The Art Association of Australia and New Zealand has, this week, shared judges’ commendations for the 2017 AAANZ Book Prize and PhD Prizes. These annual prizes recognise the best in arts writing and research across Australia and New Zealand, so we thought we’d share a selection of the AAANZ’s top reads, starting of course with our own winning publication, The Legacies of Bernard Smith.


Best Anthology: The Legacies of Bernard Smith

Edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall, and Andrew Yip
Power Publications with the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Judges: Richard Read, Lisa Bevan, Cathy Speck


  “The great value of the volume is its wide appeal, breaking down the barriers between academe and Smith’s cultural activism on so many fronts.”


The award recognises the editors and all of the authors’ contributions to an anthology that ‘affords the opportunity of grasping and evaluating Bernard Smith’s many-sided intervention on Pacific and Australian culture’. The judges made particular mention of Nicholas Thomas’ ‘deceptively simple, generous and convincing demonstration of how Smith’s most powerful insight into the reciprocal influence of European and indigenous knowledges enables new museological appreciation of the active plasticity of Pacific responses to European occupation’ and highlighted chapters by Robert Gaston, Rüdigger Joppien, Terry Smith, Jim Berryman, Kate Challis, Catherine de Lorenzo and Ian McLean. The judges felt the anthology revealed ‘both surprising common purpose and fascinating ambivalence of allegiance in his work as a biographer, autobiographer, literary stylist, cross-cultural methodologist, curator, travelling art educator, buyer, personal collector, local heritage activist, and his tactical liaison with a host of institutions inside and outside Australia’.


Best Book (joint winners):

Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography by Susan Best Bloomsbury

Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art by Ian McLean                        Reaktion Books

Judges: Mary Roberts and Judith Collard


‘The book articulates a proposition about the local and global significance of indigenous Australian art that McLean has been developing through his sustained work in this field over a number of decades. In this book these ideas are marshalled in a synoptic account that boldly explores the problematic from first contact to the present day.



‘In her careful framing of this material, informed by philosophy, cultural theory and politics, Best offers us a very nuanced and thoughtful approach to the works of each artist. But she also reveals a more hopeful, healing response presented through art. This is a careful, balanced and thoughtful work by a significant art historian.’


The Best Book Prize which was jointly awarded to Susan Best for Reparative Aesthetics and Ian McLean for Rattling Spears, and it’s great to be able to celebrate these two worthy winners.

Ian McLean edited the popular anthology How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art  (Power Publications and Institute of Modern Art, 2011) and we’re soon to publish more from him in upcoming Power Publications What is Performance Art? and Imants Tillers: Journey to Nowhere, to be co-published in 2018 with the Latvian National Gallery.


Best Scholarly Article in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art:

‘Women’s Business: Cross-cultural Collaborations in Remote Indigenous Art Centres’ by Una Rey

ANZJA, volume 16, issue 1, 2016

Judges: Stephen Turner and Joanna Mendelssohn


‘A thoughtful and original contribution to the scholarship of Australian art history, with challenging and difficult matter.’


As the producers of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (ANZJA) we are pleased to congratulate Una Rey, whose essay ‘Women’s Business: Cross-cultural collaborations in remote Indigenous Art Centres’ was awarded 2017 Best Scholarly Article in the ANZJA. Here, Rey investigates the value of time and trust in cross-cultural relationships through a collaboration between Martumili Artists, installation artist Lynette Wallworth and New York–based singer Antony for the 2014 Adelaide Biennial.


If you want to be in the running for Best Scholarly Article next year, submit your paper to our next Open Issue, closing 8 March 2018.

Our congratulations to all the winners, and our fellow publishers of Australian art writing. You can read the full citations and list of winning publications here.

To celebrate these announcements, we’re offering a $10 discount on our two Bernard Smith titles The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, History and Cultural Politics and Hegel’s Owl: The Life of Bernard Smith by Sheridan Palmer. Just use the offer code AAANZ Prizes at the checkout.