Professor Chris McAuliffe
Professor of Art (Pratice-led research)
School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra
Dr Chris McAuliffe is a Professor of Art at ANU and a freelance curator, critic and art consultant. Dr McAuliffe took a BA Hons and an MA at the University of Melbourne and a PhD at Harvard University (1997) with a dissertation on contemporary American art. Chris taught art history and theory at the University of Melbourne (1988-2000), including conducting three ASA tours of the New York art scene. In 2011-12, he was the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University where he staged ‘Tinnitus’, a symposium on art and rock’n’roll.
Chris has published widely on both historical and contemporary art with a focus on Australia and the USA. His research focuses on the relationship of art with everyday life and popular culture, including sport, rock music and suburbia. His books include Art and suburbia (1996), Linda Marrinon: let her try (2007) and Jon Cattapan: possible histories (2008). He has also published in academic journals and exhibition catalogues on American pop art, Abstract Expressionism, earthworks art and minimalist sculpture. He has been a regular commentator on ABC radio and on ABC TV’s ‘Sunday Arts’.
Chris has extensive experience in the art museum sector, ranging from community-based contemporary art spaces through to the Council of the National Gallery of Victoria. From 2000-2013 he was Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne. Among the exhibitions he has curated are ‘After the age of Aquarius: American art in the 1970s’, ‘Game on!: art and sport’, and ‘The Shilo project’, an exhibition on Neil Diamond. In 2013, he was curatorial consultant for the major exhibition, ‘America: painting a nation’ at the Art Gallery of NSW, which featured works from museums in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston and Chicago. In 2006, Chris initiated the Basil Sellers Art Prize; a biannual award for contemporary art on the theme of sport, one of the richest in Australia.
Chris has travelled extensively in the USA, having visited 26 of the 50 states (and counting!). He first moved to Boston in 1986 and has lived there and in New York for a total of five years. He has undertaken field research in the Southwest (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico), exploring earthworks sculptures, and is an aficionado of the regional cuisines of the USA.
Chris McAuliffe’s research interests include 19th and 20th century art (Australia and America) with a focus on earthworks (Robert Smithson), abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock), art and sport, art and rock music. He is currently a partner in the ARC-funded research project ‘Fringe to Famous’, which examines the crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ Australian cultural production since the 1980s.
- 2016: We who love: The Nolan slates, University of Queensland Art Museum and Heide Museum of Modern Art
- 2013: Curatorial consultant. America: Painting a nation, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
- 2010: Curator. The Shilo project, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. Touring Ararat, Wangaratta, Warnambool, S H Ervin galleries.
- 2006: Curator. Game on! Sport and contemporary art, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games cultural festival, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne
- 2006: Curator. Jon Cattapan: The drowned world, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne
- 1996: Curator. Eyes on the Ball: Images of Australian Rules Football, Waverley City Gallery. Touring Swan Hill Art Gallery, National Museum of Australia, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Campbelltown Art Gallery, Geelong Art Gallery through 1997.
Books (editor, joint author)
- See here now: The Vizard Foundation art collection of the 1990s, Thames and Hudson, Melbourne, 2003
- Treasures: Highlights of the cultural collections of the University of Melbourne, ed. with Peter Yule, Melbourne University Publishing, Carlton, 2003
- The beasts of suburbia: Reinterpreting cultures of the suburbs, ed. with Sarah Ferber, Chris Healy, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1994
Chapters in books (selected)
- ‘A brand new world of allatonceness: American pop art’, chapter in exhibition catalogue, Wayne Tunnicliffe (ed), Pop to popism, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2014, pp. 60–65.
- ‘Clearing the ground for broad humanity: painting American space’, America: Painting a nation, Art Gallery of NSW, 2013, pp. 31–38.
- ‘You do shit; it’s done, and then you die’, in Mark Hilton, dontworry, Michael Buxton collection, Melbourne, 2013, pp. 13–17.
- ‘Why a record review in an art magazine?: Paul Taylor and new wave’, in H Hughes & N Croggan (eds) Impresario: Paul Taylor and Art & Text, Surpllus, Melbourne, 2013, pp. 22–33.
- ‘On the decrepit margins of time: Robert Smithson’s science fiction tactics’ in H Hughes and A Barikin (eds.), Making worlds: Art and science fiction, Surpluss, Melbourne, 2013, pp. 93–110.
- ‘Kurt and transgression’ in Institute of Modern Art, Bricks are heavy: Scott Redford, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2006, pp. 10–12.
- ‘John Brack: the forgotten people’, in Rex Butler (ed.), Radical revisionism: An anthology of writings on Australian art, IMA, Brisbane, 2006, pp. 233–239.
- ‘Guerillas, Poseurs and Nomads: The Politics of the Avant–garde in Popular Music’, in Xavier Pons (ed.), Departures: How Australia reinvents itself, Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, 2002, pp. 192–201.
- ‘Sight/Non–sight: Robert Smithson and Photography’ in Stuart Koop (ed.), Value added goods: Essays on contemporary photography, art & ideas, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2002.
- ‘Jean Baudrillard’, in Kevin Murray (ed.), The Judgment of Paris, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1992, pp. 97–112.
- ‘Loving the alien: Danius Kesminas and Punkasila’, Art and Australia, vol 52, no 1, December 2015.
- ‘Fear of a drip planet: Jackson Pollock’s memic legacy’, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Art, vol 14, no 1, 2014, pp 102–106.
- ‘Trying to live now: chronotopic figures in Jenny Watson’s A Painted Page series, Contemporaneity, University of Pittsburgh, no 3, 2014.
- ‘The game of nationhood: art, football and Australian federation’, Journal of Australian Studies, vol 37, no 4, 2013, pp. 520–534.
- ‘A correct and delicate mind: Linda Marrinon recent sculpture’, Art and Australia, vol 51, no 2, November 2013, pp 242–249.
- ‘Living the dream: the contemporary Australian artist abroad’, Meanjin, Spring 2012, pp 56–63.
- ‘Fair game: art versus sport in “the lucky country”’, Art and Australia, vol 47, no 4, June 2010, pp 582–585.
- ‘Selling secret lives: subcultures and cultural vitality’, Overland, no 174, 2004, pp 103–105.
- ‘Peter Kennedy: And so . . .’, Architectural Review Australia, Summer 2003, pp 20, 22–23.
- ‘Keep on rockin’ in the art world’, Like , no 15, 2001, pp 30–33.
- ‘Going underground: an interview with Clinton Walker’, Meanjin, vol 59, no 2, June 200, pp 153–166.
- ‘Snuff Art: Brett Whiteley’s Christie Series’, Meanjin, 4, 1999, pp. 166–177.
- ‘L’Amour fou’ [The artist as fan], World Art, no 19, 1998, pp 54–57.
- ‘Affairs of art’ [Patti Smith], World Art, no19, 1998, pp 58–59.
- ‘Let’s talk about art: Art and punk in Melbourne’, Art and Australia, vol 34, no 4, 1997, pp 502–12.
- ‘This sporting life’, World Art, no 4, 1996, pp 56–63.
- ‘The Illuminarti: Mike Stevenson’, World Art, no 2, 1996, pp 22–27.
- ‘Stephen Bush: producing the goods’, Art & Text, no 53, February 1996, pp 54–57.
- ‘Eyes on the ball: Images of Australian Rules Football’, Art and Australia, vol 32, no 4, Winter 1995, pp 90–101.
- ‘The pleasure principle: Rosslynd Piggott’, World Art, no 1, 1995, pp 84–87.
- ‘Pull up a chair: Carolyn Eskdale’, World Art, no 2, September, 1994, pp 48–51.
- ‘Rip it up: Joan Letcher’, World Art, null issue, November 1993, pp 52–57.
- ‘Redecorating: Stieg Persson’, Art & Text, no 45, May 1993, pp 15–18.
- ‘The blank generation?: Monochrome painting in the 1980s and beyond’, Art & Text, no 44, February 1993, pp 40–45.
- ‘Postmodern parody: Linda Marrinon’, Art and Australia, vol 29, no 2, Autumn 1992, pp. 346–51.
- ‘It’s okay, I’m an artist’, Binocular, no 1, 1991, pp 33–46.
- ‘Hearsay and heresy—An interview with Greil Marcus’, Tension, no 22, 1990, pp 17–21.
- ‘Transmitting AIDS: AIDS in Australian television drama’, Tension, no 16, May 1989, pp 34–39.
Exhibition catalogues (selected)
- Jenny Watson: here, there and everywhere, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville, 2012.
- Lisa Roet, Australian Print Workshop, Fitzroy, 2011.
- ‘Footloose fillies and pretentious penguins: ‘Victory girls’, modern evil and the politics of the Melbourne art world’, in Heide Museum of Modern Art, Albert Tucker: images of modern evil, Bulleen, 2011, pp 26–33.
- The Shilo project, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2009.
- ‘A pilgrimage to nowhere in particular: John Brack’s suburban motifs of the 1950s’ in John Brack, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2009, pp 145–150.
- ‘Disturbing the edges of what we call art: Tim Johnson and punk’, in Tim Johnson: Painting ideas, Art Gallery of NSW, 2009, pp 20–27.
- Dale Hickey, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2008.
- After the age of Aquarius: American art in the early 1970s, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2007.
- Game on! Sport and contemporary art, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2006.
- Jon Cattapan: the drowned world, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2006.
- ‘Louise Paramor’, Nellie Castan Gallery, South Yarra, 2006.
- ‘Mark Hilton’, RMIT Project Space, 2005.
- ‘Gareth Sansom’, John Buckley Fine Art, Prahran, 2002.
- ‘The Flag is Dead, Long Live the Flag’, in MCA, Sydney, The Mambo Flags, Sydney, 2001, pp 4–22.
- ‘Mike Stevenson’, in Museum Fridricianum, Kassel, Toi Toi Toi: Three Generations of Art from New Zealand, Kassel, 1999, pp 168–170.
- ‘Introduction’ in Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, The Vizard Foundation Art Collection of the 1990s, Parkville, 1997, pp 5–9.
- ‘Popular Culture, Lived Experience and the Marginal Voice’ in Cheryl Daye (ed.), Drawing on Experience: Reflections on Popular Culture, Arts Project Australia, Northcote, 1996, pp 19–22.
- ‘Cruisin’’, in Museum of Modern Art, Heide, Downtown, Bulleen, 1995, pp 23–31.
- ‘Different Strokes’ in Inside out/Outside in: Artists from Arts Project Australia, Arts Project Australia, Northcote, 1992, pp 14–18.
- Dale Hickey, Powell Street Gallery, South Yarra, 1991, n.p
Chris first joined ASA in 1996 as a lecturer for the biennial credit course run in association with the University of Melbourne (1996-2000) which explored the New York art scene. Most recently he has led:
- Art & Architecture in the USA: Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and ‘Fallingwater’ (2016-2019)
- Art and Architecture in California: Palm Springs, Los Angeles, The Big Sur and San Francisco (2018)
- Paris: The Great World City (2016)