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Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Historical Expression of Chinese Art

April 11, 2019

Look no further, we have a winner for the competition for this year’s least sexy exhibition title. The Historical Expression of Chinese Art: Calligraphy and Painting from the National Museum of China, at the National Museum of Australia, will take a lot of beating. Perhaps it sounds better in Mandarin, but this is only too […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

April 3, 2019

“They really exhibit all the nice stuff here,” said Amy Lo, Head of Wealth Management at UBS Hong Kong, by way of justifying the Swiss bank’s continuing sponsorship of Art Basel Hong Kong. That statement might serve as a succinct review of this year’s fair, but it’s actually a bit more complicated. In the whirlwind […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Hans and Nora Heysen

March 29, 2019

There’s a study to be written on artists who are the son or daughter of an already famous artist. In Australia there are many examples but the best story is that of Hans Heysen and his fourth daughter, Nora. This relationship is explored in Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art, at the […]

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. […]

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Sydney Morning Herald Column April 18, 2019

Suzanne Archer: The Song of the Cicada

Suzanne Archer’s career as an Australian artist began in a blaze of publicity in 1969. Her first solo exhibition at Sydney’s Clune Gallery was written up in the papers, and splashed on radio and TV. It helped that Archer was young and glam, and that the local gallery scene was limited to a handful of […]

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Film Reviews

Burning

There are few genuine auteurs in today’s cinema but Korea’s Lee Chang-dong is one of them. It’s a word favoured by French new wave critics when referring to a director whose work has its own distinctive artistry. Only a true artist could have made films such as Secret Sunshine (2007) and Oasis (2002), filled with scenes that have […]

Film Reviews

The Aftermath

April 10, 2019

‘British reserve’ may be a cliché, but clichés have an alarming habit of reasserting themselves over and over. James Kent is an experienced director for British television whose 2014 debut feature Testament of Youth, was based on Vera Brittain’s famous memoir of World War One. That movie was a highly professional production but a lukewarm […]

Film Reviews

Galveston & Woman at War

April 3, 2019

We’re in the slow season for high-profile new releases but there are plenty of worthwhile films that never make it to the big cinema complexes. Two such movies are Galvestonand Woman at War, which I’ll review this week as a double feature. Galveston is directed by Mélanie Laurent, better known for her work in front of […]

Film Reviews

Us

March 29, 2019

Every great horror film acts as a metaphor for some underlying truth, but Jordan Peele’s Us is one long metaphor. In his well-received debut, Get Out, (2017) Peele gave us a horror-comedy in which an Afro-American protagonist discovered that his white girlfriend’s parents and their friends were colonising the bodies of younger, healthier black people. […]