Sydney Morning Herald Column

1020<>40  50  

Monet preview

May 4, 2013

Paul Cézanne paid Claude Monet one of the most famous backhanded compliments in the history of art when he wrote: “Monet is just an eye, but good God, what an eye!”  (“Monet n’est qu’un oeil, mais bon Dieu, quel oeil!”) In his later years that eye failed the great Impressionist at a time when he … More


White Rabbit: Smash Palace

May 4, 2013

Every exhibition at White Rabbit, the Neilson family’s private museum of contemporary Chinese art, has featured at least one show-stopper. The tour-de-force in the current show, Smash Palace, is Cheng Dapeng’s Wonderful City (2011-12), a 9.6 metre-long 3D print. On a long, light-box table, Cheng has placed a scale model of a city overrun with … More


Zadok Ben-David & Adam Rish

April 27, 2013

It may be presumptuous to declare Anglo-Israeli artist, Zadok Ben-David a great sculptor, but there is no denying he is one of the great entertainers in world art. If you were to ask me: “What’s wrong with that?” I’d have to reply: “Nothing at all.” There is an air of sanctimony about much contemporary art, … More


Salon de Refusés 2013 & Jenny Sages

April 20, 2013

This year’s Archibald Prize was one of the most even contests in decades, but also one of the least memorable. There have been pictures in previous competitions that would have romped home in this year’s field, but the luck and timing was with Del Kathryn Barton, not with the ghosts of Archibalds past. If there … More


13 Rooms

April 13, 2013

In 1969 a young, enthusiastic art collector named John Kaldor sponsored a visit to Sydney by the renowned international artists, Christo and Jeanne Claude. The project that resulted was Wrapped Coast, which saw hundreds of volunteers working with the artists to wrap a rocky section of Little Bay. Wrapped Coast was the first ever Kaldor … More


South of no North

April 6, 2013

South of no North may seem an enigmatic title for an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but a moment’s reflection provides clarity. The name of this show, which brings together the work of Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston and Noel McKenna, is borrowed from a book of short stories by Charles Bukowski (1916-1994). This … More


Setouchi Triennale 2013

March 30, 2013

‘Revitalisation’ is the keynote to the second Setouchi Triennale, an exhibition that uses contemporary art to bring new energies to a region in decline. The Seto Inland Sea is one of the most picturesque parts of Japan, with a diverse cultural heritage spread across a series of islands, large and small. Today, as in so … More


The Archibald Prize 2013: A Review

March 23, 2013

This column comes from Japan, where like a character in a horror story pursued by an implacable nemesis, I’m writing about… the Archibald Prize! This venerable portrait competition is an Australian institution that is simply incomprehensible to the rest of the world. To outsiders the popularity of the prize, and of portraiture in general, is … More


The Archibald Prize 2013: A Comment

March 22, 2013

This year’s Archibald throws up one nagging question: “What’s that animal Hugo Weaving is holding?” Perhaps it’s something the special effects crew from the Matrix movies dreamt up. According to the news reports, Del Kathryn Barton, says the indefinable creature “demonstrates facets of the actor’s personality” – an explanation that raises more questions than it … More


Roy Jackson, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Kirsteen Pieterse, Vika Begalska

March 16, 2013

Last week I was reminded of the gulf that exists between the art world and the rest of the world, when ABC radio asked me to comment on the Mayor of Newcastle’s view that funding for a new regional gallery should come from selling works in the collection. His logic was: the holdings of the … More


1020<>40  50