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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

O'Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

Friday, July 7th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There are exhibitions that sound marvellous in theory but somehow fail to measure up when they make it to the gallery walls. O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism at the Art Gallery of NSW is an almost perfect example. As one of those projects that puts Australian artists on equal terms with a better known […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Kader Attia

Saturday, July 1st, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If ever an artist were attuned to the temper of our times it is Kader Attia (b.1970). Following a successful showing in Documenta 13 in 2012, this French-Algerian creator of multimedia installations and videos has since become one of the most sought-after artists in the world. The piece that made such a powerful impression was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Art Basel 2017 & Documenta 14

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Contemporary art can be a punishing obsession for its true believers but rarely do the art die-hards get the chance to attend four major events during a single visit to Europe. The Venice Biennale, which has been running since the second week in May, has now been joined by a uniquely bifurcated version of Documenta, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Eurovisions

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This year’s Financial Review Rich List reveals that Australia today has no fewer than 60 billionaires. For an economy in perpetual crisis, demanding sacrifices from the lowest wage earners, things are obviously working well for some people. Looking at this list it’s remarkable how few of our billionaires do anything at all for the arts. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Elisabeth Cummings

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the annals of Australian art Elisabeth Cummings was an almost invisible presence for the first 30 years of her career. The story would change in the early 1990s when she began to attract serious attention from private collectors, who are always quicker off the mark than public institutions. After a slow start, partly due […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

William Eggleston: Portraits

Thursday, June 1st, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In By the Ways, an off-beat documentary about William Eggleston, there is a sequence in which the photographer answers questions from an unseen German interviewer. Straining after profundity the interviewer asks: “Do you understand your work as an expression of your existence?” There’s an agonising pause, then a response in Eggleston’s southern drawl: “Probably.” Eggleston […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Bill Henson

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Walter Pater famously opined that all art aspires to the condition of music, but Bill Henson is an artist who views the boundaries between art, music and literature as completely porous. In his case one might go further and blur the lines between painting, sculpture and photography. No photographer is more skilled at creating images […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Venice Biennale 2017 – Viva Arte Viva

Friday, May 19th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Ask people to name the most romantic city in the world, and Venice is usually at the top of the list – but there are dissenters. D.H. Lawrence said Venice was green, slippery and abhorrent, and he didn’t even have to contend with the crowds in the Giardini and Arsenale during the opening days of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Van Gogh and the Seasons

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in a field near Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890 he was on the verge of a successful career. The tide had turned against Impressionism, which was felt to be too dry and rational in its methods. Up-and-coming critics such as Albert Aurier were championing the role of the imagination, and saw […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Magic Mike: Michael Zavros

Friday, May 5th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Any artist who paints with the quasi-photographic precision of Michael Zavros will always find admirers. After being subjected to more than a century of Modernist de-skilling the public is still turned to putty by virtuoso displays of technique, preferring the artist who can “really paint” to the one whose genius has to be explained by […]