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Australian Art

Art Essays

18th Biennale of Sydney

Saturday, July 7th, 2012 Aboriginal Art, Art Essays, Australian Art, Chinese Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Between belief in Nature and belief in politics, one has to choose,” writes French sociologist, Bruno Latour, in the stand-out essay in this year’s Biennale catalogue. We have a perfect demonstration of this principle in the hysterical debate about a carbon price. While Nature is forever, politics is an exercise in short-term, strategic thinking that […]

Art Essays

Theatre of the World

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

For many people museums are uncomfortably similar to mausoleums – repositories of dead animals, dead art, dead ideas. Even those of us who spend their lives in these institutions experience moments when everything feels too dull or predictable. At heart, museums are educational organisations, competing for attention with an ever-increasing range of distractions. But the […]

Art Essays

Growing up with Goannas

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 Australian Art, Blog, General Art Essays,

A few months ago I advised a friend not to labour over her blog, but to write smaller, more spontaneous pieces and publish more frequently. Unfortunately, it seems I’m completely incapable of following my own good advice. The perennial gap between theory and practice – or should that be good intentions and reality? – has begun […]

Art Essays

AGNSW: A new hang

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A new hang of a gallery’s permanent collection was once a routine affair, but nowadays it has taken on the status of an event. This is partly because the rising costs of doing exhibitions combined with the dwindling budgets of public galleries have forced all institutions to draw more heavily on the works they already […]

Art Essays

Not the Way Home, Damaged

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In recent years there has been a spate of projects in which a group of artists are taken to some far-flung location and invited to respond to a new environment. The end result is a group exhibition that gathers together works made on the spot, and those created afterwards in the studio from memories, sketches […]

Art Essays

Euan Macleod: The Shadow Line

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays,

Euan Macleod may be a landscape painter but it often seems as if the physical world is not his principle focus. Although he may stand for hours painting en plein air; although his pictures may reflect the recognisable features of a particular place, Macleod’s true subject is to be found within his own mind. The […]

Art Essays

Australian Symbolism

Saturday, May 19th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There are moments in art history that are fascinating to contemplate but irredeemably minor. This pretty much sums up Australian Symbolism, which plays a supporting role to Impressionist landscape and those paintings of a broadly nationalist persuasion that dominated art in this country in the decades leading up to the First World War. Symbolism in […]

Art Essays

The Clock, Marking Time

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column, Uncategorized,

Switzerland gave us the cuckoo clock, and Swiss-American artist, Christian Marclay, has created the most preposterous time-piece in the history of art. The Clock is such a unique artifact it defies all but the most impressionistic responses. This is obvious from Zadie Smith’s essay in the brochure published for the work’s showing at the Museum […]

Art Essays

Janet Laurence

Saturday, May 5th, 2012 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There is a certain moral cachet that comes with the label “environmental artist”. Janet Laurence seems to be simultaneously attracted to the description and slightly embarrassed. She realises that any form of categorisation is a potential trap, but if one simply must wear a label, well “environmental artist” is among the more attractive options. It […]

Art Essays

Salon des Refusés

Saturday, April 28th, 2012 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the brochure that accompanies this year’s Salon des Refusés at the S.H.Ervin Gallery, one reads that the show is “in the tradition of the renegade French Impressionists of the 1860s, who held a breakaway exhibition from the reactionary French Academy.” Leaving aside the fact that the term ‘Impressionism’ wasn’t used until the 1870s, this […]