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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Jon Molvig: Maverick

December 6, 2019

If art were like rugby league Margaret Olley and Jon Molvig would have been NSW State-of-Origin stars. Instead they will always be associated with Queensland where they spent a significant part of ther lives. This year’s Olley retrospective at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art drew massive crowds. Jon Molvig: Maverick, at the Queensland Art Gallery, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Mike Parr: The Eternal Opening

November 29, 2019

Mike Parr is an artist who is prepared to suffer for his art and make everyone else suffer as well. Spending hours at Carriageworks last week watching Parr put himself through a series of unpleasant, protracted tortures, I had plenty of opportunity to reflect on the experience. “You’re the only one who’s watched the whole […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Japan Supernatural

November 22, 2019

Directors’ forewords in exhibition catalogues are usually perfunctory affairs but there was one line in Michael Brand’s comments in the Japan Supernatural volume that caught my eye. It was surprising to find the Art Gallery of NSW director thanking Louise Neri of Gagosian Gallery, New York, for accompanying him on a first visit to Takashi Murakami’s […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cornelia Parker

November 15, 2019

A good deal of contemporary art is wilfully opaque but the work of Cornelia Parker is distinguished by a consistent, lucid intelligence – which is not to say there aren’t plenty of puzzles. I’ve never been a fan of wall labels that explain a work but with the survey Rachel Kent has put together for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Guan Wei

November 8, 2019

 This is Guan Wei month in Sydney, with the Museum of Contemporary Art displaying its holdings of this popular Chinese-Australian artist; the University of Western Sydney hosting an exhibition at its Parramatta South Campus, and Martin Browne Contemporary showing new work. Not many artists can say they’ve had three exhibitions running sumultaneously in the same […]

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Sydney Morning Herald Column December 12, 2019

Singapore Biennale 2019

Irony is not a concept one associates with Singapore but when the theme of the Biennale is: “Every step in the right direction” it implies a sense of conformity that would have delighted Lee Kuan Yew. Needless to say this is entirely contrary to what Artistic Director, Patrick Flores, had in mind. The subtitle is […]

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Film Reviews

Machine

Artificial Intelligence will have a momentous influence on the future of humankind. It has the potential to transform every aspect of our lives – a power that brings with it a whole raft of moral dilemmas and crucial choices. At its most caricatural form no discussion of A.I. gets very far before someone mentions the […]

Film Reviews

Where’s My Roy Cohn?

December 6, 2019

On meeting Roy Cohn, we are told, “you knew you were in the presence of evil.” This statement occurs within the first few minutes. The rest of Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary adds support to the proposition. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how American politics attained its current level of crazed amorality, Where’s My Roy Cohn? […]

Film Reviews

Judy and Punch & Suzi Q

November 29, 2019

Not for the first time I’m left wondering how it is that Australian films have become so bleak and brutal. The latest example is Mirrah Foulkes’s debut feature, Judy and Punch, which has atttacted a lot of specious praise and been nominated for umpteen awards. The reasons, as far as I can tell, are as […]

Film Reviews

The Report

November 22, 2019

One of the last-resort strategies being used by Fox News to undermine the Trump impeachment case is to complain that it’s too boring to watch witness after witness pile ignominy on the President. The point was suprisingly echoed by an NBC reporter who complained the proceedings lacked “pizzazz” – a word defined by the dictionary […]

Blog

A Model Collector

November 29, 2019

What happens to the rest of your life when Tom Wolfe declares you “Girl of the Year” in 1964? It’s a hard act to live up to, and even harder to sustain as time rolls by in its remorseless fashion. Fifty-five years later, “Baby Jane” Holzer is unfazed. I’m talking with this celebrated model, property […]

Blog

Japan Supernatural: A First Look

November 2, 2019

Curators will often describe an exhibition as a labour of love, but Japan Supernatural is more like a labour of fun. Melanie Eastburn has enjoyed working on the show for about a year-and-a-half, but has been carrying the idea around for much, much longer. Over the past few decades the Japanese fascination with ghosts, demons […]

Blog

Destination NSW vs. Yoko Ono

August 22, 2019

Not many Australian bureaucrats would qualify as art experts but apparently this is no impediment to making pronouncements. And so we have Sandra Chipchase, the Chief Executive of Destination NSW, telling Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art that Yoko Ono is “a well-known celebrity” but not much of an artist. It’s a perfect example of that […]

Blog

How the Yolngu Do It

August 16, 2019

One hot August night in Darwin, every year, all the tribes gather on the lawn of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Most of those tribes are overwhelmingly white: the dedicated collectors of Aboriginal art, the curators and gallery directors, the art […]