Recent Sydney Morning Herald

WILLIAM DOBELL,
'Head of Kuta girl' (1953)
oil on hardboard, 45 x 34 cm.
Private collection

William Dobell: Painter in Paradise

July 4, 2015

Although he was one of Australia’s best-known artists, William Dobell (1899-1970) was inordinately sensitive to criticism. After the notorious court case over his Archibald Prize win of 1943, Dobell withdrew to his hideaway in Wangi where he suffered from a series of nervous complaints. He broke out in severe dermatitis and at one point lost … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Scene from Marina Abramovic: In Residence. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Marina Abramovic: In Residence

June 27, 2015

“Life is too fast,” says Marina Abramovic, “so art has to be slow.” Perhaps fast art is no more nutritious than fast food? You’ll notice the difference when visiting Marina Abramovic: In Residence, the latest Kaldor Public Art Project at Pier 2/3. Upon entering, watches and bags are deposited in a locker. After a series … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Artist Portrait with a Candle (detail) © Marina Abramović, Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives

Marina Abramovic: Private Archaeology

June 27, 2015

David Walsh never does anything by halves at his Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Within a few years he has transformed Hobart into one of the most desirable cultural tourist destinations in Australia – or just off the coast of Australia, if you take the Tasmanian perspective. The Dark Mofo Festival has drawn … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

State of Play exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery (installation view) (2015)

White Rabbit: State of Play

June 20, 2015

Certain nations are not renowned for their playfulness. Nicht wahr? Yet this is not the case with the Chinese who found out many years ago the only way to make life bearable is to laugh about it. The Chinese sense of humour is robust and dark. It may have been this way from time immemorial, … 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

Posted in: Blog

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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