Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Margaret Olley, The yellow room triptych, 2007, oil on board, 138.0 x 290.0cm. New England Regional Art Museum - Purchased through the Yellow Room Appeal 2013 The Howard Hinton Collection

Margaret Olley

February 24, 2017

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than five years since Margaret Olley died. She was such a forceful personality I still half expect to see her pushing through a crowd at the Art Gallery of NSW, using her walking frame to clear a path. The art world is notorious for its doublespeak but Margaret … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Latona and her children, 1668-70. Installed in the Versailles: Treasures from the Palace exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


February 17, 2017

In Roberto Rossellini’s film of 1966, The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, there is a scene in which the King appears in an outrageous red outfit, all frills and flounces, designed to his own specifications. He explains that with this clownish costume he is setting a dress code to keep his nobles poor, and … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Installation view. Photo: Matthias Kolb, Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin

‘Difficult Pleasures’ in Berlin

February 10, 2017

Am Kupfergraben 10 is a modern four-storey building in the historic heart of Berlin. An imposing structure in reinforced concrete and glass, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, it looks out across the River Spree to the Museum Island and the Lustgarten. With high ceilings, gleaming white walls and large windows with adjustable light levels, … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Image courtesy of Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Philippe Parreno

February 2, 2017

There’s something fascinating about Philippe Parreno, but it’s not necessarily the art. It’s his mind. Having sat through two-and-a-half hours of short, oblique films at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, I came away feeling amazed by the kind of mind that could devise such a strange, obscure spectacle. Perhaps “spectacle” is the wrong … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Bernie McGrath. Image courtesy of It's Not Funny

Bernie Doesn’t Just Shake! Parkinson’s Disease & Art

February 17, 2017

In April this year the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney hosted an unusual exhibition called Bernie doesn’t just shake! It was a four-day event, launched by an evening function that included speakers from many different walks of life – the majority were sufferers from Parkinson’s disease. The star of the show was Bernie … More

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Hans Bellmer
La demie poupée 1971
wood, paint and assemblage, doll, 90 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchased 1996
© Hans Bellmer, 1971. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased 1996 89.1996 
© Hans Bellmer. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia.


December 2, 2016

Published in the SMH Art Column, 20 September 1997 Last Saturday, after a second look at the Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition, Body, I spent much of the evening immersed in the catalogue. Having reached my limits, I sat down in front of the box to watch Roy and HG, only to find that their … More

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Installation view of David Hockney: Current at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.© David Hockney Inc.

David Hockney

November 24, 2016

David Hockney is crazy about those tiny drawings Vincent Van Gogh would include in letters to his brother, Theo. “These days he’d be sending them on his iPhone,” says Hockney, who has emailed thousands of iPhone drawings to friends around the world. His romance with the iPhone continued until the iPad came along. In a … More

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BW 47 Field of Sunflowers August-September 1889, Saint-Remy from Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook by Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov.  © éditions du Seuil

Vincent Van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook

November 18, 2016

Most people have dreamt of finding a valuable work of art in a junk shop or an attic, but the fantasies of art historians are much more modest. For Ronald Pickvance, who organised two legendary Van Gogh exhibitions for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 and 1986, it was a career highlight to … More

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