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Heath Franco, LIFE IS SEXY, 2016–17, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes 12 seconds. From The National: New Australian Art.

The National: New Australian Art

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia/Art Gallery of New South Wales/Carriageworks

Heath Franco, LIFE IS SEXY, 2016–17, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes 12 seconds. From The National: New Australian Art.

It’s been nearly twenty years since Sydney hosted a substantial survey exhibition of contemporary Australian art. The National: New Australian Art offers welcome relief from this inexplicable drought, with three key institutions joining forces to showcase new work by forty-eight emerging, midcareer, and established artists, with further editions planned for 2019 and 2021. 

Although no overall theme prevails, commissioned catalogue essays by Sunil Badami, Daniel Browning, and Helen Hughes characterized ideas of nation and Australianness as contested and always under construction. Blair French’s curatorial essay echoes his selections for the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). Pushing against the valorization of instantaneity in contemporary culture, French accents how artists work at processes or ideas over long periods of time. A standout example is an installation by Rose

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