John Kean

John Kean is Producer of the Australian Society Program at Museum Victoria in Melbourne and previously held senior positions at Tandanya and Fremantle Arts Cnetre where he curated many significant exhibitions of indigenous art


The Stranger Artist: Life at the edge of Kimberley painting
Quentin Sprague
Hardie Grant, Melbourne, 2020

29 Jun 2020
Big wave: Desert Country
Legendary curator John Kean looks at three recent large exhibitions of Aboriginal art - Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, Desert Country and Living Water, and questions whether the same spirit sings in all of them.
Indigenous: Indignation
Blandowski's Illustrated Encyclopaedia

Freelance curator, honorary associate of Museum Victoria and Blandowski-ite from way back John Kean analyses this prickly Prussian polymath's Illustrated Encyclopedia on Australia at last brought together and to light by the efforts of New Zealander Harry Allen. The book includes contributions by Mark Dugagrist, Brook Andrew, Luise Hercus and Thomas A. Darragh.

Indigenous: Beauty & Terror
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri
Art Gallery of South Australia 31 October 2003 - 26 January 2004 Curated by Vivien Johnson
Adelaide and Beyond
Political Theatre in Beyond the Pale
The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Artin 2000 was a survey of new indigenous art titled Beyond the Pale. This attempt to show the best of new work was staged as a series of rooms each with a different mood from baskets and shimmering paintings to rooms of confrontation where works invited viewers to be shocked by figures of authority seen in very unflattering mode.
Reconciliation: Indigenous art for the 21st Century
Milpatjunanyi: Recent Pitjantjatjara Women's Painting
The Pitjantjatjara share a common heritage with Anangu (Aboriginal people) throughout the vast Western desert. They use the same rich vocabulary of visual symbols that has now become well known through the work of the Papunya Tula artists.
Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art
Now Who is Being Naive?
Naive is a tag used to describe the style of a particular artist and by inference the content of their work. In this examination of 4 contemporary artists working in what can be characterised as a naive style. the author illustrates that they are being anything but naive in the analysis of events, issues and stereotypes.
Naive & Outsider Art
Bush Women: Narrative Paintings from Outback Western Australia
Article written with Karen Dayman Works being produced by senior indigenous women artists around Western Australia use figurative elements as well as symbols to doucment their own histories during a period of unprecedented social and environmental upheaval.
Art & the Feminist Project
Kumantji and the Contemporary Curator
Across much of Aboriginal Australia the announcement of a death is followed by profound communal mourning, the removal or destruction of the deceased's belongings and most significantly a prohibition on the use of the deceased's name.
Art & Death: Facing Mortality
East to West: Land in Papunya Tula Painting
Painting movement at Papunya 1971-75 one of the few positive offshoots of the Government's Assimilation Policy. Senior men began to paint on boards and made murals for the school, initially showing sacred secret material, later self-censored. Paintings use complex patterning and dotting to describe formation of land by Ancestors, natural features and travel.
Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art
Bendigo Art Gallery NAVA Samstag Stockroom Kyneton