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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.

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

ABR Arts 18 October 2016
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
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
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
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)

Christopher Menz reviews 'The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals' edited by Marcia Reed and 'Food in Art: From Prehistory to the Renaissance' by Gillian Riley

April 2016, no. 380 30 March 2016
Food in history is a tantalising thing. Although we may have recipes, firsthand descriptions, and images, we can never be sure how things really looked or tasted. Much of the work of food historians has been focused on creative use of available sources, not to provide facsimile meals, but to gain insight into the cultural role of food of the past. Two recent books explore different aspects of food ... (read more)

Vingts Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (Melbourne Recital Centre) and Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Mahler 5 (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 21 March 2016
Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) was written in 1944 by Olivier Messiaen (1908–92) for his muse, subsequent wife, and dedicatee of the cycle, the pianist Yvonne Loriod. The cycle consists of twenty works of varying length for solo piano, each illustrating different mysteries of the Christ child. A complete performance takes about two hours. Vingt Rega ... (read more)

The Greats (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

ABR Arts 21 December 2015
In an age of blockbusters and ever bigger and grander exhibitions, The Greats: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland puts a compelling case for 'less is more'. This model exhibition demonstrates how satisfying a relatively small exhibition can be when the right works are chosen and installed handsomely. The Greats – comprising forty-one paintings and fewer drawings – feels much ... (read more)

Maxim Vengerov (Musica Viva)

ABR Arts 09 December 2015
In a program spanning two hundred years of violin playing – from Bach to Ravel via Beethoven, Ernst, Paganini, and Ysaÿe, with encores by Brahms and Massenet – Maxim Vengerov enthralled his Melbourne audience with incomparable musicianship and an often dazzling technique. Demonstrating his command of the repertoire with an engaging program, he played with stylistic appropriateness that showed ... (read more)

Tom Roberts (National Gallery of Australia)

ABR Arts 08 December 2015
The National Gallery of Australia's summer exhibition, opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 2 December, is devoted to one of Australia's finest and most popular artists, Tom Roberts. This major retrospective, under the curatorship of the NGA's Anne Gray, brings together all the major paintings, many of them extracted from the permanent displays of our state and regional art galleries, as w ... (read more)

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 01 December 2015
As if to make the point that Richard Wagner's shadow looms over all the classical music that followed him, this Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert entitled Thus Spake Zarathustra began and ended with him. Preludes to Acts I and III of Lohengrin bookended more substantial offerings by Joseph Jongen – Symphonie concertante for organ and orchestra – and Richard Strauss, the latter with his famous ... (read more)