Donald Brook

Dr Donald Brook is Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at Flinders University. He is the Founder, in 1975, of the Experimental Art Foundation.


On seeing the pattern
Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at Flinders University and Founder of the Experimental Art Foundation, Donald Brook takes on the March 2012 issue of Artlink titled 'Pattern and Complexity' and guest edited by well-known curator Margot Osborne.
Memoir Series: Elnathan Mews

A further instalment in the memoirs of Australia's most revered art theorist Donald Brook. Yes, he is still alive.

1. Muffled sounds 2. The ear trumpet of the artworld has been struck by lightning
Emeritus Flinders University Professor and philosopher Donald Brook writes about his 'new theory' and why it has never been taken up. He wonders: 'Could it be that he is wrong?'
The Underground
Freedom of expression and the mode of detachment
Art theorist, philosopher and Emeritus Professor at Flinders University Donald Brook advocates 'detached contemplation' as the most desirable, appropriate and potentially rewarding response to art.
Changing Climates in Arts Publishing
The realities of power
This is the third chapter of an unpublished autobiography by art theorist and national treasure Donald Brook. Previous chapters were published in 2005 in Artlink Vol 25#3 and in 2006 in Vol 26#4. In The Realities of Power Brook recapitulates what happened in terms of teaching and policy at the Power Institute, University of Sydney, in the late sixties when he first arrived in Australia from the UK. His long and detailed account explores why, in his opinion, the early Power Institute had so little impact on Australian visual culture. The rest of Brooks autobiography waits in the wings.
Art Mind Beauty
The Work of Art

Art theorist and Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts, Flinders University, Donald Brook examines the art world and its strange ways. Art, he says, is not craft nor the consequence of any exercise of skill at all but the artworld is infallible in identifying art.

Art and literature: A chapter in the autobiography of Donald Brook
Growing up in a diffe,ent wo,ld: this chapte, in octogenarian art theorist and philosopher, Donald Brook's autobiographical writings sheds light on the early adulthood of this super-gifted individual. It follows an earlier chapter on his childhood and adolescence. Depravity in Wharfedale published in Artlinlc Vol 25#3 (2005). 
Elders: The Old Magic
Noel Sheridan
Noel Sheridan 1936 - 2006
Currents II
Polemic: Why did they Cancel Sensation?
Brook discusses what he believes to be the two main problems with the cancellation of the Sensation exhibition at the National Gallery - to locate the issue and to restore some gravity, so that instead of the noise increasing with distance from the issue, it diminishes. The key figure discussed is the Director of the NGA, Dr Kennedy with the notion of Quality dominating the content of the article.
The Long Stare: Seeing Contemporary Asian art Now
Polemic: GO BACK You Are Going the Wrong Way

Brook breaks this argument down into sub categories: The rationale of the art history museum, The cabinet of curiosities, Evolution, Cultural evolution, Art as the source of memetic variation and The cultural museum.

Sculpture and Cities
Polemic: Two Myths about Blue Poles
By now - fifty years after the painting was made and thirty years after if was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia - there are two well-established myths about Jackson Pollack's Blue Poles. Brook here outlines and discusses these, but draws particular attention to the myth that the celebrated museum exhibit called Blue Poles is intrinsically, and not merely by fleeting reputation, a great work of art.
Art and Childhood
Polemic: The Undoing of Art History (Part I)

In this part 1, the viability of the subject called Art History is challenged, using the terms art and work of art in a conventional way. The nature of histories as they are ascribed to kinds, especially art as a kindcultural kinds, the problems associated with generalisations and the dilemma for the Macho art historianare ideas addressed through this text.

Best Practice: Export Quality
Polemic: The Undoing of Art History (Part II)

In Part I (Artlink, December 2001) the subject called Art History was challenged, using the terms art and work of art in a conventional way. Here in Part II it is argued that some of the woes of art theory can be alleviated by understanding these terms in a different way. Brook discusses the role of cultural memes in creating different kinds of historiesand the doctrine of creativity. He here concludes that it is perfectly understandable that, as metaphysical explorers, we may address works of art with little or no respect for the author's intentions. In the end, he states, it depends upon the regularities of the real world.

The Improved Body
Beyond Adelaide
Brook looks at the role of geographic location throughout the ages of art theory and practice. The metaphor of adverse location prompted some baroque theorising about the metropolis as contrast-partner to the provinces...with the onset of neo-conservatism and the supervenience of economically rational accounts of virtue and of value the idea that art is peculiarly sensitive to location because it is more cultural than clothing and footwear came under challenge... Addressed in a context that concerns the locality of Adelaide, and beyond.
Adelaide and Beyond

Founded as recently as 1888 the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Wharfedale was by reputation the biggest madhouse in Western Europe, and Brooks small village lay huddled beside it. Brook tells the story of living in sin, celebacy and the wall that proposed a division between madness and sanity.

A Fact, A Question
Sculpture is not like painting because it is not flat and does not raise the question of mimesis in the same way. A theory of sculpture must therefore be, somewhere at its deep foundations, different from a theory of painting. Not just a bit different: a lot different.
Dimensions: Sculpture in Australia
Art and Design Education For 2 years now, being busy about other things, I have not thought much about art education; and this abstinence seems not to have been injurious to anybody. But the thing nags. It ought to be possible to say something so manifestly enlightened and reasonable about art education that every rational person will agree and productive action will follow as the night follows the day.
Art & Education
Here We Go Again
Life in Cyrus with all its charms and challenges.
Museums on the Edge
The Horror of the Prose: Some Reflection on a Paper entitled The Horror of the Gaze
Some reflections on a paper entitled the Horror of the Gaze. Art criticism is, perhaps, an art form and not expected primarily to make sense. There is no consensus about what art is, but we do seem to share an urge to understand what critics say about it.
Art & the Feminist Project
The Artist and the Industry
Close examination of the artist in the arts industry. The demystification project, the mysterious nature of art, the mystification of the artist, the mystery of moral arts and some consequences for the artist are examined with logical persuasion and a sharp sense of humour.
The Face
Counting Digits: Electronic Art will not go away
A witty and wise approach to issues confronting electronic arts by celebrated art theorist and philosopher. He starts by speculating on a contemporary analysis of the first stonecarvings that were not useful directly as tools, but indirectly as symbolic substitutes or stand-ins for some other thing....
Art in the Electronic Landscape
"The belief system that makes the artworld so unlike - let us say - the builder's hardware world is distinguished primarily by the doctrines that there are no truths and that nothing is real.... To put the point with moderation: artists would not be inconvenienced in the least by a general theory of representation that brought the trustworthiness of their critic somewhere within powerful cooee of the trustworthiness of their radiologist. And Theory owes it to them."
Art & Medicine
Urinating to Windward
Artists asserting a commitment against ignorance have recently called for the resignation of the Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. There seems to be no particular matter of fact about which Dr Potts stands accused: his ignorance relates somehow to an issue of principle that was flouted (as his critics assert) when he prematurely closed the exhibition in which Andres Serrano's photograph, Piss Christ, provoked some complaint, some minor violence and (as we are told) unspecified threats.
Art & the Spirit
Expanse: Aboriginalities, Spatialities and the Politics of Ecstasy
University of SA Art Museum 4 September - 3 October 1998 Curated by Ian North
The Big Pond: Australian Artists Overseas
Polemic: Object and Text

"So the question raised for art theory is this....Is a physical autographic sculpture - a Brancusi woodcarving for example - only an 'instantiation'(albeit rather a privileged one) of some imperceptible, intentional object that is the 'real' sculpture? Are sculptures more literally than metaphorically - 'poetry in stone'? Are they in a word 'texts' whose proper reading (as we are told) had best be undertaken in French?"

Mining the Archive
Deschooling Art
Education is the second most depressing non-subject in the entire catalogue of non-subjects, beginning with the Aardvark as Social Construct and ending with The Flagant Signifier in Finno-Ugric Zyrian,
The Future of Art
Cementa Unley Museum NAVA Stockroom Kyneton Bendigo Art Gallery