Recent Sydney Morning Herald

IAN WOO, We Have Crossed The Lake, 2009, acrylic on linen, 194 × 244 cm. Courtesy Singapore Art Museum.

After Utopia

September 5, 2015

Irony has never been a big feature of life in Singapore, but perhaps it’s catching on. Of all nations on the planet, Singapore is arguably the closest thing to a social laboratory, where economic and cultural programs are dreamt up by a paternalistic state and broadly accepted by the population. This centralised control has made … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Aleks Danko, incident – Ambivalence, 1991-1992, wood, galvanised steel and synthetic polymer paint and varnish, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of stART, MCA Young Patrons, 1993, image courtesy and © the artist

Aleks Danko and Haines & Hinterding

August 29, 2015

There are many exhibitions that must have been fun for the artist but leave viewers in a state of mild perplexity. The Museum of Contemporary Art has two such shows at the moment – shows that can be broadly appreciated, but not loved. Energies, the survey by David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, is almost over, … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Image courtesy Australian Embassy Tokyo.

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015

August 22, 2015

In the courtyard of the Satoyama Museum, in Tokamachi City, a mountain has been born. Covered in dense forest, with clouds of mist and even a waterfall, the towering monolith sits in a shallow pool of water. The courtyard is surrounded by a ring of helicopters, battleships, submarines and patrol boats – 100 small models … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Alexander ROSLIN Swedish 1718–93 Portrait of Catherine II 1776–77 (detail) oil on canvas 271.0 х 189.5 cm. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Inv. no. ГЭ-1316) Acquired from the artist, 1777

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great

August 15, 2015

Following the death of Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1791, Catherine the Great wrote her own epitaph. Potemkin had not only been Catherine’s most trusted advisor, statesman and general, but the undisputed love of her life. Feeling her own mortality, she set down how she would like to be remembered. Catherine, by her own estimation, had … 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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