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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Journey of Time

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When James Abbott McNeill Whistler defended himself in court by saying that a dashed-off oil sketch represented the knowledge he had “gained in the work of a lifetime” he gave every lazy artist an excuse to feel important, and unwittingly established battle lines between art and craft. Nowadays it’s broadly accepted that one may create […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

John Mawurndjul: I Am the Old and the New

Friday, July 27th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This year’s best exhibition title is: John Mawurndjul: I Am the Old and the New. A landmark retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the show demonstrates the paradox of bark painting: as one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and something completely new. This was inconceivable to the organisers of the Cologne Art […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

MoMA at NGV

Monday, July 23rd, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Museums have an historical mission to preserve a cultural legacy and bring it before the public. It’s a goal shared by all such insititutions, big or small, but there are huge disparities between the leading international museums and their aspirational counterparts. For the art of the 20th century the Museum of Modern Art in New […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Riyoji Ikeda & Daniel Buren

Friday, July 13th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Artists are forever striving to show us the world in a new light but not many can claim to be “probing the fundamental structure of the universe.” This is the domain of science and, more specifically, of CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, located on the border of France and Switzerland. In 2014-15, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

RAW: Wedderburn

Thursday, July 5th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There is no fixed definition of an ‘artists’ colony’ although there are numerous examples spread across the globe. Some are run like businesses, others are no more than clusters of like-minded Bohemians. The prototype of the modern artists’ colony is probably Worpswede, 28 kms from Bremen in northern Germany, which has been a haven for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2018

Friday, June 29th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

After the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW have plucked the choicest morsels from the Archibald and Wynne buffet, it’s left to the Salon des Refusés to clean up the leftovers. This time there was less to choose from, as the Incredible Expanding Archibald Prize had swelled to 59 finalists, removing many good options […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection

Friday, June 15th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In 2016 Patricia Piccinini became the most popular contemporary artist in the world – or so the statistics say. A free admission show in Rio de Janeiro attracted 444,425 visitors, propelling her to the top of the Art Newspaper’s annual rankings. It may be a moment to fly the Australian flag, but such statistics tell […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: The Sleeper Awakes

Friday, June 8th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

H.G.Wells published his novel, The Sleeper Awakes, in 1910. The Russian uprising of 1905 had been put down, and the Revolution of 1917 was but a rumble on the horizon. It’s the story of a sleeper who wakes 200 years into the future – in 2100 to be precise – to find a world ruled […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Blake Prize 2018

Thursday, May 31st, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s been seven years since I last wrote about the Blake Prize, which seemed to have reached a point where it couldn’t get any worse. The good news is that it hasn’t gotten worse: it’s just as bad as it was seven years ago. When it was founded in 1951 the Blake Prize was intended […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Field Revisited

Friday, May 25th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

No exhibition of Australian art has been more mythologised than The Field. Indeed, its only historical competition might be the 9 by 5 Impression exhibition of 1889, in which artists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton scandalised Melbourne by calling themselves “Impressionists”. The Field proved equally controversial when it launched the new St.Kilda Road […]