Acclaimed Australian author Drusilla Modjeska has collaborated with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, on a new MAAS publication, Icons. Published to accompany the Icons exhibition, the book presents more than 70 beautifully photographed objects from the Museum’s collection, and considers the notion of ‘icon’ in all its complexity — from its origins as a sacred image to a more contemporary definition that equates icons with mass culture and popular appeal. The objects featured in the exhibition and book present various aspects of luxury, celebrity, status, spirituality, value and genius.
Through her extensive research, discussions with the curators and handling of the objects, as well as her insights as a creative writer with a deep interest in the processes of making and human imagination, Drusilla has discovered deeper levels of meaning about particular objects in her essay ‘The Wonder World of Things’.
The publication also includes essays by lead curator Jacqui Strecker on reimagining the Museum’s icons, Jennifer Isaacs on artist Thancoupie’s work, and short essays by MAAS curators on selected collection objects, including Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge, Howard Florey’s miracle mould penicillium notatum, a Ming dynasty temple bell and that crochet dress by Romance Was Born and worn by Cate Blanchett.
Drusilla Modjeska’s collaboration on the Icons project was made possible by a grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.