OUP, $39.95 pb, 257 pp
Andrew Sayers has one large and important idea that distinguishes his account of Australian art from all others: the story must include equal attention to Aboriginal art and to the art of white European settlement. However commanding and commendatory the idea, it will not, I suspect, be a popular one.
There will be lamentation heard from Balmain to Port Melbourne when Sayers’s book is scanned and scoured, for he perforce has to omit much to make room for his account of Aboriginal art. Such major, if disparate, figures as Roger Kemp and Sam Fullbrook go unmentioned. Whole generations, such as the large group of gifted artists who emerged in Melbourne and Sydney in the 1960s, receive equally short shrift. Nigel Lendon and Peter Booth alone survive to tell the tale; only Lendon is vouchsafed an illustration.