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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Janet Laurence: After Nature

March 21, 2019

“What need has nature of thought, of care?” asked Confucius in the 5thC. BCE. “Plenty” is the answer he’d receive today, as we struggle with the effects of global warming, deforrestation, salination, loss of species and habitat. In the so-called ‘Anthropocene’ era nature needs all the help it can get. Having worked so dilgently to […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Quilty

March 13, 2019

It’s often said that having a lot of enemies must mean you’re doing something right. Ben Quilty discovered long ago that the price of fame for an artist is the undying enmity of a large proportion of one’s peers. This hasn’t put the brakes on his glorious ascent but neither has it left him unscarred. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Hassall Collection

March 7, 2019

Last week I had occasion to reflect at length on that strange beast, the art collector. The immediate stimulus was a talk at Artspace during a private view of the Michael Hobbs Collection. The late Michael Hobbs was a mainstay of the Sydney art scene for many decades, and his children are honouring his legacy […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Perth Festival Art 2019

February 28, 2019

In 2018 the Art Gallery of Western Australia chose to opt out of the Perth Festival. This year AGWA has made an impressive comeback with Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley – the stand-out event in the 2019 visual arts program. It’s an exhibition that has been six years in the making, and the […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art

February 22, 2019

Instead of asking: “How are you?”, the Chinese might greet you with words: “Have you eaten?” If ever one required confirmation of the Chinese love of food please note that the most famous and popular works in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, are two miraculous carvings: one of a cabbage, the other a piece of […]

FEATURED

Blog March 22, 2019

Edmund Capon 1940-2019

Death was certainly not in Edmund Capon’s plans when he retired as the longest-serving Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at the end of 2011. For the following six years he kept up a busy schedule of public speaking, leading tours, and being generally open to all possibilities. When we met for […]

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Film Reviews

Destroyer

March 21, 2019

If you thought the make-up department had done a number on Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots, wait until you see Nicole Kidman in Destroyer. At the first glimpse of her red-rimmed eyes and dry, blotchy skin, the word “ravaged” springs to mind. It’s very hard to recognise the aquatic princess from Acquaman, the […]

Film Reviews

Sometimes, Always, Never

March 13, 2019

Bill Nighy is one of those actors who tends to polarise his audience. Some viewers can’t get enough of him, others find him mannered and irritating. After watching Nighy go through his paces on many occasions I can only conclude that the mannerisms are down to the man, not the role. His self-conscious blend of […]

Film Reviews

Alliance Française French Film Festival 2019

March 7, 2019

Aside from the Indians, the French are probably the greatest talkers in the world. We Aussies, by comparison, are notably inarticulate. Perhaps that’s why we have such an inexhaustible affection for the annual Alliance Française French Film Festival, an event packed with movies in which characters babble on and on in a language which most […]

Film Reviews

Greta

February 28, 2019

Few actors do “weird” as well as Isabelle Huppert. Whether she is playing a murderess, a swindler, a chilly business woman, an uptight teacher, or a rape victim who turns the tables, she remains aloof and self-contained. No matter what happens to her character in the course of a film she quickly recaptures her sangfroid. […]