It was the great American Conceptual artist Sol LeWitt who organised Melbourne artist Robert Jacks’s first show in Manhattan. This was held at the New York Cultural Centre in 1971, part of a program where each exhibited artist nominated his successor. Jacks had been enjoying a stellar rise since his début solo exhibition at Gallery A in Melbourne in 1966, when he was twenty-three years old. All twenty-five abstract paintings in that show sold. Each one had a title referencing James Joyce’s Ulysses, such as Mr Bloom with his stick gently vexed (1965). The largest, Timbrel and harp soothe (1965), was bought by the National Gallery of Victoria even before the show opened.
Peter Hill reviews 'Order and Variation' by Kirsty Grant
Order and Variation: Robert Jacks
by by Kirsty Grant
National Gallery of Victoria, $29.95 pb, 195 pp, 9780724103935
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Peter Hill is a Glasgow-born Australian. He works as an artist, writer, and curator. His book Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper (Canongate/Random House Australia) won a Saltire Award in 2004 at the National Library of Scotland.
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