Cover image of the review
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, 1855, pen and brown and black ink on paper, Ashmolean Museum. Bequeathed by Francis Falconer Madan, 1962

Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours; In the Company of Morris

24 Jun 2023
Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours, Art Gallery of Ballarat 20 May - 6 Aug 2023 In the Company of Morris, Art Gallery of Ballarat 20 May - 6 Aug 2023

Exhibitions that bring marginalised artists in relation to canonical ones are risky. Just ask Hannah Gadsby. The Australian comedian has recently been the subject of an international critical incineration for It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby, a by-all-accounts unfortunate show currently on at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Gadsby and the curators aimed for the exhibition to examine Picasso’s “complicated legacy through a critical, contemporary, and feminist lens, even as it acknowledges his work’s transformative power and lasting influence.” Minor Picassos are accompanied by Nanette-style wall texts and a selection of unrelated work by women artists who, to speak in the parlance of the show, deserve more attention. Art News called it “disingenuous.” The Manhattan Art Review saw “callow literal-mindedness.” The New York Times agreed, ruminating on whether the non-binary comedian revealed a “deeply desired act of sexual violence against the man from Málaga” when they said they wanted to “stick one up him” in an interview. (Here, one wonders if ironic Thornbury bloke lingo got lost in translation.) The Age piled on gratuitously late. These quasi-allergic responses to the show resonated; the articles were shared widely. It’s not 2017 anymore. The times … they are a’changing.

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