Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. He has published on the design work of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

Christopher Menz reviews 'Rayner Hoff: The life of a sculptor' by Deborah Beck

November 2017, no. 396 26 October 2017
Christopher Menz reviews 'Rayner Hoff: The life of a sculptor' by Deborah Beck
Rayner Hoff, the most significant sculptor to work in Australia between the wars, is most admired for his sculptures in the Anzac war memorials in Sydney and Adelaide. His work was in the classical figurative tradition in which he had trained. While never part of the international avant-garde, he remained modern for his era and adapted to the idiom of art deco. Hoff’s work is known to all Austra ... (read more)

Parsifal (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 11 August 2017
Parsifal (Opera Australia)
Of all Richard Wagner’s operatic works, it is Parsifal that divides audiences most. As with the Ring, its ambiguity lends itself to multiple interpretations. The music has been praised and admired by the greatest of critics and musicians, including those who heard it when it was new: Mahler, Sibelius, Berg, Debussy, George Bernard Shaw. It is the text, drama, and characters, the overblown religi ... (read more)

Angela Hewitt (Musica Viva)

ABR Arts 17 May 2017
Angela Hewitt (Musica Viva)
Canadian-born pianist Angela Hewitt is well known to Australian audiences through her regular visits and her memorable performances and recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard repertoire. Her legendary performances of Bach, encompassing superb playing and thoughtful and considered interpretation, have demonstrated how successful harpsichord music can sound on the modern instrument. While ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'The Oxford Companion to Cheese' edited by Catherine Donnelly

March 2017, no. 389 26 February 2017
Christopher Menz reviews 'The Oxford Companion  to Cheese' edited by Catherine Donnelly
The Oxford Companion to Cheese is an impressive undertaking with masses of fascinating and informed writing, and many illustrations on a delicious subject. It takes us from the origins of cheese – seventh millennium BCE – to the most recent technological developments. The scope is broad: as Catherine Donnelly notes in her introduction, there are 325 contributors from thirty-five countries (tho ... (read more)

Versailles: Treasures from the Palace (National Gallery of Australia) and A History of the World in 100 Objects (National Museum of Australia)

ABR Arts 09 December 2016
Versailles: Treasures from the Palace (National Gallery of Australia) and A History of the World in 100 Objects (National Museum of Australia)
Two very different touring exhibitions are showing in Canberra this summer. A History of the World in 100 Objects, from the British Museum at the National Museum of Australia, tells a two-million-year story through works from the collection of the British Museum. It is based on former BM Director Neil MacGregor’s highly successful 2010 BBC Radio series and book of the same name. The touring ve ... (read more)

On the Origin of Art (MONA)

ABR Arts 28 November 2016
On the Origin of Art (MONA)
MONA is not afraid to stage exhibitions that tackle big ideas and ask difficult questions. The latest offering, On the Origin of Art, does just that. As David Walsh, MONA’s owner says, ‘Let’s see if those who have insights into evolution can tease out something about the nature of art.’ The exhibition takes its name from Charles Darwin’s famous book On the Origin of Species (1859). Via ... (read more)

New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

ABR Arts 18 October 2016
New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
The Weimar period in Germany – spanning less than fifteen years following the end of World War I through to the coup d’état by the National Socialists in 1933 – was crucial in shaping modern Germany. The nation was in a ruinous state because of its wartime defeat, crippling reparations, the Wall Street crash, high unemployment, and hyper-inflation. The political outcome at the end of the We ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Australia: A German traveller in the age of gold' by Friedrich Gerstäcker

October 2016, no. 385 23 September 2016
Christopher Menz reviews 'Australia: A German traveller in the age of gold' by Friedrich Gerstäcker
Formerly only known to historians and specialists, either in the original German or the author's abridged translation, Friedrich Gerstäcker's Australian travelogue (1854), based on his 1851 journey, is now available in a modern and complete translation, edited by Peter Monteath. It is well worth reading, both for its account of colonial Australia and for the author's engaging style. ... (read more)

The David Roche Foundation

ABR Arts 06 June 2016
The David Roche Foundation
Australia's newest museum – one that focuses on the decorative arts – was launched by Paul Keating on Friday, 3 June. (It is open to the public, by appointment only, from 7 June 2016.) Positioned in North Adelaide, The David Roche Foundation is home to a superb collection of European eighteenth- and nineteenth-century objects and paintings. David Roche (1930–2013) was a passionate collector ... (read more)

Letter from America

ABR Arts 09 May 2016
Letter from America
Los Angeles – city of freeways, studios, hotels, and endless sunshine – is also home to some great art collections and notable architecture, the latter spanning much of the twentieth century. Several of the art museums, taking advantage of the climate, are built as a series of separate pavilions, creating a most congenial experience for visitors. The best way to see LA's museums, architecture ... (read more)