Screen by Steven Kalmar, Sydney, c1955. Coffee table by Douglas Snelling and made by Functional Products Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1955. Settee, ‘RS161’ designed by Grant Featherston, Melbourne, c1951.
If you’re a fan of mid-century modern furniture, the Powerhouse Museum’s current display is a must-see. 7 Australian Designers profiles a number of Australia’s celebrated modernists and includes iconic furniture by Grant Featherston, Gordon Andrews, Douglas Snelling, Clement Meadmore and Steven Kalmar.
Norman Hetherington and Mr Squiggle
Norman Hetherington was a creator of wonder, but also, what may not be as well known, he was a creator of edifying realism. Having served in the Second World War, Hetherington got a taste of and developed a talent for performance art, being part of an entertainment unit. After the war he began making marionettes and puppets, and joined the Clovelly Puppet Theatre. He attended the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s television training school just prior to the introduction of television to Australia, so Hetherington had the opportunity to create a children’s puppet show which aired in 1956. Two years later he developed another show, Mr Squiggle, which ran for four decades.
Model, Aquatic Centre for the Asian Games, Bangkok, Philip Cox/Cox Architects, 1995. Powerhouse Museum collection.
The architect Philip Cox recently told us what we already knew: Star casino in Pyrmont is by far his worst building. Needless to say a Star flack was immediately reassuring the media that almost none of Cox’s 1997 design had survived the casino’s recent renovations. Whether the casino genre is a likely inspiration for good architecture need not concern us here – for his part Cox declared casinos a toxic genre and wished he’d never designed one.
Advertisement for an “18-30 Super-Drive” tractor made by Ronaldson Bros & Tippett Pty Ltd, The Austral Engineering Works, Ballarat, Vic, Australia, c.1925.
Before my recent role as a volunteer, any semblance of interest towards farm machinery and equipment came from when I was as a small child, diligently preparing the family vegie garden by raking the soil with all the exuberance that a young child could muster. Continue reading
Photo by Max Dupain 1966, Powerhouse Museum collection. Courtesy Max Dupain & Associates.
We’ve just installed a small exhibition to mark the fortieth anniversary of Sydney Opera House on 20 October. The anniversary, by the way, is of the official 1973 opening by the Queen, not the first public performance there on the 28 September 1973, an interesting choice of dates.
Powerhouse Museum Collection, object H3204a. Gift of Navy Office, Department of Defence, 1924.
To mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, I’ve chosen to feature this naval phone, one of several that were crucial to the operation of the navy’s first flagship, HMAS Australia. I have a particular interest in that ship because my grandfather served on it for much of the First World War. The ‘loud-speaking’ hands-free voice-activated phone was used to communicate between the bridge and engine room. It was made by Alfred Graham and Co in London, the company that also supplied phones to the Royal Navy and the Titanic. The speaker’s voice caused a metal diaphragm to vibrate, which moved a wire coil within a magnetic field. This generated sufficient current to power the phone.
Curator, Glynis Jones, in the Museum’s Pop-UP stall in Lakemba
On Saturday 24th August, the Powerhouse Museum ‘popped-up’ with a small object display and promotional stall at the Haldon Street Festival in Lakemba. Attended by more than 20,000 people, predominantly from the local Canterbury Council area, the festival was a fantastic opportunity for the Museum to bring some of its collection to the people – in particular, objects which not only help to promote a major upcoming exhibition opening at the Museum in 2014, but which have a special relevance and connection to some of the audiences we’re visiting. Continue reading
Disposed Mobile telephones
‘The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall’. Che Guevara
Computing devices are now so ensconced in our lives that the notion of being deprived of one of these devices is seen as a removal of liberty. The loss or theft of a personal computing device is now much more of a dispossession than simply that of property: an annex of an individuals’ personality is seen to be lost.
Marseille: Museum of European and Mediterranean civilisations (left) and Villa Mediterranean. Photo by Charles Pickett, 2013.
I’ve been holidaying in Europe recently; mainly Italy and Greece, but we also managed a day in Marseille.
France’s oldest and second-largest city is European City of Culture for 2013 so there is even more to see than usual. Focusing on Marseille as a cultural address is partly an attempt to stop the city being bracketed with the likes of Naples and Chicago: capitals of crime, corruption, poverty and drug gangs. There’s reality behind the negative image but it also reflects the long-standing rivalry between Paris and Marseille and resulting urban caricatures.
Pub painting, photo by Jim Brown 1968-1972.
Jim Brown was a former US serviceman who lived in Sydney from 1968 to 1972. Like a lot of people back then he was struck by the oil-on-glass pub advertising paintings which adorned most of Sydney’s pubs. During the first half of the twentieth century a lot of advertising graphics and signs were the work of artists like those at the Rousel Studio. A painterly touch was common.