Tasmanian Art Gallery

November 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, HISTORY, TRAVEL |

November 2019 If you’re still reeling from the inanities of MONA, why not check out Hobart’s more staid collection, on Davey Street (but enter on the landward side), a stone’s throw from the docks? The Gallery combines artistic works with natural history pieces of local significance: For instance the famous Thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger, due to the stripes along its coat. Although last seen alive in 1933, we like to think the wily animal exists and flourishes somewhere in the wild western half of the island (there have been some unverified sightings in recent years)….

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The Wall Comes Down

November 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS |

Wall Up 13 August 1961: East German police and troops occupied the dividing line between that Soviet satellite and West Berlin, to stop the hemorrhaging of its citizens to the West of that city. Four days later, they started building the Berlin Wall. President Kennedy put US forces on alert and took diplomatic steps, but copped criticism for what was tagged a weak response. Possibly 200 people were killed trying to get over the Wall from the East to the West; probably many more of the tens and tens of thousands making the attempt over the years were dealt with…

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Sir Vidia on El Dorado

August 15, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Non-Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

V.S. Naipaul (17 August 1932 – 11 August 2018) was fairly down on colonialisation, perhaps because he correctly divined its attendant psychology.  Here he is on Columbus, Robinson Crusoe and the quest for El Dorado: “The facts about Columbus have always been known. In his own writings and in all his actions his egoism is like an exposed deformity; he condemns himself. But the heroic gloss, which is not even his own, has come down through the centuries…In this adventure, as in today’s adventures in space, the romance is something we ourselves have to apply…But the black legend of Spain…

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It’s a Date

July 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE |

History and the Everlasting Present History is infinite, Culture diffuse. To aid our sense of perspective, however, to use the past to process the everlasting present, we have to start somewhere; a sketch, in linear fashion, with what we think are key (often approximate) dates, including taking ‘B.C.’ (sorry, we still prefer ‘BC’ and ‘AD’) as modern year zero, rather than 4 years before. Needless to say, this is a work in progress. Too long ago to tell – Fire. The first cave art. Harvest of wheat and grains. The Wheel.     7000 years ago Egypt develops its line of…

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Fake or Fortune: Artists’ Techniques

June 30, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |

A talk by Andrew Durham, The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide, 20 June 2019 In a wide-ranging and rather disordered lecture, Art Conservator Andrew Durham (from Artlab) covered topics as diverse as art forgery, preservation, techniques and use of materials, as well as the problems posed to conservation and preservation by the anarchic and chaotic predilections of artists. Durham moved at speed from one vignette to another, but the Big Theme was the overarching and critical need for care: in use of materials, in execution, and in knowing when to down tools. In the Good Old Days, of course, the first 2…

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