Tom Bass

News from the Archive

Tom Bass Memorial Address 2013

11th April, 2013

When Sculpture bites the Building

Presented by Professor Richard Goodwin

Date:     18th June 2013 6.30 pm

Venue:   Cell Block Theatre,   National Art School    Forbes St., Darlinghurst

Cost:      Free/ Donations welcome

Richard Goodwin is a world recognised and multiple award winning Sculptor and Architect.  He is a specialist in art, architecture and urban design and Professor in the School of Art  in the School of Design at the College of Fine Arts (COFA)

Since 1977, Goodwin has sustained a prolific and  award winning, professional practice of art and architecture. Through his Porosity studio at COFA he has explored the dynamic understanding of art, architecture and urban design. His research has begun to influence the way designers, architects, artists and even emergency services view the city fabric.

In the late 1970s Goodwin had a studio in Chippendale and he met Tom Bass at his nearby Broadway studio. With a long history of making sculpture in the urban context, Bass played a key role in fathering the difficult relationship sculpture has with  architecture. Goodwin said that “the experience of visiting Tom Bass’s studio was humbling and sublime at the same time. Truth via the body, through the hand, and in the hands of a master.” ( Tom Bass Ed Genevieve Carson 2006)

With his passion for sculpture and the build environment Goodwin is ideally placed to discuss this topic, and place Tom Bass in
its context.


Goodwin was quite young when OZ magazine immortalized the P&O Wall Fountain 1962-63 (copper) by referring to it as a urinal.  “Little did they know how complementary this comment might now be perceived, as I and others judge this work as the first major sculpture in Sydney to “bite” into the very skin of architecture and make the building a subject of itself.  I still consider this work to be one of the most important public artworks in Australia and a personal source of inspiration to my own practice, which seeks to make the skin of rchitecture the site for new parasitic propositions.” With Bass’ practice evident in so many city locations, Goodwin identifies Bass as a true and tenacious pioneer in conservative post World War II Australian, as he alone pursued this relationship with building, while personally fabricating his works.



My years of study at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, live in my memory under the emblem of The Falconer 1953-55 (copper), attached to the old science building where we had our studios.  It reaches out across its architectural ground in a symbolic act of engagement we can only hope to follow.”