The Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne Swanston Street (between Faraday & Elgin streets) Parkville Hours: Tues – Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat & Sun 12 – 5pm www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au Follow us on Facebook Education resource prepared by Michele Davies Design by 5678 Design
Too close to call: the distance between art and sport An extract from the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 catalogue essay by Dr Vincent Alessi, Curatorial Manager, the Ian Potter Museum of Art
Narellle Autio Nipper I 2013 type C photograph 110 x 160 cm edition of 5 Courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery, Sydney; and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
While it has been argued that art is an expression of and response to the society in which it is made, sport on the other hand has been relegated to simply a spectacle, a past-time and sheer entertainment. However, sport, in all its manifestations, is central to the cultural health and identity of communities and, more broadly, to the cultural health and identity of nations. Historian Richard Cashman argues that ‘sport is one form of culture that contributes to the imagined nation, particular in recent centuries, in that it helps both define a nation, and other perceived friendly and even hostile nations, defining what the nation is and what it is not.1 In an Australian context, one only has to consider any of the national sporting teams to find evidence of imbued nationalistic characteristics and fervour. Australian teams and sports stars are often portrayed as battlers and underdogs, hard-working and blue collar, fighters but always fair, and never taking themselves too seriously. These traits parallel how we see ourselves and how we promote ourselves internationally.
The importance of fairness, a rising self-confidence and an awareness of the need to grow and develop a cohesive society is manifest in two Melbourne icons: Australian rules football and the Melbourne Cup. Established in 1861 with little fanfare, the Melbourne Cup quickly rose to prominence fostered by the increasing wealth generated on the gold fields, becoming a symbol of progress and an expression, as John Ryan observed, of Melbourne’s ‘new-found importance’.2 However, this now internationally recognised race was not about the best horses competing unimpeded, a contradiction to the capitalist dogma. Rather it was, and still is, a handicapped event, espousing the notion of a fair go and equal opportunity, concepts which symbolised colonial Australia.3 Likewise, Australian rules football, developed from the local Indigenous ball game marngrook, was readily accepted as both a participatory and spectator sport because of its egalitarian nature. Access to watch games was public and free, it had strong community/suburban links and cut across class, gender and race. It was a game ‘that nurtured a colonial self-confidence’ and espoused ‘a vision of what a new society could be’.4
Ivan Durrant Outside run 2013 synthetic polymer paint on composition board 100 x 160 cm Courtesy the artist
Moreover, football clearly set itself apart from the imported sports, not only as a point of difference, but also as a sign of a growing maturity and independence and within the constructs of a society based on fairness and the notion that the class hierarchies which defined older cultures could be rejected.
Tony Albert Once upon a time... (detail) 2013–14 watercolour, gouache, printed book covers, collage, paper, wooden blocks, plastic figurines, vinyl 27 components, installation (variable): 200 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
Artists throughout history have understood the power and relevance of sport and as such it has been an endless subject. Francisco Goya’s Tauromaquia series of 33 etchings depicted the Spanish’s love of bull fighting. Pablo Picasso turned to the same subject as spectacle but also in Guernica (1937) as a metaphor for the destruction and violence of war. Edgar Degas’ intimate scenes of horse racing were a response to its elevation as a fashionable activity and domain of Parisian bourgeois society. The Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London during the 1920s embraced sport as a subject as signifier of modernity. In Australia artists such as S.T. Gill turned their attention to capturing the activities of the everyday rather than illustrating a romanticised landscape: boxing bouts on the Ballarat goldfields and horse racing carnivals in Adelaide. Russell Drysdale’s The cricketers (1948), originally commissioned to enter the Englishman Walter Hutchinson’s National Collection of British Sports and Pastimes, went beyond the mere depiction of the sport. Instead it was a meditation on Australian country life—isolated, dry and hot—and a celebration of friendship and self-reliance, and the egalitarianism and informality of Australian culture. Sidney Nolan’s equally iconic Footballer (1946), unidentifiable as both an individual and the team for which he plays, transcends the game, becoming part of the Australian narrative and identity and forming, with Ned Kelly and Burke and Wills, Nolan’s trinity of national icons. Furthermore, it draws a parallel between the artist and the sportsman: solitary combatants playing in a field no longer governed by everyday rules.
While it is often argued that art and sport are polar opposites and in constant competition for relevance, the Basil Sellers Art Prize takes the lead in challenging this position. In this year’s Basil Sellers Art Prize, artists have tackled sports as diverse as boxing, surfing, horseracing, cricket and Australian rules football. Many of the works use sport as a theme through which to investigate greater issues such as racism, sexism, community and notions of discipline, nation building and identity. Sport and particular sporting moments have the capacity to define a nation and have played roles in shaping individual and collective identity. Jenny Watson pays tribute to the racehorse Black Caviar who, like Phar Lap, decades earlier became a national hero and a source of hope and enjoyment in times of financial crisis. Noel McKenna’s painting depicts Trevor Chappell’s famous underarm delivery against New Zealand, a moment which has ensured those involved are now recognised as a source for the ongoing tone of mistrust, antagonism and competition between Australia and New Zealand. Narelle Autio, like William Mackinnon and Gerry Wedd, turns to the ocean, that great definer of Australia’s national identity. Her large-scale photographs, seductive in their composition and aquamarine tonality, celebrate the role of Australia’s Surf Live Saving Clubs and in particular the colloquially named Nippers. These works are as much a homage to those photographed as to what they represent: a free spirited, water bound, sun-loving Australia.
The Surf Life Saving Club has become a national institution. It is a beacon of pride as much for its sense of community as for the image it portrays of the sun-drenched, bronzed Aussie. The notion of community is central to Australia’s view of itself as fair and welcoming and this is epitomised in local sporting clubs, such as football and netball, dispersed across the nation. Khaled Sabsabi, in his work Wonderland (2013–14), takes the audience into the energetic midst of the Red and Black Bloc: the official fan group of the A-League’s Greater Western Sydney Football Club. Rhythmic and visually arresting, the work interrogates the stereotypes peddled about Sydney’s west as dangerous and dysfunctional and reveals instead how sport can unite a community, celebrate its diversity and give identity and a voice to those who are often pushed to the margins. Gabrielle de Vietri’s project Three teams takes the game of AFL and re-presents it as a competition between three rather than two teams. The re-imagining of the game has at its core community involvement and explores traditional notions of competition, arguing for alternative approaches, which celebrate and employ intelligence and uphold ‘a moral sense of social co-operation’.5
Narelle Autio Nipper III 2013 type C photograph 110 x 160 cm edition of 5 Courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery, Sydney; and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
This sense of social cohesion and tolerance continues to be challenged in Australia, and internationally, by ongoing racism. Sport is not immune to the stains of such behaviour and has taken an active role in attempting to educate and eradicate it as an accepted norm within the community. In 1993, after a game throughout which he was racially vilified, St Kilda footballer Nicky Winmar lifted his jumper, and proudly pointed to his black skin in a moment of defiance. Captured on film and gracing the front page of the next day’s newspapers, this simple but powerful gesture was the catalyst for the AFL administration to take a stand against racism in its sport, both on and off the field. There was an acknowledgement that even in the field of professional sport where Indigenous people are celebrated for their excellence, racism continues to linger, and reflects the persistence of ignorant ideology which plagues society at large. Tony Albert addresses inherent generational racism towards Indigenous Australians using sporting events as mechanisms to alert people of the continued existence of such attitudes and to encourage change. Daddy’s little girl (after Gordon Bennett) (2010) responds to the story of an NRL coach excusing his reference to an Indigenous player as a ‘black c…’ as merely a casual remark and clubroom banter with no malice, while the more recent Once upon a time (2013–14) was made following abuse directed towards AFL footballer Adam Goodes; 21 years after Nicky Winmar’s iconic moment. The four year period between the making of both works, while
Gabrielle de Vietri Three teams (production still) 2013–14 dual-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio colour, sound 30:07 minutes Photograph: Kiarash Zangeneh Courtesy the artist
brief, is nonetheless analogous to the persistence of racism in the community; how it is a learnt behaviour handed down from generation to generation, and the ultimate slowness of stamping out such views and behaviour in society more broadly. Albert, who for both works penned a letter to the late Gordon Bennett, declares his frustration with the fact that intolerance and racism continues to exist. Eloquently and with great humanity and pride, he also celebrates the role of sports people and artists alike, writing ‘there are so many heroes who stand up for our people, and it is those heroes—people like you, Adam Goodes and Nicky Winmar— who inspire me to carry on.’ He concludes, ‘as I write these words, Adam Goodes has been named Australian of the Year. Just like my inclusion in the Basil Sellers Art Prize, such wonderful news is cause for optimism.’
While sporting codes continue to reflect the issues of racism and intolerance in society, they also mirror the legacy of sexual inequality and the efforts made to effect change. Artists likewise have been engaged throughout history in this debate, particularly in the feminist art movement both within Australia and internationally. Fiona McMonagle’s delicately crafted watercolours of female boxers defy both the physicality of the sport and the debate surrounding its appropriateness and legitimacy. The work makes comment on the absence of the sport in professional competitions—female boxing was only included in the Olympics in 2012—and by extension the issue of equality of women in sport more broadly. Rob McHaffie’s cubist-inspired paintings of female tennis players reveal the objectification and stereotyping present in the reporting of female sport. Created from images and events sourced from the 2013 Australian Open, McHaffie amplifies the shallowness of the simplification and characterisation of three stars of the court: Victoria Azarenka is depicted as a cold, spoilt and unloved cheat, Maria Sharapova as charming, beautiful and universally-liked, and Serena Williams—one of tennis’ most accomplished players—as volatile and emotional. McHaffie’s highlighting of these media stereotypes challenges them, and argues for a celebration instead of the technical skills, determination, spirit and competitiveness of these female sporting stars.
Tony Albert Once upon a time... (detail) 2013–14 watercolour, gouache, printed book covers, collage, paper, wooden blocks, plastic figurines, vinyl 27 components, installation (variable): 200 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
Sportspeople have long been admired for their skill, strength and discipline in their chosen field, a parallel that can be found in artistic practice. Richard Lewer and Fiona McMonagle, both boxers as well as artists, draw attention to the physicality of making art and the discipline required to improve technically and to constantly produce. McMonagle has compared her practice, in particular the making of her animation The ring (2014), to the routine and the physical strain and hurt of training where one is required to push through for a further 10 minutes. Lewer, a competitor and boxing trainer, extends his coaching skills into the art world, as seen in the documentary component of his work, where a group of fighters are encouraged to engage in a drawing class.
Rob McHaffie The atmosphere is electric (detail) 2014 oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas 4 components 85 x 170 cm Courtesy the artist, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney; and Brett McDowell Gallery, New Zealand
The Basil Sellers Art Prize is unique and important because it understands the complexity of both art and sport as cultural reflectors and shapers. It asserts that art and sport can be uttered in the same sentence and that people can comfortably move between one and the other. The exhibition is an entry to the art world for those who are not regular viewers, and likewise, an introduction to sport for those who neither participate nor watch. Both art and sport are culturally important in their own ways and they play significant roles in community, in personal and joint enrichment and enjoyment, in helping us to understand more about ourselves, and most importantly, in comprehending and analysing the world in which we play.
Richard Lewer In the blue corner (production still) 2014 oil on board, enamel, steele, timber rack, mouthguards, monitor single-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio 3:40 minutes 14 components, installation (variable): 200 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Utopian Slumps, Melbourne; Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide; and Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
1. Richard Cashman, Sport in the national imagination: Australian sport in the federation decades, Walla Walla Press, Sydney, 2002, p. 1. 2. John Ryan, ‘Racing in two cities: A Sydney view’, R Cashman and M McKernan (eds), Sport: Money, morality and the media, NSWUP, Sydney, 1981, p. 11. 3. Wray Vamplew et al (eds.), Oxford companion to Australian sport, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1997, pp. 284–5. 4. Cashman, 2002, p. 50. 5. http://threeteams.net/?page_id=2
BASIL SELLERS ART PRIZE 4
Notes for teachers
This resource is designed for both students and teachers of VCE Art and Studio Arts. It provides additional background and contextual information to the exhibition for the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4. The resource references specific aspects and concepts relevant to the outcomes of the VCE study designs. Teachers can review the content of this resource with flexibility to meet the specific needs and interests of their students.
This resource includes the following content:
Prior to visiting the museum teachers are advised to review the information contained in this resource. Suitable tasks can be undertaken prior to visiting the exhibition, in the gallery and back in the classroom.
In preparation for visiting the exhibition
1 ‘Too close to call: the distance between art and sport’ An extract from the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 catalogue essay by Dr Vincent Alessi, Curatorial Manager, the Ian Potter Museum of Art 2 What is the Basil Sellers Art Prize? An overview of the distinctive purpose and application process required for entry into the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 and exhibition, supports tasks about art industry contexts. 3 The artists Profiles of the 16 finalists with references to their interpretations of subject matter, techniques and processes, includes links to further resources. 4 What is philanthropy? A summary of philanthropy creates a context for tasks regarding arts issues. 5 An interview with Dr Vincent Alessi Information about exhibition design and promotional methods required for preparation and presentation of the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4. Alessi discusses the curatorial relationship developed with the artists in support of their studio practice. 5 Teaching and learning tasks to address curriculum content
When viewing the exhibition, in the museum
Art industry contexts and exhibition review, discussion and debate of ideas and issues in art, analysis of artworks, artists’ practices and processes, appropriation and video art
Tasks to be considered for teaching and learning programs back in the classroom.
What is the Basil Sellers Art Prize? The Basil Sellers Art Prize is an art competition and exhibition that offers an opportunity for artists and the viewing public to engage with the broad range of issues and ideas related to sport. It has been established to encourage Australian contemporary artists to make art that addresses the theme of sport and sporting culture.
Previous Basil Sellers Art Prizes have been awarded to Daniel Crooks for Static no.11 (Man running) (2008); Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont for Gymnasium (2010); and Jon Campbell for Dream team (2012).
Entry to the Basil Sellers Art Prize is open to artists working in almost any media, including photography, video, painting, drawing and sculpture. Entries are shortlisted in the year prior to the exhibition, and shortlisted artists have the opportunity to develop their work over twelve months for this major exhibition.
The $100,000 prize was established in 2008 and will be awarded biennially until 2016. It is presented to a single work of art, which then becomes part of Basil Sellers’ collection. The award is complemented by a $5,000 People’s Choice award for a selected art work deemed the most popular by votes collected from the viewing public.
In their application, the artists presented a statement outlining the broad themes and ideas of their proposed works and explain how the art proposed for the exhibition relates to the theme of sport. The applications are accompanied by images of the artists’ previous work and curriculum vitae of their professional arts practice. Hundreds of applications from all around Australia are reviewed by the judging panel and 15–16 artists are selected for shortlisting. Each shortlisted artist is awarded a participation fee of $3,000. Any of the artists could be selected to receive the prestigious award of $100,000. Each is eligible to be considered for a $50,000 Basil Sellers Creative Fellowship at the National Sports Museum in 2015. The judging panel includes representatives from both major art museums and sporting organisations. The judging panel for 2014 includes: • R obert Cook, Curator of modern and contemporary photography and design at the Art gallery of Western Australia; • K elly Gellatly, Director, the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne;
Finalists of the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 are:
Narelle Autio Zoe Croggon Gabrielle de Vietri
Shaun Gladwell Richard Lewer William Mackinnon Rob McHaffie Noel McKenna Rob McLeish Fiona McMonagle Raquel Ormella Khaled Sabsabi Jenny Watson Gerry Wedd
As a group, the 16 finalists highlight the extraordinary talent of Australia’s contemporary artists and each has a distinctive approach to the subject of the prize—the coming together of art and sport… It promises to be an exciting show that will present surprising, intriguing and delightful perspectives on this country’s national obsession. Kelly Gellatly, Director, the Ian Potter Museum of Art
• M ichael Hawker AM, chairman of Australian Rugby Union Ltd and recently named in The Australian as one of the 50 most influential people in Australian sport. • E lizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; • Dr Chris McAuliffe, Consultant for the Sellers Group; • Basil Sellers AM
Tony Albert was born in Townsville, Queensland in 1981 and lives and works in Sydney. Albert is an avid collector of midcentury mementos and media history that relate to or depict Aboriginality and his photographs, paintings and installations are based on personal and collective histories. His practice critiques racial prejudice in contemporary Australian society.
Once upon a time... (detail) 2013–14 watercolour, gouache, printed book covers, collage, paper, wooden blocks, plastic figurines, vinyl 27 components, installation (variable): 200 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
In his work for the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Albert explores incidents of racism in two separate sporting codes. Each of the two works he is exhibiting includes a letter he wrote to the late Indigenous artist Gordon Bennett. Tony Albert is represented by Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney.
Narelle Autio was born in Adelaide 1969 and began her career as a photojournalist. Autio travelled and worked internationally as a photographer before returning to Australia to document her country. For many years, Autio has been exploring the significance of coastal landscapes in the Australian psyche though photographs of populated beaches and figures submerged in water. Her photographs portray the drama and beauty of the relationship Australians have with the water landscape.
Nipper II 2013 type C photograph 110 x 160 cm edition of 5 Courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery, Sydney; and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, she has created a suite of three works depicting junior surf lifesavers. Autio is represented by Stills Gallery, Sydney; and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
Zoe Croggon was born in Melbourne in 1989. Her practice encompasses video, sculpture, drawing and collage. Croggon’s collages are composed of images gleaned from sources such as sports encyclopedias, photography manuals, film stills and dance catalogues and connect different worlds and moments in collision presenting a visual energy for movement and form.
Both flesh and not #2 2014 photo collage 70 x 92 cm Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer, Melbourne
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Croggon has created a new series of collages that convey the elusiveness of the static physical form in fast-paced sports such as tennis and basketball. Zoe Croggon is represented by Daine Singer, Melbourne.
GABRIELLE DE VIETRI
Gabrielle de Vietri was born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in 1983. She lives and works in Melbourne. She creates video, sculpture, performance and events that investigate the rules governing human interaction. Her projects are often undertaken collaboratively and examine relationships through language, sport, work and leisure activity.
Three teams (production still) 2013–14 dual-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio colour, sound 30:07 minutes photo: Kiarash Zangeneh Courtesy the artist
Three teams is a video work which documents the invention and staging of a game of football based on Australian rules, involving three teams and three sets of goals. The game was played on the oval of the Taylors Lake Football & Netball Club in October 2013 between the Horsham RSL Diggers, Noradjuha-Quantong and Taylors Lake teams.
Ivan Durrant was born in Melbourne in 1947 and lives in regional Victoria. Since 1973, Durrant has worked in a range of styles and media, from sculpture, painting and film to the orchestration of performance events. His early painting has evolved from photorealism to the development of his own painting style ‘super realism’. His extensive rural experience living on farms has nurtured his relationship with horses and fostered his interest in horse-racing for over forty-three years.
Sprint 2013 synthetic polymer paint on composition board 100 x 168 cm Courtesy the artist
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Durrant has produced three paintings on the theme of horseracing. In a style that references blurred photography and the luminosity of high definition television, he captures the colour, speed and power of the sport as well as celebrating the nature of horseracing as a spectacle.
Shaun Gladwell was born in Sydney 1971. He works across video, performance, painting and sculpture. His video work articulates an inquiry into movement, time and space. Features of his previous video work include tracking the movement of skateboards, bicycles and motorbikes and link street life to sport.
The archer (after Chuang Tzu) (video still) 2014 single-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio colour, sound 10:47 minutes Courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Arenamedia
Gladwell’s video work for the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, titled The archer (After Chuang Tzu), brings to life a character from Tim Winton’s 2005 novel The turning. The archer was inspired by the poem of the same name by the 4th century Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu. Shaun Gladwell is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Born in New Zealand in 1970, Richard Lewer lives and works in Melbourne. Lewer’s artistic practice reflects a sustained interest in various sports. His paintings of rugby players, boxers and recreational fishing, focus on the negotiations of amateur sportsmanship, ambitions and failure. Lewer produces work in the mediums of drawing, painting, video and animation. Lewer has been an amateur boxer and professional boxing trainer in Melbourne and Perth. For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Lewer is exhibiting a compendium of visual material evoking the atmosphere of the boxing gymnasium.
In the blue corner (detail) 2014 oil on board, enamel, steel, timber rack, mouthguards, monitor single-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio 3:40 minutes 14 components, installation (variable): 300 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Utopian Slumps, Melbourne; Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide; and Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
Richard Lewer is represented by Utopian Slumps, Melbourne; Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide and Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland.
William Mackinnon was born in Melbourne in 1978. Mackinnon’s landscape paintings convey a powerful sense of place and mood. His recent work reflects his life-long passion for surfing, representing the coastline of Western Victoria.
The passage 2014 synthetic polymer paint, oil and automotive paint on canvas diptych: 300 x 200 cm Courtesy the artist and Utopian Slumps, Melbourne
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Mackinnon is presents three large paintings that evoke in the viewer the exhilaration and fear experienced by big wave surfers. Mackinnon has said, ‘In this series of work, my obsession with surfing and painting have finally coalesced.’ William MacKinnon is represented by Utopian Slumps, Melbourne.
Rob McHaffie was born in Melbourne in 1978. His practice includes drawing, painting and collage reconfigured to represent people in action. In the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, he presents a series of paintings inspired by the 2013 Australian Open Tennis Championships. McHaffie is interested in capturing the aggressive competition and high emotion of the women’s finals. His work focuses on the physical endurance of elite players such as Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka as well as their display of anguish and desperation.
The atmosphere is electric (detail) 2014 oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas 4 components 85 x 170 cm Courtesy the artist, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney; and Brett McDowell Gallery, New Zealand
Rob McHaffie is represented by Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney; and Brett McDowell Gallery, Dunedin.
Noel McKenna was born in Brisbane in 1956 and has been exhibiting since the early 1980s. His drawings and paintings reveal his observations and perspectives of everyday life. For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, McKenna has painted a work titled The underarm bowling incident of 1981 (2014), revisiting a notorious incident in cricketing history. Composed of visual and text elements, the work is both a depiction of the event and a comment on the pressures faced by professional sportspeople.
The underarm bowling incident of 1981 (detail) 2014 synthetic polymer paint on canvas 180 x 150 cm Courtesy the artist, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne; and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
Noel McKenna is represented by Niagara Galleries, Melbourne; and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney.
Rob McLeish was born in Melbourne in 1976 and has a background in graphic design. McLeish’s drawings, sculptures and installations, in the artist’s own words, ‘embrace an ecstatic ambiguity’. In recent years, McLeish has drawn extensively on the subject of the gymnast in his sculpture and collage practice, exploring notions of formal correctness and physical perfection in the face of inexorable bodily decline. Discordant elements in his sculptures represent his interpretation of the pursuit of the perfect form at the cost of physical deterioration.
Gainer 2014 Steel, epoxy resin, epoxy clay, screenprint on aluminium 6 components, installation (variable): 230 x 300 x 300 cm Courtesy the artist and Neon Parc, Melbourne Photograph: Viki Petherbridge
Rob McLeish is represented by Neon Parc, Melbourne.
Fiona McMonagle was born in Ireland in 1977 and lives and works in Melbourne. McMonagle works primarily in watercolour, often producing portraits of young melancholic figures in unfortunate and morally ambiguous positions. McMonagle discovered boxing ten years ago when she began boxercise classes. Her works presented in the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 are inspired by the sport, depicting members of her own boxing training group. McMonagle is interested in the courage and mental discipline the sport demands, as well as the physical fitness and skill demonstrated by professional female boxers.
The ring (video still) 2014 digital video animation, 16:9 ratio colour, sound 7:24 minutes Courtesy the artist, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne; Olsen Irwin, Sydney; and Heiser Gallery, Brisbane
Fiona McMonage is represented by Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne; Olsen Irwin, Sydney; and Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.
Raquel Ormella was born Sydney in 1969. She is an installation artist working at the intersections of art and activism. For ten years, Ormella has been constructing flags and banners that borrow aesthetically from sporting and protest banners, referencing them in her practice to comment on political events and social situations. Ormella’s art encourages political and social consciousness and activism.
Wealth for toil I 2014 synthetic polymer paint, hessian, cotton, metallic thread and ribbon 220 x 270 cm Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Ormella presents two large scale banners which examine the way that sport, Olympic achievement and mineral wealth have contributed to Australia’s sense of national identity. Raquel Ormella is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane.
Khaled Sasabi was born in Lebanon in 1965, and lives in Sydney. For more than twenty years, Sasabi has explored the experiences of culture and people across cultural, social, political and ideological spectrums. Sabsabi presents two major works in the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4. Tawla (2012) is a video work based on a game that is an integral part of certain Arab and Mediterranean societies: backgammon. A new work, titled Wonderland, explores the theme of fanaticism in sport, presenting the extreme emotional states experienced by fans of international football.
Wonderland (video still) 2013–14 dual-channel HD video; 16:9 ratio colour, sound 25:30 minutes Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane
Khaled Sabsabi is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane.
Jenny Watson was born in Melbourne in 1951 and lives in Queensland. In an artistic career that spans over four decades, Watson has consistently returned to the theme of horses. A keen rider and lover of horses, Watson is interested in equestrian dressage.
Speed (A study in oil and acrylic) 2014 oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas 162 x 184 cm Courtesy the artist, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Anna Schwartz Gallery
For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, Watson presents a large painting depicting retired Australian racehorse, Black Caviar. The racing career of Black Caviar has made a significant contribution to the iconic narratives of Australia’s cultural identity. Jenny Watson is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Gerry Wedd was born in 1957 and lives and works in South Australia. Throughout his career, Wedd has made ceramic artefacts that tell the story of his own recreational and competitive surfing experiences. He references surfing as a highly competitive professional sport in contrast to an isolated practice that is aesthetically beautiful and elegant. Wedd honours surfing identities who may have been forgotten or surpassed by others in competitive professional surfing culture.
Midget versus Nat 2014 glazed stoneware 57 x 42 x 42 cm photograph: Grant Hancock Courtesy the artist
The four ceramic urns that Wedd presents in the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 address the theme of surfing culture, paying tribute to individual surfing heroes and personalities.
A curatorial perspective: An interview with Dr Vincent Alessi, Curatorial Manager, the Ian Potter Museum of Art Exhibition goals
Role of the curator
The Basil Sellers Art Prize attempts to change the perception that sport and art are oppositional areas of interest. What do you see as the value and purpose of the exhibition?
How have curatorial considerations supported the goals of the exhibition? What are some of the important aspects that have been considered in preparation for the exhibition? How are these considerations specific to the Basil Sellers Prize 4?
This exhibition encourages people who are interested in sport and not necessarily interested in art to visit the museum. Using sport as the contextual framework creates a comfortable access point for those who see art as something they may not understand or may not feel welcome to engage with. The exhibition demonstrates art and sport are not so far apart. Sporting organisations, such as the AFL, are leaders in their field for tackling broader issues and go beyond the remit of presenting their game. Social concerns such as the address of issues of racism, sexism and social inclusion are of current concern for sport. Artists have always examined these social issues. The exhibition gives artists the opportunity to address issues through the theme of sport employed as a vehicle for communication. Tony Albert looks at racism through the filter of football incidents; Fiona McMonagle uses the theme of women’s boxing and its exclusion from the Olympics as a vehicle to investigate female identity; and Rob McHaffie’s images of female tennis players interrogates the sexualisation and objectification of the female body in sport. A further aspect of the value of the collaboration of art and sport is the visual representation of how sport is used to build a national narrative. Ivan Durant and Jenny Watson, through their depictions of sporting events and icons illustrate that are now part of Australia’s historical and social narrative.
The curatorial team was very mindful that of two clear objectives: firstly, to present each artist in the best possible way, and secondly to create a dialogue between the works in each gallery space. The latter objective refers to creating four spaces that encourage audiences to contemplate ideas and observe conversations or narratives present in the works. As such, we have presented four artists in each gallery space that share aesthetic and conceptual relationships. Several of the Basil Sellers Art Prize finalists created videos works for the exhibition. This entailed substantial consideration of how to best present them, how to limit ‘sound bleed’, and how to achieve an even dispersion of film works throughout the galleries. You have identified a team approach to curating this exhibition, how has this come about and how has it supported an effective outcome? I started managing the Potter’s curatorial team in February 2014, when development of the fourth Basil Sellers Art Prize was already underway. Working collaboratively provided me the opportunity to learn how my colleagues work and vice versa—it gave them the opportunity to learn about me. Further, the collaborative approach ensured that the Basil Sellers Art Prize—the largest exhibition in the Potter’s calendar—would benefit from rigorous discussion about the installation, about what dialogue and narratives we wanted to create in the space, and also about how we could best assist artists conceptually and practically to present their work.
Considerations for preparation and presentation of the exhibition What are some of the presentation techniques that have been used in this exhibition? Only two of the seven video works are presented with ‘ambient sound’ (presented without headphones). This limits what is known as ‘sound bleed’. Where headphones are installed, there are two sets available, so that visitors do not have to wait in a long queue for their opportunity to view the work. Works are hung on particular walls so that they are neither cramped nor lost in vast gallery spaces. Where necessary, the curatorial team consulted with artists to resolve any issues arising from the presentation of their work. In particular, discussions have taken place about whether entries with multiple works are presented as a suite of individual works or grouped together to make works consisting of multiple parts. Considering all new works have had to be made in a specified time period for the exhibition, how much dialogue have you had with artists leading up to the refinement and presentation of their work? Various dialogues between artist and curator have varied in scope and time. With some artists, conversations began with refinement of what works they should enter in the prize, and later developed into details of how the work would be presented. Final conversations assisted artists to decide what would be included and what was to be left out. For other artists, regular, informal conversations via phone and email ensured they were progressing well and never felt confused about the process. Outside of discussion about the work, we keep in contact with the artists to ensure they have attended to appropriate exhibition requirements. This includes provision of updated images when required, completion of administration paper work and availability to organise media opportunities and transport of the work. Finally, we organise the artists to be here for the exhibition opening and for the delivery of public programs throughout the exhibition period.
Considerations for the preservation of artworks How have artworks been transported and taken care of in transit? All artworks are delivered using a professional art handling transport company. With video works, artists usually posted or emailed files, which our exhibition preparatory then uploaded onto high definition media players. Regarding all non-video works, condition reports were completed on receipt of the work and will later be completed just before the departure of the work from the museum. Condition reports are undertaken by museum staff and to ensure the Potter meet our obligations of looking after the works while in our custody. Have any of the artworks presented transportation or installation problems? One of the finalists entered a large sculptural work comprising three pieces. The artist was working in New York for some months. Due to the cost and logistics of transportation the artist decided to return to Australia just prior to the exhibition to make the works here in Melbourne. Another concern, which is raised in the preparation of many exhibitions, is transporting works from outside of the major cities. This often requires dedicated truck runs to pick up one work. Do any artworks need specific temperature or lighting conditions for preservation? The Potter follows international standards in display and conservation of all art works. This is the case even when there are no specific temperature and lighting requirements listed in the loan agreements. What is required for the care, presentation and preservation of digital and video works? Most digital and video works these days need to be presented on high definition equipment, including the screen and the hardware that plays them, for instance, media players. We are using particular media players that can be programmed to start instantly when turned on and retain information such as sound, colour and contrast levels. Marketing and promotion for the exhibition How is the exhibition promoted and marketed to the public? An extensive marketing campaign supports this exhibition. The Potter makes use of traditional channels such as advertising in art and general publications and social media platforms such as Facebook. A suite of promotional videos will be released at different stages leading up to the launch of the exhibition (this will be done through Facebook and by posting links at the end of Potter staff email signatures). We also work with a publicity officer who assists in finding media opportunities for us across all platforms: print, television and radio.
Further references regarding condition report guidelines and international standards for the preservation and presentation of artworks:
Zoe Croggon Both flesh and not #1 2013 photocollage 70 x 83 cm Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer, Melbourne
Professional practice, processes and techniques The artists have worked in different ways to address their proposal for the Basil Sellers Prize. Can you share any knowledge of the arts practice of participating artists that you have come to learn about through discussions or studio visits in preparation for the exhibition? Each artist undertakes his or her practice in an individual way. For a long time Fiona McMonagle has worked in watercolour—a traditional and in some ways conservative medium. For the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4, McMonagle is making a short animation where each frame is made up of images of her watercolour work. McMonagle has produced hundreds of individual watercolours, specifically to make her animated film. Each painting has been photographed individually and sequentially for the sole purpose of making the animation. Khaled Sabsabi’s video Wonderland, depicting the official fan groups of the Western Sydney Wanderers in full voice and chant, appears like a constructed world staged and shot in a studio. It was, however, shot on location during a Wanderers game. The process for this work involved the development of a relationship between the artist and the fan group over a period of about a year. In order to achieve a sense of ‘authenticity’ in Wonderland, Sabsabi connected with the club, gained their trust and become part of the community.
Khaled Sabsabi Tawla 2012 high-definition video, colour, sound 12 minutes © Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane Photograph: Vicki Petherbridge
How have the Basil Sellers Art Prize finalists interpreted the subject matter and communicated ideas? What may have influenced the development of their work? Responses from artists have been quite varied. A number of artists including Noel McKenna and Jenny Watson have focussed on Australian sporting events or icons. Other artists have deconstructed sporting images representing movement and action. These include Ivan Durant’s hyper-coloured horseracing paintings and Zoe Croggon’s photocollages drawing on (amongst other things) photographs of basketball and tennis games. The social and communal aspects of sport provide the focus in the work of Khaled Sabsabi and Gabrielle de Vietri. Tony Albert addresses issues of racism in sport and society. Richard Lewer and Fiona MacMonagle look at the parallels of discipline found in sport and art-making. Most of the artists are making works that are not far removed from their ongoing practice and interests. Artists have been making work through the lens of sport for centuries. Sport continues to be a popular subject matter, utilised as a measure of social and cultural practices of broader communities. What cultural contexts have impacted the Basil Sellers Art Prize finalists’ work? Several of the artists have been highly influenced by their immediate communities, the broader society and current political issues. For some there is a tribute to the notion of their own membership of a typical Australian way of life. This is evident in references to aspects of surfing and beach culture, and cricket and football represented as a community bonding experience. Like many artists there are subtle nods to the influence of the art historical cannon and other forms of art such as literature and film. Khaled Sabsabi’s Tawla, a video of a game of backgammon, refers to parts of Asia and the Middle East where backgammon is a highly regarded and social game.
How have they used of materials and techniques? The exhibition includes works from a broad range of media including painting, video, animation, photography, sculpture, drawing, ceramics and watercolour. There are a number of interesting uses of media including Rob McLeish’s use of silkscreen printing on parts of his sculpture; Richard Lewer’s use of found objects (mouth guards) for a sculptural component of his work; Raquel Ormella’s use of a textile stitching and craft aesthetic to make large banners; and Gerry Wedd’s beautiful crafted ceramic vessels with depictions of surfing culture glazed on the surfaces. Even within the use of the same media, for example video, the processes can be quite different. Shaun Gladwell employs almost a cinema-level production crew to make his videos while Richard Lewer uses what can be described as ‘low-fi’ (low fidelity) aesthetic.
Shaun Gladwell The archer (after Chuang Tzu) (production still) 2014 single-channel HD video, 16:9 ratio colour, sound 10:47 minutes Courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery and Arenamedia
The Ian Potter Museum of Art
Established in 1972, the Ian Potter Museum of Art is the University of Melbourne’s art museum. The Ian Potter Museum of Art’s building was designed by architect Nonda Katsalidis and was opened to the public in 1998. The Potter is one of the largest university-based art museums in Australia. The Potter is an important cultural institution for students and staff of the University of Melbourne and beyond. It is a public museum open to the broader community and tourists visiting Melbourne. The Potter hosts a number of exhibitions annually featuring the work of both Australian and international contemporary artists and historical artefacts. The Potter’s extensive collections include over 20,000 artworks and artefacts. The collections include international indigenous art, decorative arts, sculpture, poster designs from the twentieth century and classics and archeology. There is also a collection of contemporary art by Australian and international artists. The Potter shows the University Art Collection around the Melbourne University campus, and exhibits work from public and private collections from around Australia and the world.
Who is Basil Sellers?
Basil Sellers AM was born and raised in India. He migrated with his family to Australia in 1948, and completed his secondary education in Adelaide. He currently resides in Sydney and is a highly successful businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Basil Sellers shares his great passions with the broader community through generous funding to visual arts and sport projects. He has acquired his knowledge and expertise in fund raising through his life and business experience as a stockbroker.
In 2009, Basil Sellers’ philanthropic support to visual arts also gave rise to the bi-annual National Sports Museum Basil Sellers Creative Arts Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to support an outstanding artist to produce new artwork relating to sport or sports heritage. Fellows are given a broad scope to create their artwork in any medium, addressing the theme of the rich history of sport in Australia. Fellows are selected from the shortlisted artists for the Basil Sellers Art Prize. The fellowship aims to promote an increase in public and community awareness of Australia’s sporting heritage. Further information about the work of the Australian artists who have previously participated in the Basil Sellers Art Prize including those awarded Creative Arts Fellowship can be found at the following link:
In his youth, Sellers fostered his love of sport by playing cricket and senior basketball. He represented South Australia in National Basketball when his team won the championship in 1958. In the 1980s he became the owner of the Newcastle Basketball team and from 1984–87, he was a Director of the NSW Association (now Cricket NSW). He is a Life Member of Cricket NSW. Basil Sellers has nurtured a great interest in art and is well recognised as an avid art collector and patron. His extensive private collection includes Post War Australian art and European modern painting, with a particular focus on Fauvism. Sellers has funded extensive national projects that encourage harmonious relationships between art and sport. He says, ‘My hope is that this prize will take lovers of sport and art into what may be unchartered, but ultimately rewarding, territory, leading to an engagement that will enhance their enjoyment of each other’s loves.’ Sellers is a major donor to many charities nationally and in India. He fosters new sporting talent through generously funding scholarships in both football and cricket.
What is philanthropy?
Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed particularly through generous donations of money to specified causes. The Australian government has been, and is predicted to perhaps remain, the largest contributor of funding to the nation’s arts. It is clear that government funds will never be able to address all the needs and opportunities for the arts, or any other area of the community. Philanthropy supports artists with opportunities to continue to create and thus afford community access to alternative viewpoints, dialogue and discourses that support and challenge our cultural development. The responses of the 16 artist finalists in the Basil Sellers Art Prize keep pushing the boundaries of how sport and art relate… the theme of sport allows for the exploration of endless issues and artistic possibilities and provides numerous opportunities to challenge existing preconceptions about both sport and art. Kelly Gellatly, Director, the Ian Potter Museum of Art
Art industry contexts: themes of the exhibition Key themes addressed throughout the exhibition include: • sport and racism • sport and politics • sport and society • sport and the media • sport and the body • sport and culture • sport and history
Ground north gallery The beach and coastal sports have long occupied a special place in the Australian psyche. Many local and international athletes view Australian beaches as some of the world’s grandest sporting stadiums. William Mackinnon and Gerry Wedd, both surfers themselves, represent the theme of surfing culture in their work. Whilst surfing is often seen as an isolated pursuit, and associated with ‘the zone’ of concentration, most surfers are members of a strong local community. Mackinnon’s large paintings, and Shaun Gladwell’s video work, capture the awe, and sense of freedom that the ocean inspires. Iconic role models have emerged from these sporting communities, and, as depicted in the imagery adorning Wedd’s ceramic pots, become national heroes. Narelle Autio’s photographs of surf lifesaving juniors represent the integration of art, life and sport. Ground south gallery Certain events and figures in the history of Australian sport have achieved mythological status, attracting the close attention of contemporary painters. Noel McKenna condenses a range of themes relating to the human condition into his depiction of a historic incident in cricket. Gabrielle de Vietri’s film work Three teams challenges the structure and rules of Australian rules football from its grass roots. While sport in Australia is enmeshed with ideas of social unity and egalitarianism, de Vietri’s work interrogates this notion. De Vietri questions the binary nature of the AFL game, and in doing so poses analogous questions about the socio-political structure of a community. Fiona McMonagle’s paintings and video animation offer intimate insights into women’s boxing—a subject that has both personal and broad significance. Like de Vietri, McMonagle reminds us it is the personal investment of the individual that creates the sport, on both an intellectual as well as a physical level. Rob McLeish explores the aspiration to aesthetic excellence present in the formal purity of gymnastics, which mirrors the artistic journey. For both McLeish and McMonagle, the rigorous training regime of the athlete is paralleled with the disciplined work undertaken by the artist in their studio.
Level two east gallery
Level two north gallery
Sport can act as a complex register of historical experience and contemporary social circumstances. Some artists, such as Tony Albert, use the theme of sport to reflect on the flaws in Australian society. Raquel Ormella’s banners explore the precarious role that sport plays in nation-building. Jenny Watson, who has dedicated decades of her celebrated career to the depiction of horses, represents a national icon, retired Australian racehorse Black Caviar. Ivan Durrant approaches the theme of horseracing as a subject allowing him to reflect on an aspect of postmodern culture, the hyper-visual medium through which most people experience sport, television.
Sport offers a number of metaphors to the artist and the works in this room invite viewers to consider a number of intersections where art and sport meet. Zoe Croggon explores the fast-paced sports of basketball and tennis. Richard Lewer uses themes of sport to communicate ideas about human psychology. His video work takes viewers into the intimidating realm of the boxer’s training ring. Khaled Sabsabi has described Tawla, his film depicting a game of backgammon played between two men, as revealing the complexity of the cultures and conflict of the West Asia region. Rob McHaffie captures the on-court drama of the 2013 Australian Open women’s semi finals.
Visit each gallery and view the work both singularly and collectively. Consider the themes presented. Review how exhibition design promotes a dialogue between the works. Examine how visual language including aesthetics and art media/materials and techniques have been employed to support the meanings and messages of themes. Make notes on how selected works address different themes and notice how the collective presentation of the work reinforce these themes.
Key theme(s), Artist and work Meaning, visual analysis conceptual and including elements, materials aesthetic relationships and technique Sport and culture Khaled Sabsabi, Tawla 2012 lifestyles, psychology thinking and being
Single-channel video installation represents a domestic table, documentary style backgammon, traditional to Arab society, cultural identity
Sport and society Ivan Durrant, Outside run 2014 impact of technology on contemporary society
Postmodern culture, painting style reflective of hyper-visual medium of contemporary, technologies. Blurred image, vibrant colour, Melbourne social and culture interest
VCE Study references: Studio Arts Units 1–4 and Art Units 1 & 3
Art industry contexts: Exhibition review Gerry Wedd MP (Dragon chasing) 2014 glazed stoneware ceramic 60 x 50 x 50 cm photograph: Grant Hancock Courtesy the artist
When viewing the exhibition notice how artworks have been collectively organised to support the aesthetic presentation and best showcase the artists’ opportunity to win the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4.
Make notes as to how the organisation of artworks promote ‘a positive, engaging and intelligent viewer experience’.
• What is the purpose of the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 exhibition?
The responses to the following questions complete an explanation of the preparation and presentation of artworks for the Basil Sellers Art prize 4 exhibition;
• Identify some curatorial practices that have supported the exhibition?
Refer to information within this resource including, the interview with Dr Vincent Alessi on page 28.
• Explain the role of the public gallery, the Ian Potter Museum of Art?
• What considerations have been applied to the exhibition design? • Identify specific aspects of this exhibition that distinguish it from other exhibitions you may have visited. • How have artists been considered in relation to the presentation of their art works? • How has the curatorial team supported artists in the selection and final preparation of works for exhibition? • Explain the methods and considerations that have been employed to address the conservation and preservation of artworks for the exhibition? • What are the international standards for the preservation and conservation of artworks? • What is a condition report and how does it support the care of artworks in exhibitions. VCE Study reference: Studio Arts Unit 4 Art industry contexts 38
Discussing and debating art Review content in this resource under these headings Discussion topics: • How important do you think sport is to Australian culture? • What similarities do art and sport share? • Do you think sport is a valid theme to support the production of contemporary art-making and public exhibition? • Do you think the Basil Sellers Art Prize can focus public attention on considering the connecs between sport and art?
• The Basil Sellers Art Prize • What is philanthropy and • ‘Too close to call: the distance between art and sport’ (an extract from the Basil Sellers Art Prize 4 catalogue essay, Dr Vincent Alessi) Consider a selection of the sixteen short-listed artists’ profiles to support responses to the following questions; • How may art prizes and competitions impact contemporary arts?
Review the purpose and intention of the prize, press releases and marketing of the exhibition.
• What do you consider to be the role of philanthropy to contemporary arts in Australia?
Preliminary classroom discussions may be helpful for students prior to formulating written responses. Teachers may direct small groups of students to review different areas of content before directing a larger group discussion.
• What influence may the Basil Sellers Art Prize and exhibition have on broader social issues?
• Have the short-listed artists evolved their practice to support their entry to the prize? Further resources and useful commentaries Adams, Sarah, Art and sport: natural enemies McAuliffe, Christopher, Fair game: art versus sport in ‘the lucky country’ Westbury, Marcus, Art v. sport (or not) VCE Study References: Art Unit 4 Discussing and debating art
How can art impact the way people think? Art is a powerful vehicle for the communication of issues and concerns of contemporary society. Visual language is accessible to the broader community, as art often transcends barriers of age and the literacy of words. Looking at art is often a personal and contemplative experience for audiences. They can examine their personal connection to subject matter and experience emotive responses in relation to visual aesthetics. It is perhaps this personal experience that can create an interest for a deeper connection and inquiry into the discourse promoted by the artwork.
Sample topic 1: Art as a practice to address the issue of racism The Australian Football League appears fully cognisant of the public popularity of football and the issues of racism within the game. They have also identified that to address the problems of racism in football they need to support community education. The inaugural AFL school’s poster competition (May 2014) acknowledges the recognition of the use of visual imagery and arts process to support a celebration of cultural diversity within the AFL. References:
Consider the following guide to support class discussions that can lead to extended written assessment tasks. 1. Utilise opinions and viewpoints expressed in commentaries within this resource, including additional listed resources, to support a discussion and debate of the idea that art can change the way people think. 2. Reference the work of selected artists featured in the exhibition. 3. Apply relevant aspects of analytical frameworks to selected artworks, particularly: Personal framework; used to interpret how an artist’s experiences, thinking and personal philosophy can be reflected in an artwork. Consider the viewer’s experience and how they read the artwork. and Cultural framework; used to identify the influences on an artwork of the time, place, purpose, cultural and political settings in which it was made. These influences may include historical, political, social, socio-economic, ethnicity and gender contexts.
• Why do you think the AFL selected a visual competition for schools to celebrate multiculturalism in football? • How may this initiative impact broader public thinking? Consider art as a language and a creative process to be used as a catalyst for thinking and the development of new ideas. • Review how Tony Albert’s work that addresses racism in football, how may the inclusion of his art work in public exhibition affect the attitudes of those who view it? • Can art drive a change in racist attitudes in Australia? Further useful resource:
4. Select a sample topic to develop an extended essay that discusses and debates art ideas.
Sample topic 2 Art as a practice to address gender inequity and exclusion Despite its history dating back to the 1720s, women’s boxing has only recently been included in the Olympic games for the first time in 2012. The sport has progressed in popularity particularly in the last decade. Extensive international lobbying has impacted the Olympic Committee’s decision to recognise women’s boxing as a legitimate professional sport. Reference: ‘While sporting codes continue to reflect the issues of intolerance in society ... they also mirror the legacy of sexual inequality and efforts made to effect change. Artists likewise have been engaged throughout history in this debate; particularly in the feminist art movement both in Australian and internationally’ (Alessi, 2014). McMonagle is interested in the courage and mental discipline the sport demands, as well as the physical fitness and skill demonstrated by professional female boxers. Her video animation and watercolour portraits of female boxers depict the movement and character of members of her own boxing training group. These works present her perception of an affinity between boxing and art-making. McMonagle references the ‘... perseverance of practice, the perfection of style, the flow and run of painting alike the movement in the ring’ (Alessi, 2014). • Why do you think women’s boxing has only recently been accepted as an Olympic sport? • Are there any contexts where gender stereotyping is acceptable? • What does McMonagle’s artwork communicate about female identity? • How may McMonagle’s artwork impact public thinking? • How can art address broader issues of discrimination towards women? Further useful resource: VCE Study reference: Art Unit 4