Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art by Doug Hall

Reviewed by
November 2019, no. 416
Sophie Knezic reviews 'Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art' by Doug Hall

Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art

by Doug Hall

Black Inc., $59.99 hb, 448 pp, 9781760641702

Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art by Doug Hall

Reviewed by
November 2019, no. 416

When invited by Morry Schwartz, Anna’s husband and proprietor of Schwartz Publishing, which owns Black Inc., to write an account of the Anna Schwartz Gallery (ASG), Doug Hall initially declined but changed his mind after realising that it would enable him to write with a fresh perspective, having returned to Melbourne after twenty years as director of Queensland Art Gallery. The result, Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery and thirty-five years of contemporary Australian art – which takes its title from the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense, curated by Robert Storr – is a periphrastic straddling of art history, social history, and biography, inclined to reminiscence over analysis.

Featuring eighty-nine chapters of varying length, the text mostly provides overviews of the artists represented by ASG, set within a chronicle of Anna Schwartz’s evolution as a gallerist. This broad narration is interspersed with chapters on a few key late-twentieth-century art dealers – sometimes to narrate artist defections to ASG – as well as state museum redesigns, biennales, and even a chapter on Anna’s wardrobe.

Sophie Knezic reviews 'Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art' by Doug Hall

Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery And Thirty-Five Years Of Contemporary Australian Art

by Doug Hall

Black Inc., $59.99 hb, 448 pp, 9781760641702

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