Melbourne Art Fair 2010

Saturday, August 14th, 2010 Uncategorized,

It was not the most auspicious omen that the museum next door to the 2010 Melbourne Art Fair was hosting an exhibition devoted to the Titanic. After a year of painfully slow sales, and government initiatives mildly homicidal to the industry, the commercial galleries of Australia were hoping for a change of fortune. It helps […]


Curious Colony

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 Uncategorized,

In 1814, Newcastle was “a forlorn cluster of makeshift buildings whose sole purpose was to provide shelter and basic necessities for the inhabitants.” This assessment, by historian Elizabeth Ellis, is uncontroversial. For the 305 white settlers – including 249 convicts – who made their homes in this isolated outpost, perhaps the only solace was to […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

17th Biennale of Sydney

Saturday, May 29th, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

But that joke isn’t funny any more, It’s too close to home And it’s too near the bone. (The Smiths) “When he makes a joke,” said Sigmund Freud, “a problem lies concealed.” He was quoting Goethe, who was referring to the aphorist, Lichtenberg, but the sentence has universal relevance. Laughter is a release from tension, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Archibald Prize 2010

Saturday, March 27th, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

No form of human activity nowadays comes without the possibility of therapy. Tiger Woods had to call in the specialists over his sex addiction, Michael Clarke has seen a psychologist to get his mind off his personal problems and back onto cricket. When Kevin Rudd apologised to the stolen generation, counselling services were reputedly made […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Martin Sharp

Saturday, February 6th, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

There is a double edge to the exhibition title Martin Sharp: Sydney Artist, because Sharp is one of the very few Australian artists who enjoys a worldwide reputation. This is no mean feat for a man who says he has barely left his house for the past forty years. It remains a mystery whether he […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Lynette Wallworth & Circa 1979: Signal to Noise

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

This year’s Sydney Festival follows the familiar pattern of being chiefly concerned with theatre and music. This comes as no great surprise, but it is important that the visual arts events are not treated merely as an afterthought. Olafur Eliasson at the Museum of Contemporary Art is the headline act, while the Campbelltown Arts Centre […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Garden & Cosmos

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

We know that something in our world has changed when India is issuing travel advisories to its citizens, warning that Melbourne is a dangerous place. The subcontinent, with its poverty; its heartless caste system; its heritage of religious strife, bloodshed and social unrest, has suddenly turned and pointed the finger at the barbarous practices of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Fiona Foley

Saturday, January 9th, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

Fiona Foley is an artist who has benefited from being in the right place at the right time. Having begun exhibiting in the mid-1980s, she is young enough to have missed the great ideological battles that took place in the art of the sixties and seventies. She never had to worry about edges and picture […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Masterpieces from Paris

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

Question time in Canberra: “Is Masterpieces from Paris the most important exhibition ever shown at the National Gallery of Australia, as NGA director, Ron Radford, has claimed?” Answer: No. This is a silly, opportunistic thing to say, as it is a show without an original thesis. Think back to the NGA’s Surrealism: Revolution by Night […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Saturday, December 12th, 2009 Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

Has it been fifteen years already? In its sixth installment the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery shows no signs of settling into a predictable pattern. On the contrary: the APT is the most dynamic contemporary art exhibition in Australia and quite possibly the world. It may not be the biggest of shows, […]