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Films of the Decade 2010-2019

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Blog,

Looking back over the past decade I was struck by the total disconnect between the highest-grossing films of the year and – for want of a better word – films of quality. Inevitably, the biggest box office hits are superhero movies, kids’ films, or franchises such as Harry Potter, James Bond or Star Wars. It’s […]

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Matisse & Picasso: A First Look

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Blog,

It must have been tempting to call this exhibition Matisse v. Picasso, a bit like Batman v. Superman. The Australian public responds well to healthy competition, as demonstrated by the perennial mania for art prizes. Instead the National Gallery of Australia settled on the more dignified Matisse & Picasso as the title of its summer […]

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A Model Collector

Friday, November 29th, 2019 Blog,

What happens to the rest of your life when Tom Wolfe declares you “Girl of the Year” in 1964? It’s a hard act to live up to, and even harder to sustain as time rolls by in its remorseless fashion. Fifty-five years later, “Baby Jane” Holzer is unfazed. I’m talking with this celebrated model, property […]

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Japan Supernatural: A First Look

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 Blog,

Curators will often describe an exhibition as a labour of love, but Japan Supernatural is more like a labour of fun. Melanie Eastburn has enjoyed working on the show for about a year-and-a-half, but has been carrying the idea around for much, much longer. Over the past few decades the Japanese fascination with ghosts, demons […]

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Destination NSW vs. Yoko Ono

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 Blog,

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 […]

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How the Yolngu Do It

Friday, August 16th, 2019 Blog,

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 […]

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David Goldblatt: Photography & Truth

Friday, August 9th, 2019 Blog,

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 […]

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Danie Mellor

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 Blog,

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 […]

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Overshadowing the Empire

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 Blog,

Cai Guo-Qiang gives the impression of being a truly happy man. Tall and lean, he has the crew cut favoured by the marines, but unlike those artists who need to appear terribly earnest, he is quick with a smile and a laugh. Why wouldn’t he be happy? Cai was born in 1957 in Quanzhou, a […]

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Monet: Lasting Impressions

Thursday, June 20th, 2019 Blog,

“A catastrophe seemed imminent to me,” wrote Louis Leroy in a notorious exhibition review of April, 1874, “and it was reserved for M. Monet to contribute the last straw.” That last straw was a painting called Impression Sunrise, a grey, misty view of a harbour wth the silhouettes of two small boats in the foreground, […]