Presented by Fenella Kernebone, Art Nation promises a fun and fascinating ride through Australia's rich arts culture. More out-and-about, edgy and culturally diverse than ever before, Art Nation features home grown art stars, plus visiting international luminaries.
This special compile presents a selection of featured visual artists, including Shaun Gladwell, Rupert Bunny, Annie Leibovitz, and Laith McGregor.
We talk to Ron Mueck's agent Anthony d'Offay about the notoriously private artist and his sculptures, which faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, and also play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images. His 2010 exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria included Dead Dad 1996/7, the piece which catapulted him to fame, and was the most comprehensive exhibition of Mueck's work ever mounted in Australia.
We look at Shaun Gladwell's presentation at the 2009 Venice Biennale and at new work commissioned by the Campbelltown Art Centre in Sydney. Interior Linework/Interceptor Intersection is an exhibition that brings together a selection of Gladwell's work from his Maddestmaximvs project along with significant new work commissions. Gladwell links personal experience with contemporary culture and historical references through performance, video, painting, photography and sculpture.
Fenella Kernebone converses with provocative British artist Tracey Emin who is in Sydney for the opening of her solo exhibition, 'Praying to a Different God'. The exhibition comprises embroideries, neons, smaller monoprints and drawings, allowing Australian audiences to experience the depth and unique beauty of Emin's art.
Featuring work by Australia's most prolific street artists, the NGA exhibition Space Invaders is billed as playful, edgy, clever and satirical. Previously only seen gracing the walls of dingy alleyways, at last this work has claimed a spot on the pristine walls of one of the nation's esteemed galleries.
Visual artist Laith McGregor's specialty is creating beautifully detailed biro portraits of men with huge beards.
His beard styles range from the bushranger to bikie to the hardcore hippy and are often elongated, literally becoming an extension of the sitter's personality. McGregor's finely detailed drawings have an everyman quality; he likes the idea that biros are a daily writing implement that everyone uses, but not too many draw with.
New Wave Festival
At the 2010 Next Wave Festival we visit Bennett Miller's installation "Dachshund U.N.", consisting of a timber model of a United Nations meeting room built to dachshund dog scale. In Bennett's performance piece, the 47 delegates, speakers and interpreters of the UN Human Rights Committee are represented by real sausage dogs.
Rupert Bunny was one of the most successful artists of his generation. Living most of his life in France, no other Australian artist has achieved the accolades Bunny received in Paris in the 1890s and 1900s. This visually stunning exhibition at the NGV, the first since 1991, includes over 100 works from symbolist-inspired mythologies to his elegant Belle Epoque paintings of fashionable Parisian leisure.
Art Nation goes to the Biennale of Sydney, Australia's largest contemporary visual arts event where Fenella Kernebone looks at Seoul-based artist and designer Choi Jeong Hwa who is creating a new site-specific work in and around the Sydney Opera House. Using brightly coloured moulded plastic goods, he will transform part of the Opera House's iconic silhouette.
Fenella Kernebone visits the first Australian exhibition of pioneering American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, at the Art Gallery of NSW. It includes 150 of the best and rarest Stieglitz photos ever printed. The photographs Stieglitz took around his summer house at Lake George, New York State, US after 1915 are considered a major departure and dramatically influenced the course of photography.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards
Indigenous artist Reko Rennie heads to Darwin to find out who wins the prestigious $40,000 major prize. Reko is interested to see that as a result of the increasing number of Indigenous artists using new media in their art practice, a New Media Award has been added to the other much sought after awards, these include the General Painting Award, the Bark Painting Award, the Work on Paper Award and the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award.
Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life 1990 - 2005
We visit the photographer's exhibition at Sydney's MCA in 2010. Leibovitz's amazing career had seen her photograph some of the world's most famous people, and this exhibition features some of her most important images, including the stunning portraits of a naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono curled around each other. It also includes her photo journalism work during the siege of Sarajevo, and Hillary Clinton's election into the US Senate.
We look at the remarkable story of Otto Boron, an Italian post-war immigrant who, for many years, painted scenery for ABC TV. Now in his 70s, Boron paints large, expressionist depictions of ramshackle farm buildings inspired by his experience of the Gippsland countryside. His rustic, earthy colours are applied in thick, highly textured oils. A poignant sense of abandonment and loss haunts his canvasses, which for Otto, is a metaphor for his own sense of loss and longing for the rural Italy of his youth.