'On the Origin of Art' Exhibition

Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania, Australia  website 

Open Nov 5, 2016 through April 17, 2017

I was one of four guest curators for this large art exhibition, the first major one to consider competing evolutionary theories about the prehistoric origins of the visual arts. The other guest curators were Steven Pinker, Mark Changizi, and Brian Boyd.  

An overview of my perspective ('Artists Are Sexy AF', according to MONA), is  here  

An interview with me for Australian Broadcasting Company (12 min audio) is here 

An interview with MONA museum founder David Walsh (73 min video) is here 

Reviews of the exhibition:

  • Apollo Magazine  link 
  • Art Almanac  link 
  • Art Daily  link 
  • Art Guide Australia  link 
  • ArtAsiaPacific  link 
  • Artlink  link 
  • Australian Book Review  link 
  • Broadsheet Melbourne  link 
  • e-flux  link 
  • Limelight Magazine  link 
  • Luxuo  link 
  • Pantograph Punch  link 
  • SBS TV/Radio  link 
  • SmartCompany  link 
  • Sydney Morning Herald  (3 min video)  link 
  • The Guardian (UK)  link 
  • The Mercury  link 
  • The Saturday Paper  link 
  • The Weekend Australian link 
  • whitewall  link 

A web page about the zoetrope 'The Centrifugal Soul' by Mat Collishaw, commissioned for my exhibition, is  here , a video (3 min) showing the work is here  

The video installation 'Pickelporno' by Pipilotto Rist (12 min video) is here 

A few images from my exhibition are below:


For more on the sexual selection theory of art, see

  • Miller, G. F. (2016). Art-making evolved mostly to attract mates. In On the origins of art [exhibition catalog] pp. 163-213. Hobart, Tasmania: Museum of Old and New Art. ResearchGate Google Scholar pdf
  • Miller, G. F. (2001).  Aesthetic fitness: How sexual selection shaped artistic virtuosity as a fitness indicator and aesthetic preferences as mate choice criteria.  Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts, 2(1), 20-25.  ResearchGate  pdf
  • Miller, G. F. (1999).  Sexual selection for cultural displays.  In R. Dunbar, C. Knight, & C. Power (Eds.), The evolution of culture (pp. 71-91).  Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh U. Press.  pdf