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Tag: politics

Film Reviews

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Friday, November 20th, 2020 Film Reviews,

In the liner notes to his 2018 album, American Utopia, David Byrne reflects on the title. “Is this meant ironically? It is a joke? Do I mean this seriously? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political?” These questions, which echo the lists of questions in wellknown songs such […]

Film Reviews

American Dharma

Friday, November 13th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Steve Bannon is not stupid, he can even be charming, but he is not the kind of guy you’d like to see loitering-with-intent in the corridors of power. In American Dharma, Errol Morris brings us an extended interview with the man Time magazine called “the Great Manipulator”, interspersed with excerpts from Bannon’s favourite films. Morris, generally […]

Film Reviews

Hillary

Friday, September 11th, 2020 Film Reviews,

In his classic study, In Defence of Politics, Bernard Crick argued the case for a messy but flexible political discourse underpinned by ethical beliefs. The art of politics maintains both social order and personal freedom, standing guard against those ideologues who seek to pervert the process. One can only wonder what Crick, who died in […]

Blog

The Murder of the Powerhouse Museum

Friday, June 26th, 2020 Blog,

It’s not a museum. This is not a matter of opinion, it’s not a slander being spread by critics of the project. The proposed building in Parramatta the NSW government would like us to see as the home of a ‘relocated’ Powerhouse Museum will be nothing more than an entertainment venue stuffed with cafes and […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Captain Cook and the New Iconoclasm

Thursday, June 25th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

At the end of the Cold War, Moscow created an impromptu memorial to the Soviet Union in a park alongside the Tretyakov Gallery. It was the dump of choice for statues of Bolshevik heroes torn from their pedestals by mobs celebrating the demise of the communist system. Looking around one could see the battered and […]

Film Reviews

It Must Be Heaven

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Elia Sulieman says he’d never seen a movie by Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati before he made his first feature in 1996. This may be true but these comics remain the inevitable points of comparison for his own style of silent humour. In It Must Be Heaven, Sulieman says exactly four words. When a New […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

White Rabbit: And Now

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

As art in Sydney creeps back into the light, White Rabbit Gallery is embarking on its second decade. Over its first ten years, Judith Neilson’s private museum of contemporary Chinese art has charted the social, political and cultural changes in a turbulent country. The collection now includes more than 3,000 works by 700 artists, all […]

Film Reviews

Honeyland

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Honeyland is a deceptively sweet title for a documentary about a lonely life spent in a harsh, barren landscape. The place is the Republic of North Macedonia, known simply as “Macedonia” until last year when the name was changed to resolve a long-running dispute with the Greeks. The newly minted Republic is a land-locked country […]

Film Reviews

Mrs. America

Friday, June 5th, 2020 Film Reviews,

It takes a moment before one recognises those first four notes in the jazzy theme music for Mrs. America. It’s a ‘switched-on’ version of Beethoven’s Fifth – in the composer’s own famous words: “the sound of fate knocking on the door.” But for whom does it knock? Is it for Phyllis Schlafly, the formidable conservative […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

John Berger

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Art criticism today occupies one of the lower branches on the tree of literature. Most of the writing that passes under that label consists of snippets of recycled press releases, empty jargon, servile puffs and received opinions. The genre is so debased that artists, dealers and curators have begun to see reviews as advertisements. Anything […]