Recent Sydney Morning Herald

William Baker
Kylie Minogue
Virgins (or Madonnas) collection, Immaculata gown
Jean Paul Gaultier, haute couture spring-summer 2007
net lace dress with large patterned embroidery and white linen cut-outs
© William Baker

Jean Paul Gaultier

January 24, 2015

There are fashion designers such as the enigmatic Martin Margiela who refuse to be photographed or to give interviews. Then there is Jean Paul Gaultier, the only designer to have hosted a weekly TV program, presented the MTV Europe Music Awards, and recorded a house music hit song called ‘Aow Tou Dou Zat’. Like Andy … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Yejiang / The Nightman Cometh, 2011. Courtesy of Yang Fudong, ShanghART Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery.

Yang Fudong: Filmscapes

January 17, 2015

Australian public galleries had to work hard to attract audiences last year, but in 2015 the degree of difficulty will crank up a few more notches. In such a climate institutions feel pressured to take a more populist approach – preferring shows that will appeal to a non-specialist audience over displays perceived as difficult or … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo) / 
Spring/Summer 1997 / Collection: Kyoto 
Costume Institute / Photograph: Takashi 
Hatakeyama

Future Beauty

January 10, 2015

In the catalogue for Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Rei Kawakubo is named as the world’s most influential living fashion designer. Although she gives few interviews, Kawakubo did submit to a 2005 New Yorker profile by Judith Thurman in which there is a telling comparison with … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Dolce and Gabbana, Spring-Summer 2007 from the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Photo: Jean Tholance - Les Arts Décoratifs

Fashion Icons

December 13, 2014

“We invent nothing,” said Christian Dior, the man who revolutionised fashion in the twentieth century, “we always start from something that has come before.” This refreshing admission seems an appropriate place to begin discussing the round of fashion shows dominating Australia’s art museums this summer. The essential exhibition is Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the Collection … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Roy Lichtenstein, 'In the Car', 1963.

2014: The Year in Art

January 10, 2015

2014 has brought mixed fortunes for Sydney’s art institutions. The Art Gallery of NSW began with a weak show of American art, and ended with the long-awaited Pop to Popism (until 1 March) – a distinct improvement, but possibly not the hit the Gallery so badly needs. In the meantime there has been a dearth … More

Posted in: Blog

Zhang Huan, 'Skin', (1997), performance.

Zhang Huan

December 20, 2014

Zhang Huan is one of today’s most acclaimed artists but he will always be known for a 1994 performance piece called 12 sq. metres, in which he sat naked, drenched in fish oil and honey, in a filthy public toilet in Beijing’s East Village artists community. Flies swarmed over the artist for an hour while … More

Posted in: Blog

Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler, River of Fundament, 2014, production still, photo

Matthew Barney

December 6, 2014

For a man who has masterminded some of the largest, most outrageous artistic events of all time, Matthew Barney is strangely unassuming. Trim, casually dressed, with pale blue eyes that give nothing away, he pauses to reflect before answering every question. His replies are precise and thoughtful, but never exhaustive. Raised in rural Idaho, Barney … More

Posted in: Blog

Ross Laurie, 'Walcha II', (2013).

Drawing

November 22, 2014

French poet and essayist, Paul Valéry, said that drawing required “a sustained act of will” – but any child can pick up a pencil and draw with pleasure. The act of drawing, which keeps growing less definable, is both simple and hard. Simple because anyone can make a mark, hard because it requires unstinting practice … More

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