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John McDonald

Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Beautiful Guantanamo Bay.. Debi Cornwall's 'Welcome to Camp America'

Head On Photo Festival 2018

May 18, 2018

Head On is still not getting the attention it deserves. We make a big fuss about the Sydney Biennale, we go wild for Vivid, we swarm over the Sydney foreshores during Sculpture by the Sea, but after ten years the Head On Photo Festival survives on a fraction of the resources devoted to other events. … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

And the winner is.... Yvette Coppersmith's 'Self-portrait after George Lambert'. Don't ask me why.

The Archibald Prize 2018

May 11, 2018

Well I got it completely wrong this year, although Vincent Namatjira got a “highly commended” as runner-up. Yvette Coppersmith’s Archibald Prize winner: Self-portrait after George Lambert wouldn’t have been in my top 20. After due consideration, it still wouldn’t be in my top 20. It seems to me like a stiff, mannered picture that bears … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Augustus Earle, 'Portrait of Bungaree, a native of New South Wales', c.1826

Colony

May 4, 2018

If I seem to be constantly writing in praise of the National Gallery of Victoria this isn’t because the grass is always greener interstate. It’s because the NGV has been attending so well to the fundamental business of what a gallery should be doing. Arguably the most important task is to provide a vibrant program … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Claude Monet, 'The Magpie' (1868-69)

Colours of Impressionism

April 26, 2018

Impressionism is probably the most popular art movement of all time – which would have been a surprise to those who participated in the first ‘Impressionist’ salon of 1874. The group was actually called Le Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs, and included no fewer than 30 artists. The term “Impressionism” was drawn … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Harry Fasher's 'The Last Charge' (2017)

Harrie Fasher: The Last Charge

February 16, 2018

How many artists can look back on their careers and identify an ‘I have arrived’ moment? For Picasso that moment came in 1907 with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, for Sidney Nolan, it was the first Ned Kelly series of 1946-47. Damien Hirst exhibited his dead shark in formaldehyde in 1991, the following year Jeff Koons showed … More

Posted in: Blog

Guy Warren, 'Nullabor with figure' (2010)

Guy Warren

February 2, 2018

Guy Warren is part of the landscape of Australian art, which may be the reason he has been so often overlooked. An exact contemporary of artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Jeffrey Smart, Warren has lived happily enough with a much lower profile. This is partly a reflection of his personality, which displays … More

Posted in: Blog

Lucy Culliton's memorable portrait of Ray from 2011

Ray Hughes 1946 – 2017

December 15, 2017

With the death of someone truly unique it seems the only words that leap to mind are clichés. I’m already counting the number of times I’ve heard that Ray Hughes, who died last week at the age of 72, after a bout of pneumonia, was “larger than life”, a “legendary” art dealer. Such epithets may … More

Posted in: Blog, Uncategorized

Xu Zhen's 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana' gets installed at the National Gallery of Victoria

Xu Zhen

December 8, 2017

In 2009 Xu Zhen decided he would “set aside his identity as an individual artist” and become a corporate entity. For the next four years, MadeIn Company (as in “Made in China”) would produce a dazzling variety of work for international museums and galleries. In 2013, its booming success encouraged the Company to release its … More

Posted in: Blog

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