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Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Indonesia: Contemporary Worlds

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

When the Reformasi era began in 1998 Indonesian art burst out like a tightly-coiled spring released from its bonds. It wasn’t just artists that rejoiced in their newfound freedom – the entire population was now able to imagine itself as a citizenry of the world rather than subjects of Suharto’s corrupt, oppressive regime. Matters would grow […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Margaret Olley: A Generous Life ( + Quilty)

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

On a Saturday morning in Brisbane one doesn’t expect to find a long queue extending from the entrance of the Gallery of Modern Art. It was the sort of queue that forms when people are waiting to buy tickets for rock concerts or be first into the Boxing Day sales. The goal this time was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Michael Armitage: The Promised Land

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Michael Armitage as both an artist and a person is his immunity to cynicism. This is no mean feat in a world dominated by political immorality and self-interest in which voters seem to have lost the ability to tell right from wrong. Among artists the vogue is to produce […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s an unspoken convention that museums display modern art in brightly-lit white boxes while ancient artefacts are picked out by spotlights in darkened rooms. It may be symbolic that the art of our time is to be viewed with maximum clarity, nothing concealed, while the shadows and gloom of historical displays reflect the partial state […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Essential Duchamp

Thursday, June 20th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When Marcel Duchamp arrived in New York in June 1915, he was already famous – or rather, notorious – as the creator of Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912). The painting had been the sensation of the Armory Show of 1913, the first major exhibition to bring European modern art before the American public. Today […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: Hot Blood

Thursday, June 13th, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When the Chinese Defence Minister recently told us the government had been “correct” in its response to the Tiananmen Square protests he said a lot about China today. For the past three decades the Party has kept silent about Tiananmen and obliged its citizens to follow suit. To suddenly come out and portray the massacre […]

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 […]