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Tracey Moffatt

Friday, March 3rd, 2017 Blog,

“Make it up! Make it up!” says Tracey Moffatt when we start to talk about her background. “Miss Moffatt said: Go ahead and make it up. Give ‘em a great story.” It may be the era of post-truth and ‘alternative facts’ but I’m still not ready to fictionalise the artist who will represent Australia in […]

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Bernie Doesn't Just Shake! Parkinson's Disease & Art

Friday, February 17th, 2017 Blog,

In April this year the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney hosted an unusual exhibition called Bernie doesn’t just shake! It was a four-day event, launched by an evening function that included speakers from many different walks of life – the majority were sufferers from Parkinson’s disease. The star of the show was Bernie […]

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Body

Friday, December 2nd, 2016 Blog,

Published in the SMH Art Column, 20 September 1997 Last Saturday, after a second look at the Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition, Body, I spent much of the evening immersed in the catalogue. Having reached my limits, I sat down in front of the box to watch Roy and HG, only to find that their […]

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David Hockney

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 Blog,

David Hockney is crazy about those tiny drawings Vincent Van Gogh would include in letters to his brother, Theo. “These days he’d be sending them on his iPhone,” says Hockney, who has emailed thousands of iPhone drawings to friends around the world. His romance with the iPhone continued until the iPad came along. In a […]

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Vincent Van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook

Friday, November 18th, 2016 Blog,

Most people have dreamt of finding a valuable work of art in a junk shop or an attic, but the fantasies of art historians are much more modest. For Ronald Pickvance, who organised two legendary Van Gogh exhibitions for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 and 1986, it was a career highlight to […]

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LOUISE HEARMAN: AGAINST THE GRAIN

Friday, October 14th, 2016 Blog,

I think I surrendered obediently to the secret laws which led me to form, as best as I could, and following my dream, the things into which I have put my entire being.[1] Odilon Redon, To Myself Like Des Esseintes, the antihero of Huysmans’s cult novel of 1884, Against the Grain (À rebours), Louise Hearman […]

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ARTHUR McDONALD 1933 – 2016: A Eulogy

Friday, September 16th, 2016 Blog,

Much of my childhood led me to believe that fathers came in two major categories: introverts and extroverts. In the afternoon on the way home from high school, I’d often stop at a friend’s house. His father – big, burly, taciturn – would invariably be sitting in front of the TV with a can of […]

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Harold the Kangaroo: A Preface

Friday, August 19th, 2016 Blog,

Lord Byron gave the name ‘Harold’ a Romantic association in his famous poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1818), and Australian art had a true Romantic hero in Harold ‘The Kangaroo’ Thornton. Like many heroic figures Harold was largely unappreciated in his own country, although he became a Bohemian celebrity in Amsterdam. This book is an important […]

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David Hockney

Thursday, August 4th, 2016 Blog,

“Los Angeles is an acquired taste,” says David Hockney, although he admits he fell for the city on his very first visit in 1964. After growing up in Yorkshire, Hockney was excited by the “eroticism” of L.A. It was like nothing he’d seen or imagined. To a young, gay artist from Britain’s gloomy north it […]

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Jenny Sages

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 Blog,

“As artists we’re not nearly as interesting as writers,” Jenny Sages once confessed. “We’re all just finger painting, but when someone gives me a sentence I can remember, it triggers something very strong inside me.” In one of her new works Sages quotes a poem by Anna Akhmatova, the words picked out in tiny perforations […]