Issue 2 2007

emaj issue two, 2007

EDITORS 

Robyn Dold, Amelia Douglas, Katrina Grant, Ryan Johnston, Tim Ould

ARTICLES

Jacopo Zucchi, Artist-Iconographer

TIM OULD

Much of what is known about the invention of Mannerist decorative programmes is owed to the writings of humanist advisors like Annibale Caro, Vincenzo Borghini and Pietro Vettori. Jacopo Zucchi’s Discorso on the Rucellai Gallery is a unique insight into the iconographic process for an artist who composed his own programme. This paper examines some of the textual and visual sources used by Zucchi and attempts to discern his criteria for selecting them. The decoration of the gallery, in the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome, is far and away his largest secular programme and is like a painted resumé, reusing a repertoire of motifs which Zucchi accumulated under Vasari in Florence, and during his work as an independent artist for Ferdinando de’ Medici in Rome. View/download pdf (321kb) »

Wolfgang Sievers and the Revisionism of Australian Migrant Art

DUNJA RMANDIC 

This paper contends that in looking to Australian migrant art, such as that of the German–Australian photographer Wolfgang Sievers, we can better understand the significance and politics of revisionist discourse in this country and begin a much needed enquiry: to rethink the historiography of modernism in Australia. Drawing on the experience of migrant identity situated between the past and the present (and potential future) – the present now represented by the new Australian locality – the concept of the ‘inbetween’ and identity renegotiation that is implicit here are seen to condition and structure the local settler culture more so than the concept of provincialism. It is the dynamic of the ‘in-between’ (both cultural and psychological) with its postcolonial implications, with which Australian art historical revisionism is ultimately concerned, and it is through modernist migrant art that this condition can best be understood and articulated. View/download pdf (68kb) »

On the Politics of World Art History

HUW HALLAM 

Recently discussion has emerged within art historical circles regarding the prospect of world art history. The American art historian James Elkins has asserted that although there is not yet consensus over the meaning or value of world art history, its prospect is ‘[f]ar and away the most pressing problem facing the discipline’. Even if one were to disagree with Elkins’ assessment, it is difficult to overlook the range of recent publications that have sought to trace trans-continental cultural exchange and define universal norms according to which a global history of art could be written. 2 For what is world art history, at least at first glance, if not an attempt to create a unified history of all of the art cultures of the world by establishing universal bases for their comparison? This essay interrogates the politics of this nascent turn to world art history and its inherent articulation of universality – a turn that would appear to contradict the preceding ‘postmodern’ focus on local knowledge and histories. View/download pdf (67kb) »

High Desert Test Sites: An Artistic ‘Garden of Eden’?

GRACE MCQUILTEN 

High Desert Test Sites is a co-operative art project located in the desert landscape of California. Once a year, the project coalesces into a series of performances, artistic collaborations and local events. A small group of properties near Joshua Tree National Park form the sites of the project, and are figured as experimental spaces for critical artistic and design practice. The organisers of the project, including artists, gallerists and dealers, claim to work outside of the commercial sphere of art, providing a critical space in which to question contemporary society. View/download pdf (228kb) »

Changing Museum Environments: Global Articulations of the ‘Video Text’ (1968–1990)

CYRUS MANASSEH 

This article addresses how and why video art shaped the museum environment for the 21st century. The argument tracks a period of museological innovation between 1968 and 1990. Beginning with the Museum of Modern Art, New York, changes in architectural display and curatorial focus are then examined with respect to the Centre George Pompidou, Paris, the Tate Gallery, London and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. This research reveals how video art’s “problematic” time-based presence and redefinition of normative spectator positions assisted in the development of modern museum environments suitable for constant modification. View/download pdf (65kb) »

An Interpretation of Two Late Archaic Athenian Eyecups

ANDREW PRENTICE 

This article interprets two eyecups created in Athens at the end of the Late Archaic Period. Both would have been purchased by Athenian aristocrats and used at what were essentially exclusive drinking parties. Eyecups are a specific type of drinking cup used by aristocrats at these social gatherings. The cups are therefore an important source of information about how the Athenian elite expressed their self-identity during the period in which the cups were created and used. I will argue that eyecups indicate that aristocrats could only be equal among themselves if they stripped away what made them civilised and embraced ‘the Other’. View/download pdf (190kb) »

REVIEWS

‘Lights… Kamera… Action!’ Introducing Graz’s Friendly Alien

DAMIAN LENTINI

In September 2003 a large crowd gathered along the banks of the Mur river in the Austrian city of Graz to witness the opening of the city’s new contemporary art centre. Much like the opening of other large cultural institutions, the city threw a lavish ‘Open House Party’ to greet its newest occupant; creating a carnival-like atmosphere in the area surrounding the building. The scheduling of this opening party had been carefully planned by the cities authorities, as it represented the pinnacle of Graz’s year-long ‘European Capital of Culture’ celebrations; a year-long cultural festival that had immersed the city and its inhabitants in a mixture of lights, colour, music and spectacle. View/download pdf (274kb) »

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