Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Shirana Shahbazi, Still life: Coconut and other things, (2009)

Harvest

July 26, 2014

In the latest issue of The Art Newspaper, the front page story is about international über-curator, Germano Celant, who is organising an exhibition for Milan’s Expo 2015 on the relationship between art and food. “Ho hum,” you think, but the truly startling fact is Celant’s fee of €750,000 (AUD$ 1,079,840). At 2-3 times the annual … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Fiona Lowry, 'Penelope Seidler', acrylic on canvas,
225 x 185 cm

Archibald Prize 2014

July 19, 2014

Imagine if the Archibald Prize banned all portraits that relied on photographs. The number of entries would drop from 884 to something less than 100, while the exhibition would be dominated by amateurs and unknown artists. Even the subjects would be strangers to most viewers because it’s unlikely that anyone mildly famous could spare the … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Details of Ko-omote mask, Edo period, 17th century

Theatre of Dreams, Theatre of Play

July 12, 2014

We’ve become accustomed to the idea that various species of animal are in danger of extinction and need to be preserved, but cultural forms are subject to analogous pressures. Commercial logic dictates that a species of theatre or performance will exist only when there is a paying audience. Many traditional forms owe their longevity to … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Chien-chi Chang. The Chain, 1993-99; installation view from the exhibition HOME; 45 works; silver gelatin photographs; each 157.8 x 107.3 cm. Photo: Brett Boardman.

Home

July 5, 2014

Taiwanese artist, Chien-Chi Chang, introduces his photo sequence, The Chain, with a quotation from Dostoyevsky’s Diary of a Writer: “It is not by confining one’s neighbour that one is convinced of one’s own sanity.” He almost certainly found the line in the preface to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation (1964), where it is paired with … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Giambattista Tiepolo
Italian 1696–1770, worked in Spain 1762–70
The Immaculate Conception (L’Immacolata Concezione) 1767–69
oil on canvas
281.0 x 155.0 cm 
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00363)
Spanish Royal Collection

The Prado and the World

May 24, 2014

In 1982 I paid my first visit to the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Spain was still in the process of awakening from the Franco era, which ended with the dictator’s death in 1975, and its museums were poor and neglected. The Prado was a cold, austere place with a stupendous collection. In a single … More

Posted in: Blog

Tokyo-based artist Kota Takeuchi.

Fukushima: Art & Disaster

March 15, 2014

Disaster haunts the Japanese psyche. Think of the great fires that have swept up Tokyo, or the major earthquakes that have struck the country at unpredictable intervals. Think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all the ways that nuclear energy has been portrayed in popular culture. This ranges from Tezuka Osamu’s popular cartoon hero, The Mighty … More

Posted in: Blog

'Blue Jasmine' star Cate Blanchett with the film's director Woody Allen.

The Sins of the Director

February 22, 2014

At this year’s Academy Awards presentation all the talk will be about Our Cate. Will her chances of taking out the Oscar for Best Actress be damaged by that open letter to the New York Times in which Dylan Farrow claimed to have been molested at age seven by her stepfather, Woody Allen? “What if … More

Posted in: Blog

ANCLAS & the Embassy of Paraguay present the book launch of:
“The Apocalypse According to Benedict”

Esteban Bedoya

January 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I met the Paraguayan ambassador to Australia, Esteban Bedoya, after having read his short novel, The Apocalypse Acording to Benedict. It seems to be a minor Latin America tradition to have diplomats who are also writers. Octavio Paz was Mexican ambassador to India, while Pablo Neruda was Chile’s ambassador in … More

Posted in: Blog

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