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Know My Name: A First Look

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 Blog,

If the phrase Know My Name makes you think of the theme song of a James Bond movie, you’re a prime candidate for the National Gallery of Australia’s new survey of Australian women artists, 1900 to the present. You might even draw a twinge of masculine panic from Chris Cornell’s lyric: The odds will betray […]

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Streeton: A First Look

Friday, November 13th, 2020 Blog,

When the title of a show is simply the artist’s surname it sends a message. If you don’t know who Streeton is, well… you should. It’s like saying “Picasso”, rather than “Pablo Picasso” or “Rembrandt” rather than “Rembrandt van Rijn”. The unattended surname signifies greatness. It’s a warning you’ll miss out on an essential Australian […]

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Brett Whiteley Catalogue Raisonné

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 Blog,

Last week the Brett Whiteley Catalogue Raisonné 1955-1992 arrived on my doorstep. When I bent down to pick it up, I thought I’d need a forklift. Lugging it inside I made straight for the bathroom scales, which registered 22.9 kilos. Upon opening the package I discovered a gleaming white case in which seven white volumes […]

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Paul Higgs: Material Energy

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 Blog,

Art is revolution, improvisation, impetus, enthusiasm, record-setting, elasticity, elegance, generosity, superabundance of goodness, drowning in the Absolute, struggle against every hindrance, an aerial dance on the burning summits of passion… Filippo Marinetti   “Scattering” in physics, is what happens when waves of energy are forced to change direction due to a collision with various particles. […]

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The Murder of the Powerhouse Museum

Friday, June 26th, 2020 Blog,

It’s not a museum. This is not a matter of opinion, it’s not a slander being spread by critics of the project. The proposed building in Parramatta the NSW government would like us to see as the home of a ‘relocated’ Powerhouse Museum will be nothing more than an entertainment venue stuffed with cafes and […]

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Christo – His legacy in Australia

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 Blog,

Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia. The most important piece of avant-garde art ever made in this country, or the the work of a madman? Both views got plenty of traction at the end of October 1969, when Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009), undertook the monumental task of wrapping part […]

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Frank Watters 1934 – 2020

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Blog,

Frank Watters, who has died at the age of 86, was not only a pillar of the Sydney gallery scene for more than 50 years, he was a truly humane personality in a business that breeds sharks. Although he adored gossip and had a wicked wit, Frank held fast to his own standards. He was […]

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Tales from the Woods

Friday, April 17th, 2020 Blog,

From Goya’s The Third of May, 1808 (1814) to Picasso’s Guernica (1937), to countless, politically correct projects by contemporary artists, the modern era has used art as a megaphone for speaking the truth to power. Yet it remains hard to think of a single instance when a work of so-called ‘political art’ has had any […]

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Films of the Decade 2010-2019

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Blog,

Looking back over the past decade I was struck by the total disconnect between the highest-grossing films of the year and – for want of a better word – films of quality. Inevitably, the biggest box office hits are superhero movies, kids’ films, or franchises such as Harry Potter, James Bond or Star Wars. It’s […]

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Matisse & Picasso: A First Look

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Blog,

It must have been tempting to call this exhibition Matisse v. Picasso, a bit like Batman v. Superman. The Australian public responds well to healthy competition, as demonstrated by the perennial mania for art prizes. Instead the National Gallery of Australia settled on the more dignified Matisse & Picasso as the title of its summer […]