Kevin Murray – Curator and Writer

What we make of our world

Bodies aren’t forever

I shouldn’t be writing this essay. The body as a theme in contemporary jewellery is essentially a feminist issue. All the artists and the curator of this exhibition are women. The patriarchal position of the writer is one that seeks to explain the work, rending its unnerving and rogue elements in rational form. In a […]

Festival of Street Jewellery

A number of contemporary jewellers in Australia and New Zealand are exploring the street as a site of creative expression. While the field has been based on the gallery as a space of artistic endeavour, the street is a more natural abode of jewellery. At the same time, the field of social practice is emerging […]

What to make of 2014

One of the major events of 2014 will be the Golden Jubilee of the World Crafts Council, which will be held in Dongyan, China, 18-22 October. It will be very interesting to see how the Chinese presidency of WCC uses this unique occasion to promote local craftsmanship. One day ‘Made in China’ may be something […]

Happy New Day

Last month I took a walking tour through the old city of Bangalore. Up to that point, Bangalore had seemed a difficult city. Little of the wealth generated by its fabled IT industry seemed to have flowed through to public amenities. And its traditional identity as the ‘garden city’ appeared lost amidst chaotic traffic and […]

A new broom: sweeping changes to folk art in Asia

Sometimes, it’s worth stating the obvious in order not to be so. We’ve come to accept that art is a profession. To become a recognised artist, most need to follow an institutional path. According to art world specialist Peter Hill, ‘the usual route is to attend a university school of art, and there are approximately […]

Alice Springs Beanie Festival

Article for The Age about the Beanie Festival   While the end of the 20th century was marked by the destruction of the Berlin Wall, we are now witnessing the construction of a barrier more than three times its length, along Israel’s West Bank. The optimism of the velvet revolutions has reverted back to the […]

Every object makes a story: The McGuffin Contract

As the Dutch say, ‘You cannot shoe a running horse’. There are times when one must put a stop to things for a while and see what’s happening under the bonnet. They’ve been significant changes in the world since a time when craft was the defining cultural activity. Our Victorian forebears helped re-position craft in […]

“Perhaps New Holland be” the ceramics of Stephen Bowers

I was once in a Zulu village on the day of a solar eclipse. Feeling self-conscious of my skin colour, I asked my host what they called a white person. He smiled and pronounced a mysterious word, ‘Umlungu’, explaining that it meant ‘magician’. With something like admiration he then described the fantastic devices Europeans brought […]

The party’s over, time to do the dishes: Thinking through relational art and craft

In his book Thinking Through Craft (2007), the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Glenn Adamson argues that craft in the twentieth century functioned as a repository for all that visual arts defined itself against, such as amateurism, skill and pastoralism. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we can now see craft beginning to come out […]

Call me Balanda

For reasons that will be clear later, I’d like to start tonight’s lecture by acknowledging the people who lived on this land before John Batman declared it a village—the Woiwurring and people of the Kulin nations. Tonight, I want to talk with you about the role of art in reflecting where we live, with particular […]

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