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Tag: National Gallery of Australia

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 […]

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Monet: Lasting Impressions

Thursday, June 20th, 2019 Blog,

“A catastrophe seemed imminent to me,” wrote Louis Leroy in a notorious exhibition review of April, 1874, “and it was reserved for M. Monet to contribute the last straw.” That last straw was a painting called Impression Sunrise, a grey, misty view of a harbour wth the silhouettes of two small boats in the foreground, […]

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

Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate

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

Exhibition titles are of the same order of marketing as those advertisements that claim by signing up for some course you can make millions or learn to speak another language in two weeks. Naturally if you don’t succeed it’s always your own fault. So when we come across a show titled Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Hyper Real

Thursday, January 25th, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Hyper Real at the National Gallery of Australia is one of those exhibitions that must have seemed like a great idea at the time. Realism may appear to be the most obvious approach to making art, but it has been the exception rather than the rule throughout different cultures and epochs. The Seated Scribe of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Defying Empire

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

During the Howard years we were constantly hearing about the Culture Wars – a term borrowed from the United States, pertaining to the battle between conservative and liberal values. In Australia the conflict became fixated on whether this continent had been taken by force from its original inhabitants, and what reparations were due. It was […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Versailles

Friday, February 17th, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Roberto Rossellini’s film of 1966, The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, there is a scene in which the King appears in an outrageous red outfit, all frills and flounces, designed to his own specifications. He explains that with this clownish costume he is setting a dress code to keep his nobles poor, and […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tom Roberts

Thursday, December 10th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

After a winter or two of discontent the National Gallery of Australia is once again open for business. It’s not that one hasn’t been able to visit this renowned institution, it’s just that nobody seemed to be doing so. With a scandal over looted Indian art, and a James Turrell show that ran for no […]

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What Betty Knew

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 Blog,

Betty Churcher (1931-2015) knew that if you wanted the best loans for an international exhibition you had to get the museum directors of the world to go along with the journey. This required an initial charm offensive followed by a persuasive argument about the nature of the show you were proposing. It couldn’t be a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

James Turrell: A Retrospective

Saturday, February 7th, 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Light is the crucial element for almost every great painter, from Caravaggio to Turner to Monet. Manipulating paint on canvas to convincingly reproduce the effects of sunshine or darkness is a skill that separates the master from the amateur. In Australian art one thinks of the blaze of light in Streeton’s early paintings, or the […]