Emily McCulloch Childs

Emily is a visual arts writer, publisher and curator. She is co-author & publisher (with her mother, Susan McCulloch), of several best-selling books on Australian art, including the 4th edition of McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Australia’s largest and leading art reference book for over 40 years, originally written by her grandfather, art critic, art historian, author, artist, cartoonist, gallery director and curator, Alan McCulloch.
She has also co-authored and published, with Susan, the 3rd edition of McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the complete guide, which has been widely acclaimed for its accessible yet authoritative style, and is known as one of Australia’s best-selling art books.
Emily is the author and co-publisher of New Beginnings: Classic Paintings from the Corrigan Collection of 21st Century Aboriginal Art, with an essay by Prof. Ross Gibson and foreword by Margo Neale, which was launched by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s wife Thérèse Rein in 2008.
Emily’s background in Australian art stems from her grandfather, Alan McCulloch (visit Wikipedia entry), who was one of the foremost art critics of the 20th century, and whose interest in Aboriginal art led to him curating the first exhibition of bark paintings in America in 1965, and to the urging for the purchasing, restoration and exhibition of indigenous art by our state and national galleries as far back as the 1940s. Her mother Susan continued this interest in indigenous art in the 1990s, as arts writer and later critic for The Australian.
She has worked for galleries including Flinders Lane Gallery, which has a strong focus on the work of artists from Utopia, an area in which she has a specialised interest. She also has a particular focus on the Pintupi, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) artists of the Western and South-Western Deserts, and indigenous artists working in cities and urban centres.
Emily completed a BA (Hons) in English at La Trobe University in 1998, minoring in Music. There she was formatively influenced in post-colonial theory and indigenous and non-indigenous interactions by her mentors Professor Leela Ghandi and Dr. David Tacey, both of whom would come to have a large influence on her later writings on art. She has worked as an editorial assistant for G.E Fabbri publishers, the Financial Mail on Sunday, the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail in London and written for Australian Art Collector, The World of Antiques & Art, The Scene, Aboriginal Art Magazine, and ArtsHub.
In 2003 Emily established an art publishing and curatorial business with her mother; McCulloch & McCulloch. Together they have published two books in collaboration with Aboriginal art centres: The Heart of Everything: the art & artists of Mornington & Bentinck Islands, by Nicholas Evans, Paul Memmott & Louise Martin-Chew, and Painting the Song: Kaltjiti Artists of Sand Dune Country, by Diana James with Kaltjiti Arts. In 2010, they published a book with RMIT’s Public Art program, Outer Site: International Art in Public Space from RMIT, by Geoff Hogg, Tristian Koenig and others.
The McCullochs also produce art diaries. These include the inaugural Queensland Indigenous Art Diary 2010, the McCulloch’s Australian Art Diary 2009 & 2010, the McCulloch’s Australian Art Diary 2011 and the McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art Diary 2011.
McCulloch & McCulloch have also curated several exhibitions within the field of indigenous art, including Across Country: The Ken Hinds Cultural Collection, Caloundra Regional Gallery & touring, McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: a writer’s selection 1992–2008 in their local village of Flinders and McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art @ Salt Contemporary: A decade of Australia’s indigenous fine art 1999-2009, at Salt Contemporary Art in Queenscliff. They have an ongoing indigenous art curatorial programme with Salt Contemporary Art.
In 2011 she was awarded a Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria to research and write a manuscript with her father, Kevin Childs, on Indigenous Warriors of Australia’s frontier. She is also currently writing a history of Aboriginal women’s art, as well as several other books, curating exhibitions and presenting lectures. In 2014 she began a Ph.D at Monash Indigenous Centre.
Her articles, exhibition reviews and artist interviews can be found at emilymcculloch.blogspot.com.