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Tag: politics

Art Essays

German idols

Saturday, November 5th, 2011 Art Essays, Chinese Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Germany, Ai Weiwei is the new Joseph Beuys. I arrived at this conclusion in Berlin, after seeing an exhibition of film footage of Joseph Beuys in Japan, at the Hamburger Bahnhof; and a show of 220 photos by Ai Weiwei, at the Martin-Gropius Bau. I’ve been in Deutschland for a conference on the Chinese […]

Art Essays

Din Q. Lê: Erasure, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2011

Saturday, August 27th, 2011 Aboriginal Art, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It was astonishing to learn that in a recent opinion poll Australians rated border protection as a more important issue than health, education, transport or housing. This is one of those statistical miracles that testify to our growing sense of social paranoia and the power of political scare campaigns. The facts are well known but […]

Art Essays

The last days of the Caponian empire

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 Australian Art, Blog,

What a deathly year it has been for artists! In quick succession we have lost Cy Twombly, Lucian Freud, and now John Hoyland. The latter was especially disturbing, as I had just contributed a catalogue essay to his exhibition with Charles Nodrum in Melbourne. Logically there is nothing surprising about someone dying at a ripe […]

Art Essays

Edmund Capon & his legacy

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This won’t be the first or last time that someone declares Edmund Capon a hard act to follow. In his thirty-one years as director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Capon has taken a provincial, down-at-heel institution and turned it into a Grade-A showcase for Australian and international art. Yet he leaves at time when […]

Film Reviews

The Conspirator

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 Film Reviews,

To get the most from The Conspirator it helps to be selectively ignorant of American history. It is useful to have some broad understanding of the brutality and bitterness of the American Civil War, but even better if one has never heard of the conspiracy trial that followed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In making […]

Art Essays

Shen Jiawei: the Art of Politics

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 Art Essays, Australian Art, Chinese Art, International Art,

Shen Jiawei became an artist during the Cultural Revolution, making his first major works in the service of the state, embodied in the figure of the Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong. For roughly a decade, from 1966 onwards, every aspect of daily life in China was politicised in a way that seems to defy logic. It […]

Art Essays

Super Cooper

Thursday, July 15th, 2010 General Art Essays,

Despite a ludicrous survey conducted by the Australia Council that tells us 93 per cent of Australians are actively involved in the arts, the politicians are not fooled. They know that art is a minority pursuit, with no votes to be won or lost. One of the reasons for this stasis is the age-old connection […]

Art Essays

Tommy Watson & the politics of the indigenous art market

Friday, January 1st, 2010 Aboriginal Art, Australian Art,

Yannima Tommy Watson is said to have painted his first picture in 2001, in the community of Irrunytju, twelve kilometers south-west of the tri-border, where South Australia meets Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The white man’s borders don’t mean much to the inhabitants of this remote settlement, also known as Wingellina, but it is […]

Art Essays

Tehran

Sunday, March 1st, 2009 International Art,

“The East looks to itself,” wrote Gertrude Bell in her book, Persian Pictures, “it knows nothing of the greater world of which you are a citizen, asks nothing of you and your civilisation.” In the era of globalisation one can only smile at those Orientalist sentiments that impressed Bell’s readers with their profundity in 1894. […]

Art Essays

Ai Weiwei

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 Chinese Art, International Art,

Ai Weiwei has spent the past decade swimming against a tide that now looks more like a tsunami. Born in 1957, he spent his youth in the remote province of Xingjian, where his father, the poet Ai Qing, had been sent for re-education. The family was not allowed to return to Beijing until 1975, when […]