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WINTER 2016 Parramatta update Reimagining our icons Isabella Blow: A fashionable life Materialising the digital Festival season

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Contents WINTER 2016

01 02 04 05 06 10 16 18 20 22 26 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 47


From the Director From the archives Annual appeal Science and Design festivals News Icons Recollect: Ceramics Working at CERN Interview with Shonagh Marshall Out of Hand The diving Venus Gravity makes waves Wearing William Street Chips Mackinolty Sydney Observatory New acquisition The Museums Discovery Centre Coming soon People Meet Keinton Butler From the collection



(Clockwise from left) Annette Kellerman in mermaid costume; Forms in Succession #5 by Shigekazu Nagae in Recollect: Ceramics; Guest at the Isabella Blow launch; ‘Marilyn’ sofa, designed by Studio 65, made by Gufram in Icons.


From the Director OUR SUMMER HOLIDAY period was one of our most successful in recent years and I am encouraged by the strong visitation both the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory are currently enjoying. With an exciting program in place for 2016, I am confident our long-term plans for all our venues will sustain visitor support and wider community recognition of the unique contribution Australia’s only museum of applied arts and sciences makes to our cultural life. Over the upcoming year, we will work with a range of local, national and international partners to present a varied and vibrant program. Highlights include:

Special guest the Honourable Daphne Guinness, Director Dolla Merrillees and Deputy President Lisa Chung at the launch of Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life.

• Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life • Collider • Out of Hand • Icons • Gravity (and Wonder) • Sydney Science and Sydney Design festivals This year also marks the reopening of the Museum’s collection storage facility at Castle Hill. The newly expanded Museums Discovery Centre will store the collections of the Australian Museum and Sydney Living Museums, along with the MAAS collection. This collaborative venture will include inspiring new public displays and educational facilities. Planning continues for the Museum’s longer term future in Parramatta. This represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a 21st century museum that responds to the growth and changing shape of Sydney, and to contemporary methods of content delivery, learning and collaboration. Embodying the best of Australian ingenuity and innovation, the Museum will profile one of the world’s great collections as well as playing a critical role in supporting the brand and vision of the city. You can read further updates about developments at Parramatta in this issue. Deepening audience engagement, bringing the collections to life, hands-on experiences and offering a variety of pathways through ideas and information are key to the delivery of our programs for people of all ages across our three sites: the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre. My thanks to our stakeholders, audiences and partners for their ongoing generous support. I look forward to working with you and to the exciting opportunities ahead.

Director, MAAS

Trustees Professor John Shine AO FAA (President) Ms Lisa Chung (Deputy President) Mr Robert Cameron AO Ms Elizabeth Crouch Mr Tim Ebbeck Professor Barney Glover Janet McDonald AO Executive Dolla Merrillees Director Rebecca Bushby Acting Director Curatorial, Collections & Exhibitions Leann Meiers Director Development & External Affairs Arani Duggan and Lily Katakouzinos Acting Directors Programs & Engagement Michael Parry Project Director, MAAS Parramatta Project




William Street at night

William Street, Sydney, at night, 1969, 35mm filmNSW, negative. Coogee Beach, silver Photo David gelatinby dry plateMist, glass1969, negative MAAS collection. (about 1902–12).



YOUNG BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER David Mist captured this view of William Street for his publication Sydney: A Book of Photographs in 1969. David recalls, ‘The William Street photo was taken on a rainy night looking up the street from the city. What made it attractive was the reflections in the street of the neon lights of the advertising signs. It was quite a simple and straightforward shot to take. I waited for a rainy night to get that effect and it was shot on 35mm slide film. I didn’t like to shoot on 35mm then because it was difficult to reproduce in print but the blurring effect of the lights worked for this photo.’ The David Mist Archive Collection, which the photographer donated to the Museum in the 1990s, comprises personal, exhibition, commercial and fashion photography, spanning the period from 1957–95. This image was recently used by fashion designer Sally Smith to create a simple silk shift dress that is for sale in the MAAS store. Read more on pages 32–33.



The USA chandelier, Ken and Julia Yonetani, Australia/Japan, 2013.


MAAS HAS LAUNCHED its 2016 Annual Appeal with the goal of purchasing an evocative and innovative artwork for the MAAS collection: the USA chandelier. The chandelier is part of an installation created in response to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nuclear Nations, by Ken and Julia Yonetani. Among Australia’s most creative contemporary artists, the Yonetanis’ work explores environmental concerns. There are 31 chandeliers in the installation, each representing a country with nuclear power. Their sizes correspond to the nuclear capacity in that country,


with the USA chandelier being the largest. The chandelier is constructed from a metal frame coated with uranium glass beads and crystals, with ultraviolet light bulbs creating a fluorescent green effect with the beads to represent radiation. This mixed-media work spans several areas of interest to the Museum including contemporary culture, studio glass and technology, and is listed as a priority acquisition on the MAAS collecting plan for 2015–16. Please help us achieve our goal of purchasing the USA chandelier. You can donate online at maas.museum/donate or contact Development Team on 02 9217 0577 or development@maas.museum.


USA Chandelier


(Below) Fizzics demonstration in the Turbine Hall, Sydney Science Festival, 2015; (right) Brainlight by Laura Jade, Peter Simpson-Young and Sam Gentle at the Powerhouse Museum, 2015.



Sydney Science Festival SYDNEY SCIENCE FESTIVAL returns in August as part of National Science Week with 11 thrilling days packed with exhibitions, talks, hands-on workshops and events for families. In its inaugural year in 2015, the festival attracted over 39,000 participants and encompassed 132 events across 50 venues city-wide. Led by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, the Festival will showcase some of Sydney’s best scientists and host leading researchers from around the world. It takes science out of the laboratory and into the community centres, parks, museums and performing arts venues of Sydney. MAAS highlights for this year’s Sydney Science Festival include the free MAASive Lates science launch event featuring the Collider exhibition on 11 August, the Sydney Mini Maker Faire — a showcase of Sydney’s best makers — from 13 to 14 August, and the Keynote talk by Festival Ambassador Dr Alan Duffy on 12 August, which will unwrap the complexity of particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider. The Sydney Science Festival runs from 11 to 21 August. See sydneyscience.com.au for further details.


Sydney Design Festival SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL brings an array of exciting design-related events to the city. It champions local, Australian and international design, highlighting how design has an impact on all of our lives. The festival gives designers the opportunity to showcase their work and encourages audiences — from children through to adults — to actively engage with the discipline. This year we explore the theme ‘Make or Break’, examining the tension between success and failure and how designers are creatively using and deconstructing methods of production as well as their own make or break career moments. The festival highlights include the Really Goods Line Day on Sunday 11 September, a vibrant program of events showcasing the diverse and exciting local communities who utilise and shape The Goods Line in Ultimo; Shadow Places, an installation featuring regional New South Wales artists that invites visitors to rethink the impact of design in a rural and agricultural context; and Brett Leavy’s Songlines, a digital project using virtual reality to re-create the shores of precontact Sydney Harbour. The Sydney Design Festival runs from 2 to 11 September. See sydneydesign.com.au for further details.




Shape 2015

(Above) Student Matthew Jigalin with his interactive, virtual reality game ‘Verge’.


THREE OUTFITS DESIGNED by Liu Qingyang (aka Christine Lau) for her Beijing-based fashion label Chictopia are the Museum’s first acquisition of work by the new generation of Chinese-born fashion designers who are playing an important part in reshaping the Chinese designer market. Liu Qingyang was born in Beijing, raised in Hong Kong and trained in textile design at Central Saint Martins Fashion College in London. Graduating in 2009 she taught herself fashion design and launched her Chictopia label in the same year. Over the past decade European luxury brands have dominated the high end of the Chinese fashion market. According to Vogue China editor-in-Chief Angelica Cheung, the millennial generation is now a major new force in the Chinese market and Chictopia’s pretty, feminine and youthful aesthetic is popular with young consumers. Chictopia was the first independent Chinese brand to appear on the cover of Vogue China. The outfits were donated by retailer David Jones following its showcase of the work of 16 Chinese designers as part of Lunar New Year. They will complement the Museum’s significant collection of Chinese historical dress.


FOR THE FIRST time Shape (formerly DesignTech) showcases graduate student designs from three streams in the technology area that share an approach to design thinking, innovation and creativity: Textiles and Design, Industrial Technology and Design, and Technology. This exhibition of student work and their case-study portfolios recognises exceptional student work and the thought and effort that has gone into the realisation of their projects. From a kitchen tool that allows Parkinson’s patients to gain independence to a regency-style jacket inspired by the sea and a virtual reality video game that takes users through the ages of human history, 25 diverse student works were included in this display. Presented in association with the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW.

Contemporary Chinese fashion acquisition


(Left) This outfit with its jacquard woven bloom design reflects Chictopia’s signature focus on original textile designs; (below) A Morsecodian at work at the Powerhouse Museum; (below right) ‘Galadriel’ by Demetra Kakopieros, comprising foam and 3D plastic spiked jacket and skirt with sheer [polyester] underlay.

Student Fashion

The Morsecodians

EACH YEAR STUDENT Fashion showcases outfits from the final-year ranges of top students from four Sydney-based fashion design schools. From the fierce silhouette of an outfit constructed from 3D-printed spikes to designs inspired by sources as diverse as Abstract Expressionism, Alexander Calder’s mobiles and pre-industrial weaving techniques, this year’s Student Fashion display highlights the creativity and talent of the next generation of Australian fashion designers. Illustrating their diverse design signatures and technical skills, this year’s display includes Rebecca Deasy from Raffles College of Design and Commerce; Zoe Efstathis from Whitehouse Institute of Design; Demetra Kakopieros from the Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW; and Jamilla McCrossin from the University of Technology, Sydney.


Student Fashion is presented by the MAAS Centre for Fashion from 25 March − 18 September 2016. IN APRIL, THE Morsecodian Fraternity returned to the Powerhouse Museum for their fourteenth year. A group of three or four volunteers spent 10 days explaining how morse code works, sending telegraphs via their fellow members in Alice Springs, and showing visitors how to code and decode messages. This year was the busiest they have ever been. Morse code contains signals for every letter of the alphabet, numerals and even punctuation. The last official morse code transmission for New South Wales was sent on 13 December 1962 from Sydney GPO to the Bombala post office. The code is no longer formally taught, but the Morsecodians travel throughout New South Wales, demonstrating how to send messages using morse code signals.



Premier Mike Baird with former Parramatta Mayor Paul Garrard (left), Minister for the Arts Troy Grant and newly appointed Director Dolla Merrillees opposite the proposed location in Parramatta for the new Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.


New director for MAAS I AM DELIGHTED to share with you the appointment of Dolla Merrillees as Director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The announcement was made by the Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Troy Grant MP, on 11 April. Dolla has made an outstanding contribution in her time as acting Director and her passion for the work of cultural institutions and her pride in the MAAS collection are foundations for an exciting next chapter in this Museum’s rich history. Dolla brings a strong track record of curatorial leadership to the role as well as

Professor John Shine AO FAA, President of the MAAS Board of Trustees.


a highly respected reputation for rethinking and representing collections and delivering innovative exhibitions. An experienced administrator, she has been instrumental in the Museum’s recent successes that have seen a 14% increase in visitation to the Powerhouse Museum and over 17 new exhibitions presented, including a number of Australia exclusives and world premieres. Dolla is widely published and brings scholarship, national and international partnerships to the position, as well as a strong focus on audiences and opening up opportunities for engagement, participation and access. The Deputy Premier and the Premier also announced the Riverbank site as the preferred site for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Parramatta. We welcome this announcement, and believe this is a highly desirable location, in Parramatta’s central business district, to establish an iconic museum that will make the people of Sydney and Australia proud. With free entry for kids and a range of world premiere exhibitions we will continue to deliver exceptional visitor experiences across our three sites: the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill, which is soon to reopen.




New home chosen for the Powerhouse Museum THE NSW GOVERNMENT has chosen a site on the banks of the Parramatta River as the preferred location for the new museum. NSW Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant made the announcement on 11 April. Mr Baird said the Powerhouse’s relocation to Parramatta means that for the first time one of the state’s five major cultural institutions will be in Western Sydney. ‘Locating the Powerhouse at Parramatta will ensure Western Sydney has a new, world-class cultural institution that will be a major drawcard for local and international visitors,’ Mr Baird said. ‘The site on the banks of the Parramatta River is the ideal location for the new Powerhouse Museum, which will serve as an anchor for a new arts and cultural precinct.’ Mr Grant said, ‘The new museum will showcase more of the Powerhouse’s exhibits

— the size of the collection on display is set to increase by at least 40 per cent. ‘A close partnership with Parramatta City Council and consultation with the community will be crucial during the design process as this will be truly a museum for the people.’ Director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Dolla Merrillees, said Powerhouse Parramatta will change the way people think about museums. ‘People travel across the world to visit great museums and we look forward to profiling one of the world’s great collections and delivering a dynamic experience for our visitors.’ The NSW Government selected the riverbank site, the old David Jones car park, over another site at Parramatta Golf Course due to its close proximity to public transport and easy accessibility for pedestrians. 9



ICON A fresh look at the Museum’s

As the Museum plans for its future in Sydney’s west, Director Dolla Merrillees examines a new exhibition that questions and reinterprets the conventional definition of the ‘icon’, and considers how the Museum responds to Sydney’s social, political and cultural dynamics. DOLLA MERRILLEES, DIRECTOR, MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES


Graphite carved elephant made in Ceylon about 1875.






AN ICON IN the 21st century is clearly no longer a symbol of veneration and faith. It is a term indiscriminately and at times arbitrarily ascribed to buildings, handbags and people. In today’s context icons are most readily identifiable as the small pictorial symbols that represent a computer application, folder or program; or as pop icons, sex symbols, movie stars, models and sporting heroes. Such contemporary icons as Australia’s 1950s king of rock ’n’ roll Johnny O’Keefe, internationally acclaimed actor and theatre director Cate Blanchett and Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman are represented in Icons from the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Collection. This new exhibition brings together for the first time a collection of our objects that consider the notion of ‘icon’ in all its complexity — from its origins as a sacred image traditionally used and venerated in the Eastern Church to a more contemporary definition that equates icons with mass culture and popular appeal. The objects displayed in the exhibition and catalogue present various aspects of luxury, celebrity, status, spirituality, value and genius. The quest for identity, self-referentiality and the public desire around cult has seen religious belief and practice commonly

Like its collections, the Museum’s narrative is one of constant change, renewal and adaptation. 12


Hand-built stoneware made by Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher James AO, 1984.


transferred to the adoration of celebrities. This analogy between religious and pop culture icons reflects the rise of popular culture of the early to the mid-20th century, driven and heavily influenced by mass media. Museums, too, are guilty of mythologising their collections, assigning iconic status to their objects through statements of significance, value and rarity. Public museums, like ours, are astounding repositories of objects accumulated under the impulse of serendipity, scholarship, connoisseurship and sometimes intuition reflecting the hopes, interests and aspirations of the curators who have acquired them. This exhibition seeks to examine, question and reinterpret the conventional definition of the ‘icon’ and offers a different perspective, categorised by contemporary understandings of culture, historical and geographic origins, artistic creation, imagination and belief. Building on the themes of luxury, celebrity, status, spirituality, value and genius the curator Dr Jacqui Strecker is clearly delighted in discovering unlikely alliances between objects: the graphite elephant from Ceylon (about 1875) alongside the heroic astronautical busts from the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1984) representing status and power; the Enigma machine (1940) and Howard Florey’s preserved specimens of penicillin (1944) celebrating innovation and ingenuity; the Strasburg Clock model (1887–89) and the pots by Thancoupie (1984) encapsulating broad concepts of faith and spirituality across cultures. The breadth and diversity of the Museum’s collections, the intersection of the arts and sciences and the critical interchange of objects from different periods allows the curator a freedom of imagination and interpretation. The exhibition focuses attention on the unusual diversity and distinctive character of the Museum’s collections, which not only document the state of New South Wales, and in turn Australia, but are also in dialogue with themes, motifs, ideas and styles from across the globe. Nor is the collection bound by time or place, rather it seeks to represent and encompass human creativity, innovation and ingenuity in all its expressions across the arts and sciences. Like its collections, the Museum’s narrative is one of constant change, renewal and adaptation. The Museum’s foundation was established as part of the 19th century agenda for the advancement of knowledge and social reform following the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879. It reflected the colony’s commitment to

(Top) German army cipher machine, known as the ‘Enigma’. Made in Berlin, Germany, 1940; (bottom) Collection of coins from the mid-1700s to early 1800s, including Australia’s ‘holey dollar’.



education and inquiry, and to the potential of technological and scientific advances to spearhead local industrial development and the associated economic opportunities: In a resolution put by Sir Alfred Roberts on 6 August 1878, the trustees resolved that “in the opinion of this Board, a Technological and Industrial Museum with classes for instruction would afford much valuable and practical information to a large class of the community.” Aspirations that remain as relevant and resonant today.1


Chair designed for the Argyle Street Tearooms, Glasgow, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1898–99.


From its inception in 1880 as the conscientiously named Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum it has endured multiple variations of its name as well as occupying an assortment of sites. Housed in the upper galleries of the Garden Palace in Sydney’s Domain until it burned down, it found a temporary home in the Agricultural Hall, was relocated in 1893 to the Romanesque revival building designed by architect William Kemp in Ultimo, and was eventually recycled in 1988 into a complex of industrial buildings — the forlorn and derelict remnants of Sydney’s tram age. With the eponymous Powerhouse Museum as its flagship, the formally titled Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences was once custodian to the Mint in Macquarie Street and today administers the distinguished Sydney Observatory at Observatory Hill and the Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill.2 While the bricks and mortar tell one part of the Museum’s story, at its core lies the collection. Capricious, eccentric and fascinating, its disparity is both its strength and weakness, but is always underpinned by its commitment to scholarship, education, scientific and technological advances, craftsmanship and aesthetic merit. Icons draws together disparate threads, linking them by focusing on a theme that emphasises the arbitrary and subjective way in which value and status is ascribed or defined. The Museum itself has been described as an ‘iconic institution’. Jennifer Sanders, former Deputy Director of the Museum, argued in her introduction to Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum that ‘by the end of its first century, the development of the Powerhouse Museum … had transformed the museum in less than a decade from a Dickensian backwater to a vital and engaging part of Australia’s culture’.3 The Museum once again is in the unique and extraordinarily privileged position of being able to


Reimagining our future allows us to take risks with ideas, to break old habits, to ask provocative questions and to create new ways of thinking.

respond to Sydney’s social, political and cultural dynamics and to actively contribute to the State’s health and economic growth. As it plans for its future in Sydney’s west, it will not only honour and continue to build on its legacy but will transform itself to respond to growth, to demographic trends, to the transforming social landscape and not least to the changing shape of Sydney and New South Wales. By positioning the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences at the centre of the innovation and creative agenda we can inspire a new generation of young Australians to dream, to imagine the possibilities and to realise their ambitions. Our strength lies in our ability to tell the story of the past, to inform the present, to examine the contemporary and to foresee the future. Museums are defined by continued engagement, democratised access to knowledge, shared experiences, collaboration, interaction and participation — whether as a physical destination or through online and digital access, these are the cornerstones of the Museum. Reimagining our future allows us to take risks with ideas, to break old habits, to ask provocative questions and to create new ways of thinking. As custodians of a collection that documents the distinctive and complex character of Sydney and the state of New South Wales, and underpinned by our ethos and mission, there could be no greater compliment than to be asked to lead social change, to become a champion for a diverse and dynamic polycentric Sydney, to invest in and be integral to our community, and to deliver an authentic, personalised experience that places us at the core of imagining a hopeful future. Icons is intended to generate a conversation, but above all I suspect it tells stories about us: our hopes, our fears, our desires and our aspirations. Icons opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 15 October 2016.

Crocheted dress designed and made by Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Romance Was Born. It was worn by Cate Blanchett in Melbourne in 2009.

1. Jennifer Sanders, ‘Introduction’, Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Publishing, 1991, p. 9. 2. Terence Measham, ‘Preface’, Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Publishing, 1991, p. 6. 3. Jennifer Sanders, ‘Introduction’, Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Publishing, 1991, p. 13.




Recollect: Ceramics

Curator Eva Czernis-Ryl on the highlights from the Museum’s extensive collection.




Bust 39, porcelain body-cast sculpture with yingqing glaze made by Ah Xian, China, 1999.

THE THRILLING POTENTIAL of a material that can be modelled in myriad ways, patterned, coloured, glazed and then fired has never ceased to attract makers and users across time and place. Recollect: Ceramics reveals how ceramic artists have combined creative ideas with technical skills to transform clay into evocative works that enchant, intrigue and inspire. The selection of around 50 of the most impressive objects from our renowned ceramics collection range from Spanish lustreware and Chinese red-glazed vases to showpieces from such celebrated European ceramic factories as Meissen, Sèvres, Wedgwood, Minton, Doulton, KPM, and Villeroy & Boch. Richly expressive contemporary artworks — both Australian and international — feature prominently. The display is arranged in seven thematic groupings celebrating some of the greatest ceramic milestones and traditions such as the invention of European porcelain in 1708, Majolica ware and redcopper glazes, 19th century art pottery as well as more recent sculptural works. It includes two striking Indigenous pottery examples, for instance the newly acquired monumental vessel Wanampi Muni Ngintaka, made in the Wu Workshop in Jingdezhen in 2013. It was decorated with motifs relating to the Pitjantjatjara people by Derek Jungarrayi Thompson of Ernabella Arts during the first Indigenous artist residency in China. Recollect: Ceramics places historical examples alongside contemporary Australian, English, Danish, French, Italian, Japanese, German and Czech vessels and sculptures. The earliest piece on display is a Hispano–Moresque copper-lustre bowl. Originating in Valencia in about 1600, it shows a splendid long-tailed bird.

The Museum’s internationally recognised collection of Doulton ceramics includes spectacular art wares of the late 1800s. Notable objects include an extraordinary biblical panel — The Meeting of Jacob and Joseph modelled in high relief by George Tinworth — and the monumental figures of muses Thalia and Melpomene, made about 1899. At a time when massproduced decorative ceramics were flooding European markets as a result of the Industrial Revolution, factories like Doulton and Minton drew crowds at international exhibitions with their ‘artistic’ pottery. Another special item is a pair of French Sèvres porcelain wine coolers for holding half-bottles of wine. They were once part of a dinner service ordered by Madame du Barry, mistress of the French king Louis XV, to celebrate the marriage of his grandson and heir to the 16-year-old Marie Antoinette of Austria. The display also includes such rare and iconic MAAS treasures as the 1739 satirical bust of the Saxon court jester known as Baron Schmiedel in Meissen porcelain (see page 47), the imposing Minton majolica-glazed peacock, and the Swan Vase, Wedgwood’s ‘star’ of several great international expos including the Sydney 1879 International Exhibition, Australia’s first. Contemporary artists include Arman, Rod Bamford, Stephen Bowers and Mark Heidenreich, Alison Britton, Claude Champy, Peter Cooley, Jeremy Cole, Brian Doar, Ken Eastman, Marea Gazzard, Col Levy, Shigekazu Nagae, John Perceval, Axel Salto, Christopher Sanders, Borek Šípek, John Perceval, Ettore Sottsass, Ah Xian, Gerry Wedd, Zona Wilkinson and Jindra Viková. Recollect: Ceramics is on display at the Powerhouse Museum until 14 August 2016. 17



Working at CERN I BEGAN WORKING on the ATLAS experiment, one of four major experiments taking place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, during the third year of my University of Sydney science degree. It wouldn’t be until two-and-a-half years later — the first year of my PhD — that I would actually travel to Switzerland for three months to see and work at CERN itself. Arriving in Switzerland, I first made my way to the Australian apartment, located just across the Swiss–French border in a small town called Saint-Genis-Pouilly. I would walk for 15 minutes through the surrounding farmland to the CERN complex. From the outside, the CERN complex just looks like a haphazard array of old, grey buildings filled with offices. As it is located 100 metres underground, there is very little evidence of the LHC unless you know where to look. The restaurants at CERN are creatively named R1 and R2 (for Restaurant 1 and Restaurant 2) and are the main places where people meet. Working at CERN was very different from what I expected. My days at CERN were mostly spent in the Australian office, which had a few computers for visiting Australian researchers. The work was generally much the same as I would do in Sydney, however, now many of my collaborators were just down the hall, not the other side of the globe. Most researchers working on the experiments are not based in Switzerland, but collaborate from their home institutions. I was lucky enough to travel to India, Germany and the United States of America to work in person with many physicists during the course of my research. However, when in Sydney, collaborating often meant attending video conferences from my bed at three in the morning. While not performing my own research, I helped out with the running of the ATLAS experiment by maintaining software and being rostered on to ‘trigger shifts’ in the ATLAS control room. The ATLAS



The Collider exhibition recreates the largest scientific experiment ever constructed. MAAS program officer Mark Scarcella describes what it’s like to work at CERN.


experiment is located within the main complex at ‘Point 1’ and while the LHC is running the only accessible part is the ATLAS control room. These shifts involved monitoring the real-time running of the experiment, specifically the ATLAS trigger, which decided which proton-proton collisions were interesting enough to save out of the approximately 1 billion collisions that occur every second. Early in my PhD, my role was to work on how the ATLAS detector identifies particles known as tau leptons (a heavier version of the electron) in the fractions of a second between proton collisions. As my PhD progressed, the focus of my research changed to being involved in a search for the Higgs boson — the once theoretical particle that is responsible for the existence of mass — using tau leptons with the ATLAS detector. In 2012, the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced in Melbourne at the International Conference on High Energy Physics. Since then, I have been involved in further study of the properties of the newly discovered particle and continue to take part in video conferences with physics colleagues all over the world. Often, still in my pyjamas.

Inside the tunnels of CERN, from the Collider exhibition, London, 2012.

This immersive exhibition from the Science Museum, London blends theatre, video and sound art with real artefacts from CERN. Collider opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 6 August 2016. 19



A walking billboard Isabella Blow championed British fashion, discovered many world-renowned designers and had an extravagant sense of style. Exhibition curator Shonagh Marshall examines Blow’s legacy.

Isabella in Philip Treacy disc hat and Alexander McQueen jacket.



Who was Isabella Blow? Isabella Blow (1958–2007) was a British fashion director and stylist who was instrumental in rebuilding London’s reputation for cutting-edge style during the 1990s and early 2000s. Working at Vogue, Tatler, and The Sunday Times Style magazine she nurtured photographers and models, putting together credit lists that read like a who’s who of the time. She is best known for her discovery of fashion designers, notably Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy. Her legacy is lasting in both the shoots she styled and the continuing contribution these designers make to the fashion industry. Blow was also testament to an extravagant exercise in personal style, claiming: ‘I’m a walking billboard. That’s my pleasure.’


How did the Isabella Blow Foundation start? What are the Foundation’s aims? In 2010, three years after Isabella Blow’s death, her friend the Honourable Daphne Guinness purchased her entire collection of clothing. She set up The Isabella Blow Foundation, which is a charitable organisation that seeks to honour the memory of Isabella Blow, support aspiring art and fashion students and facilitate further research into depression and mental health. Since the Foundation’s inception, they have staged two exhibitions in London and Toronto, and Sydney will be the third. Each one explores different facets of Isabella’s life and career. The Foundation has also created a bursary that supports fashion students through their studies and successfully forged partnerships with charities such as the Samaritans. What ongoing role does founder Daphne Guinness play in the preservation/ promotion/display of the collection? When beginning conservation, Daphne was clear that the marks of Isabella’s life on the clothes should be preserved. The collection, therefore, is not only an assemblage of clothing that represents a period of time within fashion, it also tells the stories of the ways in which Isabella Blow wore the pieces. Each time the collection has gone

on display, in its different exhibition incarnations, new stories have been explored and discovered. By sharing the collection through exhibitions, Daphne maintains the position within history that Blow deserves; the intent always to inspire and share the creativity and vision of her late friend. What will visitors to the Sydney exhibition see? The exhibition begins with a selection of clothing that holds the wear and tear of Isabella’s life. The fragile nature of the fabric of these garments — wool, silk, lace and feathers — shows the pulls and scuffs that are conserved, inviting the visitor to envisage Isabella getting in and out of a taxi or running through the streets of London. The groupings that follow display clothing that all hold the creases of her body, or the faint whiff of her perfume. The exhibition is split into thematic sections, each exploring a facet of Isabella’s history: her discoveries; the historical research she shared with the designers; her country life at Hilles House; her body and the way in which she dressed it; her love of craftsmanship; and finally the images she created in her styling work. The visitor is left to ponder her legacy, and to be inspired by the passion she felt for fashion. The highlight is the way in which Isabella Blow built outfits from the collection she amassed. Rarely seen without a Philip Treacy hat and often wearing an Alexander McQueen garment, although idiosyncratic there is always a refined approach to her dressing. Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life can be seen at the Powerhouse Museum until 28 August 2016. 21



FROM THE SCRUBBING clean of Joseph Beuys’ Untitled (Bathtub) to the tidying up of Tracey Emin’s My Bed, contemporary artworks that straddle the intersection between art and life are, on occasion, at the mercy of overzealous cleaning staff. With this in mind, one fears for the plain disposable cup that sits atop Who This Am (2014) by Korean artist Kijin Park. The cup, 3D printed from polylactic acid filament, crowns a pallet of carefully tied reams of A4 printer paper. The pages contain all the ones and zeros that describe the cup’s form for the 3D printer that printed it. Who This Am is a startling illustration of the amount of information implicit in the analog or material form of the cup, but it also underpins one of the fundamental implications of the digital world — that everything can be reduced to ones and zeros and as such can be copied exactly, manipulated, recombined and sent anywhere. Manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, digital knitting and weaving, and CNC milling can now be controlled by computer where code specifies the structure and shape of the object being made. The data may be created on a computer or captured from the material world by a scanning process and then manipulated. These new techniques allow new forms and geometries, quick experimentation, easy replication, expanded levels of complexity, perfect patterning and opportunity for increased sustainability. The possibilities and implications are not necessarily predictable but they are likely to disrupt our understanding of the world.



Principal Curator Matthew Connell explores the inspirations behind 3D manufacturing in this edited excerpt from the forthcoming Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital exhibition publication.


Richard Dupont, Untitled (#5), 2008.



Trochoidal motion model ship (1883), MAAS Collection.


The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences is presenting Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, a new iteration of the very successful exhibition from the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York in 2013. Curated by Ron Labaco, the original exhibition was one of the first to acknowledge the consequential role of digital manufacturing processes in creative practice. It will include material from the New York exhibition as well as works from Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The exhibition explores the place and impact of digital technology in the conception and material production of objects in art and design, recognising that these techniques are defining new possibilities, understandings and expectations in these fields. The MAAS installation of Out of Hand is framed by seven thematic sections: Analog to Postdigital, Modelling Nature, New Geometries, Rebooting Revival, Pattern as Structure, Remixing the Figure, and Process. Each section is introduced by an object from the MAAS collection, as they represent an earlier manifestation of ideas that have reappeared in 21st-century technologies. These objects help explain the technology and also remind us that ideas develop over time and emerge from a context — technological, economic, cultural. Innovations rarely arrive as completely new concepts.


Innovations rarely arrive as completely new concepts.



Modelling nature In Sydney in the late 1800s Lawrence Hargrave was captivated by the various ways in which animals propelled themselves. The young inventor and scientist wanted to know if the locomotive processes he was keenly observing could be abstracted and adapted for human-engineered transport systems. Best known today for his pioneering work on human flight, Hargrave also modelled the motion of snakes and eels in a system he called ‘trochoidal motion’. He even speculated that these undulating movements might be used to propel a vehicle, as shown in the model ship on display. Hargrave’s work reflected the scientific interests of the day but his specific approach seeking solutions from the natural world fell out of favour in the early 1900s and became something of a joke for much of the rest of the 20th century. However, in the 1980s things started to change as roboticists began to explore processes from nature, leading to a resurgence of biomimicry in science and design. Biology, evolution and ecology have today become powerful signifiers in art, design and computer science. Generative and evolutionary algorithms at the heart of the artificial life research field helped to produce computer graphics and simulations with an incredible resemblance to natural systems. A few simple rules become the basis for complex structures or behaviours. They have also been used to generate incredible but believable alien ‘biologies’. In this exhibition, Michael Hansmeyer uses just such a process in the generation of his Subdivided Column (2010). A study in architecture rather than biology, his columns are the expression through algorithm of simple rules to produce wondrous forms, the rules evident in the symmetry and self-symmetry. Yet modelling natural forms can also tend toward the simple and the spare. Zaha Hadid was inspired by the behaviour of water and used the shared transparency of water and acrylic to deliver her Liquid Glacial Stools (2015). Visualisation has been one of the triumphs of computer science, allowing patterns of truth to render the invisible visible, over time, through space, across domains. Measuring Cup (2010) and Weather Bracelet (2009) by Mitchell Whitelaw are constructed from climate and weather data to form objects that relate poetically to their subjects. María Fernanda Cardoso’s visualisation, the Museum of Copulatory Organs series (2012), is more iconic; a section that includes scale representations of electron micrographs of snail penises (love darts) and pollen is on display. Today we recognise, as perhaps Hargrave did, that millennia of evolution have produced some extraordinary ‘designs’. New digital technologies give us the ability to mimic and model nature, to better understand the natural world and to find new solutions to problems in the world we construct for ourselves.

Aki Inomata, Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs? series, 2009–16.

Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 3 September 2016. The publication will be available from the MAAS Store or online at maas.museum/store 25



The diving Venus

Billed as ‘The Diving Venus’, ‘The Australian Mermaid’ and ‘The Perfect Woman’, Kellerman presented a style of performance centred on her physicality.




Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman draws on the MAAS collection to present the amazing story of this Australian swimming legend. As one of the first women to wear a one-piece swimsuit, she helped to popularise this radical garment and encouraged women to take up swimming. Curator Peter Cox highlights some of her achievements, including her success as an entertainer of the vaudeville stage and international film star. IN THE EARLY 20th century female bathers were expected to wear an array of frilly garments that made swimming practically impossible. Annette Kellerman challenged these restrictions, sporting a simple onepiece costume during her long-distance swims, diving demonstrations and stage appearances. More than anyone else, Kellerman helped to relax attitudes to the public display of the female body, making it possible for a generation of women to learn to swim. Born Annette Kellermann in Sydney, she was diagnosed with rickets as a child and took up swimming to strengthen her legs. She became a teenage champion of the pool, excelled at diving and set world records in swimming. Moving to London in 1905, she made headlines for her brave attempt to swim the English Channel, and for her marathon swims in the Thames, Seine and Danube rivers. Kellerman settled in America in 1907, where she developed a spectacular form of theatrical entertainment that combined



diving, swimming and graceful underwater ballet with the elaborate staging of tanks, waterfalls and slides, supported by a large cast of water nymphs performing routines that foreshadowed synchronised swimming. By 1914, earning US$2500 per week, she was one of the most highly paid stars on the vaudeville variety circuit. She had a genius for publicity and self-promotion, but the story that she got herself arrested at Boston’s Revere Beach for wearing a one-piece bathing suit is not supported by evidence. Kellerman starred in a series of silent feature films. She performed dangerous stunts in Neptune’s Daughter (1914) and A Daughter of the Gods (1916), which was promoted as the first US film production to


She encouraged women to maintain health and beauty by keeping fit. (Right) This postcard is from a series commercially produced by Sears in Melbourne around 1904. People were shocked by Kellerman’s revealing swimsuit; (below) Kellerman augmented her stage act to include wire-walking, ballet, singing, physical culture and male impersonation.




cost one million dollars. She was the first major actress to appear frontally nude in a feature film. Her films were screened in Australia and, with their own locally bred international celebrity, Australians could recognise themselves as part of global modernity. Most of her films are now lost. Understanding the potential for sports marketing and product endorsement, she formed her own business, devised mail order exercise courses and designed a range of ‘Annette Kellerman’ brand swimsuits and other clothing. The USA proved a profitable environment for these enterprises and by 1911 her name was synonymous with a particular style of swimsuit. In her books and lectures, Kellerman encouraged women to maintain health and beauty by keeping fit. Her own ‘perfect’ physique personified a new aesthetic of natural female beauty, achieved by shaping the body with diet and exercise. Kellerman was active in Australia during World War II: writing, producing and performing in fundraising shows for the Red Cross. Fortunately, she had brought with her 12 trunks of costumes and scenery sets from her touring days in the USA. Some of these costumes are preserved in the Museum’s collection. Just before she died in 1975, Kellerman donated a large number of costumes, props and accessories to the Sydney Opera House’s Dennis Wolanski Library and Archives of the Performing Arts. These were transferred to MAAS in the late 1990s and form the basis of the exhibition, along with photos and segments from her films. A costume from the 1952 film based on Kellerman’s life, Million Dollar Mermaid starring Esther Williams as Annette, will also be on display. A highlight of the exhibition is a visual installation developed by the multimedia artist collective 66b/cell. Here, visitors can experience the beauty and artistry of Kellerman’s underwater performances in an immersive, sensory space. Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 13 August 2016. 29



Gravity makes waves DR LEE-ANNE HALL — DIRECTOR, PENRITH REGIONAL GALLERY & THE LEWERS BEQUEST THE MUSEUM OF Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest (PRG&TLB) have developed a new exhibition and public program Gravity (and Wonder) as part of an agreement to increase access to cultural services for Western Sydney and regional audiences. This partnership was inspired by the view that regional audiences deserve better access to the collections of our state and national institutions. MAAS also seeks to provide increased access to the collection, to work in new ways with partner organisations, and to develop new audiences in Western Sydney. To achieve these goals, MAAS and PRG&TLB agreed to work together to showcase an element of the Museum’s extraordinary scientific collection in relation to contemporary art. Within months, Gravity (and Wonder) as an exhibition concept was identified by Katie Dyer, Curator Contemporary of MAAS, and Dr Lee-Anne Hall, Director PRG&TLB. Gravity will be examined as a principle force of the universe — holding all things in place and in relationship to each other — and also for its wondrous nature, following philosopher René Descartes’ reading of wonder as one of the seven passions of the soul, experienced as awe. The project breadth and innovative cross-organisational engagement was recognised in late 2015, when Gravity (and Wonder) received the inaugural William Dobell Exhibition Grant for its development and presentation. This award and the support of the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation and Sydney Science Park have allowed us to be ambitious in our programming, and to reach out to new audiences. Organised thematically, Gravity (and Wonder) considers:

• Mass + Attraction • Motion + Acceleration • Time + Space • Measurement + Understanding This is an opportunity to bring together the interests of diverse audiences. Here, we wish to recognise and promote the inherent creativity of scientists and artists. On exhibition in the Penrith Regional Gallery will be artworks, ephemera, historical drawings and photographs, and technical instruments that illustrate gravity and its effects. Over 40 items from the MAAS collection will be on show, including a mid-19th century French orrery, a Russian satellite, 30

Photographic print of solar eclipse, paper/silver gelatin. Photo by Dr Adams, Western Australia, 1922, MAAS collection.


Lawrence Hargrave drawings from the 1890s, photographs from the 1922 Wallal expedition and pop culture space toys. These items will be shown alongside and in context with the work of 13 Australian and international contemporary artists including Marley Dawson, Mabel Juli, Rusty Peters, Hiraki Sawa, Richard Serra, David Stephenson and Amy Joy Watson — all who employ gravity as physical force, concept and inspiration. A highlight of the exhibition is the commissioning of two new works from Sandra Selig, and David Haines and Joyce Hinterding. Gravity (and Wonder) is enlivened by an exciting education and public program that stretches across three venues in Western Sydney: Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith Observatory at Western Sydney University. An active schools program will target primary and secondary students. Curator-led floor talks, open studio/lab access to resident artists and scientists and a program of citizen science activities will take place over the spring period. Our associate partner, Western Sydney University, through its Penrith Observatory staff — Director, Professor Miroslav Filipovic and astronomer in charge, Dr Ain De Horta — are actively supporting the delivery of key public program elements. These include:

Floating sequence, Amy Joy Watson, 2012.

• House of Wonder — emerging artists and scientists in residence for six weeks. Three emerging artists will be paired with three scientists to create artworks that extend and illuminate the research of each scientist in relation to gravity. Lewers House Gallery will become studio spaces for active art creation and intellectual engagement with visiting scientists. The resulting artworks will be exhibited onsite for six weeks at the conclusion of the residency. • Star Gazing at Penrith Observatory on 8 October and the Gallery Garden on 22 October 2016. • Gravity Geeks symposium on 5 November 2016 brings together researchers, educators, students and the general public. It will present the work of artists collaborating with scientists to illuminate scientific concepts and related research concerning gravity. The symposium considers questions such as the artist and scientist as creative researchers — how might they interact and collaborate? Do artists provide scientists with new insights? Is joint research possible? An inflatable planetarium will be available free to the public on the day of the symposium. Gravity (and Wonder) lands 3 September 2016. 31



Wearing William Street

(Top) David Mist at the launch of his book Made in Australia, Sydney, Australia, 1969; (right) Kathy Hackett wearing the William Street at night dress designed by Sally Smith.





IN 1969, YOUNG British photographer David Mist captured Sydney’s William Street at night, after rain, for his publication Sydney: a book of photographs. The book was part of a series called Cities of the World with text in English, French and German. Thirty thousand copies of Sydney were sold. David remembers the shoots clearly:

I worked on it for over a year and I photographed buildings, events like surf carnivals and launches all over Sydney. The publisher wanted a representational book, with photographs of landmarks and historical buildings but I preferred a more atmospheric look so I also did shots of people doing things like playing chess. I went to a great deal of trouble to get a black and white shot of fog over the Harbour Bridge with a fisherman in silhouette. It was used on one version of the cover. By the time David took the William Street photograph he was well established in Sydney. He arrived in Australia from England in 1961. In London he trained at Baron Studios in Mayfair and Studio Five where he worked with Norman Eales and as an assistant to Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson and John French. He later worked for Ambassador Magazine with Priscilla Conran, established David Mist & Partners and undertook editorial assignments for Vanity Fair. David met many Australians in London, among them photographers Laurence Le Guay and John Nisbett. He joined the studio of Le Guay and Nisbett at Castlereagh Street in 1961. In 1963 the studio was renamed Studio Ten with David as a Co-Director. It became one of Sydney’s leading commercial and fashion photography studios through to the 1980s. David’s clients included QANTAS, Pierre Cardin, Sekers Silks, Flair Magazine, David Jones, Grace Brothers, Westfield and Richards. He photographed many of Australia’s top models such as Nerida Piggin, Lynn Sutherland and Maggi Eckardt.

Following the publication of Sydney was Made in Australia, a book that celebrated high achieving Australian women. David gifted the Studio Ten archive to the Museum in 1992 and his own archive in 1996. The David Mist Archive Collection, overseen by MAAS Curator Anne-Marie Van de Ven, comprises personal, exhibition, commercial and fashion photography, spanning the period from 1957–95. It is a rich resource of fashion and documentary images of Sydney as well as overseas locations including Europe, the USA, Asia and Mexico. Photographs from the David Mist Archive Collection were displayed in Swinging Sydney, an exhibition of David’s work at the Museum of Sydney produced in partnership with MAAS in 2008 and in MAAS exhibitions such as Mod to Memphis, Gambling in Australia and Modern Times. Many images were posted on the Powerhouse Museum Photo of the Day blog (2008–2014). William Street at night (1969) was selected in 2014 as a large print for display in the MAAS Director’s office. A test strip made by Jean-François Lanzarone became the catalyst for a new project when I noticed that the intense colours of the reflections on the wet road were ideal for printing on silk. David liked the idea so I took it to Sydney fashion designer Sally Smith who, after discussions with Mark Small, Director Commercial at MAAS, created a simple silk shift dress and top incorporating David’s photograph. Sally was also inspired by the colours of the William Street at night photograph: ‘The neon lights, vibrant in the falling rain, worked back the petrol silk and hand paint splicing of the shift.’ A photograph on 35mm transparency film reborn as wearable art is a good example of a fusion of applied arts and sciences and reminds us of the value of archives as a source of inspiration. The William Street at night shift dress and top, designed by Sally Smith and featuring a photograph from the David Mist Archive Collection, are now on sale in the MAAS Store ($149.95 and $129.95, respectively). 33



Chips Mackinolty: In Conversation Artist and graphic designer Chips Mackinolty recently dropped in to MAAS to participate in a video conference interview as part of Designing Regions.

A REGIONAL PROGRAM strategy, Designing Regions aims to provide innovative opportunities to diverse regional audiences. It facilitates engagement in and knowledge of design practices, leading to the growth of regional expertise. Partnering with Western, North Coast and Hunter TAFEs, the Designing Regions video conference series gives creative industry students in regional areas access to contemporary design/art practitioners and industry experts through an interview and conversation format. The Thinkspace studio where the programs are broadcast is worldclass, but the only hardware required in the regional venue is a microphone, webcam and internet connection. Guest graphic artist Chips Mackinolty was interviewed by curator Anne-Marie Van De Ven and regional program producer Deborah Vaughan in the Thinkspace studio. They were joined by an enthusiastic group of 70 regional graphic design and visual art students from Dubbo, Kingscliff, Lismore, Newcastle and Orange TAFEs. Chips was a key figure in the political poster movement of the 1970s and an early member of the Earthworks Poster Collective. Earthworks operated out of the Sydney University Art Workshop, commonly known as Tin Sheds. He was known for producing posters that combined vibrant designs with acerbic wit and pithy political comments. During the interview Chips talked about his creative practice, covering political art activism, working as an art centre co-ordinator in the Northern Territory and creating iconic poster imagery for Indigenous health organisations, plus producing a body of digital work in Sicily focusing on biodiversity. Students were surprised to hear him describe the labour-intensive pre-digital techniques that were employed in the creation of silk-screen posters. Recently Chips generously donated a substantial archive of Earthworks posters to the Museum. His work is held in other major collecting institutions around Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.





Artist Chips Mackinolty and MAAS staff Anne-Marie Van De Ven and Deborah Vaughan talk about his work via video conference with 70 students from regional TAFEs.

Poster, Land Rights Dance, colour screenprint, paper/ ink, designed by Chips Mackinolty, printed at Earthworks Poster Collective, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1977.




Sydney Observatory – past and future MARNIE OGG — SYDNEY OBSERVATORY MANAGER



PLANS FOR THE reinvigoration of the

Sydney Observatory’s 160th birthday have begun, with some surprising artefacts being discovered along the way. Meandering along the gravel path through the grounds of Sydney Observatory past the main building, Signal Station and Messenger’s Cottage, and arriving at the iconic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you would be forgiven for not noticing the grapevine that adorns one of the walls in the forecourt. The exact history of the grapevine is not known. When it was planted or by whom remains sketchy, but for Dr Harley Wood, Director of Sydney Observatory from 1943 to 1974, the vine was a symbol of the many trips he took with Bart Bok through New South Wales vineyards in 1958 in search of a new national telescope site. In 2018, that site — The Obs, as it’s affectionately known — turns 160 years old. To help celebrate the occasion, a series of works will commence in winter 2016. Starting outdoors, the garden will be spruced, paths will be re-laid and the charm of the environs re-established with a variety of landscapes. Several garden beds, originating from and adhering to their 1880 design, will capture the essence of their 160-year-old history. Native plants and indigenous grasses will sit adjacent to English garden beds and spaces created for artists and enquiring minds alike. Scientific roots run deep on Observatory Hill and to reinforce this link, the Bureau of Meteorology has kindly donated some of the Observatory’s original meteorological instruments. A Stevenson Screen (a white thermometer shed) will be returned to the front lawn, and the north–south meridian line that established Sydney’s longitude and latitude will become a key feature.

(Left) The view from Sydney Observatory, taken in the late 1800s; (below) The Wood family bottling wine at The Obs, about 1972.

Meanwhile, some indoor objects will be retired and others brought out to air, but all will benefit from a general cosmetic overhaul with a new coat of paint, carpet, LED lighting, clear signage and general wayfinding upgrades. Harley Wood’s children have spoken fondly of their experiences growing up in the grounds of the Sydney Observatory. Looking across Sydney Harbour by day and gazing to the stars by night is a lifestyle not many can comprehend. Rejuvenating this jewel in the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ crown is something we’re sure Harley Wood would raise a toast to, with a glass of his vintage best. 37



Textiles from Merrepen Arts ANNE-MARIE VAN DE VEN — CURATOR INDIGENOUS TEXTILE PRODUCTION is re-emerging as an exciting contemporary art form, and six striking new designs have recently been added to the Museum’s contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (ATSI) arts and design collection. All were produced by artists working at the Merrepen Arts Centre located at Nauiyu Nambiyu, a small Aboriginal community of around 450 residents situated approximately three hours south-west of Darwin. Four leading Merrepen artists are represented in this new acquisition: Marita Sambono, Gracie Kumbi, Ann Carmel Mulvien and Kieren Karritpul. The name Merrepen refers to the Livistonia palm tree (commonly known as the cabbage-tree palm) that grows on the banks of the river. It was chosen in recognition of the founding women and the natural material they used to weave fish traps, mats, dillybags and baskets — a practice that continues today. Around 20 artists work at the Merrepen Arts Centre. In refining their techniques, these artists have become renowned for sophisticated designs that speak of personal histories, skilled ecological observation and an intimate understanding of the natural environment. Designs are usually screen-printed onto a base cloth of linen or 100% cotton drill, but sometimes also on to silk. Inspiration for Marita Sambono’s work comes from the power and beauty of elemental occurrences in nature. In the case of Fog Dreaming (2013) it is the soft ethereal fog that, from time to time, converges on the wetlands. When crafted into a dress by Raw Cloth of Darwin, this design won the Myer Fashions on the Field award at the Melbourne Cup in 2013. Fog Dreaming and Gracie Kumbi’s Merrepen are iconic works as they relate closely to the wetland environment surrounding the centre.



Kumbi has a distinctive style, creating patterns to complement her painting, which makes her work eminently suitable for the production of textile repeats. She has converted the Merrepen leaves into a heraldic motif that reflects not only the environment in which she lives and draws inspiration, but also the origins of the centre. In her work there is a sense that designs existed in nature, long before the community and the centre were established. Yam by Kumbi (2014) and Lotus Leaf (also called Lotus Pod) by Ann Carmel Mulvien (2012) work in the same way — celebrating the traditional plant-based foods that continue to be collected and coveted at Nauiyu Nambiyu today. Lotus plants are found in abundance in the many billabongs in the area. Award-winning emerging young Top End artist Kieren Karritpul is another of the Merrepen artists represented. His work pays homage to his mothers, grandmothers and aunties: the strong women who have surrounded him throughout his life, imparting their traditional knowledge. In 2014 Karritpul won the inaugural Youth Award at the prestigious 31st Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for his textile work Yerrgi. This work depicts bundles of prepared and dyed yerrgi, or pandanus, ready for weaving. The other acquired design by Karritpul, Fish Net (2013), pays tribute to traditional woven yerrgi fish-nets. Together, these six works reflect outstanding contemporary Indigenous art and design practice, complementing the Museum’s existing woven, screen-printed and batik ATSI textile collection.

Textile length, Merrepen, screenprint on linen, designed and made by Gracie Kumbi, Merrepen Arts Centre, Nauiyu on the Daly River, Northern Territory, Australia, 2013.

Three of the textiles are currently on display in the large showcase outside the theatres on Level 2 of the Powerhouse Museum. 39



Museums Discovery Centre THE MUSEUMS DISCOVERY Centre at Castle Hill will reopen to the public in September 2016 and will give visitors the opportunity to go behind the scenes of three unique museums. Installation of large and small objects from the MAAS collection, the Australian Museum and Sydney Living Museums is under way.



The Ice Bird yacht, designed by Dick Taylor, 1962, and sailed by Dr David Lewis to Antarctica 1972–74, being craned into position. Restored by MAAS volunteers, this will be the first time it has been on public display.

MAAS Registration and Conservation staff Alex Lucas and Rebecca Ellis preparing to install a collection of Wedgwood ceramics from the MAAS collection.


Carey Ward eases the Museum's 1911 steam locomotive into position. Made by Manning Wardle and Co Ltd, Leeds, England.

(Left) The Australian Museum's impressive 8.5m-high, 2.3 tonne totem pole was made in 1988 during the Brisbane World Expo by traditional artist Richard Hunt. It is being installed by Carey Ward from MAAS and Colin Macgregor from the Australian Museum.




Wedding fashion




Glass negative, imperial plate, ‘Wedding Portrait’, unattributed studio, Sydney, Australia, 1892–93. One of 795 un-attributed photographs that are part of a collection of negatives once owned by Sydney bookseller James Tyrrell.

THIS EXHIBITION EXPLORES nearly 200 years of Australian wedding fashions and traditions in the context of changing social, economic and political conditions and shifting attitudes to marriage. Ranging from Australia’s oldest surviving wedding dress, worn by Ann Marsden in 1822, to spectacular contemporary designs and outfits reflecting our culturally diverse communities, it will showcase over 70 outfits, photos and wedding ephemera.

The exhibition will open at the Powerhouse Museum in May 2017. 43




1. Merrepen textile display and visiting artists from Merrepen, Babbarra and Injalak Art Centres with Jo Holder, Marie Falcinella, Tim Growcott and MAAS staff, April 2016. 2. (From left) Katia Molino, Kathy Cogill and Nicola Heywood in Nigel Kellaway’s ‘Glorias’ Performance Project, November 2015.


3. Justin Shoulder at MAASive Lates: Fashion, May 2016.


4. Angelica Cheung (Vogue China editor) at the MAAS Centre for Fashion Symposium breakfast, February 2016. 5. Bambi Northwood-Blyth (model) and Dan Single (designer) at the Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life launch, May 2016. 6. Legs on the Wall performance at MAASive Lates: Super Heroes, March 2016. 7. Betty Grumble at MASSive Lates: Fashion, May 2016. 8. Aunty Euphemia Bostock at the Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life launch, May 2016. 9. Pat O'Shane AM at the Mabo Day Address, June 2016. 10. Akira Isogawa, (fashion designer), with MAAS curators Min-Jung Kim and Glynis Jones at the MAAS Centre for Fashion Symposium breakfast, February 2016. 11. The Honourable Daphne Guinness.





















Tell us about your role as a Senior Curator. I hope to promote an understanding and appreciation of design and architecture through communication methods and display techniques outside of the conventional framework, enlisting platforms that encourage interaction and accommodate the changing needs of our visitors. I am also looking forward to working collaboratively on the Sydney Design festival, which is hosted by the Powerhouse Museum every September. What are your career highlights? In 2012 I worked on Damien Hirst’s retrospective at the Tate Modern. One of the artworks was a room full of butterflies at various stages of life. I was able to spend some time alone in the exhibit before it opened to the public. That was a pretty extraordinary, almost spiritual experience.


What excites you about working at MAAS? Working with the extensive MAAS collection and being in a position to share the collection in a way that is relevant to today’s museum audiences. The move to Parramatta also gives us an opportunity to look closely at how museums can best communicate with their visitors. It’s an incredibly exciting time, as curators are now working within a much broader definition of design. I am looking forward to exploring these ideas further within the Museum, and initiating collaborative work outside of the Museum. What is your favourite object in the Museum? There are so many extraordinary examples of Australian ingenuity and creative problem solving in the MAAS collection. For example, the baby safety capsule and the black box flight recorder — both Australian inventions. My favourite object, though, is the Olivetti Valentine portable typewriter designed by Perry King and Ettore Sottsass in 1969. It’s currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum as part of our Interface exhibition. Do you have a favourite structure in Sydney? I am fortunate to work at the Powerhouse Museum, overlooking the recently constructed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, designed by architect Frank Gehry. It’s a great example of how an exceptional work of architecture and design can enrich the community.



How did you become a curator? I originally studied Furniture Technology at RMIT, so my curatorial career really only began after I moved to London and started working for the artist Damien Hirst. That role spiked my interest in curating and I went on to study a Master’s degree in Curating Contemporary Design at the Design Museum in London. After I graduated, I worked as an independent design curator, which allowed me to foster close relationships with designers and makers.



‘Baron’ Schmiedel


COURT JESTERS WERE part of most European courts in 18th century Europe and ‘Baron’ Schmiedel was one of the wittiest jesters in the court of Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Saxon Elector, and his successor Augustus III. Ordered by Augustus III in 1739 and finely modelled by J J Kändler in costly Meissen porcelain, this satirical bust commemorates the king, his favourite jester and the royal manufactory of true porcelain in Meissen. Details of the bust include three mice and the king’s coronation medallion. We do not know how this rare and precious sculpture came to Australia. When the Museum acquired it in 1957, its provenance had been lost. Only two other examples are known to exist: one remains in Dresden and one is in the Detroit Institute of Arts (USA). The ‘Baron’ can be seen in Recollect: Ceramics followed by Out of Hand.

Portrait bust, ‘Baron’ Schmiedel, porcelain, modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler, Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory, Meissen, Germany, 1739.


The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences gratefully acknowledges the support of Media partners

Strategic partners

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MathWorks Australia and those who wish to remain anonymous

The Museum thanks the following recent donors for their generous contribution: Leader ($5000–$9999) Robert Cameron AO Lisa Chung Dr Gene Sherman AM R C Swieca and J M Robinson Custodian ($1000–$4999) Bambi Blumberg William Chapman Deeta Colvin Jon Comino Dixie Coulton James Emmett Rose Hiscock Diana Houstone Juliet Lockhart James Longley Samantha Meers Leanne Menegazzo Julie Ann Morrison

Elizabeth Pakchung ResMed Ltd Penelope Seidler Louise Taggart and Peter Homel Vera Vargassoff Investor ($500–$999) Ross McNair Joanne Ritchie Supporter ($2–$499) ADFAS Pokolbin Belinda Allen Dr Stephen Barratt Andrew Booth Briar Road Public School Brigitte Braun Anthony Buckley AM David Calmyre Judith Campbell

MAAS Magazine is produced by the Production team of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Editor: Vanessa Pellatt Design: Filip Bartkowiak Photography: MAAS unless otherwise stated. Every effort has been made to locate owners of copyright for the images in this publication. Any inquiries should be directed to the Rights and Permissions Officer, Powerhouse Museum. ISSN 1030-5750 © Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences ISSUE 118 WINTER 2016

Suzanne Chee John Clancy Sandra Cord Capt. Murray Doyle AAM Kym Ellery Steven Franks Dr John Gambrill Sian Graham Ron Hume John Jones Ruth Kerr Kris Levesen Nikita Majajas Margaret Mashford Leann Meiers Patricia M Michell David Mist Diana Morgan George Mott Geoffrey Murphy Kevin Parker

Victor Phillips Simon Poole Robin Prowse John Roberts Barry and Barbara Rubens Sabina Rubens Drs Adam and Orysia Sandry Emine Sermet Victor Solomons Margaret Stevenson Elizabeth Stratford Ann Sutherland Peter Underwood Ruleen Vaughan Jeffery Walker James White Lu Zhao and all those who have asked to remain anonymous

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences incorporates: Powerhouse Museum 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney Telephone (02) 9217 0111 Education (02) 9217 0222 maas.museum/powerhouse-museum Sydney Observatory 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point Telephone (02) 9921 3485 maas.museum/sydney-observatory Museums Discovery Centre 172 Showground Road, Castle Hill Telephone (02) 9762 1300 Closed for redevelopment maas.museum/discovery-centre

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences is an executive agency of the NSW Government. For more information on sponsorship opportunities and giving please call (02) 9217 0393

Sydney attracts one of the world’s most spectacular line-ups of musical productions, high adrenalin sports, exciting cultural experiences and artistic collaborations.

SYDNEY SINGS 28 July – 7 August Australia’s International Festival of the Voice. Various locations across Sydney

DISNEY’S ALADDIN – THE MUSICAL From August See the Australian Premiere of Disney’s Aladdin, Broadway’s new musical comedy. Discover a whole new world, in a whole new way. Capitol Theatre, Sydney

MY FAIR LADY From 30 August Don’t miss this 60th Anniversary production directed by Julie Andrews. Sydney Opera House

BLACKMORES SYDNEY RUNNING FESTIVAL 18 September Four exciting events to cater for all ages and fitness levels. Milsons Point



From September

28 – 29 October and 3 – 5 November

Starring David Campbell, Dream Lover reveals the extraordinary story of legendary singer, songwriter and actor Bobby Darin. Sydney Lyric Theatre

Seated facing those magnificent sails, watch the epic tale of Sydney’s famous building come to life. Sydney Opera House Forecourt

If it’s on in Sydney, it’s on sydney.com Please note that events are subject to change or cancellation (check relevant website for further details prior to the event). Destination NSW acknowledges and appreciates all photographic images supplied by each event owner for use in this advertisement. Photo credit: Disney’s Aladdin, Arabian Nights Men by Deen van Meer.


Profile for Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

MAAS Magazine – Winter 2016  

Parramatta Update Reimagining our icons Isabella Blow: A fashionable life Materialising the digital Festival season

MAAS Magazine – Winter 2016  

Parramatta Update Reimagining our icons Isabella Blow: A fashionable life Materialising the digital Festival season