World Vision and the South Pacific 1850-2000 #2

8 December 2021, 5:00:00 am

Convert to local time with www.timeanddate.com

Session Convenors

Rex Butler, Monash University
ADS Donaldson, National Art School

Session Moderators

Andrew McNamara, Queensland University of Technology

Session Speakers

Peter Brunt, Victoria University
Ann Stephen, Sydney University
Angela Goddard, Queensland College of Art
Laurence Simmons, Auckland University
Amanda Watson, Waikato University

Bernard Smith’s European Vision and the South Pacific, 1768-1850, is a study of the way the artist-scientists on board the European colonisers’ ships saw the Pacific, and conversely the effect the encounter with the Pacific had on Europe. But Smith’s study ends in 1850 with Louis Daguerre’s invention of photography. The question this panel seeks to ask is what happens after Smith’s account concludes? How do no longer European colonisers but artists from around the world see the Pacific? And, again, how does the Pacific continue to influence the way the world sees itself? In other words, as a complement to the necessary national histories of the various Oceanic cultures, how might we imagine a new non-national history of these same cultures? Might we speak not just of Oceanic cultures in themselves but of all the world’s Oceanias? How does a study of how Oceania has been seen over a period of 150 years open up a model of cultures connected and not separated by water, as Oceanic cultures themselves have taught the rest of the world?

PAPER #1
The Perpetual Travellers and the Failed Museum

PRESENTER
Peter Brunt, Victoria University

From the late 1950s to the 1970s, the French-Russian artist and collector Nicolai Michoutouchkine pursued a grand but ill-fated idea: the creation of a museum of Oceanic art “in the Pacific Islands for Pacific Islanders”. Throughout those decades, he and his partner and protégé, the Wallisian artist Aloi Pilioko, amassed an enormous collection of Oceanic art in the course of travels and exhibitions across the Pacific Islands, as well as in France, Switzerland, Poland and elsewhere. In the late 1970s, Michoutouchkine’s dream came close to fruition in plans for a state-of-the-art museum to be built with French government funding on their two-acre property near Port Vila on the island of Efate in the (then) New Hebrides. But the project ultimately collapsed, mired in local controversy, the competing development of a new Cultural Centre, and Vanuatu’s cultural and political struggle for independence and autonomy over its own affairs. This paper does not intend to mount a defense of Michoutouchkine’s grand idea, which originates in the postwar “primitivism” of a dying empire. But it will explore the transcultural intimacies, self-discoveries, historical reckonings and naive enchantments mediated by his and Pilioko’s exhibitions of Oceanic art in their global travels.

THIS PAPER WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A ROUNDTABLE

ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS
Ann Stephen, Sydney University
Andrew McNamara, Queensland University of Technology
Angela Goddard, Queensland College of Art
Laurence Simmons, Auckland University
Amanda Watson, Waikato University
Peter Brunt, Victoria University
Rex Butler, Monash University
ADS Donaldson, National Art School

Asterix.png

Biographies

Rex Butler, Monash University 

Rex Butler teaches in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at Monash University. Together with ADS Donaldson he has recently published UnAustralian Art: 10 Essays in a Transnational Art History (Power Publishing, 2021).


ADS Donaldson, National Art School 

ADS Donaldson teaches at the National Art School. Together with Rex Butler he has recently published UnAustralian Art: 10 Essays on a Transnational Art History (Power Publishing, 2021).


Laurence Simmons, Auckland University

Laurence Simmons is Professor of Film Studies in Media and Screen Studies at The University of Auckland. His most recent book-length publications are Hitchcock through Žižek (PalgraveMacmillan, 2021) and, with Rex Butler, Victory over Death: The Art of Colin McCahon (Monash University Press, 2021).


Amanda Watson, Waikato Institute of Technology

Amanda Watson lives in Whaingaroa Raglan in Aotearoa New Zealand, and is a visual artist, educator, and researcher. She was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts from Auckland University where she majored in painting, a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies from Massey University, and a Masters of Arts with Distinction in Painting from Waikato Institute of Technology. Her work has been exhibited and shared through exhibitions, awards, editorials and published reviews and articles, in New Zealand and overseas and accessioned into public and private collections.


Peter Brunt, Victoria University

Peter Brunt is Associate Professor of Art History at Victoria University of Wellington where he teaches and researches the visual arts of the Pacific. He has published in various journals, edited volumes and exhibition catalogues on artists such as William Hodges, Mark Adams, John Pule, Tony Fomison, Aloi Pilioko and Brett Graham. He is co-editor of the multi-authored book Art in Oceania: A New History (2012) and was co-curator of the exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2018) and the Musée du quai Branly, Paris (2019).


Ann Stephen, Sydney University

Ann Stephen is an art historian and senior curator, Art, Chau Chak Wing Museum (CCWM), University of Sydney. Recent publications include: Light & Darkness: Late Modernism & the JW Power Bequest, (Power, 2021); and with Philip Goad, Andrew McNamara, Harriet Edquist and Isabel Wünsche, Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond: Transforming Education through Art, Design and Architecture (Miegunyah and Power, 2019). Among her recent exhibitions are Light & Darkness, 2021, Daniel Boyd: Pediment/Impediment, 2020-21 and Coastline, 2020-22, all at the CCWM, and Bauhaus Now at Buxton Contemporary, 2019.


Andrew McNamara, Queensland University of Technology

Andrew McNamara teaches art history at QUT. Recent publications include: Undesign (Routledge, 2018); Surpassing Modernity: Ambivalence in Art, Politics and Society (Bloomsbury, London, 2018/19); with Philip Goad, Ann Stephen, Harriet Edquist and Isabel Wünsche, Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond: Transforming Education through Art, Design and Architecture (Miegunyah and Power, 2019). He curated Bauhaus Now at the Museum of Brisbane, 2020-April 2021.


Angela Goddard, Queensland College of Art

Angela Goddard is a curator, writer and Director of the Griffith University Art Museum, and a board member of the Sheila Foundation.