Australian Art

Din Q. Lê: Erasure, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2011

August 27, 2011
Dinh Q. Lê Erasure, 2011 digital video (still) Courtesy the artist and Sàn Art Independent Artist Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It was astonishing to learn that in a recent opinion poll Australians rated border protection as a more important issue than health, education, transport or housing. This is one of those statistical miracles that testify to our growing sense of social paranoia and the power of political scare campaigns. The facts are well known but … More


Tonsorial philosophy

August 26, 2011
Gunybi's installation from the WAIAA

My barber is a philosopher. By this, I don’t mean to compare him to those hairdressers who style themselves “creative artists working in the medium of hair”. Dimitri Kokinelis, barber of Gardeners Road, Rosebery, is a genuine thinker who devotes his time between haircuts to pondering questions of truth, wisdom, justice and nature. He has … More


David Aspden

August 26, 2011
David Aspden untitled

Like Tom Roberts before him, David Aspden (1935-2005) was born in rural England and arrived in Australia around the age of fifteen. This is a time of life when the biggest part of one’s adult personality is already formed. Roberts, who grew up in the age of Empire, was never quite sure if he was … More


The last days of the Caponian empire

August 9, 2011
Locust Jones, News of the world

What a deathly year it has been for artists! In quick succession we have lost Cy Twombly, Lucian Freud, and now John Hoyland. The latter was especially disturbing, as I had just contributed a catalogue essay to his exhibition with Charles Nodrum in Melbourne. Logically there is nothing surprising about someone dying at a ripe … More


Edmund Capon & his legacy

August 3, 2011
Photo: Nick Moir, SMH

This won’t be the first or last time that someone declares Edmund Capon a hard act to follow. In his thirty-one years as director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Capon has taken a provincial, down-at-heel institution and turned it into a Grade-A showcase for Australian and international art. Yet he leaves at time when … More


Goodbye Margaret, hello Brisbane

July 31, 2011
Margaret Olley sketching in Newcastle, 1965

There are a number of phone calls that I dread, although they are inevitable. One arrived last Wednesday when the SMH Arts Editor, Clare Morgan, rang to tell me that Margaret Olley had died. Margaret has been a fixture on the Australian art scene since the 1940s, and it would be difficult to think of … More


Margaret Olley 1923 – 2011: An Appreciation

July 25, 2011
margaret-olley-archibald

“Hurry, hurry, last days!” Margaret Olley would cry when someone tried to involve her in another hopeful project. It usually involved Margaret making a donation of some sort, or simply gracing an event with her presence. At the end she found it easier to write a cheque rather than face a room full of people … More


Eugene von Guérard

July 23, 2011
Eugene Von Guerard NGV

In the entire history of Australian art, no painter has ever been through greater extremes of adulation and neglect than Eugene von Guérard (1811-1901). In the 1860s he was recognised as the finest landscapist in the colony, but by the 1870s his reputation was in decline. In the following century he was all but forgotten. … More


Struggling Artists

July 20, 2011
Michael Lindeman, Artwork - Isolation

A reader, Glenn Stelzer, has emailed me to suggest that his brother, Bevan, is an artist worthy of attention. He says, quite rightly, that there are a lot of talented but “struggling” artists who never get their time in the sun. A painter, Edwin Smith, has written to alert me to his exhibition with Bruce … More


Unguided Tours

July 8, 2011
David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, The outlands 2011, production still. Courtesy of the artists and BREENSPACE, Sydney

Having just returned from my own travels, I went straight to the Art Gallery of NSW to take another look at Unguided Tours: The Anne Landa Award for video & new media art. This is the fourth installment of this triennial exhibition, named in honour of the late Anne Landa, who was a lot more … More


click here