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Sydney Morning Herald Column

River on the Brink

October 3, 2019

When your Prime-Minister is admiring a McDonalds in Ohio while other world leaders are attending a United Nations summit on climate change, it gives a pretty clear indication of the importance this government assigns to environmental policy. The PM likes to present himself as a real Aussie bloke and his solution to global warming could […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Making Art Public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects

September 26, 2019

Scientists have disproved the old adage about lightning never striking the same place twice, and John Kaldor has confirmed their findings. In 2009 the Art Gallery of NSW hosted the exhibition 40 Years: Kaldor Public Art Projects. Today the AGNSW’s major exhibition is Making Art Public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects. The story […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Savanhdary Vongpoothorn: All That Arises

September 19, 2019

How dreary Australian culture would be if it wasn’t for refugees. In every generation since the Second World War there have been significant artists who came to this country because of conflict or persecution in their homelands. This is worth remembering at a time in which xenophobia and insularity are making a comeback, aided by […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Contemporary Art Fair 2019

September 12, 2019

Ask any art dealer and they’ll tell you the market has gone flat, as collectors brace themselves for a Trump-led recession. Ordinarily this should put a cloud over an event such as the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, now in its sixth iteration, but the atmosphere and sentiment is absurdly up-beat. When I visited Carriageworks last […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Nusra Latif Qureshi & Adam Chang

September 5, 2019

Before moving to Melbourne in 2001 at the age of 27, Nusra Latif Quereshi was trained as musaviripainter in her birthplace, Lahore. The term refers to a type of Islamic and Indian miniature painting that requires a high degree of skill and patience. Before moving to Australia in 1997, aged 37, Adam Chang studied painting […]

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Sydney Morning Herald Column October 10, 2019

Steirischer Herbst 2019: Grand Hotel Abyss

Welcome to the Grand Hotel Abyss. The phrase was coined in 1933 by Marxist literary critic, György Lukacs, as a put-down of another group of Marxist intellectuals – the so-called Frankfurt School, whose ranks included luminaries such as Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas. Lukacs argued that the Frankfurt School practised a form of […]

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Film Reviews

Judy

If Joker has put Joaquin Phoenix firmly in line for an Oscar, Judy has done the same for Renée Zellweger. Like so many Hollywood bio pics the film charts the decline that inevitably follows fame and fortune. We focus on the tumultuous final year of Judy Garland’s life, although the story is punctuated by flashbacks […]

Film Reviews

Joker

October 3, 2019

Long before it was released Todd Phillips’s Joker was shaping as the most controversial film this year in the United States. The big sticking point is the portrayal of the famous super villain as a sad, mentally-disturbed loser driven to breaking point by a series of unhappy breaks that would have shredded Job’s fortitude. Arthur […]

Film Reviews

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

September 26, 2019

Guillermo del Toro may not have planted his considerable bulk in the director’s chair for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but his fingerprints are everywhere. The film is a collection of classic horror scenarios with an undercurrent of social history. It’s scary but not-too-scary, a few gruesome moments but no buckets of gore. […]

Film Reviews

Ad Astra

September 19, 2019

In James Gray’s movies characters seem to act as if they were in a novel, indulging in an inordinate amount of self-reflection. It may, therefore, have been inevitable that the director would eventually set a film in space where there is no limit to introspective opportunities. Ad Astra (Latin for “to the stars”) introduces us to […]

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 […]

Blog

David Goldblatt: Photography & Truth

August 9, 2019

David Goldblatt will always be known as the photographer who exposed the evils of Apartheid to the world, but to characterise him as a ‘political’ artist is to diminish the breadth of his achievements. This is something Goldblatt has in common with all great photographers who have found their subjects in war, poverty, hatred and […]

Blog

Danie Mellor

August 3, 2019

NATSIAA may not be the most mellifluous of acronyms but it generates an incredible amount of excitement, as finalist Danie Mellor can attest. In 2009 Mellor won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, which is held every year at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, in Darwin. It’s good […]