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Mike Brown

1938 – 1997

Mike Brown (1938-1997) artist, was a participant (with Ross Crothall and Colin Lanceley) in the 1962 Annandale Imitation Realists exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and Design, Melbourne. Brown studied at Sydney's National Art School from 1956 to 1958 before working in Papua New Guinea with the Commonwealth Film Unit. After the 1962 show, now recognised as a key event in the development of anti-formalist art in Australia, he continued to make art from found objects and created controversial pop-art style collages that were sometimes banned from exhibition. In 1965 he was charged with exhibiting grossly indecent paintings and put on a good behaviour bond. His long-time agent Charles Nodrum calls Brown's an 'art of contradiction', pointing to a 1972 review in which Donald Brook stated 'no other exhibition in Sydney this week is so bad in such an encouraging way.' Nodrum advises 'Look at each work [of Brown's] in a mood of high seriousness, or you miss the point - but . . . if you don't laugh, then you really miss the point.' Up to his death in 1997 Brown railed against elite art cliques and sought to make art more accessible to the public outside art galleries, becoming one of the few recognised Australian artists to practise graffiti.

Updated 2018