Venus in Tullamarine: Art, Sex, Politics and Norman Lindsay
Norman Lindsay (1879–1969) was a prolific, popular, and controversial Australian artist. He is best known for his children’s book The Magic Pudding (1918) and his skilled prints, which mostly draw on Greek and Roman mythology and nineteenth century literature and philosophy. The Australian cultural consciousness is indelibly marked by Lindsay’s output, his prominence in the Sydney bohemian intellectual scene and by The Magic Pudding, which marks the imagination of generation after generation of children growing up in Australia. This consciousness is shaped too by the paradoxical conjunctions of Lindsay’s life: artistic bohemianism and fascist tendencies, avant-gardism and a fervour for the rule of law, libertinism and conservatism, worship and denigration.
This collection of essays examines Lindsay’s current position in Australian art history. The authors‘ opinions are erudite, varied and often incendiary; few figures are as divisive as Lindsay.
Film critic Adrian Martin writes alongside Ian McLean, the Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History at the University of Melbourne, art historian Cameron Hurst, and literary critic Jeremy George. Art historian Soo-Min Shim responds to a video work by artist James Nguyen.
“For good or for ill, Norman Lindsay contained multitudes. The fascinating essays in Venus in Tullamarine provide a much-needed new engagement with Lindsay’s contradictory legacy as an artist, writer, and thinker.” — Jeff Sparrow, University of Melbourne
“Everything I never knew I always wanted to know about Norman Lindsay is contained in this exemplarily researched, impeccably written, and lavishly illustrated volume, which traces the maligned artist’s relationship with Australian nationalism, sexual politics, and racism. The essays—which have been written by a cross-generational selection of Australia’s finest art and literary historians, artists, and critics—are timely, frequently surprising, and full of the wit, humour, and sass we’ve come to love and expect from the book’s editors.” — Helen Hughes, Monash University