Botticelli to Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 Blog,

Why Botticelli? In an exhibition in which the first room includes remarkable paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and Savoldo, Botticelli’s Four scenes from the early life of Saint Zenobius (c.1500) is not exactly a highlight. The painting belongs to a class of decoration called spalliere – a long, horizontal panel that was inserted into a wall […]


Fare thee well, Liz Ann

Saturday, March 6th, 2021 Blog,

Retiring after 22 years at the helm of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Liz Ann Macgregor still inspires mixed feelings. She arrived in 1999 in a burst of Scottish exotica, a veritable blur of tartan, and says she is now returning from whence she came. Possibly Macgregor’s most notable achievement was to steer the institution […]


2020: The Year in Review

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 Blog,

In March last year a friend in Bangladesh forwarded a news item that said Australia’s borders would be closed until September. “Is it true!!!!” he exclaimed. I was sceptical and replied that neither the economy nor people’s limits of endurance would allow the closures to last that long. I thought we’d be flying again within […]


Swimming Pools: Deep & Shallow

Friday, February 5th, 2021 Blog,

When David Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1964 it was the swimming pools that made the most vivid impression. He had noticed them from the air – thousands of small patches of bright blue. No desirable Hollywood property was complete without one. The swimming pools of LA were the most tangible point of difference […]


Alex Seton: Meet Me Under the Dome

Friday, January 15th, 2021 Blog,

In The Ghost of Wombeyan Alex Seton has created a life-sized marble figure that lies prone on a slab beneath a heavy shroud. Should we see it as a body, or merely the impression of a body preserved in solid marble? Either way, the piece has a strong funereal connotation. The ‘ghost’ is a childhood […]


The Art Market in the Time of COVID

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 Blog,

A new Australian auction record for Brett Whiteley’s painting, Henri’s Armchair, puts the star on top of the Christmas tree for the local art market in a year when only doom and gloom were predicted. Indeed, one local auction supremo tells me that things have never been better. The plague year 2020 has seen a […]


Know My Name: A First Look

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 Blog,

If the phrase Know My Name makes you think of the theme song of a James Bond movie, you’re a prime candidate for the National Gallery of Australia’s new survey of Australian women artists, 1900 to the present. You might even draw a twinge of masculine panic from Chris Cornell’s lyric: The odds will betray […]


Streeton: A First Look

Friday, November 13th, 2020 Blog,

When the title of a show is simply the artist’s surname it sends a message. If you don’t know who Streeton is, well… you should. It’s like saying “Picasso”, rather than “Pablo Picasso” or “Rembrandt” rather than “Rembrandt van Rijn”. The unattended surname signifies greatness. It’s a warning you’ll miss out on an essential Australian […]


Brett Whiteley Catalogue Raisonné

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 Blog,

Last week the Brett Whiteley Catalogue Raisonné 1955-1992 arrived on my doorstep. When I bent down to pick it up, I thought I’d need a forklift. Lugging it inside I made straight for the bathroom scales, which registered 22.9 kilos. Upon opening the package I discovered a gleaming white case in which seven white volumes […]


Paul Higgs: Material Energy

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 Blog,

Art is revolution, improvisation, impetus, enthusiasm, record-setting, elasticity, elegance, generosity, superabundance of goodness, drowning in the Absolute, struggle against every hindrance, an aerial dance on the burning summits of passion… Filippo Marinetti   “Scattering” in physics, is what happens when waves of energy are forced to change direction due to a collision with various particles. […]