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Art Essays

Art Essays

Newsletter 262

Saturday, November 17th, 2018 Art Essays, Newsletter,

This week’s announcement that Lisa Havilah will be the new CEO of the Powerhouse Museum brings another twist to this painful saga. We already know the decision to move the Powerhouse from its site in Ultimo to Parramatta – a dstance of 25 kms at a cost of not less than $1.5 billion – is […]

Art Essays

Peter Powditch: Coast – A Retrospective

Friday, April 14th, 2017 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Pop to Popism, held at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2014, was not a show that left glowing memories, but one work has remained lodged in my mind. Peter Powditch’s The Big Towel, which appeared in the Australian section of the exhibition, looked incredibly fresh for a painting made in 1969. Part of its […]

Art Essays

The National

Saturday, April 8th, 2017 Aboriginal Art, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

One wonders if The National: New Australian Art is intended as a subtle riposte to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now of 2013-14. “No navel gazing here in Sydney – we’re bringing you art from all over the country.” The NGV’s bright idea may have been predicated on Melburnian self-esteem but final attendances topped […]

Art Essays

2013: The Best & Worst of the Visual Arts

Monday, January 6th, 2014 Art Essays, Blog,

My best art experience of the year happened on the other side of the planet, in a retrospective celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch. The show, divided between the National Gallery and the Munch Museum in Olso, revealed an unrelenting intensity of vision. It featured the most complete collection of paintings […]

Art Essays

Georges Braque

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Painting is not an art where anything goes.” Georges Braque. In 1977 the Fraser government struck a lethal blow to Australia’s reputation as an art-collecting nation when it torpedoed the purchase of Georges Braque’s painting, Nu debout (1908) (AKA. Grand Nu). The National Gallery of Australia had a price – $1.5 million – and an […]

Art Essays

Australia at the Royal Academy

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts in London has echoes of Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster movie of 2010. Like that overblown, incoherent concoction, the one-word title of the RA show suggests this is all you will ever need to know about Australian art. It presents itself as a definitive statement. Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions […]

Art Essays

J.M.W. Turner: A Preview

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 Art Essays, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Soapsuds and whitewash,” they said. “Portraits of nothing and very like.” In the manner of the Biblical prophet, not without honour, but in his own country, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) spent his entire career being insulted and derided by British commentators. Although we think of him today as the greatest of all British artists, […]

Art Essays

Radiance: The Neo-Impressionists

Saturday, January 19th, 2013 International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Georges Seurat is a member of that small, unfortunate group of artists who were destined for greatness but died prematurely. When Seurat was carried off by malignant diphtheria in 1891, at the age of 31, modern art lost one of its most remarkable innovators. It is a loss that bears comparison to that of Masaccio, […]

Art Essays

David Boyd

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If one had to nominate a director to make a movie about the Boyd family, it would be hard to go past Wes Anderson. After watching his new film, Moonrise Kingdom, I imagined what he might do with the eccentric childhood of David Boyd and his siblings at their Murrumbeena property, Open Country. One painting […]

Art Essays

Rollin Schlicht & Shaun Gladwell

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Rollin Schlicht was a complex personality. Many people found him to be abrasive and self-centred, but he was also strikingly intelligent and could be charming if it suited him. Schlicht was born in 1936, and died of pancreatic cancer on 1 March, last year. He was by turns, both artist and architect. Torn between these […]