Sydney Morning Herald Column

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 […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Louise Bourgeois

Monday, December 11th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s only taken a year, but Sydney Modern is hosting its first genuine exhibition. Until now, all we’ve had in this much-hyped building are rearrangements of the permanent collection, but Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day? is a most elaborate first venture. Australia has seen Bourgeois’s […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

John R. Walker: Journeys and Return

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Inspiration” is a word we use in the most casual fashion, but it originally meant being under the direct influence of God. For the artist, John R. Walker, it has retained that significance. As a practising Christian, Walker believes there are paintings that are divinely inspired, the breath of God having touched something in the […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2023

Monday, November 27th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Has the Portia Geach gone political? That was the inescapable suspicion when this year’s prize went to Kate Stevens for The Whistleblower, a portrait of military lawyer, David McBride, currently in court over breaches of the Defence Act, having pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents that detailed alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. McBride’s argument […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column


Monday, November 20th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In 1982, the Art Gallery of NSW hosted the show, Kandinsky, which featured 40-odd works from the Guggenheim collection. Forty-one years later, the AGNSW is hosting the show, Kandinsky, which features 40-odd works from the Guggenheim collection. Comparing the two events, the chief difference is that the earlier exhibition ran for only a month, before […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

1,001 Remarkable Objects

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A childhood experience that stays lodged in my mind is seeing the Transparent Woman at the old Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo. It didn’t matter where it came from or who made it, I was simply awestruck by the spectacle of the human body with the skin removed, by the sight of […]