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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 […]

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Fang Lijun: Facial Recognition

Friday, March 8th, 2019 Blog,

A shaven head sends a message but it’s an ambiguous one. The shaven heads of prisoners or monks tell us they belong to an order of humanity removed from the social mainstream. The shaven head of a soldier, a footballer, or indeed a football hooligan, is a badge of aggressive intent. When a businessman shaves […]

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Charles Blackman 1928-2018

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 Blog,

It’s a cliché when the death of an artist also represents ‘the end of an era’, but the death of Charles Blackman draws a line under a heroic generation of Australian figurative painters. Although it represents only a small episode in a long career, Blackman was the last of The Antipodeans – a group brought […]

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Li Huayi: Fantasies on Paper and Enchantments in Gold

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 Blog,

Fantasies on Paper and Enchantments in Gold is a title that western audiences might view ironically, as a deliberately florid, over-the-top tease. For this we may thank an artist such as Jeff Koons, who has blurred the line between kitsch and fine art so successfully it’s no longer possible to draw the sharp distinctions that […]

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Sun Xun: Shapeshifter

Friday, July 13th, 2018 Blog,

“Whenever I find people putting a tag on my work I try to prove it untrue,” says Sun Xun. “I take pride in the fact that no-one can catch me. I will change the medium of my work or the style of my work. I’ll aim to be different every time, so that nobody can […]

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John Mawurndjul: Bark Maestro

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 Blog,

Here’s an art trivia question: “Who was the first Australian artist to be given a retrospective at two major European museums?” Answer: John Mawurndjul of western Arnhem Land, who in 2005-06 had his work shown at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, and the Sprengel Museum in Hannover. If you don’t remember seeing the exhibition when […]

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Harrie Fasher: The Last Charge

Friday, February 16th, 2018 Blog,

How many artists can look back on their careers and identify an ‘I have arrived’ moment? For Picasso that moment came in 1907 with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, for Sidney Nolan, it was the first Ned Kelly series of 1946-47. Damien Hirst exhibited his dead shark in formaldehyde in 1991, the following year Jeff Koons showed […]

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Guy Warren

Friday, February 2nd, 2018 Blog,

Guy Warren is part of the landscape of Australian art, which may be the reason he has been so often overlooked. An exact contemporary of artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Jeffrey Smart, Warren has lived happily enough with a much lower profile. This is partly a reflection of his personality, which displays […]

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Ray Hughes 1946 – 2017

Friday, December 15th, 2017 Blog, Uncategorized,

With the death of someone truly unique it seems the only words that leap to mind are clichés. I’m already counting the number of times I’ve heard that Ray Hughes, who died last week at the age of 72, after a bout of pneumonia, was “larger than life”, a “legendary” art dealer. Such epithets may […]

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Xu Zhen

Friday, December 8th, 2017 Blog,

In 2009 Xu Zhen decided he would “set aside his identity as an individual artist” and become a corporate entity. For the next four years, MadeIn Company (as in “Made in China”) would produce a dazzling variety of work for international museums and galleries. In 2013, its booming success encouraged the Company to release its […]