Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Song Ling, 'My name is Fartunate – self-portrait', (2011), acrylic on canvas, 198 x 198cm

A Retrospective of Chinese Archibald Finalists

August 1, 2015

When the Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921 it was a strictly Caucasian affair. There was not much colour to the artists or their paintings – mostly brown pictures of men in suits. The riotous creations currently lining the walls at the Art Gallery of NSW would have seemed like bad jokes to the … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portugal, Salver 1520–40, silver gilt, 46.5 cm (diameter). 
National Museum Machado de Castro, Coimbra

Treasure Ships

July 25, 2015

Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices may be the most fascinating exhibition to be seen at an Australian public gallery this year. The bad news, from a purely local perspective, is that it will be shown only in Adelaide and Perth. It is the brainchild of James Bennett, Curator of Asian Art at … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Winner: Archibald Prize 2015, Nigel Milsom, Judo house pt 6 (the white bird), oil on linen, 232 x 190 cm.

The Archibald Prize 2015

July 18, 2015

There was such a hullaballoo about the Packing Room Prize this year one might have thought that former Frenchman, Bruno Grasswill, had won both the Archibald and several versions of the Nobel Prize. In fact, he had won the kiss-of-death award, traditionally given to a picture of a good bloke or a good sort, as … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2000, c-type prints, suite of 9 images, edition 2/3, 227 x 183 cm (framed). Image courtesy: The Gene and Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney. Photo: the artist.

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Art Collection

July 11, 2015

Public galleries have always cultivated good relations with private collectors, but lately those ties have taken on a new importance. This is partly a result of governments wanting to palm off the responsibility for arts funding onto private sources. The logic is perfectly cynical: when spending cuts are required the arts are seen as a … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Alex Gibney Lunch

June 13, 2015

Meeting Alex Gibney for High Tea is almost too civilised. This is the fearless documentary maker who gave us a devastating portrait of a rogue multinational – Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Since that ground-breaking film of 2005 Gibney has directed more than twenty feature-length documentaries and worked on many smaller projects. He … More

Posted in: Blog

The new Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Australian Pavilion

May 16, 2015

Venice has been thrilled by the idea of a new Australian pavilion in the Giardini, where Biennales have been held since 1893. There has been a lot of press and many photos, the favourite one showing the great black cube leaning out over the canal that bisects the exhibition area. One approaches the new building … More

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William Delafield Cook, A haystack, 1978

William Delafield Cook (1936-2015)

May 15, 2015

In an article of 1979, Bryan Robertson, a curator who did much to advance the cause of Australian art in London, wrote that William Delafield Cook’s paintings seemed to have “no discernible ‘Australian’ qualities.” Yet Cook, who spent much of his career living and working in Britain, remained devoted to the Australian landscape, never showing … More

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Deirdre Bean, Image 1: 'Cape Helles', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Image 2: '303 inch British Mk VII', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Courtesy the artist

FROM GALLIPOLI

May 2, 2015

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks: There’s a beach asleep and drear: There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea. There are sunken trampled graves: And a little rotting pier: And winding paths that wind unceasingly. There’s a torn and silent valley: There’s a tiny rivulet With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth. … More

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