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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles

June 28, 2022

Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles, at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, is a daring but necessary exhibition for an Australian art museum. Daring, because local audiences have grown so accustomed to a diet of ‘masterpiece’ shows it’s difficult to imagine them flocking to see the work of a contemporary Japanese artist whose name will be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Picasso Century

June 21, 2022

“Nothing is excluded,” said Picasso, when asked about his methods. The Picasso Century at the National Gallery of Victoria provides the evidence for that sweeping claim. The show uses the iconic artist as the key to unlock an overview of the Modernist epoch. We see how Picasso’s innovations helped shape very different movements and tendencies; […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Archibald Prize in Ten Pictures

June 14, 2022

No fewer than 816 works were entered in this year’s Archibald Prize, with 52 being selected as finalists. I should be used to it by now, but I’m still amazed that so many artists plunge in, year after year, in the forlorn hope of making it into the charmed circle that hangs at the Art […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2022

May 31, 2022

This week has served up a powerful reminder that fame in art may be long, but celebrity in politics is strictly ephemeral. The Archibald Prize rolls around every year with cosmic regularity, but governments come and go, and when they change, the entire personality of a nation is changed. Last week I felt I was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail

May 24, 2022

It’s said there are distinct personality differences between those who prefer the mountains or the seashore. While it would be hard to argue all beach lovers are extroverts while mountain people are introverts, it’s probably true that most of us harbour an innate preference for one or the other. For Sculpture by the Sea, the […]


Film Reviews July 1, 2022

Lost Illusions

  Everything is taxed, everything is sold, everything is manufactured, even success.                                                                                                          […]

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Film Reviews


June 24, 2022

There’s no mystery about a film by Baz Luhrmann. We know it’s going to be big and brassy, fast-moving, wilfully superficial, and packed with over-the-top theatrics. As a result, I go along to each new Baz film with a sense of diminished expectations. For me, everything started to go wrong with Moulin Rouge! (2001), which […]

Film Reviews

Jurassic World Dominion

June 17, 2022

If Top Gun: Maverick took formula film-making into the stratosphere, Jurassic World Dominion has returned it to the primordial swamp. Whatever the shortcomings of the previous installment in this seemingly endless series, it feels like a classic alongside this new effort. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Spanish director, J.A.Bayona managed a few clever twists […]

Film Reviews


June 9, 2022

Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare. But the past is just the same–and War’s a bloody game… Have you forgotten yet?… Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.                                 […]

Film Reviews

A Hero

June 3, 2022

Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, has forged an international reputation with a cinema of complex moral dilemmas. It’s a defining characteristic of Iranian movies in general, partly as a result of oppressive censorship that restricts the range of subjects and treatments available to filmmakers. The best directors have learned how to work within state-imposed limitations, making […]


The Archibald Prize 2022: Blak Douglas is the winner

May 14, 2022

Politics is never far away from the Archibald prize, but it’s often that nebulous strain called “art politics”. This year, with the winner being announced in the middle of a federal election campaign, it was always going to be hard to keep attention focused on the aesthetics. Blak Douglas (AKA. Adam Hill), proved to be […]


Peter Powditch: Remarks at a Memorial Exhibition

May 13, 2022

I feel like a bit of a fraud opening Peter Powditch’s memoral show, when so many other people in this room knew him a lot better than I did. – I didn’t ‘get’ Peter’s work at all when I first encountered it and didn’t meet him until some time after I’d first written – rather […]


The Archibald Prize 2022: A First Look

May 9, 2022

It was predictable that after last year’s orgiastic celebrations of the Archibald Prize’s hundredth birthday, the following year would bring the hangover. But it’s not worth complaining about the quality of the 2022 exhibition, as the Archibald is never better than mediocre, with a few standouts. The dominant aspect of this year’s selection is a […]


Ken Whisson 1927 – 2022

May 6, 2022

Ken Whisson was one of the great originals of Australian art. Had he ever become a household name he would have felt something was wrong. Whisson had no desire to live or paint in a conventional way. Like Giacometti, even when he began to sell work for higher prices he continued to live like a […]