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Gordon Bennett

(Australia 1955 – 03 Jun 2014)

Notes to Basquiat (in the future art will not be boring)
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint on linen

182.5 x 182.5 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. verso on canvas, pencil "G Bennett 31-8-1999/ …".
Patrick White Bequest 2014
Accession number
© Estate of Gordon Bennett
Not on display
Further information

Gordon Bennett's paintings in the late 1980s and early 90s were informed by theories about appropriation - the borrowing of images from other artists and visual sources - and by post-colonial theories about identity and history. Appropriation allowed Bennett to refer to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal art, and situate his painting in a fluid area between these two overlapping forms of contemporary art.

This painting emanates from the 'Notes to Basquait' series of paintings, where the artist takes appropriation to a new level within his practice. Bennett not only borrows images from the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, but also begins to mimic Basquiat's spontaneous and gestural urban style of painting, reflecting his involvement in the graffiti culture of the United States. This citation of Basquait's work acts for Bennett as a mode of communication with the American artist who died in 1988. This conversation is manifest quite literally when Bennett drafts a letter to the - then already deceased - Basquiat, outlining his reasons for emulating his style. Underlying this dialogue with Basquiat Bennett's need to re-contextualise the issues that he has explored throughout his artistic career, confronting them within a global context.

Bibliography (3)

Paul Matharan and Arnaud Morvan, Mémoires vives: une histoire de l'art aborigine, Bordeaux, 2013, 220, 221 (colour illus.).

Ewen McDonald (Editor), Biennale of Sydney 2000, Sydney, 2000, 39 (colour illus.), 210.

Georges Petitjean, Kitty Zijlmans and Ian McLean, Outsider/insider: the art of Gordon Bennett, Ghent, 2012, 50 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

Notes to Basquiat: one tense moment, Bellas Milani Gallery, Fortitude Valley, Jun 1999–Unknown

Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 26 May 2000–30 Jul 2000

Outsider/ insider: the art of Gordon Bennett, AAMU, Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art, Utrecht, 21 Jun 2012–09 Dec 2012

Mémoires vives: une histoire de l'art aborigine, Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, 16 Oct 2013–30 Mar 2014