Sydney Morning Herald Column

Giorgio de Chirico: Major works from the Collection of Francesco Federico Cerruti

March 16, 2018
Giorgio de Chirico, 'The Metaphysical Muses' (1918)

Giorgio de Chirico had an irrascible reputation but never lacked self-confidence. Although recognised as one of great modern artists, de Chirico (1888-1978) was a vehement opponent of Modernism. In his eyes, Cézanne, Matisse and Modigliani were no more than “pseudo-artists”, makers of infantile daubs. “Naturally,” he writes in his Memoirs, “in order to see and … More

The 2018 Adelaide Biennial: Divided Worlds

March 9, 2018
Lindy Lee's 'Life of Stars' in front of a luridly lit AGSA

It’s a time-honoured tradition that large museum surveys of contemporary art should have titles so vague and all-encompassing as to be effectively meaningless. Yet it may be that with Divided Worlds, Erica Green, the curator of the 2018 Adelaide Biennial, has found a title that actually feels relevant. Two decades into the 21st century the … More

Perth Arts Festival 2018

March 2, 2018
Up close & personal with Zadok Ben-David's 'The Other Side of Midnight' (detail)

When it comes to rampant development Perth loses nothing in comparison with its eastern counterparts. Amid the new buildings and public works only one thing remains the same: the Art Gallery of Western Australia, which looks just as shabby year after year. Its every mention provokes Olympic-standard eye-rolling in other members of the local arts … More

Chinese New Year Lunar Lanterns & In Your Dreams

February 23, 2018
Happy Year of the Dog! Song Ling's canine contribution guards the Opera House

Bread and circuses was the classical world’s formula for keeping the population happy. The famous phrase originates in Juvenal’s 10th Satire, when the poet laments that Romans have become so blasé about the political process they are happy to sell their votes for grain handouts and lavish public entertainments. With the NSW Government proposing to … More

Intrepid Women

February 16, 2018
Bessie Davidson, 'Le robe jaune' (1931)

It’s an historical fact that women have almost always outnumbered men at Australian art schools but accounted for only a small proportion of works acquired for public collections. The times have been a-changing for the past few decades, with no gallery overtly discriminating against female artists, but there is still a debt to be paid … More

Dhaka Art Summit 2018

February 10, 2018
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran flew the flag for Australia, or was it Sri Lanka?

Bangladesh is not the first place that springs to mind when asked about fashionable art destinations. Yet if you wanted to visit to a single city in the world last week where you might meet the director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the director of Britain’s Tate art museums, and a top-line … More

Katharina Grosse

February 2, 2018
Katharina Grosse at Carriageworks

There’s a certain Guinness-Book-of-Records quality about Katharina Grosse’s installation at Carriageworks. On opening night everyone kept asking: “Is this the biggest painting in the world? Is this the biggest painting ever made in Australia?”, and so on. My short answer was: “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen a bigger painting anywhere.” A quick Internet … More

Hyper Real

January 25, 2018
Ron Mueck, 'Pregnant Woman' (2002)

Hyper Real at the National Gallery of Australia is one of those exhibitions that must have seemed like a great idea at the time. Realism may appear to be the most obvious approach to making art, but it has been the exception rather than the rule throughout different cultures and epochs. The Seated Scribe of … More

Kathryn Del Barton: The Highway is a Disco

January 20, 2018
The many faces of Del Kathryn Barton.. 'In another land'

A friend in Melbourne thinks he’s found the key to the mysterious pictures of Del Kathryn Barton: Smarties. His theory goes that in the formative years of childhood Del had a desperate, unrequited desire for Smarties. As a result she has been compelled forever after to fill her paintings with these small, brightly coloured lollies. … More


January 12, 2018
Yarrkalpa (Hunting Ground), a collaborative work by Martu artists

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters is a show with a story – one of the oldest ever told in this country. It’s an R-rated tale of seven sisters being pursued by a lustful man who first appears in the Pilbara and follows them across the deserts of Western Australia to the very heart of the … More

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