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John McPhee

John McPhee reviews ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Powerhouse Museum and its precursors 1880–2005’ edited by Graeme Davison and Kimberley Webber

September 2005, no. 274 01 September 2005
A book we have all been waiting for, a history we have all needed, should be assured success. In the Australian museum world, such a publication should garner acclaim, yet this review will fail to deliver the praise it anticipates. My lack of enthusiasm is not because the editors have failed to do a good job. In fact, they have brought together a wide-ranging series of essays that fascinate and il ... (read more)

John McPhee reviews eight art books

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
Souvenir books are just that – souvenirs of a collection, usually bought as reminders of things seen and enjoyed. They also serve as introductions to a collection or to whet the appetite for a proposed visit. For some purchasers, they are introductions to an aspect of art that has fascinated them during a museum visit, or to collections not always on display. To succeed, souvenir books must be v ... (read more)

John McPhee reviews 'Debating the City' edited by Jennifer Barrett and Caroline Butler-Bowden

September 2001, no. 234 01 September 2001
In his amusing essay, ‘The More Things Change’, John Birmingham writes: Sydney will always confound, infuriate, engage and seduce. It is a provider/destroyer, madonna/whore and prophet of the main chance. It is hated, feted, loved and envied. It cares not. Self-obsessed and cosmopolitan, tacky, shallow and deeply serious, it knows its own worth and vainly overstates it at every turn – as wh ... (read more)

John McPhee reviews 'Printed Images in Colonial Australia 1801-1901' and 'Printed Images by Australian Artists 1885-1955' by Roger Butler

November 2007, no. 296 01 November 2007
In 1961 the Tasmanian Historical Research Association published Clifford Craig’s Engravers of Van Diemen’s Land, which proved to be the first of several books in which Craig attempted to document every nineteenth-century print with a Tasmanian subject produced in Tasmania, mainland Australia and overseas. Craig, in the next two decades, produced follow-up volumes expanding the area covered and ... (read more)