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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.

Christopher Menz reviews 'Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond: Transforming education through art, design and architecture' by Philip Goad et al.

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
Amid all the hoopla surrounding the centenary in 2019 of the Bauhaus – naturally more pronounced in Germany – it is gratifying to see such a fine Australian publication dealing with the international influence of this short-lived, revolutionary art and design teaching institute. Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond – written by Philip Goad, Ann Stephen, Andrew McNamara, Harriet Edquist, and Isabel W ... (read more)

Les Troyens (Opéra National de Paris)

ABR Arts 04 February 2019
This year is huge for the Opéra National de Paris. It celebrates the 350th anniversary of the founding of Académie Royale de Musique in 1669, the thirtieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Opéra Bastille in 1989, and the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz. Les Troyens (The Trojans) opened the 1990 season at the Bastille, so it was fitting that a new production, directed and ... (read more)

Edward Burne-Jones: Pre-Raphaelite Visionary (Tate Britain)

ABR Arts 24 January 2019
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Baronet, (1833–98) to give him his full entitlement, is an artist who polarises people. Some relish his otherworldly and imaginative narrative subjects, the rich and saturated palette, the sumptuous decorative surfaces. Others respond in the same way as one of the ‘vivid young moderns’ overheard by artist Robert Anning Bell. At the mere mention of Burne-Jones’ ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Featherston' by Geoff Isaac

January–February 2018, no. 398 27 December 2017
Grant Featherston (1922–95), the most prominent and successful furniture designer working in postwar Australia, is noted for his moulded, upholstered plywood modernist chairs from the 1950s, which combined comfort and style and which resembled work by Charles Eames. Featherston’s importance as a designer is well known: he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of ... (read more)

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

November 2017, no. 396 26 October 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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)