Sydney Morning Herald Column

Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

March 31, 2016
Wang Huaiqing, 'Chinese Emperor 6', 2015, Tina Keng Gallery

“I hope you enjoy it,” said Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel, making his usual attempt to convince a cynical group of journalists that Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 was all about art, not money. “Well it seems to get a little better every year,” I replied with cautious optimism. “Oh, I think you’ll … More


Biennale of Sydney 2016

March 23, 2016
Ming Wong, 'Windows On The World (Part 1)', 2014, mixed ... rkshop, Hong Kong. Photograph: Glenn Eugen Ellingsen

There’s a lot to like about the 20th Biennale of Sydney, but it isn’t necessarily the art. Curator Stephanie Rosenthal, born in Germany but employed by the Hayward Gallery in London, has proven herself to be one of the most committed of all Biennale directors. Previous incumbents have tended to fly into Australia for quick … More


Lloyd Rees

March 17, 2016
Lloyd Rees (1895-1988), Port Jackson fig tree 1934, pencil. Collection of The University of Queensland. Gift of Dr James Vincent Duhig, 1949.  © Lloyd Rees Estate/Licensed by Viscopy, 2015

This weekend sees the launch of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, the most high-profile event in the Australian art calendar. As usual I’ll devote two columns to this mega-exhibition, but in the meantime there is one very different show that has waited a little too long for attention. Lloyd Rees: Painting with Pencil 1930-36, at … More


Adelaide Biennial 2016

March 10, 2016
Tom Moore's work, Planktonic Self, will be turned into a large inflatable artwork.

Adelaide has thrown down the gauntlet for this year’s Sydney Biennale with a show that sparkles like a revolving disco ball. I can’t recall an exhibition of contemporary Australian art which has opened with more positive energy than the 2016 Adelaide Biennial: Magic Object. It’s a tour-de-force for the undervalued Australian art scene, and a … More


Perth Festival Art Exhibitions

March 4, 2016
Dani Marti, Prelude (Purple), 2015, corner cube reflectors, glass beads on aluminium frame. Image courtesy of the artist. GAGPROJECTS | Greenway Art Gallery, Adelaide; and ARC ONE GALLERY, Melbourne

It’s often said that the Perth art scene suffers by its isolation, but nowadays the pain doesn’t seem too intense. In the arts the high point of every year is the Perth International Arts Festival. Of all the festivals that take place in cities around the country, Perth has the best and most dynamic visual … More


Manifesto

February 25, 2016
Cate Blanchett delivers 13 'convincing, almost effortless' performances in Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto. Photograph: Julian Rosefeldt/ACMI

If we accept its Latin origins, the word “manifesto” denotes something that is obvious or clearly seen. It is, therefore, an irony that most manifestos are poetic, elliptical, idealistic, and often downright absurd. The great age of the manifesto was the first half of the twentieth century, as Modernism overturned the stale conventions of western … More


Marilyn at MAMA

February 19, 2016
Marilyn Monroe, Source for Warhol’s ‘Marilyn’ Series, c. 1953. Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Image provided by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

“Men grow cold as girls grow old, and we all lose our charms in the end…” sang Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Yet Marilyn would never lose her charms, cheating old age by dying at the age of 36, fixing her image forever as the glamorous blonde starlet we see in … More


Encounters

February 11, 2016
Mask made from turtle shell plates, Mer, Torres Strait islands. Acquired by an unknown collector before 1855.

‘Civilisation’ is a concept that has changed beyond recognition over the past century. To the pioneering ethnographers of the Victorian era, tribal cultures were merely stages on the way to the civilised state. Viewed as backward, impoverished and superstitious, it was accepted that such communities would wither and die as they fell under the spell … More


El Anatsui

February 4, 2016
EL ANATSUI, Adinkra Sasa (detail), 2003, fabric, aluminum and copper wire, 488 × 549 cm. Photo by Michael Young for ArtAsiaPacific

El Anatsui makes one feel there might actually be some substance in the talk of a globalised art world. The idea that artists from places other than Europe and America can be players on the contemporary scene has been around ever since Jean-Hubert Martin’s landmark exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, held at the Centre Pompidou … More


Singapore: Art Stage & Beyond

January 28, 2016
Lee Wen recipient of the Joseph Balestier Award for Freedom of Art.

Down a long road in Singapore rows of banners announce: “The joy of success is in sharing it. Share success. Give hope.” These words might have been written by the organisers of Art Stage, now in its sixth year. At a time when the Chinese stockmarket has torpedoed the global economy one needs a serious … More