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Sydney Ball 1933-2017

March 10, 2017
Sydney Ball, 2014. Image courtesy of Sullivan+Strumpf.

Sydney Ball spent much of his career as a painter riding the waves of the avant-garde. Over the decades he had over 70 solo exhibitions, embracing Hard-Edge, Colourfield, Lyrical Abstraction, and even New Figuration, before returning to high-keyed modular abstract paintings in his final years. As the eye of advanced taste – or if you … More


Tracey Moffatt

March 3, 2017
Tracey Moffatt, Up In The Sky # 18, 1997, series of 25 images, off set print, 61 × 76cm, 72 x 102 paper size, Edition of 60

“Make it up! Make it up!” says Tracey Moffatt when we start to talk about her background. “Miss Moffatt said: Go ahead and make it up. Give ‘em a great story.” It may be the era of post-truth and ‘alternative facts’ but I’m still not ready to fictionalise the artist who will represent Australia in … More


Bernie Doesn’t Just Shake! Parkinson’s Disease & Art

February 17, 2017
Bernie McGrath. Image courtesy of It's Not Funny

In April this year the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney hosted an unusual exhibition called Bernie doesn’t just shake! It was a four-day event, launched by an evening function that included speakers from many different walks of life – the majority were sufferers from Parkinson’s disease. The star of the show was Bernie … More


Body

December 2, 2016
Hans Bellmer
La demie poupée 1971
wood, paint and assemblage, doll, 90 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchased 1996
© Hans Bellmer, 1971. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased 1996 89.1996 
© Hans Bellmer. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia.

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


David Hockney

November 24, 2016
Installation view of David Hockney: Current at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.© David Hockney Inc.

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


Vincent Van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook

November 18, 2016
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

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


LOUISE HEARMAN: AGAINST THE GRAIN

October 14, 2016
Untitled #1118, 2005, oil on composition board, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael Hawker, 2009

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


ARTHUR McDONALD 1933 – 2016: A Eulogy

September 16, 2016
Dad in his Prime c. 1963

Much of my childhood led me to believe that fathers came in two major categories: introverts and extroverts. In the afternoon on the way home from high school, I’d often stop at a friend’s house. His father – big, burly, taciturn – would invariably be sitting in front of the TV with a can of … More


Harold the Kangaroo: A Preface

August 19, 2016
Harold Thornton in front of The Bulldog coffeeshop in Amsterdam. He painted the whole facade of the building, depicting the adventures of the owner’s Bulldog. The painted facade can still be seen today.

Lord Byron gave the name ‘Harold’ a Romantic association in his famous poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1818), and Australian art had a true Romantic hero in Harold ‘The Kangaroo’ Thornton. Like many heroic figures Harold was largely unappreciated in his own country, although he became a Bohemian celebrity in Amsterdam. This book is an important … More


David Hockney

August 4, 2016
David Hockney
English 1937–
Barry Humphries, 26-28 March 2015
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
121.9 x 91.4 cm (each)
Selection of approximately 80 portraits, subject selection to be confirmed
Hockney Pictures
© David Hockney

“Los Angeles is an acquired taste,” says David Hockney, although he admits he fell for the city on his very first visit in 1964. After growing up in Yorkshire, Hockney was excited by the “eroticism” of L.A. It was like nothing he’d seen or imagined. To a young, gay artist from Britain’s gloomy north it … More


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