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Tag: portraiture

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Archibald Prize in Ten Pictures

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

No fewer than 816 works were entered in this year’s Archibald Prize, with 52 being selected as finalists. I should be used to it by now, but I’m still amazed that so many artists plunge in, year after year, in the forlorn hope of making it into the charmed circle that hangs at the Art […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2022

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This week has served up a powerful reminder that fame in art may be long, but celebrity in politics is strictly ephemeral. The Archibald Prize rolls around every year with cosmic regularity, but governments come and go, and when they change, the entire personality of a nation is changed. Last week I felt I was […]

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The Archibald Prize 2022: Blak Douglas is the winner

Saturday, May 14th, 2022 Blog,

Politics is never far away from the Archibald prize, but it’s often that nebulous strain called “art politics”. This year, with the winner being announced in the middle of a federal election campaign, it was always going to be hard to keep attention focused on the aesthetics. Blak Douglas (AKA. Adam Hill), proved to be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Shakespeare to Winehouse

Saturday, May 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Shakespeare to Winehouse may not be the most important show ever held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, but I can’t think of a bigger one. The most surprising thing about this collection of more than 80 works, drawn from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London, is how long it has taken […]

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The Archibald Prize 2022: A First Look

Monday, May 9th, 2022 Blog,

It was predictable that after last year’s orgiastic celebrations of the Archibald Prize’s hundredth birthday, the following year would bring the hangover. But it’s not worth complaining about the quality of the 2022 exhibition, as the Archibald is never better than mediocre, with a few standouts. The dominant aspect of this year’s selection is a […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2021

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Entering this year’s Portia Geach Memorial Award at the S.H. Ervin Galley means being virtually assaulted by Janne Kearney’s There’s a rainbow after every storm (Tilly Baker, musician). There may be nothing subtle about this portrait but it sets the tone for a show that greets the end of Sydney’s lockdown with a loud hooray! […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Ugly Truth

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Ten years ago in Munich, in an exhibition of German Renaissance portraiture, I came across a startling image from 1550 of Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria on his death bed. The Duke wasn’t expiring in a peaceful, dignified manner, he was already gone. One eye was almost closed, the other staring sightlessly at an angle. […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Flattery & Kitsch

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Only art and science can raise men to the level of gods,” wrote Ludwig van Beethoven, in a typically grand pronouncement. For music lovers of the late 19thcentury there was no greater Divinity than Beethoven himself. Wagner may have had a cult following, but Beethoven (1770-1827) was the centre of a full-blown religion. One true […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Real Thing

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In the 1970s Coca-Cola had tremendous success with the advertising slogan, ‘It’s the Real Thing’. The idea behind the campaign may have been to distinguish Coke from its chief competitor, Pepsi, but the company was also responding to research that found “young people seek the real, the original and the natural as an escape from […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Archie 100

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Over the past few years there have been times when the Art Gallery of NSW was so empty of visitors it gave the impression someone had just shouted “Fire!”. Right now the opposite applies: the joint is packed to the rafters, with people waiting patiently in queues to see the Archibald Prize. For many this […]