A self-taught artist, Richard Bell works in a wide range of media, including painting, performance, and video. He freely borrows styles and motifs from other artists, periods, and cultures. Visual references invoking the dot matrixes and expressionist drips of Aboriginal desert paintings, the Pop art styles of Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein, and the paint drips of Jackson Pollock are juxtaposed with text to create powerful political and social commentary. Politicized at an early age, the artist merged his activism into artmaking in the late '80s, first making "tourist" art and then art about, as he describes it, "the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Aboriginal people." Bell still sees himself as "more an activist than an artist."
This is the first traveling exhibition in the United States dedicated to the multi-layered work of Aboriginal artist and activist Richard Bell, one of Australia's leading and most controversial artists.
The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and supported by the Queensland Government, Australia, through Trade and Investment Queensland's, Queensland's Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QIAMEA). Additional support has come from the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts and the Embassy of Australia, Washington D.C.
Guest Curator: Maura Reilly is Professor of Art Theory at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Queensland Australia, and formerly Senior Curator of Exhibitions at the AFA
A fully illustrated catalogue is published in soft and hardcover by the AFA in association with D Giles Limited, London.
Listen to our guided tour stops here:
STOP 1:Introduction to Richard Bell: Uz vs. Them, Amy Ingrid Schlegel
STOP 2:The Peckin' Order, Andrea Rosen, M.A. candidate in Art History, 2012
STOP 3:Parallel Indigenous Experiences, Dr. Joan A. Lester, lecturer, Native American Studies
STOP 5:Psalm Singing: The End of Racism?, Andrea Rosen
Richard Bell, The Peckin' Order, 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 in., Private collection, Brisbane.
Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts
Richard Bell, Prospectus.22, 1992�2009, Acrylic, digital photographs, and barbed wire on canvas; 3 panels 96 � 180 in. overall, The James C. Sourris Collection, Brisbane, Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts
PUBLIC OPENING RECEPTION
Thursday Sept. 15, 5:30 - 8:00 pm
6:00 pm: Welcome from the Wampanoag Homelands
6:15 p.m. Conversation between featured artist Richard Bell and Mick Dodson, visiting chair of Australian Studies, Harvard University, law professor at the Australian National University, and director of the Australian National Centre for Indigenous Studies
BROWN BAG LUNCH WITH THE ARTIST
Friday, Sept. 16, 12:15pm