Heart of Darkness. "Australian Art in the National Gallery of Australia" by Anne Gray (ed). [review]
This anthology has been astutely edited for a general readership, with the writing pared back and devoid of artspeak. Texts range from 250 to 750 words, and are as varied as the works themselves. The complexity of original ideas and social and cultural contexts that can be packed into 250 words is inspiring. Much in this volume is focused on individual artists and works that will provoke more in-depth research for the art student and general reader alike. At the other end of the scale, the 750-word texts are, as Daniel Thomas recently said to Smith, a special literary form that allows enough room to scrutinise closely a work of art and the ways in which it came into being. Oscillating between the intensely personal and uncompromisingly political, "Australian Art in the National Gallery of Australia" is an excellent contribution to the published histories of Australian art. It asserts the importance of our artists and the necessity and overwhelming quality of the national collection.