‘Who is Tom Bass?’ A new short documentary film. Screening Fri 21 Oct from 7:30pm

We’re excited to invite you to a special event on Friday 21 October. An evening celebrating our founder Tom Bass and what would have been his centenary year, through photography and film! We’ll have an exhibition opening from 6pm, and a film screening from 7:30pm.

Who is Tom Bass?

A short documentary film

Almost everyone who lives in a big Australian city would have seen a Tom Bass sculpture, but very few would have recognized it.

Tom Bass was one of Australia’s most significant and prolific sculptors with over 100 public pieces located in prominent locations all over the country and yet he is remarkably absent from popular histories of Australian art and sculpture.

To mark the centenary year of Tom’s life, this documentary film provides an inside perspective into his work through the examination of five of his most significant public sculptures. The Falconer, commissioned in 1953 by the University of NSW, Fairfax’s Herald Sculpture first installed in 1959 and recently re-located to their Pyrmont corporate offices, the six-metre winged figure Ethos in Canberra representing the spirit of the community, the 20 metre Lintel Sculpture that spans the entrance to the National Library and the unique and controversial P&O Wall Fountain on Hunter Street in Sydney.

A series of interviews with curators, art critics, colleagues, friends and family provide insights into the journey and inspiration behind Tom’s work and explore the role of public sculpture in Australian society. Featuring Art Critic John McDonald (pictured above), Sculptors Richard Goodwin, Ingrid Morley and Louis Pratt, Professor Catherine De Lorenzo and UNSW Art Curator Belinda Webb.

Tom viewed sculpture as “the most social of all the arts” and saw himself as an artist and social communicator. His work communicated ideas or themes that were important for society and our way of life and he strongly believed that sculpture could have symbolic intent.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, when modernism became the dominant popular art form, Tom Bass held true to his beliefs, gaining many corporate and civic commissions.

Some say this contributed to his exclusion from the avant-garde art gallery world of that time. To others, he is revered as a pioneer and visionary who made an extraordinary contribution to Australian art history.

Who is Tom Bass looks to explore these questions and promote deserved recognition and a lasting legacy for the “Godfather” of Australian sculpture.


Earlier on the same evening from 6:00pm a photographic exhibition by Peter Miller Tom Bass: an enduring legacy will also open. More info on the exhibition here.

Both events will be held at TBSSS, 1A Clara St, Erskineville. These are free events, but please RSVP to admin@tbsss.org.au

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