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The Murder of the Powerhouse Museum

Friday, June 26th, 2020 Blog,

It’s not a museum. This is not a matter of opinion, it’s not a slander being spread by critics of the project. The proposed building in Parramatta the NSW government would like us to see as the home of a ‘relocated’ Powerhouse Museum will be nothing more than an entertainment venue stuffed with cafes and […]

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Christo – His legacy in Australia

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 Blog,

Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia. The most important piece of avant-garde art ever made in this country, or the the work of a madman? Both views got plenty of traction at the end of October 1969, when Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009), undertook the monumental task of wrapping part […]

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Frank Watters 1934 – 2020

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Blog,

Frank Watters, who has died at the age of 86, was not only a pillar of the Sydney gallery scene for more than 50 years, he was a truly humane personality in a business that breeds sharks. Although he adored gossip and had a wicked wit, Frank held fast to his own standards. He was […]

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Tales from the Woods

Friday, April 17th, 2020 Blog,

From Goya’s The Third of May, 1808 (1814) to Picasso’s Guernica (1937), to countless, politically correct projects by contemporary artists, the modern era has used art as a megaphone for speaking the truth to power. Yet it remains hard to think of a single instance when a work of so-called ‘political art’ has had any […]

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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 […]