City Pulse

By Jan Lee

On January 21st, Crocodile Dundee and Bloomberg walked into a bar…just kidding. But Australia did meet up with New York this pass Monday at the debut of David Larwill & The Western Desert Artists – Australia New York 2008 exhibition. The exhibit, presented by Lisa Fox, founder of Lf8 Studios, and The Honorable John Olsen AO, Australian Consul-General, kicked off G’Day USA Australia Week.


Larwill, You’re going to need hands in the back of your head, 78″ x 171″

The Stephan Weiss Studio-once the workspace of artist Stephan Weiss, late husband of designer Donna Karan-was full of attendees, Victoria Bitter (VB) and the sounds of the Didgeridoo, compliments of Dr. Richard Walley OAM. There was also a performance by the Qantas Australian Children’s Choir, who sang heavenly. Seriously, if there ever was a choir of angels, I’m sure they’d sound just like these young girls.


Lisa Fox, David Larwill and The Honorable John Olsen AO


Larwill has been known as one of the leading figurative expressionists in Australia over the past 25 years. The pieces in this collection did not differ from his colorful trademark style: tribal icons, animated human figures and animals. The works, depicting street and rural scenes, footballers and imaginary creatures, draw on the heritage of Aboriginal art, which ties into his co-stars.

In addition to Larwill’s work, eight selected Aboriginal paintings by Western Desert artists of the Papunya Tula Collective in Alice Springs were also on display. The Papunya Tula painting style derives from the artists’ knowledge of traditional ceremonial body and sand painting. Although Australian Aboriginal art is the longest continuous artistic tradition in the world, canvas as a medium was first introduced to them in 1971 by school teacher Geoffrey Bardon. Soon after in 1972, the artists successfully established their own company entirely owned and directed by traditional Aboriginal people from the Western Desert.


Artist: Justin Tjungurrayi Corby

The exhibit runs through Friday, January 25th and is free and open to the public from 11-6pm at Stephan Weiss Studio (711 Greenwich Street). A portion of all art sales will be donated to Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd.

Originally published January 2008
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