Lectures & Events

An Afternoon Exploring the ‘Meaning In’ and the ‘Intimacy of’ Art with Professor Bernard Hoffert

22 Nov 2014
  • Melbourne

Australians Studying Abroad Event

All lectures are fully illustrated.
For all lectures, places are limited and people wishing to attend are advised to book well in advance.


Bernard-Hoffert An afternoon with Emeritus Professor Bernard Hoffert

Bernard Hoffert is Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture at Monash University. He was formerly Associate Dean in the Faculty of Art and Design, with responsibility for the Faculty’s Higher Degree by Research program and the Faculty’s International and External profile. He headed five departments while at Monash including the art school. He was the World President of the International Association of Art-UNESCO (1992-95) and remains an Honorary President; he has been Honorary President of the Asia-Pacific Regional Council of the International Association of Art- UNESCO and has continued involvement with UNESCO through the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA). He has been a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network, Columbia University since 2006 and a member of their Research Committee. He was Vice President of the Academic Board of Monash University (2008-2010). He has been a member of the Review Boards of the Art Education Research Journal, Melbourne University (2004-12), the Art Education Australia Research Journal (2004-12), and a member of the Monash Asia Institute Publication Board (MUP) from 2001-11. He has been a member of the Executive Committees of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) and Art Education Australia (AEA), and coordinated AEA’s research development. He has also contributed to standing committees of Art Education Victoria and the National Association of the Visual Arts.


Lecture 1 | 1.00 – 2.00pm

Experience and Meaning in Art

This provocative statement argues that the appreciation of art, design, architecture, visual culture in general, relies on intellectual but also emotional insights to the content of the work. Knowledge about the work elucidates its meaning, but it is an expressive appreciation which enables any creative work to offer a full aesthetic experience. This dimension of the arts is often eclipsed by details on the time, place, style, authorship and cultural context of a work, with small attention payed to the experience it offers. In most cases it is the experience which is the rationale for the work’s existence and the contextual detail is the explanation of how it came about. To stand in a gothic cathedral and understand it in terms of its religious symbolism, period of construction, style, etc adds to the overall understanding of the building, but it is the experience of the chiasmic spaces, the echo of heaven in its vaults and the privacy within its forest of columns which defines its religiosity. This lecture uses examples of painting, sculpture, architecture and jewellery to demonstrate the importance of entering into the emotional evocation great art offers.


Lecture 2 | 2.10 – 3.10pm

Entering the Intimacy of Art

The essence of great art is in the intimacy it offers; not just the sensual or erotic intimacy of popular terminology, although this is certainly an aspect of appreciation, but the emotional depth of any close and meaningful emotional encounter. Intimacy stirs the heart and fires the imagination; we love and we hate, we are exalted and we are afraid, we find despair and we come to know ecstasy, all within the realm of this intimacy. Using examples of art, architecture and the decorative arts, this lecture argues that art is no different; it is the outcome of the same qualities of intimacy we experience in other aspects of our lives, which an artist has transposed into visual form-given an embodiment to those depths of personal experience which make us human. It is these which are at the core of what any great work offers and it is the reason that important art straddles time, transcending its origins and authorship.

As with the the Vatican Pieta by Michelangelo, despite its religious meaning, this image captures a moment of unimaginable tragedy, when the body of an executed child is placed in his mother’s arms, and yet Michelangelo has transformed it into one of the most sublime sculptures of the High Renaissance. Harmonised by geometry, purified in milky white stone and exalted in the tenderness of its gestures, the Pieta transcends tragedy, transforming this most terrible of emotions into a celebration of tranquil compassion.


Refreshments | 3.20 – 4.10pm

Join ASA for light refreshments

Bookings Essential

RESERVATIONS: Please book online, or contact ASA on: (03) 9822 6899, Freecall 1800 645755 (outside Melbourne Metro)

VENUE: Theatre, Lauriston Girls’ School, 38 Huntingtower Road, Armadale.

Cancellation Conditions
Prior to 08 November 2014              50% cancellation fee per person
08 November 2014 onwards            100% cancellation fee per person (ie payment is non refundable)
We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation. In the event that ASA cancels this event, due to unforeseen circumstances, your payment will be fully refundable.

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