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