Bill Culbert died aged 84 on 28 March this year at his home in the Vaucluse region of Provence. Built from dilapidated farm buildings on a small hilltop at a deserted hamlet called Croagnes, it’s a home that he and his wife Pip began to establish in 1961. Then, the region was a sparsely populated economic backwater – the Culberts bought the hilltop buildings for just £100. In the valleys and on the surrounding slopes were a few small vineyards and farms. A 1962 painting, Gerard Going to Work, shows their neighbour, the farmer Felix Gerard, trudging off down the stony hillside wearing a wide- brimmed hat like the one worn by Vincent van Gogh at Arles.
“Bill Hammond is long, lithe and tired, and was born several years ago. Is currently pursuing a Fine Arts course and trying hard to catch up. He is deeply interested in the aesthetic implications of sleep, sports the Rat-Chewed Look in coiffures for ’68, and dreams about blind mice in bikinis. He has never been known to sing outside the confines of his bedroom. Shows a marked but languid preference for the subtle textural nuances and dynamic shadings of washboard, cowbell, woodblocks, claves, cymbal, spoons, thimbles, tambourine, and the palms of the hands in percussive contact.”
Jonathan Jones, art critic for the Guardian newspaper, described it as “a spectacle that displays the power and mystery of our planet”. Made more than forty years ago, Walter De Maria’s 1977 sculpture The Lightning Field remains one of the world’s most ambitious manifestations of light-based art.
I grew up in a house in Glandovey Road, Fendalton—twenty-two bedrooms! Back then, my options were to be a nurse or a school teacher, but all my life, I’d wanted to be a farmer. My father encouraged that practical side of me. He was a keen fly fisherman and called me “sonny”. I had my hair cut at the barbers; I wore long pants in winter—I thought I was a boy.
Time is a problem in the contemporary world. There is simply not enough of it. Our to-do lists are too long; the time available to do what needs to be done is too short; the demands on our attention are increasingly brutal. Digital technologies track the minutiae of how we spend our days, but the sheer speed at which things seem to be happening makes it difficult to keep up.
Just over a quarter of a century ago the Robert McDougall Art Gallery hosted an exhibition to celebrate a century of women’s art making in Canterbury. It was the Gallery’s contribution to the country-wide centenary celebrations of women’s suffrage. Co-curated by Lara Strongman and myself, White Camellias: A Century of Artmaking by Women in Canterbury, as its title suggests, was a springboard for both korero and further study of women’s art history.
I was in London last October and keen to visit Ron Mueck, but he wasn’t there: he’d gone down to Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, where he has a studio. I spent my childhood in England, but I’d never been to the Isle of Wight. It’s in the English Channel; a Victorian retreat beloved by Tennyson, who wrote ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ here. It was also the home of the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, who made portraits of many of Tennyson’s guests. (When Tennyson took the American poet Longfellow to Cameron’s house for a portrait, he reportedly warned: “You’ll have to do whatever she tells you. I’ll come back soon and see what’s left of you.”)
Congrats to our publishing team of David Simpson and Sarah Pepperle for a night of bests at the Museums Australasia Publication Design Awards at a gala event in Alice Springs last night. The Gallery won best magazine (Bulletin), best book (Us v Them: Tony de Lautour), best children's book (ART-TASTIC) and best in show (Us v Them)!