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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Art Collection

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Public galleries have always cultivated good relations with private collectors, but lately those ties have taken on a new importance. This is partly a result of governments wanting to palm off the responsibility for arts funding onto private sources. The logic is perfectly cynical: when spending cuts are required the arts are seen as a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

William Dobell: Painter in Paradise

Saturday, July 4th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Although he was one of Australia’s best-known artists, William Dobell (1899-1970) was inordinately sensitive to criticism. After the notorious court case over his Archibald Prize win of 1943, Dobell withdrew to his hideaway in Wangi where he suffered from a series of nervous complaints. He broke out in severe dermatitis and at one point lost […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Marina Abramovic: In Residence

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Life is too fast,” says Marina Abramovic, “so art has to be slow.” Perhaps fast art is no more nutritious than fast food? You’ll notice the difference when visiting Marina Abramovic: In Residence, the latest Kaldor Public Art Project at Pier 2/3. Upon entering, watches and bags are deposited in a locker. After a series […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Marina Abramovic: Private Archaeology

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

David Walsh never does anything by halves at his Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Within a few years he has transformed Hobart into one of the most desirable cultural tourist destinations in Australia – or just off the coast of Australia, if you take the Tasmanian perspective. The Dark Mofo Festival has drawn […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: State of Play

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Certain nations are not renowned for their playfulness. Nicht wahr? Yet this is not the case with the Chinese who found out many years ago the only way to make life bearable is to laugh about it. The Chinese sense of humour is robust and dark. It may have been this way from time immemorial, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Light Show

Saturday, June 13th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Mention the Festival of Light in Sydney nowadays and most people will think of Vivid rather than the Reverend Fred Nile’s wowsers. This is only natural, as Sydney has always embraced hedonism more readily than morality. In seven years, Vivid – a festival devoted to “music, light and ideas” – has established a monumental presence. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Michael Parekowhai & Billy Apple

Saturday, June 6th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When the drive towards Federation began in the late 19th century New Zealanders were actively involved, but by 1901 they had opted out. Their reason – and this is stated on the NZ history website – was that New Zealanders, both Pakeha and Maori, “were of superior stock to their counterparts across the Tasman.” A […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

A Golden Age of China

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Imagine a painting titled: Tony Abbott admiring lotus while playing a zither, and you have glimpsed the cultural chasm that separates our world from that of the Qianlong Emperor. While the rulers of the Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911) were careful to surround themselves with symbols of conquest and martial prowess, they were equally assiduous in […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

56th Venice Biennale, 2015

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“He’s very political.” This is what I heard, more than once, about Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian-born curator of the 56th Venice Biennale, which goes by the suitably airy title: All the World’s Futures. This need not imply revolutionary credentials because “political” is a word with both macro and micro applications. Put three people in a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Head On 2015

Friday, May 15th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When a show draws a huge crowd to the Town Hall on a rainy Friday night it is testimony to Sydney’s booming interest in photography. The occasion was the opening of Head On, the annual photo festival that has grown to colossal proportions over the past few years. The influx of photographers and fans from […]