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Articles on Arts explainer

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Intervention by a conservator on an object has to be reversible. IAEA Imagebank

Explainer: what does an art conservationist do?

Cultural conservation is concerned with how cultural material is preserved as it moves from the past, through the present and into the future. This material may be books in libraries, documents in archives…
Australia’s most prolific Oscar winner, Catherine Martin, was awarded her fourth Oscar for production design on The Great Gatsby. What is it that production designers actually do? AAP

Explainer: what is production design?

When we watch a movie, how do we know where and when it is taking place? This is just one of the questions a production designer working on a film or TV show helps audiences answer. They do so through…
The content of zines can be as idiosyncratic as individual publishers choose. scott_bl8ke

Explainer: zines

Zines are small-circulation, self-published magazines. Their emergence can be traced back to fanzine, a term used by science-fiction fans from the 1940s to set their amateur publications about popular…
2013 Oscar Winners (L-R) Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz EPA

Explainer: the Oscars

The first thing to understand about the Oscars is that, as a measure of the aesthetic value of films, they are completely unreliable. To understand why this is the case, we need to know what exactly “The…
‘Success Kid’ – with its various slogans – has been an enduring meme of recent years. Know Your Meme

Explainer: what are memes?

Nothing defines our use of the internet as clearly as the concept of the meme (pronounced “meem”). Every day, millions of people laugh at LOLcats, dog shaming, and music videos without music, while others…
The kitsch consumerist art of Jeff Koons at Versailles: Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, ceramic sculpture. dalbera

Explainer: what is postmodernism?

I once asked a group of my students if they knew what the term postmodernism meant: one replied that it’s when you put everything in quotation marks. It wasn’t such a bad answer, because concepts such…
The Melbourne Ring Cycle is big, befitting the opera’s stature. Jeff Busby

Explainer: Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen

It should come as no surprise in the nation that gave the world the Big Pineapple, the Big Guitar, the Big Sheep, and, for that matter, a Big Ad, that the size of a cultural artefact in and of itself is…

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