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Australian Art, Cinema and Society

Class at Faculty of Arts |



This course will focus on the development of Australian art from the earliest colonial painters (such as William Westall, Conrad Martens, John Glover) through to the ?Impressionists? (Fredrick McCubbin, Charles Condor, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Hans Huysen, Walter Withers?as well as John Peter Russell), the ?Modernists? (Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd), post-Impressionists (in particular the work of Grace Cossington-Smith), the Surrealists (including James Gleeson and Albert Tucker) and the post-Abstract figurative painters (such as Brett Whiteley). Discussion will centre on the historical evolution of a particularly ?Australian? (hence non-European) painterly vocabulary, drawn both from the outback landscape and from the modern urban environment. The course will also involve discussions of film and advertising, as well as current issues of City Art and Public Space. The overall objective of this strand of the course will be to link the various developments in Australian art to changes in the structure of Australian society?from Colonisation in the late 1700s, through Federation in 1901, to the present Republican debate and questions of Australia?s role as a political and military power in the South Pacific region (especially in light of recent events in East Timor). Particular attention will be given to the international art critic Robert Hughes? study of Australian convict settlement, The Fatal Shore, and his well-known survey of modern art, The Shock of the New.


Assessment for this course will be in the form of a short seminar paper (2000-2500 words), as well as participation in class discussions.