Sydney Morning Herald Column

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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


Archibald Prize 2013: A Preview

March 15, 2013

In the past it has been relatively easy to pick the painting that should win the Archibald Prize, and then to pick the one that will win it. This time around, I confess I’m all at sea. There is a general feeling among the Art Gallery of NSW staff that this year’s finalists are better … More


Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan

March 9, 2013

As Art Month begins, there’s no doubt the most talked-about show in town is Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan, at the National Art School Gallery. If last Saturday’s attendances at this exhibition were of any significance, one might imagine Sydney was infected by a passion for art. Despite the rainy weather a surprising number of people … More


Perth Festival

March 2, 2013

With the mercury touching 40 degrees for days on end, a major attraction of the art component this year’s Perth Festival was its display in air-conditioned rooms. ‘Light’ was the overarching theme of the festival shows, although it was a relief to get out of the glare of the sun into an environment where illumination … More


Turner From the Tate

February 23, 2013

According to J.M.W. Turner, the secret of being a great artist was “damn’d hard work.” This is difficult to argue against, especially when said by a painter whose pictures came to define the Romantic era – that time when artists stopped being seen as tradesmen and aspired to the role of individual genius. Yet Turner … More


Linde Ivimey

February 16, 2013

Linde Ivimey is the most conspicuous beneficiary of the Gothic turn that Australian contemporary art has taken over the past few years. A decade ago she was virtually unknown, making a living by sculpting cakes while pursuing sculpture in her spare time. Nowadays her pieces are eagerly sought after by private collectors and public galleries. … More


Song Dong

February 9, 2013

There are many ways to make a portrait of one’s mother. Probably the most famous example is James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s painting of his old mum sitting in a chair, looking a stiff as an Egyptian statue. He titled the picture: Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1875). In Waste Not, one of the … More


J.M.W. Turner: A Preview

February 2, 2013

“Soapsuds and whitewash,” they said. “Portraits of nothing and very like.” In the manner of the Biblical prophet, not without honour, but in his own country, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) spent his entire career being insulted and derided by British commentators. Although we think of him today as the greatest of all British artists, … More


Candice Breitz: The Character

February 2, 2013

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd in an exhibition such as the Venice Biennale, in which hundreds, possibly thousands of works are competing for the attentions of the cognoscenti. If you manage this feat, your career prospects as contemporary artist take a sharp turn to the north. Candice Breitz was born in Johannesburg … More


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