Challenge to conventions

Archibald Prize 2012 portraits

Collection connections

  • Gerhard Richter Ema 1992

Questions and activities

  • The Archibald Prize requires an artist to paint a portrait of someone ‘distinguished in arts, letters, science or politics’. How do the finalists listed here challenge the rules of the Archibald Prize?
  • Consider reasons why the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW selected these portraits as finalists for the Archibald Prize. Discuss how these works gain viewers’ attention. How do you think the exhibition audience will respond to the works?
  • In the classroom, create an unconventional portrait. Write an artist’s statement to accompany the work. Curate a class exhibition titled New portraiture. Debate the topic ‘Is portraiture relevant today?’.