Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Matisse & Picasso

Friday, January 10th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Two boxers circling each other in the ring: a favourite image used to describe the relationship between Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. One wonders if it inspired those notorious promotional photos of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat as boxers in the 1980s. Indeed, it says a great deal about the evolution of the art market […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column


Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

As Australia burns it seems almost callous to call an exhibition Water. When this show was being planned the  curators at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art could hardly know it would coincide with one of the worst bushfire seasons of all time. They were more likely motivated by the drought that has dragged on since […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Robert Klippel: Assembled

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years since Bob Klippel died, and 17 years since his definitive retrospective at the Art Gallery of NSW. At the time it was commonplace to hear Klippel (1920-2001) described as “Australia’s greatest sculptor” – a title that generated a good deal of grumbling and dissent among his peers. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Keith Haring Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Some artists are shooting stars, others get their names carved into the annals of art history. The trick is to distinguish one from the other. Disgusted by the rampant commercialism of the New York art scene of the 1980s, Robert Hughes wrote a mock-epic poem, The SoHoiad, in which included throwaway references to “Keith Boring” […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Singapore Biennale 2019

Thursday, December 12th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Irony is not a concept one associates with Singapore but when the theme of the Biennale is: “Every step in the right direction” it implies a sense of conformity that would have delighted Lee Kuan Yew. Needless to say this is entirely contrary to what Artistic Director, Patrick Flores, had in mind. The subtitle is […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Jon Molvig: Maverick

Friday, December 6th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If art were like rugby league Margaret Olley and Jon Molvig would have been NSW State-of-Origin stars. Instead they will always be associated with Queensland where they spent a significant part of ther lives. This year’s Olley retrospective at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art drew massive crowds. Jon Molvig: Maverick, at the Queensland Art Gallery, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Mike Parr: The Eternal Opening

Friday, November 29th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Mike Parr is an artist who is prepared to suffer for his art and make everyone else suffer as well. Spending hours at Carriageworks last week watching Parr put himself through a series of unpleasant, protracted tortures, I had plenty of opportunity to reflect on the experience. “You’re the only one who’s watched the whole […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Japan Supernatural

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Directors’ forewords in exhibition catalogues are usually perfunctory affairs but there was one line in Michael Brand’s comments in the Japan Supernatural volume that caught my eye. It was surprising to find the Art Gallery of NSW director thanking Louise Neri of Gagosian Gallery, New York, for accompanying him on a first visit to Takashi Murakami’s […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cornelia Parker

Friday, November 15th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A good deal of contemporary art is wilfully opaque but the work of Cornelia Parker is distinguished by a consistent, lucid intelligence – which is not to say there aren’t plenty of puzzles. I’ve never been a fan of wall labels that explain a work but with the survey Rachel Kent has put together for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Guan Wei

Friday, November 8th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

 This is Guan Wei month in Sydney, with the Museum of Contemporary Art displaying its holdings of this popular Chinese-Australian artist; the University of Western Sydney hosting an exhibition at its Parramatta South Campus, and Martin Browne Contemporary showing new work. Not many artists can say they’ve had three exhibitions running sumultaneously in the same […]