New books: from rocking the nation to charting the world

 Rock country : the sounds, bands, fans, fun & other stuff that happened: edited by Christian Ryan

Hardie Grant, 2013

Hardie Grant, 2013

“Sex lessons from Bon Scott. Scary encounter with Chrissy Amphlett. On the trail of Keith Richards’s Melbourne wife. The whirlwind genius years of Molly Meldrum. Normie Rowe’s ten months in London. Cold Chisel in LA. The Triffids in Berlin, Camden, Leederville. How Nick Cave got me through my Soviet adolescence. Around Australia in eighty days with Sherbet and the Ted Mulry Gang. The happy-sad genius of Barry Gibb. Doc Neeson smashed unconscious by traffic sign. Grant McLennan in the record racks. Francois Tetaz and the making of Gotye. My three days stalking The Police. Nights at the Sebel Town House. Who are the Five Greatest Australian Rock & Pop Stars? Where is Lanny K? Was Michael Hutchence happy?

And that’s just the back cover! What are you waiting for……..

American modern : Hopper to O’Keeffe: curated by Kathy Curry and Esther Adler

Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Museum of Modern Art, 2013

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is perhaps most famous for its astonishing collection of great European masterpieces of the 20th century but, as this lovely book shows, it has also been assiduous in collecting American art of the period as well. The beautifully chosen and reproduced images here cover just about all visual art genres, and the delight of seeing old favourites such as the boxing lithographs of George Bellows is matched by the discovery of works new to me such as Elie Nadelman’s charming wooden figure, Woman at the Piano. 

Dennis Hopper, on the road: edited by José Lebrero Stals

Fundación Museo Picasso Málaga, 2013

Fundación Museo Picasso Málaga, 2013

Actor, activist, firebrand, artist, photographer, connoisseur, Dennis Hopper is beginning to look like one of the more intriguing characters to emerge from the belligerent 1950s/60s independent Hollywood scene. This volume of photographs, a very real road-trip across America in the sixties, has the immediacy and rawness of the best documentary photography, and Hopper’s eye is at once probing and compassionate.

Art since 1980 : charting the contemporary by Peter R. Kalb

Laurence King Publishing, 2013

Laurence King Publishing, 2013

To some of us 1980 probably doesn’t seem that far back, but these have of course been tumultuous and transformative decades politically, socially, technologically and artistically. This remarkably ambitious study seeks to chart the major movements and individuals on the global art scene over a period that has arguably witnessed more rapid and fundamental change (Internet anyone….) than any other time in human history.

 

From American Indian to Afro-Pop.

Two music databases published by Alexander Street Press that you can explore are American Song and Contemporary World Music.

American Song is described as a history database that allows people to hear and feel the music from America’s past.  It includes songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers and cowboys with such titles as American Indian Powwow : music of the Navajo Indians and Afro-American spirituals, work songs and ballads.

ARC, 2012

ARC, 2012

 

Rounder Records, 1998

Rounder Records, 1998

Contemporary World Music contains great sounds of all regions from every continent.  It includes genres such as reggae, worldbeat, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing, Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more, with such titles as Egypt unveiled and Afro-Mandinka soul : Seckou Keita Quartet.

ARC, 2011

ARC, 2011

 

ARC, 2006

ARC, 2006

These, and much more, are available for anyone to use here in the Library via the website, and if you’re one of our Victorian registered users you can log in from home and explore at your leisure!

Collectors, museums and curious cabinets…….

The glorious Piranesi exhibition currently on show here at the State Library has me thinking about the whole passionate business of collecting.

The British as art collectors : from the Tudors to the present: James Stourton and Charles Sebag-Montefiore

Scala, 2012

Scala, 2012

You don’t have to watch too many episodes of Bargain Hunt or Antiques Roadshow on TV to recognise the breadth and depth of collecting that has occurred up and down the British Isles over many centuries. This beautful book charts the development of English art collecting from the time of Henry VIII through to the Swinging Sixties and beyond. From royal collectors to the artistically inclined nobilty and then straight through to the hoi-polloi, the authors chart the great collectors and their collections; outlining as well how this passion for collecting eventually led to the remarkable establishment of museums and galleries across the nation.

 

 Sir John Soane’s Museum, London by Tim Knox

Merrell, 2009

Merrell, 2009

If you have ever visited London but not yet managed a trip to the John Soane Museum, shame on you; apart from anything else, it will make your own clutter back home pale into insignificance. Soane was one of the most important architects and thinkers of the late Georgian period, as well as being an inveterate collector of just about anything; yes, that is indeed the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I in the basement. He generously bequeathed his extraordinary house and all of its treasures to the nation in 1833, and it stands there today in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, just as he left it and bulging at the seams with an array of objects and artworks that is literally mind-blowing.

The Camondo legacy : the passions of a Paris collector: edited by Marie-Noël de Gary

Thames & Hudson, 2008

Thames & Hudson, 2008

Of course the British don’t have a monopoly on collecting, and a trip to the wonderful Musee Nissim de Camondo in Paris is both overwhelming and tremendously moving. Moise de Camondo built the house in 1911 to display and preserve his unrivalled collection of 18th century French furniture and decorative arts; a labour of love for his adopted country, having moved to Paris from Constantinople as a young boy. Named after his only son who died as a fighter pilot in World War One, Moise donated the house and its contents to the Decorative Arts Society to be maintained as a museum in the 1930s, and it remains a most wonderful memorial to a remarkable public benefactor. Tragically his daughter Beatrice and her young family were all killed at Auschwitz following their deportation from France, and this extraordinary family was wiped out. A documentary film on show at the museum is unbearably moving, and fills the lovely rooms with ghosts.

The Johnston Collection

Johnston Collection, 2009

Johnston Collection, 2009

The Johnston Collection in East Melbourne is a marvellous Antipodean version of the house museum, built around the collection of one man, William Robert Johnston. Setting out as an antique dealer in postwar Melbourne, Johnston travelled the world locating and purchasing items to be shipped back to Australia for auction, eventually setting up his own shopfront business in High Street, Armadale. Keeping his favourite pieces for his own enjoyment (particularly from the Regency and Georgian eras), his beautiful home is full of the most exquisite decorative art and furniture, and his desire to make his unique collection available to the public led him to establish an independent trust, shortly before his death in 1986. We continue to benefit from this great act of philanthropy to this day.

 

Cabinets of wonder: text by Christine Davenne ; photographs by Christine Fleurent

Abrams, 2012

Abrams, 2012

Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, Cabinets of Curiosities, the very names given to this surprising branch of collecting evoke expectations of surprise and (possibly) horror. Stretching back to the 17th century these collections have been described as “a microcosm or theater of the world…a memory theater”, and they could include items from the natural world, science, art, antiquity, etc., etc., etc. All very post-modern really, which is probably why they are making a surprising and very welcome reappearance all around us; come to think of it, maybe the Web is just one massive Wunderkammer?

Cabinets of curiosities by Patrick Mauries

Thames & Hudson, 2002

Thames & Hudson, 2002

 

Something curious from our Picture Collection

Warwick's "Old Curiosity House", Ballarat

Warwick’s “Old Curiosity House”, Ballarat

Roman Holiday: Piranesi and the Grand Tour

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1779

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

The Library’s new exhibition, Rome: Piranesi’s Vision, is now showing in the Keith Murdoch Gallery and is nothing short of splendid. Curated by Dr Colin Holden, it brings together material from a number of collections including the University of Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria and (of course) the State Library of Victoria.

Piranesi’s grandest tour : from Europe to Australia by Colin Holden

NewSouth Publishing, 2014

NewSouth Publishing, 2014

This beautiful book accompanies the exhibition, and in it Colin manages to chart not just the life and work of Piranesi, but also his extraordinary influence on a range of artists down the years. He also takes us (and Piranesi himself) on another grand tour as he unravels the story of how these works crossed the ocean in the 19th century to work their magic here in Australia; something they continue to do through the work of artists such as Rick Amor, Angela Cavalieri and Bill Henson, to name just a few.

 

Grand tour : the lure of Italy in the eighteenth century: edited by Andrew Wilton and Ilaria Bignamini

Tate Gallery, 1996

Tate Gallery, 1996

The origins of the Grand Tour are generally traced back to the late 17th century, but it arguably reached its peak in the 18th century when the spirit of the Enlightenment made it all but compulsory for the well-heeled to immerse themselves in the fruits of classical and Renaissance culture, as exemplified by the great cities of France and Italy. This lovely book traces the influence travels to Italy had on this newly created and highly visible group of wealthy sightseers, as well as examining the response the locals had to this (mainly) benign invasion.

 

When in Rome : 2000 years of Roman sightseeing by Matthew Sturgis

Frances Lincoln, 2011

Frances Lincoln, 2011

Of course Rome was a destination point long before the age of the Grand Tour. Author Matthew Sturgis here investigates what it was that brought people to the city throughout history, as well as examining the many and varied ways in which they responded to its various, and varying, attractions.

A large selection of books on Piranesi and Rome can be found on display in our Information Centre

The Grand Tour, Australian style, from our Picture Collection

Pioneer tourist coaches, c.1910-20

Pioneer tourist coaches, c.1910-20

 

New books: flashbacks, familiar faces and a bit of clowning around

Entertainers come in all shapes and sizes…….

 All my flashbacks by Lewis Gilbert

Reynolds & Hearn, 2010

Reynolds & Hearn, 2010

You may not recognise the name but if you are at any kind of film-buff at all there is a very strong likelihood that you will have seen one or more of his movies at some time or other. One of the giants of the British film industry, Lewis Gilbert directed his first film in 1948 and then went on to make a host of classic movies such as Reach for the Sky, Carve Her Name With Pride, Sink the Bismarck and Alfie, not to mention at least 3 James Bond films, as well as Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. That’s enough to be getting on with.

Lest we forget : the John Ford stock company by Bill Levy

Bearmanor Media, 2013

Bearmanor Media, 2013

You don’t have to watch too many John Ford movies to start recognising familiar faces moving from film to film. Ford built up a remarkable stock company of actors over his moviemaking career, and in many ways it is these familiar faces that help to give a Ford film such a distinctive identity and texture. They are all here in these short pen portraits, most of them gone now, but all part of one of the most extraordinary flowerings of genius Hollywood has ever seen. As Peter Bogdanovich so elegantly puts it: Every Ford movie is filled with reverberations – which makes his use of the same players from year to year, decade to decade, so much more than just building a “stock company” – and one film of his cannot really be looked at as separated from the rest.

Blue Bostock : Australia’s first bullfighter and rodeo clown: as told to Geoff Allen

Boolarong Press, 2013
Boolarong Press, 2013

Sometimes a book vies for my attention when I see it sitting on the new-books trolley, and this one definitely elbowed its way into my field of vision, sitting there alongside books on Andy Warhol and Renaissance painting. The rodeo circuit in Australia has a surprisingly long and active history, even though it remains all but invisible to most of us living in urban centres. Geoff Allen here recounts stories told him by Blue Bostock of his time as a bullfighter and rodeo clown (Bluey the Clown, what else!); to name just two of his many claims to fame.

 

A bit of wartime rodeo action from our Picture Collection

Allan Cook private in the A.I.F. shown here atop "Musilini", [Mussolini ?] a wild stallion.

Allan Cook private in the A.I.F. shown here atop Musilini/Mussolini a wild stallion.

 

New books: the Duke, Sydney Moderns, glorious Sargent, and some nude men…..

Nude men : from 1800 to the present day: edited by Tobias G. Natter and Elisabeth Leopold

Hirmer, 2012

Hirmer, 2012

This is the catalogue to a groundbreaking exhibition held at the Leopold Museum in Vienna in 2012/13 which shifted the artworld’s traditional focus on the female nude across to the male nude; out from the shadows. The appreciation, and indeed exploitation, of the nude male figure over recent years could I suppose be put down to the rise of feminist, queer and post-modern studies, all of which should take a bow, but maybe equally significant has been the discovery of its commercial potential to sell just about anything to a visually ravenous and sexually liberated public. The male nude has always had a presence in art, and the fascinating images and essays here seek to explain its ever changing profile and standing, both within the artworld as well as the wider community which, ultimately, always leads the charge.

John Wayne : the legend and the man : an exclusive look inside Duke’s archive: Foreword by Martin Scorsese

PowerHouse Books, 2012

PowerHouse Books, 2012

Not known for his nude scenes, John Wayne (aka. Duke) has held his ground as one of America’s most beloved, and villified, national icons. An undoubtedly fine actor (Martin Scorsese refers to him as “a genuinely great actor”), Wayne’s professional persona as the cowboy/soldier archetype, and his often flatfooted meddling in the political sphere, continues to divide the world almost equally between those who love him and those who can’t bear the sight of him. This loving pictorial tribute drawn from the Wayne family archive clearly comes from the former, and includes hundreds of images from both his public and private life. If you want an at times blistering account of Wayne’s life and politics, written by someone who appears to love and hate him at the same time, then John Wayne’s America : the politics of celebrity by Garry Wills is the book for you.

Simon & Schuster, 1997

Simon & Schuster, 1997

 

Sydney moderns : art for a new world: edited by Deborah Edwards and Denise Mimmocchi

Art Gallery of NSW, 2013

Art Gallery of NSW, 2013

I always find art from the inter-war years of the 20th century peculiarly interesting, battered by the Great War, still wrestling itself free from the 19th century, and yet full of exuberance and optimism for the new machine-age then taking hold. This remarkable survey from the Art Gallery of New South Wales brings this exuberant era roaring back to life, showcasing great artists working in a great city creating great art. What more do you need?

John Singer Sargent Watercolors:  Erica E. Hirshler and Teresa A. Carbone

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2013

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2013

 

I couldn’t resist sneaking this one in. Many of us are perhaps more familiar with Sargent’s glorious portraits and oil paintings, but he clearly also loved painting with watercolours, and as this lovely book demonstrates he achieved a vibrancy and almost snapshot sense of the moment that is quite breathtaking.

 

Clarice Cliff: ceramic designer extraordinaire

Serial-blogger Jane has been watching Bargain Hunt again…..

If you do an internet search on Clarice Cliff, eBay is regularly included in your first page of hits.  Eminently collectable, the creations of this English ceramic artist employed innovative use of colour, design and shape, making her instantly recognisable works a feature of the Art Deco period.

Clarice Cliff

Clarice Cliff

 

Clarice Cliff was born in 1899 in the heart of the English potteries country, Tunstall in Staffordshire.  Progressing from apprentice to artist/designer she oversaw the production of a wide array of both functional and decorative pieces.  Over the years, over 100 ceramic artists worked to replicate her designs.  Most of the artists have been traced, including Rene Dale who recalled working for Cliff in the 1930’s:

“We all thought it was so gaudy, but then that was the idea, she wanted it gaudy, she wanted it gay … She thought the British housewives deserved more colour in their lives.”

The Library holds several books on Clarice Cliff focusing on her career, such as Comprehensively Clarice Cliff, illustrating all patterns and shapes, from the strikingly coloured geometric patterns of her “Bizarre” style to more conventional floral designs.

 

Thames & Hudson, 2005

Thames & Hudson, 2005

 

Art Deco Complete places Cliff in the context of the period more generally, and includes furniture, paintings and graphics, bookbinding, metal and lacquer work.

 

Thames & Hudson, 2009

Thames & Hudson, 2009

 

Clarice Cliff and Her Contemporaries includes other artists Susie Cooper, Keith Murray and Charlotte Rhead.

 

Schiffer Pub., 1999

Schiffer Pub., 1999

 

Capturing a younger generation of afficionados, a class at Beaconsfield Primary School used her works to inspire their arts project, creating their own jugs and decorating them with designs a la Clarice.

If, after perusing any of the above, you feel inspired to start your own collection, Carter’s price guide to antiques and collectables  (available online inside the State Library building) lists recent sales.

For some more background:

Clarice Cliff web site

Clarice Cliff Collectors

And speaking of Art Deco, a little something from our Picture Collection; it wouldn’t really matter what was showing…….

Hoyts' Padua Theatre, Brunswick, 1930s

Hoyts’ Padua Theatre, Brunswick, 1930s

New Listening: Chain, Cosmic Country & more

Some recent CD arrivals feature on the Listening Posts in Arts.  They include releases in opera, classical, country,  pop, rock, blues and musical theatre. The online catalogue indicates which Listening Post the CD is available on.

There are eight jukebox listening posts in the Arts Reading Room, where you can listen to CDs from the audiovisual collection.

 

Cosmic Country featuring Gram Parsons, Grateful Dead, Crazy Horse & many more.

Warner Music Australia, 2013

Warner Music Australia, 2013

 

Hit country superstars : 40 country stars & country hits.

ABC/Universal, 2013

ABC/Universal, 2013

Cosmic Country traces the beginnings of country rock in the late ’60s through the 1970s, and includes tracks both classic and rare. Legendary artists and groups featured include The Lovin’ SpoonfulThe Monkees, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, The Grateful Dead and many more.

Hit country superstars showcases the greatest hits and stars of country music, both Australian and international.  Features Carrie Underwood, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley, Sara Storer, and many more.

Zanna don’t : a musical fairy tale : world premiere recording.

PS Classics, 2003

PS Classics, 2003

 

The people in the picture : original Broadway Cast recording.

Kritzerland, 2011

Kritzerland, 2011

The smash-hit off-Broadway and off-West End show Zanna Don’t!, is a musical fairy tale set in a mid-west American High School.  Zanna is the schools matchmaker.  The show had a Melbourne season in 2009 at Chapel off Chapel as part of the Midsumma Festival, and a New Zealand run in 2013.  This world premiere cast recording has many catchy tunes and the show itself contains a reference or two to Xanadu, the hit Olivia Newton-John 1980 film musical fantasy.

The people in the picture is a 2011 musical featuring Broadway notable Donna Murphy as a grandmother recalling her life in Yiddish Theatre in pre-war Poland.  The vocal score for The people in the picture is also available in the library’s Music Scores collection.

French opera arias by Kiri Te Kanawa.

EMI, 1989

EMI, 1989

 

Bryn Terfel sings favourites.

Deutsche Grammophon 2003

Deutsche Grammophon, 2003

Two compilations from the John Cargher Bequest include a collection of French Opera Arias performed by the legendary Kiri Te Kanawa with the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Tate.  Includes excerpts from great operas such as The Pearl Fishers, The Tales of Hoffmann and Manon.

Bryn Terfel Sings Favourites is an album of popular classics performed by renowned bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel.  Includes an appearance by Andrea Bocelli on The Pearl Fishers duetIl mio cuore va (Love theme from the film Titanic) and works by Schubert, Dvorak and other composers.

The history of Chain : original Mushroom collection remastered.

Mushroom, 2013

Mushroom, 2013

 

Songs in the key of Paul : Mojo presents a collection of McCartney inspired songs.

Mojo, 2013

Mojo, 2013

Chain is the legendary Australian blues/blues-rock band, best known for their 1971 hit single Black & Blue and the classic never-out-of-print Infinity/Festival Records first studio album Toward the Blues.  This double-CD collection, originally released on Mushroom as a 2LP set in 1974, has been beautifully remastered from original tapes by Aztec Records’ audio guru (and former Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs drummer) Gil Matthews.  The tracks Black & Blue, Dust My Blues & 32/20 on History are recorded live.

Songs in the key of Paul was released with the November 2013 issue of Mojo magazine.  It is a collection of McCartney inspired “power pop perfection” performed by bands and musicians such as Flamin Groovies, Golden Dogs, Cotton Mather, Robyn Hitchcock, Kelley Stoltz and many more.

Group of people using listening post in Arts room © Andrew Lloyd

Group of people using listening post in Arts room © Andrew Lloyd

 

Vale Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado, one of the very greatest conductors of the modern era, sadly passed away this week after a long battle with illness. A true gentleman of the podium, he eschewed the histrionics of a Bernstein or Karajan without sacrificing any of the deeply personal music-making associated with his more theatrical and media savvy contemporaries.

 

Naxos/Euroarts, 2003

Naxos/Euroarts, 2003

This documentary, available via the Naxos Video Library, shows the maestro in action both in rehearsal and performance, and some of the loveliest moments belong to colleagues and friends who attest to his great humanity and astonishing musicianship.

 

Naxos/Sony,

Naxos/Sony,

The music of Mozart featured prominently in Abbado’s symphonic repertoire, and this performance from the Naxos Music Library of some of the later symphonies is with the glorious Berlin Philharmonic, which he took over after the death of Herbert von Karajan in 1989.

 

And I can’t resist this clip from YouTube of the younger Abbado with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1991, conducting his beloved Rossini’s Overture to La Gazza Ladra; perfect!

 

 

 

New books: if you dare….

A mixed bag of new books hitting the shelves; just what I love!

Circus and stage : the theatrical adventures of Rose Edouin and GBW Lewis by Mimi Colligan

Monash University Publishing, 2013

Monash University Publishing, 2013

Mimi Colligan is one of our foremost writers on theatre and popular culture in 19th century Australia, and this fascinating new book focuses on the varied careers of two remarkable figures who should be whole lot better known in our performing arts history than they are. Rose Edouin and her husband George Benjamin William Lewis forged theatrical careers that saw them top the bills in Europe, China, India, New Zealand and Australia, encompassing everything from equestrian spectacles to circus to Shakespeare and beyond. The ephemeral nature of fame and popularity can be a cruel thing, but works like this demonstrate how the keen historian can reinvigorate forgotten lives of real accomplishment.

Samurai, stars of the stage and beautiful women : Kunisada und Kuniyoshi : masters of the color woodblock print: edited by Gunda Luyken and Beat Wismer

 

Hatje Cantz, 2012

Hatje Cantz, 2012

I find it hard to resist books on Japanese woodblock prints, and this hefty tome on the work of two great 19th century masters, Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, comes from a particularly lively time just prior to the Meiji Period, when all things Western started influencing this hitherto closed culture. The spirit of classic Ukiyo-e imbues these works, and the subject matter of samurais, stars of the stage and beautiful women all attest to the pre-eminence of the woodblock print as Japan’s truly popular art form.

Heavy metal : controversies and countercultures: edited by Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris and Mark LeVine

CT Equinox Publishing, 2013

CT Equinox Publishing, 2013

Speaking of popular art forms, Heavy Metal has well and truly proved its staying power within the rock music universe, and is now over 40 years old (but don’t try telling it that!). This volume of essays investigates some of the controversies that have formed around the Metal scene over the years, and some of the chapter headings are enough to keep you awake at night: Twilight of the maggots? Valorization of metal in the rock press/ Dworkin’s nightmare: Porngrind as the sound of feminisit fears/ Extreme music for extreme people: Norwegian black metal and transcendent violence etc., etc. The Arts Library’s own metal-head, John, tells me that the gentleman on the cover is metal superstar Gaahl of the band Gorgoroth (and many others), and I believe him.

Awakening the night : art from Romanticism to the present: edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco, Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, and Harald Krejci

Prestel, 2012

Prestel, 2012

Continuing along a dark path, this beautiful volume based on an exhibition held at the Belvedere in Vienna, explores how artists over two centuries have responded to the idea of the night, and how our perceptions of it have changed with advances in technology; not to mention our means of capturing it. There are so many glorious images here, you could well dread the coming of the morn…….

 

Getting into metal from an early age,  from our Picture Collection:

Harold Leopold Godden

Harold Leopold Godden