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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Know My Name Part 2

Friday, January 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

During lockdown I had another look at Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking TV series, Civilisation (1969), and was struck by how frequently this most urbane of art historians said things that are now taboo. Clark wasn’t trying to be insensitive, but our criteria of acceptability have become so rigid – dare I say, paranoid – that statements […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tarnanthi 2021

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If there’s an image that stays in the mind after seeing Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia, it’s a pale, ghostly Wandjina by Angelina Karadada Boona. This mysterious spirit figure, whose origins disappear in the mists of prehistory, has been reinvented as an elusive portrait. It’s here and not-quite-here; captured in the act […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro: Post-haste

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Dromology, according to its inventor, French philosopher, Paul Virilio, is “the science (or logic) of speed”. The idea is that the speed at which something happens changes the nature of the phenomena, our perceptions and expectations. In warfare this once meant an army might gain an advantage through a forced march in the middle of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Les Sculptures Refusées 2021

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Of all the art events stifled by the pandemic, Sculpture by the Sea must be among the hardest hit. Until last year the annual stroll along the shore between Bondi and Tamarama had become part of Sydney life and a reliable tourist magnet. At its peak SXS has posted attendances of more than 500,000, a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Doug Aitken: New Era

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Doug Aitken, born and based in California, is one of the most globalised of all contemporary artists. He once told an intervewer that “home can be motion” and his work sets out to prove that proposition. His projects are often conceived on a grand scale, requiring teams of collaborators. He makes video, photography, sculpture, performance, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Valerie Olsen, William Kentridge

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It would be wrong to say Valerie Marshall Strong Olsen waited a long time for her retrospective. Any suggestion of waiting disappeared with the artist’s death ten years ago. What makes this show at the National Art School’s Rayner Hoff Project Space so special is that it is also Olsen’s first-ever solo exhibition. Today, when […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2021

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Entering this year’s Portia Geach Memorial Award at the S.H. Ervin Galley means being virtually assaulted by Janne Kearney’s There’s a rainbow after every storm (Tilly Baker, musician). There may be nothing subtle about this portrait but it sets the tone for a show that greets the end of Sydney’s lockdown with a loud hooray! […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Way We Eat

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the western world we greet someone with the words: “How are you?” but in China they say: “Have you eaten?” It testifies to the central importance of food in Chinese culture – and perhaps the difficulties of getting enough of it over the past 5,000 years. The Way We Eat at the Art Gallery […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Dhambit Mununggurr, Karl Wiebke, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Helen Eager

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Like all businesses in Sydney, the commercial galleries were quick to open their doors last week. Private and online sales have continued during lockdown but it must be reassuring to see flesh-and-blood customers again. First stop, for me, was Dhambit Mununggurr’s Durrk – I can fly, at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Like so many talented […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Richard Bell: You Can Go Now

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There was a time when every contemporary artist claimed their work was “subversive”, as if a boring painting or video might bring down global capitalism. Paradoxically, this feat was to be accomplished by selling works to museums and wealthy collectors for high prices, enabling the rebellious artist to enjoy all the benefits of a system […]