Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Fiona Hall, Tjukurrpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories), detail, 2014

56th Venice Biennale, 2015

May 16, 2015

“He’s very political.” This is what I heard, more than once, about Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian-born curator of the 56th Venice Biennale, which goes by the suitably airy title: All the World’s Futures. This need not imply revolutionary credentials because “political” is a word with both macro and micro applications. Put three people in a … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sandro Miller, Annie Leibovitz/ Meryl Streep NYC, (1981), 2014

Head On 2015

May 15, 2015

When a show draws a huge crowd to the Town Hall on a rainy Friday night it is testimony to Sydney’s booming interest in photography. The occasion was the opening of Head On, the annual photo festival that has grown to colossal proportions over the past few years. The influx of photographers and fans from … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Great War Exhibition, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Buckle St, Wellington April 23, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ mark tantrum.com)

Anzac Shows, New Zealand

May 2, 2015

Australia is allegedly spending $325 million on the commemoration of the First World War. This figure, we are told, is more than twice what the British have allocated, and 20 times the budget for events in New Zealand. Some will see this is a waste of money at a time when the government is preaching … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Trent Parke, Australia, born 1971, Swan, Adelaide, 2007, © Trent Parke/Magnum Photos

Trent Parke

April 25, 2015

Death and the photo are close relations, as every click of the camera records a moment that will never be repeated. What we tend to admire in a photographer is the ability to transcend this inherent morbidity, to take the stuff of everyday life and shape it into something strange and marvellous. No photographer could … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the 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

Posted in: Blog

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

Posted in: Blog

Image courtesy James Compton

Anzac Evolution

April 25, 2015

Looking at Australia in the years before and after the First World War, one feels like asking: “What went wrong?” There was so much happening in those early years of nationhood, so many glorious ideals forged in the war itself, that the post-war years can only be seen as a lost opportunity. Constitutional historian, Helen … More

Posted in: Blog

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