A New Book On Australian Contemporary Art Foregrounds Questions About Diversity

Written by Naima Morelli

Polemics about the lack of diversity in the image of Australian art ensued after the publication of a new book entitled Australiana to Zeitgeist: An A-Z of Australian Contemporary Art (2017). But is Australian contemporary art as white as it seems? And how is it perceived abroad?

Art mirrors the society and times that produce it. These are the lenses art critics take up when using the German word “zeitgeist,” meaning “spirit of the times.” It goes without saying that the image we are given of Australian art by galleries, museums and art publications attempts to explain who Australians are, both to themselves and to an international public. In this sense, it can be argued that the image of Australian art strives to be as diverse as the nation that creates it.

Image: Tony Albert, A Collected History, 2002-2010, courtesy of the artist