Australian Pavilion Program

Australian Performance Art Then And Now

Performa Hub
47 Walker St.
New York, NY 10013


Terry Smith, art historian, Art & Language member, and author of the seminal essay “The Provincialism Problem”, presents a selection of Australian performance videos from the 1970s, followed by an in-depth discussion with artists and curators from the Australian ‘Pavilion Without Walls’.  

Film Screening: 
From the Archive: 1970’s Australian Performance Videos. Featuring artists Peter Kennedy, Mike Parr, Bonita Ely, John Hughes, and Andrew Scollo.

Screening details: 
Peter Kennedy, Video Tapes, 1971 (19:13 mins approx.)
Peter Kennedy and Mike Parr, Idea Demonstrations, 1972 (19:05 mins) 
Bonita Ely, UO2 Jabiluka, 1979, (13:23 mins)
John Hughes, Andrew Scollo with Peter Kennedy, November 11, 1979 (18 mins), November 11 Red 1980-81 (19:43 mins) / November 11 Blue 1980-81 (16:18 mins) 

Panel discussion: Australian Performance Art Then And Now
Art historian Terry Smith along with curators and artists from the ‘Australian Pavilion Without Walls’ discuss the historical and contemporary contexts of Australian performance art. 

Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2010 he was named Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate (Government of Australia), and won the Mather Award for art criticism conferred by the College Art Association (USA). During 2001-2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, in 2007-8 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham, and in 2014 Clark Fellow at the Clark Institute, Williamstown. From 1994-2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. In the 1970s he was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney). He is the author of a number of books, notably Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago Press, 1993; inaugural Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Book Prize 2009); Transformations in Australian Art, volume 1, The Nineteenth Century: Landscape, Colony and Nation, volume 2, The Twentieth Century: Modernism and Aboriginality (Craftsman House, Sydney, 2002); The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006), What is Contemporary Art? (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King and Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2011), Thinking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2012), Sodobna Umetnost in Sodobnos: Zbirka Esjeci [Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity: Collected Essays] (Ljubljana: SDLK, Slovensko drustvo likovnih kritikov [Slovenian Society of Critical Aesthetics], 2013; Serbian translation, Orion Publishers, Belgrade), and Talking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2015). He is editor of many others including In Visible Touch: Modernism and Masculinity (Power Publications and the University of Chicago Press, 1997), First People, Second Chance: The Humanities and Aboriginal Australia (Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1999), Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era (Power Publications and the University of Chicago Press, 2001), with Paul Patton, Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction Engaged: The Sydney Seminars (Power Publications, 2001, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2005), Contemporary Art + Philanthropy (University of NSW Press, 2007), and Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, postmodernity and contemporaneity (with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor, Duke University Press, 2008). A foundation Board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, for a decade he was a Board member of the Warhol Museum, and is currently a Board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. See

Image credit: Peter Kennedy, But the Fierce Blackman detail, 1972; courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Peter Kennedy, Idea Demonstrations still, 1972; courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery.


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