Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Damien Hirst played the role of Godzilla in this year's Biennale

Venice Biennale 2017 – Viva Arte Viva

May 19, 2017

Ask people to name the most romantic city in the world, and Venice is usually at the top of the list – but there are dissenters. D.H. Lawrence said Venice was green, slippery and abhorrent, and he didn’t even have to contend with the crowds in the Giardini and Arsenale during the opening days of … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Vincent Van Gogh, A wheatfield with cypresses (1889)

Van Gogh and the Seasons

May 13, 2017

When Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in a field near Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890 he was on the verge of a successful career. The tide had turned against Impressionism, which was felt to be too dry and rational in its methods. Up-and-coming critics such as Albert Aurier were championing the role of the imagination, and saw … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Michael Zavros, Phoebe is dead/McQueen (2010),

Magic Mike: Michael Zavros

May 5, 2017

Any artist who paints with the quasi-photographic precision of Michael Zavros will always find admirers. After being subjected to more than a century of Modernist de-skilling the public is still turned to putty by virtuoso displays of technique, preferring the artist who can “really paint” to the one whose genius has to be explained by … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Tang Nannan, Billenium Waves (2015)

White Rabbit: The Dark Matters

April 29, 2017

Contemporary culture puts a premium on instant gratification but ancient Chinese thinkers found the greatest value in the contemplation of eternal things. This was brought home to me by Tang Nannan’s Dao-inspired, wide-screen video, Billenium Waves (2015) at the White Rabbit Gallery. It’s nothing more than a four-minute close-up of waves lapping under a dark … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Tracey Moffatt, from the series, Body Remembers (2017)

Tracey in Venice

May 13, 2017

Success at the Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest, most prestigious art event, may be measured in many different ways. One is the length of the queue that extends from the doorway of a national paviliion, making viewers wonder if they can bear to waste an hour standing in the sun. But hey, if so many … More

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Picture by Nic Walker

Danny Goldberg …or the perils of philanthropy

May 5, 2017

Danny Goldberg is the only Australian to appear in Artnews’s annual list of the world’s top 200 collectors of contemporary art. His modern harbourside home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is crowded with works by figures such as David Hammons, Rudolf Stingel, Urs Fischer, Danh Vo, and other high-priced superstars you’ve probably never heard of. The … More

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Sydney Ball, 2014. Image courtesy of Sullivan+Strumpf.

Sydney Ball 1933-2017

March 10, 2017

Sydney Ball spent much of his career as a painter riding the waves of the avant-garde. Over the decades he had over 70 solo exhibitions, embracing Hard-Edge, Colourfield, Lyrical Abstraction, and even New Figuration, before returning to high-keyed modular abstract paintings in his final years. As the eye of advanced taste – or if you … More

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Tracey Moffatt, Up In The Sky # 18, 1997, series of 25 images, off set print, 61 × 76cm, 72 x 102 paper size, Edition of 60

Tracey Moffatt

March 3, 2017

“Make it up! Make it up!” says Tracey Moffatt when we start to talk about her background. “Miss Moffatt said: Go ahead and make it up. Give ‘em a great story.” It may be the era of post-truth and ‘alternative facts’ but I’m still not ready to fictionalise the artist who will represent Australia in … More

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