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Tag: International Art

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Art of the Spanish Flu

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Anyone who thinks COVID-19 has claimed a huge number of lives should look at the Spanish flu of 1918-20. In Pale Rider (2017), a compelling history of that earlier pandemic, Laura Spinney writes: “Between the first case recorded on 4 March 1918, and the last sometime in March 1920, it killed 50-100 million, or between […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Shadow catchers

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Adelbert von Chamisso’s gothic tale, Peter Schlemihl, the hero sells his shadow to the devil in exchange for a purse perpetually filled with gold, but all the wealth in the world is not enough to compensate for the horror he inspires when his lack of a shadow is noticed. For “shadow” we might read […]

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Christo – His legacy in Australia

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 Blog,

Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia. The most important piece of avant-garde art ever made in this country, or the the work of a madman? Both views got plenty of traction at the end of October 1969, when Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009), undertook the monumental task of wrapping part […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Some Mysterious Process

Friday, June 5th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When an art museum celebrates 50 years of its own collecting with an exhibition called Some Mysterious Process, it doesn’t suggest a highly developed sense of irony. One might imagine such a show would stress the insights and knowledge of the curators, the strategic planning involved in tracking and purchasing key works. To say it’s […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Solitude

Friday, May 15th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A successful artist needs more than talent. There has to be a taste – perhaps a need – for solitude. The movies portray artists as great Bohemians who carouse in bars and cafés, have fierce arguments about art and embark on passionate, doomed love affairs, but this is only what they do in their spare […]

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Tales from the Woods

Friday, April 17th, 2020 Blog,

From Goya’s The Third of May, 1808 (1814) to Picasso’s Guernica (1937), to countless, politically correct projects by contemporary artists, the modern era has used art as a megaphone for speaking the truth to power. Yet it remains hard to think of a single instance when a work of so-called ‘political art’ has had any […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Can Indigenous be International?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This year sees the first ever Biennale of Sydney with an exclusively indigenous theme. It’s not the only large exhibition to have taken this approach – the Havana Biennial has been devoted to ‘the developing world’ since its inception in 1984 – but it’s probably the most high-profile. It’s an irony that such a globalised […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Biennale of Sydney 2020. Part 2

Thursday, March 26th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Another week, another avalanche of statistics about infections and fatalities. As I write, the Biennale of Sydney, which has made heroic efforts to remain open, has just announced it will be switching to a digital platform. This is a poor substitute for the first-hand experience of works of art but it’s better than a total […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Biennale of Sydney 2020. Part 1

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Every morning in Sydney we wake to news of cancellations and closures because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. By the time this column appears there may be few major (or minor) venues that remain open, but – following that perennial advice about keeping a cool head in a crisis – I’m going to proceed as […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Water

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 […]