The first emperor
China's entombed warriors
review by Ross Feller
The success of an exhibition is unique and personal to every visitor. Curators heighten the potential for engagement, through their selection, editing and sequencing of material to present a coherent story. The designer's role is to create a world in which the collection stimulates and entices the visitor to greater depths of knowledge, where the whole experience becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
From little things big things grow
Fighting for Indigenous rights 1920–1970
review by John Maynard
Aboriginal political history and Aboriginal history in general were for the greater part of the twentieth century forgotten, erased and simply ignored. This exhibition puts some of the missing pieces of the historical jigsaw back on the table, including a sense of such momentous occasions as the 1965 'Freedom Ride' when a young Charles Perkins encouraged a group of non-Indigenous university students to jump on a bus and travel across New South Wales, exposing the high levels of racist segregation that Aboriginal people were subjected to at that time.
Not just Ned
A true history of the Irish in Australia
review by Elizabeth Malcolm
In terms of the sheer number and variety of its contents, this exhibition is unprecedented in Australia, and not likely to be repeated any time soon. But does it really offer 'a true history of the Irish in Australia' that is 'not just Ned'? The answer is both yes and no.
review by Kim Akerman
It is amazing how much can be fitted into a very restricted space in a museum display without losing clarity of message or creating visual clutter, especially when it is done with forethought and taste. Although only ever intended as a temporary exhibition, ningenneh tunapry is a small, well-formed jewel, capable of standing beside similarly focused exhibitions found in many of the museums of the mainland states and territories.
Crime and corruption in 20th-century Sydney
review by Stephen Robertson
This exhibition deals with the criminal underworld of Sydney in the second half of the 20th century: a city of sin in which organised crime held sway and corruption was rife, infiltrating the top levels of politics, law and justice. The physical displays certainly enrich the story being told. But the video presentation is so central to this exhibition that the question can be posed: What does the museum offer as a setting for watching the documentary that a living room does not?
Yours, mine, ours
review by Eureka Henrich
Identity is an exhibition with an agenda. It harks back to the pioneering social history exhibits of the 1980s, which unashamedly had a political message to push. We are encouraged to discuss difference honestly with children, to publicly express our anger or frustration at discrimination, where appropriate, and to think twice before making judgements about people based on their appearance alone.
The enemy at home
German internees in World War I Australia
review by Craig Wilcox
The vast project of preventing Germany from dominating Europe and then bullying the rest of the planet sucked in societies from Brazil to Bengal. The lives of millions more were twisted off course, usually for the worse. Among them were 7000 men interned in Australia during the war as 'enemy aliens'. The Enemy at Home interprets their wartime experience behind barbed wire, inspired by photographs taken by Paul Dubotzki.
And the golden age of the Pharaohs
review by Janine Major
This is the latest exhibition in the Winter Masterpieces series aimed at luring people from across the nation to Melbourne during its cooler months. The promise of riches and ritual from ancient Egypt associated with inarguably the most famous pharaonic name (in death if not in life) has drawn crowds of more than seven million people in the United States and Europe — now it's Melbourne's turn.
Scott's last expedition
review by Chris O'Brien
Eschewing the traditional tragic narrative arc, the exhibition captures something of everyday life during this expedition, detailing the herculean labours and logistical contortions undertaken by so many between 1910 and 1913 to make it happen. Most importantly, it humanises the almost cybernetic heroic characters of legend.
The Grainger Museum
review by Peter Stanley
Grainger, fascinating in so many ways, is not an easy man to like or understand. The Grainger Museum strives to do justice to the complexities and contradictions of his life and ideas. It documents not only his idiosyncratic musical ideas, but also his fads. The museum shows how he was a product of his time and, together, the galleries evoke a lost aesthetic world.
Boomburbs: Andrew Merry
52 suburbs: A search for beauty in the 'burbs
review by Zora Simic
Merry's exhibition Boomburbs preceded Hawson's 52 Suburbs; and while it makes absolute sense to review them together — these are, after all, contemporary interpretations of Sydney's suburbia, showcased in the same room in the same museum in back-to-back exhibitions — it is also imperative to begin by stressing the distinctive and singular vision of each artist.