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Listen to the 'Art, life and the other thing' Podcast

Brett Whiteley

Brett Whiteley in his studios 1970, photo: Robert Walker, National Art Archive, AGNSW © Estate of Robert Walker

In this six-part series, hosted by Fenella Kernebone, guests explore the art of Brett Whiteley, his influence and legacy.

Art, life and the other thing is the controversial self-portrait that won artist Brett Whiteley the Archibald Prize in 1978. In this six-part series, acclaimed arts presenter Fenella Kernebone explores identity, addiction, legacy, feminism, place and the creative process, using seminal works from Whiteley’s oeuvre as conversational springboards with contemporary Australian artists, curators and academics.

To view the artworks mentioned in the titles go to agnsw.art/bwspodcast.

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Episode 1

The title of this first episode refers to an unfinished painting found in Brett Whiteley’s studio after his death. The monumental work now hangs in the artist’s preserved studio in Surry Hills, Sydney. Fenella Kernebone discusses the artist and his studio with curators Anne Ryan and Barry Pearce; Wendy Whiteley; artists Louise Zhang, Deborah Kelly and David Eastwood.

Episode 2

The artwork that lends its name to the title of this episode, and this podcast series, is the infamous and brutally honest self-portrait that won Brett Whiteley the Archibald Prize in 1978. Fenella Kernebone discusses the work with curator Anne Ryan; Wendy Whiteley; artists Mitch Cairns, David Griggs and Natasha Walsh. 

Episode 3

This lesser-known artwork says a lot about Brett Whiteley and his inner struggles. Fenella Kernebone talks about artists and addiction with curator Anne Ryan; Wendy Whiteley; artists David Griggs and Natasha Walsh; and musician Steve Kilbey, lead singer of iconic Australian band The Church. 

Episode 4

This episode looks at Brett Whiteley’s iconic landscape painting 'The balcony 2' 1975, it’s a work the artist painted at his home in Lavender Bay overlooking Sydney Harbour. Fenella Kernebone discusses this most recognisable of Whiteley’s works and the genre of landscape painting with curator Anne Ryan; Wendy Whiteley; artists Nicole Kelly, Blak Douglas and Abdul Abdullah. 

Episode 5

Brett Whiteley was inspired, like many artists, by the female form. How do we critique these artworks through a contemporary lens and their place in a long history of the female form being relegated to an object for the male gaze? Fenella Kernebone discusses these ideas with curator Anne Ryan; Wendy Whiteley; and artists Mitch Cairns and Deborah Kelly. 

Episode 6

This final episode talks about one of Brett Whiteley’s greatest works and one of his most significant in scale and ambition. What inspired the painting’s narrative of birth to enlightenment? What is the significance and legacy of the artist Brett Whiteley? Fenella Kernebone talks with curator Anne Ryan and Barry Pearce; Wendy Whiteley; artist Abdul Abdullah; and Whiteley's biographer Ashleigh Wilson.