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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Barbara McKay & Hadyn Wilson

Friday, August 9th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In May the National Gallery of Australia launched a campaign called Know My Name, which aims to raise awareness of the work of Australian women artists. Call me a cynic, but when a leading institution takes up the cause of a supposedly neglected minority, one may assume the battle is already over. Historically-speaking there’s no […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Charlie Sheard: Absolute Abstraction

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Absolute Abstraction is an uncompromising title for an uncompromising show at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum. So far removed is this event from the laidback norms of Australian painting that it would surely read better in German: Absolute Abstraktion. That hard ‘k’ makes all the difference. Charlie Sheard (b.1960) always knew he wanted to be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Shaun Gladwell: Pacific Undertow

Friday, July 26th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

We all have our blind spots and Shaun Gladwell (b.1972) is one of mine. For almost two decades I’ve watched people getting excited about his slow-motion videos of a figure on a skateboard, on a BMX bike, on a motorbike, on a surfboard, on a train… As someone who has never had the slightest desire […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tracey Moffatt & Kartika Kain

Thursday, July 18th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

On a rare week when I was able to get back to the commercial galleries there were a few tempting propositions. Chief among them, Peter Godwin’s Mask, Music and Studio at Defiance at Mary Place (until 25 July) – a really tough collection of still lifes that push the boundaries of the genre, picking up […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Indonesia: Contemporary Worlds

Thursday, July 11th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When the Reformasi era began in 1998 Indonesian art burst out like a tightly-coiled spring released from its bonds. It wasn’t just artists that rejoiced in their newfound freedom – the entire population was now able to imagine itself as a citizenry of the world rather than subjects of Suharto’s corrupt, oppressive regime. Matters would grow […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Margaret Olley: A Generous Life ( + Quilty)

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

On a Saturday morning in Brisbane one doesn’t expect to find a long queue extending from the entrance of the Gallery of Modern Art. It was the sort of queue that forms when people are waiting to buy tickets for rock concerts or be first into the Boxing Day sales. The goal this time was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Michael Armitage: The Promised Land

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Michael Armitage as both an artist and a person is his immunity to cynicism. This is no mean feat in a world dominated by political immorality and self-interest in which voters seem to have lost the ability to tell right from wrong. Among artists the vogue is to produce […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s an unspoken convention that museums display modern art in brightly-lit white boxes while ancient artefacts are picked out by spotlights in darkened rooms. It may be symbolic that the art of our time is to be viewed with maximum clarity, nothing concealed, while the shadows and gloom of historical displays reflect the partial state […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Essential Duchamp

Thursday, June 20th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When Marcel Duchamp arrived in New York in June 1915, he was already famous – or rather, notorious – as the creator of Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912). The painting had been the sensation of the Armory Show of 1913, the first major exhibition to bring European modern art before the American public. Today […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: Hot Blood

Thursday, June 13th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When the Chinese Defence Minister recently told us the government had been “correct” in its response to the Tiananmen Square protests he said a lot about China today. For the past three decades the Party has kept silent about Tiananmen and obliged its citizens to follow suit. To suddenly come out and portray the massacre […]