Mike Brown’s dense collage of nude women in sexually suggestive poses was sourced from magazines, comics, newspapers and other media of the day, and reflects prevailing attitudes to women in Australian culture of the late 1960s.
Brown wanted his art to be made from everyday life and its materials. His choice of images for this collage acknowledged the existence of private sexual fantasy, the porn industry and sexually exploitative advertising. It also revealed his antagonism towards the elitism and conventions of ‘high’ art. Today it is more difficult to appreciate the relative shock value of this work at the time it was made, when the broader Australian society was deeply conservative. For those who welcomed the more socially progressive 1960s, however, it represented a liberating celebration of sexual freedom (coupled with a blindness, from today’s perspective, to its sexism).
collage of magazine, newspapre and comics cuttings, synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
121.5 x 121.5 cm board; 124.0 x 124.2 x 8.8 cm frame
Not on display
© Mike Brown Estate
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Patrick White's choice, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Dec 1981–31 Jan 1982
Seeing is believing - the art in photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1985–19 Jan 1986
Surface paradise, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 May 1989–27 Aug 2016
Mike Brown: Power to the People, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, 07 Apr 1995–15 May 1995
Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Sep 2016–13 Nov 2016
Referenced in 6 publications
Deborah Edwards, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mosaic and figure', pg. 213-214, Sydney, 2000, 232 (colour illus.), 300.
Richard Haese, Permanent revolution: Mike Brown and the Australian avant-garde 1953-1997, 'Change and dissent: anti-modernism and post-object art (1969-74)', pg. 156-185, Melbourne, 2011, 170 (colour illus.), 290.
Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'Patrick White's choice', pg. 114-119, Carlton, 2002, 115.
Terence Maloon, Look, 'Dreams of Utopia', pg. 9, Heidelberg, May 1989, 9 (colour illus.).
Ursula Prunster, Seeing is believing: the art in photography, '50s 60s & Pop', Sydney, 1985. cat.no. 6; not paginated
Patrick White, Patrick White's Choice, Sydney, Dec 1981. cat.no. 15