Tag: National Gallery of Australia

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Spowers & Syme

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Spowers & Syme may sound like a firm of accountants, but we’re dealing with an entirely different order of creativity. Ethel Spowers (1890-1947), and Eveline Syme (1888-1961), were groundbreaking Australian artists at a time when women found it difficult to make any impression on an art scene dominated by self-confident and self-serving males. A touring […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

2022 and Beyond

Monday, January 2nd, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There’s been plenty to think about in 2022, including war in the Ukraine, a looming global recession and floods along the north coast, but if one had to nominate Australia’s most momentous event of the year it would have to be the change of government. Whether this was equally momentous for the visual arts remains […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cressida Campbell

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If there were ever an exhibition to silence the doubters and vanquish the sceptics, this is it. Director Nick Mitzevich says there were some at the National Gallery of Australia who couldn’t understand why he wanted to do a Cressida Campbell show. Surely, she’s just a still life artist, a maker of pretty pictures for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

On Commissions

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

As the fabulous mirage of Sydney Modern rises on the edge of the Botanic Garden, the Art Gallery of New South Wales has decided to tell us what we might see when the building opens, allegedly before Christmas. Last week the gallery announced it had commissioned nine new works, from Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Karla Dickens, Simryn […]


The NGA’s Gender Agenda

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 Blog,

Last week, with the fanfare usually reserved for the announcement of a blockbuster exhibition, the National Gallery of Australia released its Gender Equity Plan – a document of 48 pages, filled with glossy pictures, including a team photo of the 15-member Gender Equity working group, a procession of mission statements, commitments, and even definitions of […]

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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


The NGA gives itself a birthday present

Monday, September 27th, 2021 Blog,

Lest we forget, the price paid for Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, was $1.3 million in 1973. A world record at the time, it was viewed as one of the keynote extravagances of the Whitlam government. Nevertheless, when the National Gallery of Australia opened in 1982 the painting was a major drawcard. It has since become […]


Botticelli to Van Gogh

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 Blog,

Why Botticelli? In an exhibition in which the first room includes remarkable paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and Savoldo, Botticelli’s Four scenes from the early life of Saint Zenobius (c.1500) is not exactly a highlight. The painting belongs to a class of decoration called spalliere – a long, horizontal panel that was inserted into a wall […]