Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: A Blueprint for Ruins

Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

On a first visit to Suzhou, years ago, I was looking forward to seeing this city of historic canals and gardens. Arriving at night, I wasn’t prepared for the long approach to the CBD, down a boulevard lined with massive buildings, or the skyscrapers that dominated the skyline. I wasn’t prepared, but I should have […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Fairy Tales in Art and Film

Saturday, February 24th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Most fairy tales were written for adults. When Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was compiling the stories we know today as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Puss in Boots, the very idea of “childhood” was relatively new. Or so we understand from French historian, Philippe Ariès, whose influential book Centuries of Childhood (1960), has dominated our […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

In Our Time: Four Decades of Art from China and Beyond. The Geoff Raby Collection

Saturday, February 17th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Many who have lived and worked in China over the past 30 years, have stories about the painting they could have bought for a few hundred dollars that is now worth hundreds of thousands. Geoff Raby, who was Australia’s ambassador to China from 2007-2011, had more opportunities than most, inhabiting a social circle that extended […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

NGV Triennial 3

Saturday, February 10th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Over the past decade I’ve had so many positive things to say about the National Gallery of Victoria that I get accused of favouritism. My response to such charges is very simple: Put in the work and reap the rewards. The NGV owes its success to a busy, dynamic exhibitions program and an unwavering focus […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Ann Thomson & Ian Gentle

Saturday, February 3rd, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Reaching the age of 90 and remaining young is reason enough for us to celebrate Ann Thomson, but for Terence Maloon, curator of the artist’s survey at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, it’s not just a sentimental occasion. He argues forcefully that Thomson’s work “has never stood still, never lost its momentum or intensity, and has […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tacita Dean

Friday, January 26th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s odd to think Tacita Dean was once lumped in with that motley group known as the YBAs – or Young British Artists. She had the mixed fortune of emerging at the same time as such headline-seekers as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and the Chapman Brothers, who saw notoreity as the superhighway to success in […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Jonathan Jones & Imants Tillers

Friday, January 19th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

  “We promised at the election that we would preserve the Wran legacy and keep the Powerhouse open. We are doing just that,” said NSW Arts Minister, John Graham, in a press release of 2 September, last year. In direct contradiction of that election promise, the Minns government is now planning to close the Powerhouse […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs

Friday, January 12th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Sydney this summer there is one exhibition drawing bigger attendances than all the other shows combined. Ramses & the Gold of the Pharoahs at the Australian Museum feeds on a fascination with ancient Egypt which hasn’t dimmed since 1988, when a previous blockbuster named Gold of the Pharoahs was shown in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Miwatj Yolngu: Sunrise People

Friday, December 22nd, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Yolngu country, in the gulf of Carpentaria, draws its identity from the everlasting rendezvous of salt water and fresh water. The same daily drama takes place in the Shoalhaven, in a vast estuary near Nowra. As with Yirrkala, where the Yolngu live, Bundanon, the property gifted to the nation by Arthur Boyd and his family, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Emily Kam Kngwarray

Saturday, December 16th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, as she was known when she left us in 1996, was Aboriginal art’s original megastar. Not since Albert Namatjira had an artist captured the public imagination in the way Emily did. Twenty-seven years later, that reputation continues to grow, with no Australian artist being more eagerly sought after by overseas museums and […]