Tag: aboriginal art

Sydney Morning Herald Column

NGV Triennial 3

Saturday, February 10th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Over the past decade I’ve had so many positive things to say about the National Gallery of Victoria that I get accused of favouritism. My response to such charges is very simple: Put in the work and reap the rewards. The NGV owes its success to a busy, dynamic exhibitions program and an unwavering focus […]

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 […]


Aboriginal Art returns to NYC (Starring Steve Martin)

Saturday, October 14th, 2023 Blog,

When Andy Warhol said: “the best museum is Bloomingdale’s,” he was anticipating a day when art was seen as just another commodity, like a kettle or a toaster. Last month the famous showroom windows at Bloomingdale’s on 59thSt. Manhattan, displayed kettles, toasters and expresso machines covered in the distinctive patterns of Western Desert painting. It […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Fearless & Parlour Parlëur

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There are lots of people who acquire a few trendy works and call themselves “art collectors”. To all those aspirationals, who may well go on to greater things, I would ask them to take a look at Fearless: Contemporary Indigenous Women in the Hassall Milson Collection, at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, to see what can […]

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

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, […]


Bob Edwards: A Eulogy

Friday, June 16th, 2023 Blog,

Bob Edwards once asked me if I’d like to be director of a wellknown art institution. I said “No”, and have no regrets, but if I had wanted the job, I know he would have worked behind the scenes to make it a reality. He did this – discreetly – for others whom he had […]


Museum Dreaming

Friday, April 7th, 2023 Blog,

When it comes to cultural matters, Australia is the land of wishful thinking. The entire rationale behind the Art Gallery of NSW’s Sydney Modern Project, valued at $344 million, was “build it and they will come”. After three months this is already looking like a pipe dream. The former NSW Government’s planned destruction of the […]