Sydney Morning Herald Column

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Joshua Yeldham

October 18, 2014

Artists are always happy to portray their work as a spiritual journey but Joshua Yeldham is more convincing than most. His mid-career survey at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum is a unique experience – less of an exhibition than a single work of art divided into different segments that unfold over time. This holistic … More


The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece

October 11, 2014

There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. (Nietzsche) It’s slightly surprising that one must travel to Bendigo to see an exhibition such as The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece. Sourced from the holdings of the British Museum this show would be a major drawcard in any state gallery, but the … More


Gwangju, Busan & SeMA Biennale

October 4, 2014

In South Korea the word “exhibition” seems to be translated as “biennale”. At the moment the Koreans are hosting at least four biennales, if one includes the Daegu Photography Biennale (until 19 October). Last week I managed to catch the other three, two of which have begun in an atmosphere of high controversy. The most … More


Five Decades at Watters Gallery

September 27, 2014

On 18 November Watters Gallery will be celebrating its 50th birthday. This is an amazing achievement in a field in which most players never make it through a decade. Commercial art galleries are the economic equivalents of the canary in the coal mine – being the first to suffer in times of recession as people … More


Aztecs

September 20, 2014

It’s been a great year for ancient American culture down under. 2014 began with the Incas at the National Gallery of Australia, and now the Aztecs have taken over the Australian Museum. There are many similarities between these two famous civilisations, both destroyed by the Spanish invaders – the Aztecs in 1521, while the Incas … More


Lee Lee-nam & Robert Motherwell

September 13, 2014

French art historian, Daniel Arasse, hopes an audience might be able to stand in front of one masterpiece for at least five minutes. It doesn’t sound a big ask, but spend time in a gallery and watch how long people linger in front of even the most famous works of art. Five minutes would be … More


Annette Messager

September 6, 2014

Annette Messager was born in the French provinces to a family of atheists who took a particular pleasure in the local Catholic church. Her father favoured the architecture, while Annette liked the stained glass windows. This biographical tidbit takes on significance when one considers the nature of Messager’s work, which draws freely on the iconography … More


Mooi Indie

August 30, 2014

Countries in the throes of social change always produce the most exciting contemporary art. This has been true of China for the past two decades, and it is one of the less recognised outcomes of South Korea’s economic miracle. On the other hand, in places like Australia or Scandinavia – well represented in this year’s … More


Melbourne Art Fair 2014

August 23, 2014

Art dealers in Australia have an image problem. Every time a high profile art fraud comes to court, as in the recent case of a dud Albert Tucker painting, there is a mass of lurid publicity. We hear shocking stories about the prevalence of fakes, shady dealers, unreliable auction practices and double-dipping art consultants. It … More


Saltwater Country

August 16, 2014

‘Country’ is the most fundamental concept in the Aboriginal lexicon, but also the most misunderstood. The indigenous feeling for country is far more spiritual than sentimental. It’s a distinction that’s scarcely comprehensible to those of us who believe identity consists of what we make of ourselves, regardless of our place of origin. The Hollywood version … More


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