Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Chiharu Shiota's 'Accumulation Searching for Destination' (Photos courtesy of the Busan Biennale)

Gwangju, Busan & SeMA Biennale

October 4, 2014

In South Korea the word “exhibition” seems to be translated as “biennale”. At the moment the Koreans are hosting at least four biennales, if one includes the Daegu Photography Biennale (until 19 October). Last week I managed to catch the other three, two of which have begun in an atmosphere of high controversy. The most … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Richard Larter, 'Pause for thought' (detail) (1973)

Five Decades at Watters Gallery

September 27, 2014

On 18 November Watters Gallery will be celebrating its 50th birthday. This is an amazing achievement in a field in which most players never make it through a decade. Commercial art galleries are the economic equivalents of the canary in the coal mine – being the first to suffer in times of recession as people … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sculpture of Cihuateotl (See-wah-tay-otl), divine woman about 1500s, Aztec stone. 
On loan from Museo del Templo Mayor. Photo by Michel Zabe © The Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH)


September 20, 2014

It’s been a great year for ancient American culture down under. 2014 began with the Incas at the National Gallery of Australia, and now the Aztecs have taken over the Australian Museum. There are many similarities between these two famous civilisations, both destroyed by the Spanish invaders – the Aztecs in 1521, while the Incas … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Robert Motherwell, 'The Black Wall l' (1981) lift-ground etching and aquatint on Georges Duchene Hawthrone of Larroque

Lee Lee-nam & Robert Motherwell

September 13, 2014

French art historian, Daniel Arasse, hopes an audience might be able to stand in front of one masterpiece for at least five minutes. It doesn’t sound a big ask, but spend time in a gallery and watch how long people linger in front of even the most famous works of art. Five minutes would be … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Image courtesy Art Month Sydney

Philanthropy and art: why Australia’s wealthy don’t invest in culture

September 22, 2014

Last week found me at a function in Brisbane, discussing the state of philanthropy and patronage with art dealer, Philip Bacon – one of the few gallerists who can afford to be a philanthropist in his own right. The familiar talking point was: “Why do so few corporations and wealthy individuals sponsor the visual arts?” … More

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Giambattista Tiepolo
Italian 1696–1770, worked in Spain 1762–70
The Immaculate Conception (L’Immacolata Concezione) 1767–69
oil on canvas
281.0 x 155.0 cm 
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00363)
Spanish Royal Collection

The Prado and the World

May 24, 2014

In 1982 I paid my first visit to the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Spain was still in the process of awakening from the Franco era, which ended with the dictator’s death in 1975, and its museums were poor and neglected. The Prado was a cold, austere place with a stupendous collection. In a single … More

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Tokyo-based artist Kota Takeuchi.

Fukushima: Art & Disaster

March 15, 2014

Disaster haunts the Japanese psyche. Think of the great fires that have swept up Tokyo, or the major earthquakes that have struck the country at unpredictable intervals. Think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all the ways that nuclear energy has been portrayed in popular culture. This ranges from Tezuka Osamu’s popular cartoon hero, The Mighty … More

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'Blue Jasmine' star Cate Blanchett with the film's director Woody Allen.

The Sins of the Director

February 22, 2014

At this year’s Academy Awards presentation all the talk will be about Our Cate. Will her chances of taking out the Oscar for Best Actress be damaged by that open letter to the New York Times in which Dylan Farrow claimed to have been molested at age seven by her stepfather, Woody Allen? “What if … More

Posted in: Blog

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