David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

20 January 2020

Vale James Mollison (1931-2020)

James Mollison


National Gallery of Australia's founding director James Mollison dies

The Age 

Art world loses true visionary James Mollison

The Australian 

bLOGOS/HA HA (the editor)

In December 1975, I entered two small finely drawn ideogram works in the prestigious Mornington Peninsula Drawing Prize. Alan McCulloch, art critic for 'The Herald', was the director of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery and it was he who initiated this competition to promote drawing. This was an open-entry opportunity from which a selection of works would be hung and from these a select few acquired by the gallery. Alan and a panel of artist judges would make the final assessment.

I attended the opening and was pleased to see both my works on display. Before the final selection was announced, Alan spoke about the practice and qualities of drawing that were important to him. I agreed. My drawings, however, didn't make the final cut and I was very disappointed as these were a breakthrough for me.

Some weeks later, the Mornington gallery phoned to say that James Mollison had visited the exhibition and bought both my works (and no others) for the National Gallery collection. It was a great confirmation of my altered path - the first such support. More purchases were to follow.

National Gallery of Australia : facebook 

It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of one of Australia’s greatest museum directors, National Gallery founding director James Mollison AO.

During twenty years at the helm, he showed us how bold risk taking could build an unrivalled world class art collection. In bringing together so many influential and extraordinary works, he wanted visitors to experience art history and leave knowing much more about art than when they first arrived.

By inspiring and provoking Australians with everything from Sidney Nolan’s ‘Ned Kelly’ series to Jackson Pollock’s ‘Blue poles’, he invited us to think and talk about art. This pioneering spirit together with his courage is what we carry into the future. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Below : James Mollison AO and Robert Hughes AO regard Jackson Pollock’s ‘Blue Poles’ 1952 
© Pollock-Krasner Foundation. ARS/Copyright Agency  (click image to enlarge)

Theatre of the Actors of Regard   
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...