Thanks to Helen Vivian’s detective work, I was fascinated to read how the London-based Frieze had reviewed Utopia: the genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, the Emily Kame Kngwarreye exhibition at the (then) new National Art Centre Tokyo, while on tour in Japan from the new National Art Museum in Osaka, in June 2008.

Contrary to the self-adulatory press this exhibition received in Australia, in this review Edan Corkhill makes no mention of its institutional origins (The National Museum of Australia) or its local curator, Margo Neale. According to this reviewer, it’s all down to its Japanese curator, Akira Tatehata, as is his impossible modernist rubric. As is to be expected, cross-cultural projection is the primary means by which the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye is to be understood in such circumstances. Once in the mainstream of contemporary art, the problem is just how is Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s (or her contemporaries, for that matter) achievement to be judged?


Artist: emily kame kngwarreye

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