RA's 'long overdue' Australia show is 'wonderfully fresh'
Royal Academy's major survey of Australian art is 'powerfully atmospheric' and informative
What you need to know
A major exhibition of Australian art opens tomorrow at the Royal Academy, London. Australia, the first survey show of its kind in the UK for over 50 years, presents artworks from 1800 to the present.
The exhibition is a chronological journey from early colonial times to contemporary Australia with a focus on depictions of the landscape, including traditional and modern Indigenous art. Highlights include works by Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Emily Kngwarreye. Until 8 December.
What the critics like
"This is not just a long overdue show but a powerfully atmospheric evocation of a country seen from myriad facets," says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. The focus on landscape may seem stereotypical to Australians, but to a new British audience it feels wonderfully fresh.
It's like like a grand and informative documentary series, says Alastair Sooke in the Daily Telegraph. It is detailed, comprehensive, omniscient and, in places, beautiful.
The exhibition has a fine collection of Aboriginal art describing the sacred forces of the landscape and the creation stories or 'Dreamings', says Sue Hubbard at ArtsDesk. "Visual art has been strong in Australia for more than 40,000 years and Aboriginal art still remains the most potent art form on the continent."
What they don't like
"The RA's new show is strong on Aboriginal art and full of classics – but it loses its way in modern times," says Adrian Searle in The Guardian. In attempting to give a broad sweep of a country, it becomes tokenistic, where it would have been much better to show more works by fewer artists, or have more of a thematic focus. ·