Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

Contemporary art

View More:


Title detail A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/ someone looks at something....LOGOS/ HA HA Medium A Person Looks At A Work of Art/someone looks at something... CULTURALCONSUMPTION PRODUCTION Date - 1983 - Artist Peter Tyndall



Peter Tyndall


12 Feb 1951 -


Peter Tyndall defied nationalist schools of painting and Greenbergian formalism when he emerged on the Melbourne art scene during the early to mid 1970s. His continuing practice, which draws upon dada, conceptualism, minimalism and pop, is defined by a post-modern endeavour to dismantle and reconfigure pre-established notions of the aura of art work, the role of the viewer, and the cult of the artist.

This 1983 work characteristically employs Tyndall's device of the suspended yet redundant hanging rods, signifying and ultimately critiquing painting as a high modernist ideal. The central panel depicts, in black and white graphic fashion, an image of a 1950s nuclear family (the artist's model for the museum-going public) haplessly inspecting a dynamic, angular logo. Upon closer inspection this design, clearly indecipherable to the depicted viewers and indeed us at first, reveals itself as a monogram of the artist's trademark expression 'HA HA HA HA HA'.

In staging a joke upon which its punch line literally rests upon the disparity between viewer and logo (both the family's and our initial incomprehension, ironically underscored by the hanging light bulb-the universal sign for a 'bright idea'), Tyndall deconstructs the critical enterprise of looking, interpreting and appreciating art.




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas, wood, powder-coated metal rod and cardboard


dimensions variable :

a - painting, 185.5 x 246.5 x 4.2 cm

b - label, 10.9 x 17.1 cm

c - rod, 92.5 cm

d - rod, 92.5 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2013


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Peter Tyndall

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


John Barbour, Art & Text (No.14), '"I lead it astray"', pg. 51-68, South Yarra, 1984, 57 (illus.). installation shot at Art Projects, Melbourne 1983 (work displayed without label)

Natalie Wilson and Anneke Jaspers, Foundation Newsletter #22, 'Curators' and coordinators' reports: Australian art', pg. 6-7, Sydney, Jun 2013, 6.