Don’t know your biennale from a triennale? Can’t tell your old media from your new? The A-Z of Contemporary Art is a bluffer’s guide to the brilliant and often baffling world of contemporary art, from artists, art works and galleries to new media, history and theory. Working alphabetically through the complex world of contemporary arts, from Artists, Artspeak and Biennales to Theory, Video Art, Wine and Zietgeist - the program captures and consolidates a love of art with history, theory and a healthy dose of criticism.
Back in 1990, Texas songwriter Butch Hancock staged a massive, six-night event entitled No Two Alike, wherein he played six straight evenings at Austin's Cactus Cafe. In the process, he recorded 140 of his own songs without repeating one. He then released the output later on cassette tapes. The reason for citing Hancock in a Paul Kelly review, particularly this one, is simply to establish the only precedent for this wonderful eight-disc live box set, the A to Z Recordings. Between 2004 and 2010, the revered Australian songwriter would perform his now legendary A to Z concerts, during which he would play two (largely) unplugged sets per evening for four nights, performing many of his songs, all in alphabetical order.