Tag: Australian art


Hossein Valamanesh 1949 – 2021

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 Blog,

When Hossein Valamanesh arrived in Australia in 1973, Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, Patrick White was Australian of the Year, and change was in the air. The first Biennale of Sydney was held at the Opera House, and John Kaldor brought out Gilbert & George as “the living sculptures”. James Mollison purchased Jackson Pollock’s Blue […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Know My Name Part 2

Friday, January 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

During lockdown I had another look at Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking TV series, Civilisation (1969), and was struck by how frequently this most urbane of art historians said things that are now taboo. Clark wasn’t trying to be insensitive, but our criteria of acceptability have become so rigid – dare I say, paranoid – that statements […]


2021: The Year in Art

Thursday, January 6th, 2022 Blog,

Looking back on 2021 it would require more space to list the exhibitions we didn’t see rather than the ones we did. So many shows were cancelled, cut short or handicapped by the pandemic it’s not hard to remember the highlights. The first notable event of the year was the NGV Triennial, a massive survey […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tarnanthi 2021

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If there’s an image that stays in the mind after seeing Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia, it’s a pale, ghostly Wandjina by Angelina Karadada Boona. This mysterious spirit figure, whose origins disappear in the mists of prehistory, has been reinvented as an elusive portrait. It’s here and not-quite-here; captured in the act […]


Jeffrey Smart: A First Look

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 Blog,

Jeffrey Smart often felt betrayed or let down by Australian art museums. A promised survey at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1982 failed to materialise but was rescued by the Art Gallery of NSW. When the Australian National Gallery opened in the same year, he attended the ceremonies but was disappointed by his […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro: Post-haste

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Dromology, according to its inventor, French philosopher, Paul Virilio, is “the science (or logic) of speed”. The idea is that the speed at which something happens changes the nature of the phenomena, our perceptions and expectations. In warfare this once meant an army might gain an advantage through a forced march in the middle of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Les Sculptures Refusées 2021

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Of all the art events stifled by the pandemic, Sculpture by the Sea must be among the hardest hit. Until last year the annual stroll along the shore between Bondi and Tamarama had become part of Sydney life and a reliable tourist magnet. At its peak SXS has posted attendances of more than 500,000, a […]


Jeffrey Smart: Sketch for a Portrait

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 Blog,

When an artist is said to be “traditional and progressive at the same time,” he can only be a great individualist. When this description comes from the director of the National Gallery of Australia, in his foreword to the catalogue of a major Jeffrey Smart exhibition, it suggests a good deal of uncertainty about where […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Valerie Olsen, William Kentridge

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It would be wrong to say Valerie Marshall Strong Olsen waited a long time for her retrospective. Any suggestion of waiting disappeared with the artist’s death ten years ago. What makes this show at the National Art School’s Rayner Hoff Project Space so special is that it is also Olsen’s first-ever solo exhibition. Today, when […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2021

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Entering this year’s Portia Geach Memorial Award at the S.H. Ervin Galley means being virtually assaulted by Janne Kearney’s There’s a rainbow after every storm (Tilly Baker, musician). There may be nothing subtle about this portrait but it sets the tone for a show that greets the end of Sydney’s lockdown with a loud hooray! […]