The Adelaide Art Scene: Becoming contemporary 1939-2000

Bernard Smith's assertion in 1943, that it is "truly absurd nowadays to talk of 'modern art' as a single entity," encapsulates a sentiment that has persisted through the decades and finds resonance in Margot Osborne's exploration of Adelaide's art scene. Osborne's work, a solidly researched and expansive history, with re-printed archival material and an extensive index forming a doorstop omnibus which chronicles the critical historical events and figures who have shaped Adelaide and South Australian art.

Through a series of overview chapters by Osborne and commissioned essays by a range of experts and veterans of the local scene, (alongside anecdotes from cultural commentators including poet and publisher Max Harris, critic Robert Hughes and Stephanie Britton, founding Editor of Artlink), Osborne's encyclopedic compilation of essays illuminate what she argues is the uniqueness of Adelaide's artistic landscape between 1939 and 2000, while situating it within broader cultural and socio-political contexts of Australian and international art.