Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Zoe Leonard: Al río/To the River

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Zoe Leonard’s Al río/To the River is an exhibition that will test local audiences. It’s a deeply serious, critically acclaimed project featuring many hundreds of black-and-white images, that took five years to complete. The show is accompanied by a two-volume Hatje Cantz publication, with parallel texts in English, Spanish and French, in which the artist […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Elisabeth Cummings: Radiance

Sunday, September 17th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s the supreme test of a great artist that their work never grows stale. Upon repeated viewings, conducted over years or even decades, there are paintings that retain their freshness, renewing themselves in front of one’s eyes. As it has been only six years since a survey of Elisabeth Cummings’s work at the S.H. Ervin […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Contemporary 2023

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Contemporary art is forever making statements about political and social justice, but there’s no escaping the fact that art fairs are massive commercial enterprises in which artworks are, first and foremost, commodities. Is there anything wrong with that? No, not unless you are making work that is a strident denunciation of the capitalist system. In […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Art in Conflict

Friday, August 25th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

As it awaits the unveiling of its new galleries in 2025, the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has had to defend itself against hostile forces. At a proposed cost of more than $500 million the renovation has attracted criticism from architects, academics and heritage groups, not to mention the envy of other institutions that can only […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Darwin 2023

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Another hot August night in Darwin, another National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. It was the 40th occasion this event has been celebrated at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), and rarely has it gone off so smoothly. Things felt a little tentative last year as the industry emerged […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: I Am the People

Saturday, August 12th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In China, art is constantly flirting with politics. It’s a game of approach-and-retreat everywhere in evidence in the new White Rabbit exhibition, I Am the People, which features 27 artists or groups of artists. It’s one of curator, David Williams’s most ambitious, most overtly political shows – perhaps not as attractive or spectacular as some […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Hadley’s Art Prize 2023 & Tomás Saraceno

Sunday, August 6th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Hadley’s may not be Australia’s most expensive or glamorous hotel, but it is the only one that sponsors the nation’s richest landscape prize. Established in 2017, the prize is a vote of faith in cultural tourism – a message that Tasmania often seems to forget, even though David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

In the Arms of Unconsciousness: Women, Feminism & the Surreal

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

André Breton’s Surrealists styled themselves as professional troublemakers, sworn enemies of social and cultural convention, but in their attitudes towards women the boys were remarkably old-fashioned. If one ignores the rhetoric, it’s clear that women were viewed as either sexual objects or muses, but rarely as active subjects. The Surrealists may have wanted their women, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Michael Zavros & eX de Medici

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Post-pandemic, the art museums are finding international blockbusters prohibitively expensive and loans hard to secure. For some, the only solution has been to fall back on the permanent collection, but in Brisbane, the Gallery of Modern Art has been more proactive. Dual mid-career surveys of Michael Zavros and eX de Medici are distinguished by the […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

proppaNOW & Tennant Creek Brio

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

With the greatest Aboriginal art it’s often the skill and refinement that’s impressive. One thinks of the hypnotic rhythms of Western Desert painting, the infinite patience with which John Mawurndjul applies thin lines of ochre to a piece of bark. There are the stories that hark back to a time of spirits and mythical beings, […]