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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2019

Friday, June 7th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If Friedrich Nietzsche hadn’t come up with his theory of the Eternal Return in the late 19th century, a few visits to the Salon des Refusés at the S.H.Ervin Gallery would have planted the idea in the mind of any latter-day philosopher. For Nietzsche the thought that everything in life would repeat on an endless cycle was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Monet: Impression Sunrise

Friday, June 7th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Most museum exhibitions proceed like a piece of music steadily rising to a crescendo. Viewers trace the growth of an artist’s talent from humble beginnings to eventual triumph. Art movements begin with groups of poor but talented Bohemians scheming in cafés, and end by dominating the museums of the world. That’s pretty much the story […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Playful” is the word on everyone’s lips as they go around the National Gallery of Victoria’s Alexander Calder survey. Yet for Sandy Rower, the artist’s grandson, who manages the Calder Foundation in New York, the term is completely taboo. Rower argues that to imagine Calder (1898-1976) was “playful” is to completely misjudge his character. Based […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Archibald Prize 2019

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

May has been the month of miracles. This was the way our highly devout Prime Minister described his election victory, which arrived on the back of three years of dysfunctional government and a campaign devoid of policies. It was also the way Tony Costa responded to his victory in this year’s Archibald Prize, for a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Villa Cerruti

Friday, May 17th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A little over a year ago I was in Turin for the announcement of one of the most remarkable private bequests ever handed to a museum of contemporary art. Francesco Federico Cerruti, a local industrialist who made his fortune from the perfect binding process that allowed the spines of books to be glued instead of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Asad Raza: Absorption

Friday, May 10th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Archibald madness may be raging in Sydney this week, but I’m in Europe, feeling a slightly guilty pleasure at being so far from the frontline. Looking at the entries on-line proves the point that it’s impossible to judge works of art from photos. Every year at the preview I feel pretty confident that I can […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Old Masters in Shenzhen

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Thirty years ago Australia began to export Aboriginal art to major venues in the United States and Europe. Unlike earlier international forays, Dreamings (1988) and Aratjara (1993) were framed as art exhibitions, not as collections of ethnographic artefacts. Nowadays, with China unassailable as our largest trading partner, the National Museum of Australia is repeating the exercise with […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The National 2019: New Australian Art

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In its second “edition”, The National: New Australian Art,  is just as hard to love as its predecessor of 2017. A collaboration between the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Carriageworks, the show is intended as an overview of the best and the brightest work being produced in Australia today. It’s […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Suzanne Archer: The Song of the Cicada

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

Suzanne Archer’s career as an Australian artist began in a blaze of publicity in 1969. Her first solo exhibition at Sydney’s Clune Gallery was written up in the papers, and splashed on radio and TV. It helped that Archer was young and glam, and that the local gallery scene was limited to a handful of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Historical Expression of Chinese Art

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

Look no further, we have a winner for the competition for this year’s least sexy exhibition title. The Historical Expression of Chinese Art: Calligraphy and Painting from the National Museum of China, at the National Museum of Australia, will take a lot of beating. Perhaps it sounds better in Mandarin, but this is only too […]