Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz reviews 'Emporium' by Edwin Barnard

Christopher Menz
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 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'The English and Australian Cookery Book' by Edward Abbott

Christopher Menz
17 December 2014

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 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'History of Design', edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber

Christopher Menz
26 November 2014

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 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'Visions of Colonial Grandeur' by Charlotte Smith and Benjamin Thomas

Christopher Menz
31 October 2014

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 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews two new Australian baking titles

Christopher Menz
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: ... More

Christopher Menz visits the 'Mid-Century Modern' exhibition at NGV

Christopher Menz
24 June 2014

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 ... More

Christopher Menz visits 'The Agrarian Kitchen'

Christopher Menz
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
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
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 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'Making Melbourne’s Monuments'

Christopher Menz
26 June 2013

When Paul Raphael Montford (1868–1938) settled in Melbourne in 1923, one press report claimed that he was ‘one of England’s best-known sculptors’, but despite having created works for the façade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and for Westminster Abbey, as well as numerous public sculptures in Australia, his work is not well known in either country. ... More

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