University Of Tasmania

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Seize the day: exhibitions, Australia, and the World

posted on 2023-05-22, 09:44 authored by Katherine Darian-SmithKatherine Darian-Smith, Gillespie, R, Jordan, C, Willis, E

Australians have always loved a good show, as this new collection of essays demonstrates. The significance of exhibitions goes beyond mere entertainment. From the 1850s to the present, exhibitions have been a marketing tool for Australia’s advancements in global trade, migration and tourism. They have also been powerful vehicles for conspicuous consumption, civic progress, social status, and identity – be it local, national or international.

This multi-disciplinary collection presents new research on a fascinating variety of exhibitions from nineteenth-century World Fairs to late twentieth-century Expos. Contributors are leading museum professionals and academics from a range of disciplines including art history, the history of design, literary studies, indigenous history, cultural and social history and the history of science.

Seize the Day examines the complex role of exhibitions within Australia’s cultural, commercial and artistic histories. Exhibitions are dynamic sites for the construction of national identities and international collaborations, the showcasing of collecting and exhibiting practices, and the expression and contestation of race and gender. Detailed case studies explore the many facets of exhibitions – from ethnographic display to artistic competition to intercolonial rivalry – to reveal their politics, personalities and astonishingly rich material culture.

As the first book to address the exhibition movement in Australia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Seize the Day will become the standard collection on this topic for years to come.







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