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Author: John McDonald

Art Essays

BOOKS. An Introduction

Friday, March 22nd, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

To keep writing criticism and commentary one has to keep reading. This occasional column is intended to list the books I receive that I may or may not be able to deal with at greater length. The aim is to acknowledge books and authors rather than let them slip past invisibly. This has been on […]

Art Essays

Benediction

Friday, March 22nd, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

BOOKS READ: Benediction  By Kent Haruf Alfred A. Knopf,  New York Hardback, 2013, 258 pp.   Bill Henson put me onto Kent Haruf (1943-2014) a couple of years ago and I’ve been steadily working my way through his books. Benediction is the third part of a trilogy, following Plainsong (1999) and Eventide (2004). All Haruf’s […]

Blog

Edmund Capon 1940-2019

Friday, March 22nd, 2019 Blog,

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 […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Janet Laurence: After Nature

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“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 […]

Film Reviews

Destroyer

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 Film Reviews,

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 […]

Art Essays

The I Ching

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

BOOKS READ:   The I Ching, or Book of Changes Translated into German by Richard Wilhelm, and from the German by Cary Baynes Princeton U.P., New Jersey Hardback, 1997 (orig. 1950), 740 pp   It’s not every day you finish reading the I Ching. It’s probably a peculiar thing to read it from cover to […]

Art Essays

Janet Laurence: After Nature

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

BOOKS RECEIVED:   Janet Laurence: After Nature Rachel Kent ed. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Hardback, 2019, 264 pp I’ve got my reservations about Janet Laurence’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but there’s no disputing the quality of the catalogue. The designer, Claire Orrell, should win some sort of award for a book […]

Art Essays

Newsletter 278

Saturday, March 16th, 2019 Art Essays, Newsletter,

After a week in New York I feel like I’ve been away for a month. Perhaps it’s the result of going from heat to cold and back to the heat – and first day back was really hot. It might also be due to my rather desperate NY gallery-going, as I tried to see everything of […]

Art Essays

How to Win an Election

Friday, March 15th, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

BOOKS READ:   How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians By Quintus Tullius Cicero Princeton U.P. Hardback, 2012, 99 pp.   With state elections looming in New South Wales, and Federal elections only two months away, this little book is the ideal gift for the aspiring politician who hasn’t quite mastered […]

Art Essays

The Wandering Earth

Friday, March 15th, 2019 Art Essays, Books,

BOOKS READ:   The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu Head of Zeus Hardback, 2017 (orig. 2013), 447 pp   Cixin Liu has built a huge reputation as a science fiction writer in a relatively short time. As this is a genre in which I’ve only ever found a few really excellent authors – namely Philip K. […]