Winner, Best anthology or edited book, AAANZ, Art History Association of Australia and NZ
Best Edited Book
Peter McNeil, Fashion: Critical and Primary Sources. Late Medieval to Renaissance (4 volumes, 1600 pp.), Berg, Oxford and New York, 2009
As with the Best Large Catalogue this year, the judges were encouraged by the extraordinary quality of entries in this category. Several major volumes were put forward which represent diverse fields of international scholarship notable for their interdisciplinary approaches. This year the sheer wealth and breadth of scholarship of the anthologies has made the task of judging particularly challenging complicated by entries that encompass such diverse fields. For that reason we have chosen to highly commend two edited books, both of which bring new and original scholarship to focus on major fields of enquiry, along with high production values, useful indexes and wonderful covers: ‘Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida’, edited by Geoffrey Batchen and published by MIT Press can rightfully claim to reopen the conversation on Barthes’ most influential 1980 text, by introducing a new generation of scholars to interpret and interrogate such intellectual heavyweights as Michael Fried, Victor Burgin and Rosalind Krauss; and ‘Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia’ edited by Jeanette Hoorn, is a beautifully produced set of essays of original research by key experts in the field published by the wonderful Miegunyah Press at the University of Melbourne that makes a book into a beautiful object.
The judges noted two significant themes in the submissions this year: the art history of Charles Darwin’s anniversary and the relatively new field of fashion histories. ‘Reframing Darwin’ is just one of the excellent submissions in the former category. In the latter category the judges noted the high quality of new work in the field and would like to present the award of Best Edited book to Peter McNeil’s 4-volume Fashion: Critical and Primary Sources.
This monumental contribution to fashion history spans the late medieval to modern period. It is the result of a Herculean effort of scholarship, which will undoubted change the way that the field is understood by specialists and taught to future generations of scholars.
Ann Stephen and Jennifer Milam
Berg , 2009.