By Peter Beilharz
Bernard Smith is widely known as certainly one of Australia's top intellectuals within the fields of anthropology and artwork heritage. Peter Beilharz argues that Smith's paintings additionally features a social thought or a fashion of considering Australian tradition and identification. Smith allows Australians to consider concerns of position and cultural imperialism during the photograph of being no longer Australian lots as antipodean. this can be the 1st book-length research of Bernard Smith's paintings. it truly is either an creation to Smith's pondering and a huge interpretive argument approximately imperialism and the antipodes.
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Extra resources for Imagining the Antipodes: Culture, Theory and the Visual in the Work of Bernard Smith
The Project hired 3749 artists who created 15 633 works of art for public institutions (in the America Of the 1930s, as in Smith's New South Wales of the 1940s, art display was, by definition, a metropolitan experience). Whitlam's error, in Smith's eyes, was to follow Catherine's policy, buying up significant works such as Pollock's Blue Poles but behaving as though the collection of art was more closely connected to the realm of consumption than of production. 31 The echoes of the Catherine/Whitlam story reach back into Smith's earlier beliefs and practices.
A purely Australian modern art was therefore impossible; even as a reactionary strategy of self-defence, it could only make sense as an archaistic revivalism staking itself against 29 30 I M A G I N I N G T H E ANTIPODES the dominant historical movement. Not that there was a shortage of sources for those who might choose to argue for the antipodean as a peculiarity of essence, of primordial time and space. 5 European romanticism had sought the Gothic and the sublime in northern nature; only the southern experience suggested better.
Fin-de-siecle fears may have been less heightened in Australia than in Europe, if only because the scars of the Industrial Revolution were yet barely perceptible. Mechanics' Institutes prospered, 31 32 I M A G I N I N G T H E ANTIPODES encouraging amateur art and criticism, and the emerging middle class was keen to develop art as evangelism, both as a moral code of human development and as a commercial advocate. By Federation, of course, art became connected to nation-building, though again this is probably something which is more apparent in retrospect.
Imagining the Antipodes: Culture, Theory and the Visual in the Work of Bernard Smith by Peter Beilharz