General Art Essays

Culture in the Age of Howard

May 26, 2004

Culture is not an exclusive game played by artists and their admirers, it is an ongoing conversation within and between communities. It is a meeting place for different arguments and perspectives, an arena in which large and small problems are ventilated. When we speak of ‘cultural progress’, we assume that some resolution or compromise has … More


Modern Painting in 15 Easy Pieces: The past 100 years

August 15, 2003

All definitions of modern art are bound to end in failure, but that has not prevented artists and writers from making the attempt. In fact, one might see the entire twentieth century as an unbroken sequence of definitions and re-definitions, with each movement taking its cue from an earlier one, but striving to surpass and … More


Art & Politics

January 15, 2003
Mike Parr, Malevich (A Political Arm), performance for as long as possible

There was a period of about a decade, starting from the early-to-mid 1980s, when every major art event had to be accompanied by an extensive series of forums. These talk-fests were often boring, and always inconclusive. Some participants gave the impression of having done no preparation whatsoever, others had written papers of impenetrable, theoretical complexity. … More


Photography as Art

December 31, 2001

“Photography is the art of comparison,” says the garrulous, omniscient narrator in Murray Bail’s novel, Eucalyptus, who sounds suspiciously like the author. “Anyone can take a photograph. The ‘art’ has already been composed by the subject itself, even when it’s a brick wall – really, the word ‘art’ here is an amazing pretension, since it … More


From Bondi to Broken Hill

May 1, 1998

It was in the middle of a London winter that I first became aware of the great, abiding seductiveness of Sydney. The occasion was a trip to the movies on one of those typically grey days when a little watery sunshine appears at about 10 o’clock and is gone by half-past three. The air was … More