Steve Martin shares Aboriginal Australian art in Beverly Hills

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Desert Painters of Australia Part II, Installation View, 2019 Artworks © Artists and Estates Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Courtesy Gagosian

It's the last week to see Desert Painters of Australia at Gagosian in Beverly Hills, which features work by indigenous Australians. 

“The story [behind these paintings] starts in the 1950s -- not the brightest moment in Australia,” says Lindsay Preston Zappas, editor-in-chief at Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles. “There was a forced displacement of a lot of these artists that were in the Australian deserts because of assimilationist policies, but also nuclear testing.”

This displacement brought indigenous groups in contact with white Australia, so they shared their lineages and artistic history, says Preston-Zappas.


YINARUPA NANGALA. 
Untitled, 2008. Synthetic polymer paint on linen. 72 1/2 x 96 1/2 in 184.2 x 245.1 cm. Yinarupa Nangala, © Copyright Agency. Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2019. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy Gagosian

In the 1970s, local school teacher Geoffrey Bardon encouraged these artists to start painting on canvas rather than sand, and helped them launch the Papunya Tula Artist Collective.

Then in 2015, actor, writer and musician Steve Martin learned about the art by reading about an Australian Aboriginal artist in his late 50s who was having his first solo show in New York. Fast forward to today, Martin owns more than two dozen Aboriginal paintings. Many of the paintings he’s acquired are on display now in Beverly Hills.

The exhibition ends Saturday, September 6.

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Credits

Guest:
Lindsay Preston Zappas - Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles

Host:
Jarrett Hill

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Kathryn Barnes, Jenna Kagel