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Australian art

Contemporary art

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The beautiful one is here



Mike Brown


08 May 1938 - 09 Apr 1997


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).




Media categories

Painting , Collage

Materials used

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


Purchased 1975


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Mike Brown

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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. 6; not paginated

Patrick White, Patrick White's Choice, Sydney, Dec 1981. 15