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Art Essays

Art Essays

18th Biennale of Sydney

Saturday, July 7th, 2012 Aboriginal Art, Art Essays, Australian Art, Chinese Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Between belief in Nature and belief in politics, one has to choose,” writes French sociologist, Bruno Latour, in the stand-out essay in this year’s Biennale catalogue. We have a perfect demonstration of this principle in the hysterical debate about a carbon price. While Nature is forever, politics is an exercise in short-term, strategic thinking that […]

Art Essays

Theatre of the World

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

For many people museums are uncomfortably similar to mausoleums – repositories of dead animals, dead art, dead ideas. Even those of us who spend their lives in these institutions experience moments when everything feels too dull or predictable. At heart, museums are educational organisations, competing for attention with an ever-increasing range of distractions. But the […]

Art Essays

Growing up with Goannas

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 Australian Art, Blog, General Art Essays,

A few months ago I advised a friend not to labour over her blog, but to write smaller, more spontaneous pieces and publish more frequently. Unfortunately, it seems I’m completely incapable of following my own good advice. The perennial gap between theory and practice – or should that be good intentions and reality? – has begun […]

Art Essays

AGNSW: A new hang

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A new hang of a gallery’s permanent collection was once a routine affair, but nowadays it has taken on the status of an event. This is partly because the rising costs of doing exhibitions combined with the dwindling budgets of public galleries have forced all institutions to draw more heavily on the works they already […]

Art Essays

Not the Way Home, Damaged

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In recent years there has been a spate of projects in which a group of artists are taken to some far-flung location and invited to respond to a new environment. The end result is a group exhibition that gathers together works made on the spot, and those created afterwards in the studio from memories, sketches […]

Art Essays

Down the Rabbit Hole

Saturday, June 9th, 2012 Art Essays, Chinese Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Last year, according to The New York Times, 395 museums were built across China. As with most things in this vast, mysterious country, the statistics give only a superficial glimpse of the complexities involved. Firstly one might question the Chinese definition of “museum”, which may be a grandiose word for a lot of small-scale enterprises. […]

Art Essays

Masami Teraoka, Migration

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 Art Essays, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

One of the strangest developments in the Sydney art scene is the sudden upsurge of galleries showing and selling high priced international art. This is surprising, given the fact that these are dismal times for retail and the art business is essentially retail with delusions of grandeur. There are only two explanations: either there are […]

Art Essays

Art Hong Kong 2012

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Hong Kong is ideally located to take advantage an eastern economic boom that keeps defying western prophets of doom. Although it may sound scarcely believable, that defiant attitude is shared by leading western art dealers who have begun opening gigantic new spaces in a city long known as a cultural backwater. Those bad old days […]

Art Essays

Euan Macleod: The Shadow Line

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays,

Euan Macleod may be a landscape painter but it often seems as if the physical world is not his principle focus. Although he may stand for hours painting en plein air; although his pictures may reflect the recognisable features of a particular place, Macleod’s true subject is to be found within his own mind. The […]

Art Essays

The Second Mona Lisa

Saturday, May 19th, 2012 Art Essays, International Art, Other Writing,

  Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 but he is still one of the world’s great celebrities. The recent Leonardo retrospective at the National Gallery in London attracted the longest queues ever seen in Britain. Mention his name and reporters come running, as if the latest Hollywood starlet just flew into town. Add a reference […]