Hey luvvies! We’ve made it! 2014 is in the bank – and here’s what we did, what you read, how we all came through it.
Think of the following as a music festival: loads of highlights, one after the other. Read them until you’re reduced to a quivering pulp.
In that festival spirit, we covered – deep breath, a few lunges – the Sydney Festival, the Adelaide Biennial, Melbourne Fringe, Sydney Biennale, Adelaide Festival, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Melbourne Fashion Festival, Fashion Week Australia, Sydney and Melbourne’s film festivals.
The Great Gatsby blitzed the AACTA awards in January, and Deb Verhoeven argued that Australian cinema isn’t dead. We also paid tribute to the Whitlam government’s embrace of arts and screen culture in Australia.
In March, our in-depth coverage of Sydney Biennale’s split from its major sponsor Transfield brought new perspectives to the politics of arts funding, artist boycotts and philanthropy. In June, Opera Australia had a boycott threat of it own, relating to the Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri. The Klinghoffer protests at the Met in New York in October showed opera’s contemporary relevance.
Like all years 2014 was a doozy for dying, as reflected in our many obituaries. Take your pick from Maya Angelou, Rik Mayall, Peaches Geldof, Bobby Womack, Peter Sculthorpe, Gavin Jones, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Richard Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Pete Seeger.
Our The Case For series nominated Australian books – fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or historical – that authors thought deserved closer attention. Got an idea for another one? Hint, hint hint, hint, hint, hint, hint … DROP US A LINE!
The topic of anonymous book reviews got a little hotter than we’d expected, with a back and forth of articles that drew academic blood.
Things continued to build (pun win!) with our architecture coverage. Our Sublime Design series took a closer look at some design classics such as the Moog synthesiser and Lego. We ran comment on the 2014 National Architecture Awards and on the Frank Gehry effect in Sydney.
And rest assured news/calligraphy hounds, when a new font breaks, we’re on it.
Clothes took over our galleries this year, from the Golden Age of Hollywood in Brisbane to Jean Paul Gaultier and his fashion stripe in Melbourne. And our Story of series explained the origins of iconic fashion items from tweed to the top hat.
Visual art is amazing, in case you hadn’t noticed. We ran loads on this, as you’d expect, including Sasha Grishin on how hierarchies happen in contemporary art, Ted Snell on Western Australian’s exclusion from the national art conversation, and Joanna Mendelssohn on mass media’s influence on visual culture.
We used the 2014 World Cup, the Winter Olympics and the Tour de France as an excuse to talk about Brazilian street art, architecture and the samba; brilliant Russian writers, Sochi on screen and whether the French still care about the Tour.
Top ten Arts + Culture stories by readership in 2014
Weighing up the evidence for the ‘Historical Jesus’ by Raphael Lataster, University of Sydney
Peaches Geldof and the new, hyper-experience of mortality by Rosemary Overell, University of Otago
Actually, women, you do need feminism by Michelle Smith, Deakin University
Three questions not to ask about art – and four to ask instead by Kit Messham-Muir, University of Newcastle
Death and families – when ‘normal’ grief can last a lifetime by Zoë Krupka, La Trobe University
The rape scene in Brad Pitt’s Fury no-one is talking about by Melanie O'Brien, University of Technology, Sydney
We don’t need no (moral) education? Five things you should learn about ethics by Patrick Stokes, Deakin University
SBS’s First Contact is the real ‘festering sore’ of the nation by Chelsea Bond, The University of Queensland
Lorde vs Miley: where young feminism meets old class bias by Rosemary Overell, University of Otago
Girl crush anyone? The evolution of ‘lesbian chic’ by Kate Farhall, University of Melbourne
Are you an academic or researcher? Would you like to write for the Arts + Culture section of The Conversation? Contact us with your idea.