Recent Sydney Morning Herald

EL ANATSUI, Adinkra Sasa (detail), 2003, fabric, aluminum and copper wire, 488 × 549 cm. Photo by Michael Young for ArtAsiaPacific

El Anatsui

February 4, 2016

El Anatsui makes one feel there might actually be some substance in the talk of a globalised art world. The idea that artists from places other than Europe and America can be players on the contemporary scene has been around ever since Jean-Hubert Martin’s landmark exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, held at the Centre Pompidou … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Lee Wen recipient of the Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Art.

Singapore: Art Stage & Beyond

January 28, 2016

Down a long road in Singapore rows of banners announce: “The joy of success is in sharing it. Share success. Give hope.” These words might have been written by the organisers of Art Stage, now in its sixth year. At a time when the Chinese stockmarket has torpedoed the global economy one needs a serious … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Brett Whiteley, The balcony 2', (1975). AGNSW collection.

Destination Sydney

January 22, 2016

Destination Sydney is an inelegant title. It may be that Australian audiences only respond to the most banal and descriptive titles but that’s no reason for making shows sound like tourism initiatives. At the risk of coming across as a snob, I can only describe it as vulgar. Complaint registered, I’m happy to record that … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Jessie Pangas, 'House of Congress', 2015, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 91.5×91.5 cm. Courtesy the artist

Right Here Now

January 15, 2016

Regional galleries: the crisis that never ends. A few weeks ago I was invited to Canberra by the Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House to view a show called Right Here Now: A Powerful Regional Voice in our Democracy. This event, which has been put together by freelance curators, Holly Williams, Ivan Muñiz Reed … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Lunch with El Anatsui at the Old Clare Hotel

El Anatsui non-lunch

February 4, 2016

For an artist acclaimed as a ground-breaking pioneer for an entire continent, El Anatsui is amazingly laid-back. It may be because international fame and fortune didn’t arrive until 2004, when he was already 60 years old. It may be because he hails from a part of the world in which time is not always snapping … More

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Tom Roberts, 'Bailed Up' (1895, 1927)

Tom Roberts: Bailed Up

January 14, 2016

Tom Robert’s Bailed Up has been described by historian, Patrick McCarthy, who has written a book on the painting, as “probably Australia’s best known work of art”. The chief competition for this imaginary title would be Roberts’s other popular masterpiece, Shearing the Rams (1890). Few would dispute Roberts’s status as the pre-eminent Australian painter of … More

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Joshua Reynolds, 'The Ladies Waldegrave' (1780-81)

The Greats

October 30, 2015

Entering The Greats: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, I felt like a thirsty man in the desert who had stumbled across an oasis. It’s been a very, very long time since the Art Gallery of NSW had an exhibition of such indisputable quality. It is not only the names that are well known, … More

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Peter Godwin. Photography Stephen Oxenbury

Peter Godwin

September 12, 2015

It’s not what the artist does that counts, but what he is. Cézanne would never have interested me a bit if he had lived and thought like Jacques-Émile Blanche, even if the apple he painted had been ten times as beautiful. What forces our attention is Cézanne’s anxiety – that’s Cézanne’s lesson. ” Pablo Picasso … More

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