Christopher Menz

The reconstruction of the built environment that followed World War II was central to the development of international design in the third quarter of the twentieth century. This is the background and context for Mid-Century Modern Complete, a large volume which covers design and architecture (mostly European and North American) from the 1940s to the early 197 ...

Christopher Menz reviews 'Emporium' by Edwin Barnard

Christopher Menz
Monday, 02 March 2015

Nowadays, with relentless advertising and a seemingly endless number of choices to confuse our every purchase, often only a click away from gratification, it might be tempting to imagine a time when things were simplerand retailing less pressured and more genteel. However, one would have to go a long way back in time to find an Australia wit ...

Given the deluge of cookery books and unrelenting television programs, it is hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a single Australian cookery book. This year marks the sesquicentenary of the first: The English and Australian Cookery Book, a volume published anonymously in London, and compiled by ‘An Australian Aristologist’, Edward Abbott. Abbott (1 ...

The Bard Graduate Center, long known for its ground-breaking studies in the decorative arts, has taken the ambitious leap of presenting a comprehensive history of decorative arts and design from 1400 to 2000, covering Asia, the Islamic world, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. (Coverage of Australia and Oceania is planned for future editions.) At over 700 pages, this ...

Not many substantial private collections of art and decorative arts in Australia have remained intact from the nineteenth century. John Twycross (1819–89) was one of Melbourne’s early art collectors, and his collection has proved to be an exception. Twycross, lured there by the gold rush, made his money as a merchant in Melbourne in the middle of the nineteenth ...

Christopher Menz reviews two new Australian baking titles

Christopher Menz
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Australian sweet tooth and ongoing love of cakes and desserts is evident in two recent publications. Both cover the basics as well as offering more ambitious fare; they are good places to start if this is your thing.

Phillippa Grogan’s eponymous pâtisserie in Melbourne, established in 1994, offers the type of baked goods presented in this publication: ...

The last time the National Gallery of Victoria devoted an exhibition to furniture was in 1988 (Featherston Chairs), and only the most dedicated design aficionados will remember the gallery’s most recent group show of furniture design: One Hundred Chairs, back in 1974. Mid-Century Modern, broad in its ambition, covers Australian furniture design i ...

Christopher Menz visits 'The Agrarian Kitchen'

Christopher Menz
Friday, 28 February 2014

Two quite different books from two very different chefs illustrate some major trends in cookery writing and publishing in Australia. One is by a city chef who runs a restaurant, and the other by a country chef who runs a cookery school.

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Christopher Menz visits 'Living in a Modern Way'

Christopher Menz
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Living in a Modern Way:California Design 1930–1965 is the catalogue accompanying an exhibition of the same name at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2011–12. The exhibition is now showing at Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art, after a stint in Seoul.

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Stephen Benwell: 'Virtuoso in Clay'

Christopher Menz
Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Entering the current Heide exhibition Stephen Benwell: Beauty, Anarchy, Desire – A Retrospective for the first time is quite an experience. Dispersed left and right on two enormous rectangular tables is a chronological survey of the work of one of Australia’s finest ceramic artists. The overview of a remarkable career can be examined in detail as the viewer moves from work to work up ...

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