Celebrating the finest in Australian and international art writing…
“When reviewing a book on a subject on which one has also published a work, it is probably prudent to begin by acknowledging the fact. My Art in Australia from Colonisation to Postmodernism (Thames and Hudson, 1997) was commissioned by Nikos Stangos, who had about three decades earlier commissioned Robert Hughes’s Art of Australia (1966). In fact Stangos saw my book as in some sense a replacement for Hughes’s volume, taking into account not only another 30 years of contemporary art but also the significant re-evaluation of Australian colonial art in the last decades of the 20th century.
“As part of the World of Art series, my book was necessarily concise, conceived as an accessible introduction to the subject. My intention was to propose a way of reading the history of Australian art, a narrative that stressed the intrinsic concerns of artists in this land rather than seeing Australian art as a series of colonial, and later provincial, reflections of art-historical developments in metropolitan centres.
“Sasha Grishin’s new book, Australian Art: A History, is very different in scale, in ambition and in its historiographical approach. And in the first place, if my book was meant to take the place of Hughes’s short introduction, Grishin’s is intended to replace Bernard Smith’s Australian Painting (1962), hitherto the greatest synthetic vision of the development of art in Australia. Grishin’s book is neither an introduction nor an interpretative essay, but a full-scale history of art in Australia…”