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Tag: National Gallery of Australia

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Lee Lee-nam & Robert Motherwell

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

French art historian, Daniel Arasse, hopes an audience might be able to stand in front of one masterpiece for at least five minutes. It doesn’t sound a big ask, but spend time in a gallery and watch how long people linger in front of even the most famous works of art. Five minutes would be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Arthur Boyd: An Active Witness

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Arthur Boyd (1920-99) was one of Australian art’s leading painters and one of its greatest mysteries. In the preface to her comprehensive biography, published in 2007, Darleen Bungey quotes Boyd’s youngest daughter, Polly, who calls her father “an enigma, probably one of the most secret people on earth.” This also acts as a disclaimer for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Gold and the Incas

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It may be the stuff of popular culture but whenever I think of the Incas, Aztecs or Mayans the first images that spring to mind are from Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (2006). This drama of native American life in the days before the Spanish conquest may be one of the most brutal and disturbing movies ever […]

Art Essays

2013: The Best & Worst of the Visual Arts

Monday, January 6th, 2014 Art Essays, Blog,

My best art experience of the year happened on the other side of the planet, in a retrospective celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch. The show, divided between the National Gallery and the Munch Museum in Olso, revealed an unrelenting intensity of vision. It featured the most complete collection of paintings […]

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Fiona Hall for Venice

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 Blog,

For more than 20 years Fiona Hall has been the obvious, dead-set, undeniable first choice to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. It is a testimony to the acumen of our arts bureaucracy that in 2015 she will become the first artist to occupy a newly-built pavilion. Any other country might have rushed her into […]

Art Essays

Australia at the Royal Academy

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts in London has echoes of Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster movie of 2010. Like that overblown, incoherent concoction, the one-word title of the RA show suggests this is all you will ever need to know about Australian art. It presents itself as a definitive statement. Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions […]

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Party time in London

Saturday, September 21st, 2013 Blog,

For the long-anticipated show of Australian art at the Royal Academy the opening night was always going to be a joyous affair. The problem is that nobody looks at the art at an opening. Having already spent hours inspecting this exhibition I felt like a party pooper when people gushed: “Isn’t it wonderful!?” No, it’s […]

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The Dance of Shiva

Saturday, July 13th, 2013 Blog,

How truly ‘public’ are our public galleries? The recent scandal over the millions of dollars paid by the National Gallery of Australia to the crooked art dealer, Subash Kapoor, has demonstrated a complete lack of transparency in the way our flagship art institution spends the money it receives from taxpapers and wealthy donors. When James […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Turner From the Tate

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

According to J.M.W. Turner, the secret of being a great artist was “damn’d hard work.” This is difficult to argue against, especially when said by a painter whose pictures came to define the Romantic era – that time when artists stopped being seen as tradesmen and aspired to the role of individual genius. Yet Turner […]

Art Essays

J.M.W. Turner: A Preview

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 Art Essays, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Soapsuds and whitewash,” they said. “Portraits of nothing and very like.” In the manner of the Biblical prophet, not without honour, but in his own country, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) spent his entire career being insulted and derided by British commentators. Although we think of him today as the greatest of all British artists, […]