Sydney Morning Herald Column

10<>30  40  50  

Shaun Gladwell

March 14, 2015

Watching the inexorable rise of Shaun Gladwell over the past decade makes me feel like the only teetotaler at a drunken party. After absorbing many hours of video, I still don’t get it. When everyone was gasping about Storm Sequence (2000) – a slow-motion film of Gladwell on a skateboard, I thought it was stupefying. … More


Perth Festival Art 2015

March 7, 2015

Over the past few years the Perth Festival has established a reputation for an adventurous visual arts program. This is in contrast to most of the arts festivals around Australia, which are dominated by the performing arts. Even Adelaide, which has had a long-term commitment to the visual arts, has dispensed with its regular Artists’ … More


Yangjiang Group & Zhang Huan

February 21, 2015

In Sydney the word “event” is always an understatement. The calendar is packed with one event after another, most of them growing more extravagant with each passing year. The procession begins with the Sydney Festival in January and continues until Christmas sends everyone home for a few days before the streets are packed again for … More


A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity

February 14, 2015

A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity at the Powerhouse Museum has been the great word-of-mouth exhibition over the summer. There have been many enquiries as to when I’d be reviewing this show, which I’ve been keeping in reserve – partly because it’s tempting to hold back on an exhibition that runs until September, and partly … More


James Turrell: A Retrospective

February 7, 2015

Light is the crucial element for almost every great painter, from Caravaggio to Turner to Monet. Manipulating paint on canvas to convincingly reproduce the effects of sunshine or darkness is a skill that separates the master from the amateur. In Australian art one thinks of the blaze of light in Streeton’s early paintings, or the … More


McClelland Sculpture Survey & Awards 2014

January 31, 2015

It is the ambition of the McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, according to its director, Robert Lindsay, to be the national focus of sculpture and Australia’s leading sculpture park. While Sydney’s annual Sculpture By the Sea might covet the first title, the McClelland’s only serious competition as an outdoor display is probably the Heide Museum … More


Jean Paul Gaultier

January 24, 2015

There are fashion designers such as the enigmatic Martin Margiela who refuse to be photographed or to give interviews. Then there is Jean Paul Gaultier, the only designer to have hosted a weekly TV program, presented the MTV Europe Music Awards, and recorded a house music hit song called ‘Aow Tou Dou Zat’. Like Andy … More


Yang Fudong: Filmscapes

January 17, 2015

Australian public galleries had to work hard to attract audiences last year, but in 2015 the degree of difficulty will crank up a few more notches. In such a climate institutions feel pressured to take a more populist approach – preferring shows that will appeal to a non-specialist audience over displays perceived as difficult or … More


Future Beauty

January 10, 2015

In the catalogue for Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Rei Kawakubo is named as the world’s most influential living fashion designer. Although she gives few interviews, Kawakubo did submit to a 2005 New Yorker profile by Judith Thurman in which there is a telling comparison with … More


Fashion Icons

December 13, 2014

“We invent nothing,” said Christian Dior, the man who revolutionised fashion in the twentieth century, “we always start from something that has come before.” This refreshing admission seems an appropriate place to begin discussing the round of fashion shows dominating Australia’s art museums this summer. The essential exhibition is Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the Collection … More


10<>30  40  50