Recent Sydney Morning Herald

John Coplans    
'Self-Portrait (frieze no. 2, four panels)' 1994    
12 photographs, black and white, on paper    
61.9 x 80 cm (each); framed panels 198 x 88 cm (each)    
Tate: Presented by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery 2001    
© The John Coplans Trust
image © Tate,  London 2016

Nude

December 2, 2016

When Justin Paton, head of International Art at the Art Gallery of NSW says that Nude: Art From the Tate Collection is not a package show, surely he means: “Not just any package show”, or “Not merely a package show”. If the term doesn’t apply to an exhibition in which 122 works out of 126 … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Collection+: Greg Semu, Earning My Stripes series, 2015, Pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Baryta, 100 x 133.4 cm, 
Editions 1/10, Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney. Installation view, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 2016
Photo: silversalt photography

Greg Semu

November 24, 2016

Adolf Loos, famous Viennese designer and arbiter of taste, said that only criminals and savages adorned themselves with tattoos. Writing in 1928, he singled out the Papuans as representative “savages”, but he might just as easily have chosen the Samoans. In the very same year, Margaret Mead published Coming of Age in Samoa, perhaps the … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

View of Contemporary Istanbul 2016. Courtesy-Contemporary Istanbul.

Contemporary Istanbul 2016

November 18, 2016

Istanbul is proud of its historical reputation as a meeting place of cultures. This pride is apparent on the website for the Contemporary Istanbul art fair, which boasts: “As the hope chest of civilisations, Istanbul is the capital of the world…” but insecurities arise before the end of the sentence, with the qualifying clause “…in … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Li Shan, Recombinant, (2002-2006). Image courtesy the artist and White Rabbit Collection

White Rabbit: Vile Bodies

November 11, 2016

Vile Bodies is a catchy title but there are very few points of comparison between Evelyn Waugh’s novel about the party-going lifestyles of young Londoners in the 1920s, and the current exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery. In a Chinese context the word “party” takes on an entirely different connotation, and unless you’re on the … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Hans Bellmer, La demie poupée 1971, wood, paint and assemblage, Doll: 90.0 cm (height).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased 1996 89.1996 
© Hans Bellmer. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia.

Body

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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Untitled #1118, 2005, oil on composition board, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael Hawker, 2009

LOUISE HEARMAN: AGAINST THE GRAIN

October 14, 2016

I think I surrendered obediently to the secret laws which led me to form, as best as I could, and following my dream, the things into which I have put my entire being.[1] Odilon Redon, To Myself Like Des Esseintes, the antihero of Huysmans’s cult novel of 1884, Against the Grain (À rebours), Louise Hearman … More

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