American art

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

July 7, 2017

There are exhibitions that sound marvellous in theory but somehow fail to measure up when they make it to the gallery walls. O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism at the Art Gallery of NSW is an almost perfect example. As one of those projects that puts Australian artists on equal terms with a better known … More


William Eggleston: Portraits

June 1, 2017

In By the Ways, an off-beat documentary about William Eggleston, there is a sequence in which the photographer answers questions from an unseen German interviewer. Straining after profundity the interviewer asks: “Do you understand your work as an expression of your existence?” There’s an agonising pause, then a response in Eggleston’s southern drawl: “Probably.” Eggleston … More


Salon des Refusés 2015 & Stars + Stripes

August 8, 2015

Archibald season demands to be taken seriously because it’s the only time of the year most of the public feel motivated to visit the Art Gallery of NSW and associated venues. During the Archibald Prize the AGNSW is full of people – a surge in visitation that has become more crucial than ever. With both … More


America: Painting a Nation

November 23, 2013

“Thus in the beginning,” wrote the philosopher, John Locke in 1689, “all the world was America.” He was referring to a primitive state of social organisation being rapidly improved by British colonialism. Nowadays Locke’s words seem just as true, but it is because America has colonised the rest of the world. For much of the … More


Masami Teraoka, Migration

June 2, 2012

One of the strangest developments in the Sydney art scene is the sudden upsurge of galleries showing and selling high priced international art. This is surprising, given the fact that these are dismal times for retail and the art business is essentially retail with delusions of grandeur. There are only two explanations: either there are … More


Enrique Martínez Celaya / Michael Johnson

May 7, 2011

Enrique Martínez Celaya is an overachiever by any standard. An American artist of Cuban extraction, he has been feted and praised as only the United States can fete and praise. More


Chuck Close

September 25, 2010

Chuck Close is celebrated as an artist who has made creative use of his disabilities, although one might say he has simply refused to be beaten by them. Struck down by a collapsed spinal artery in December 1988, he has been in a wheelchair ever since, painting with brushes strapped to his wrist. Close’s stroke … More


American Impressionism and Realism

July 25, 2009

“Balzac had described many cities,” wrote Henry James in his late novel, The Ambassadors, “but he had not described Woollett, Massachusetts.” Neither did Balzac get around to describing Brisbane, although to be fair, there was not much to describe in his day. “Woollett”, for James, was a bastion of New World earnestness, industry and ambition. … More


Andy Warhol

March 1, 2005

What happens when art history has run its course? What happens when every last innovation has been tried and tried again? One answer is that the business of art becomes the art of business. This distinction was pioneered by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), who was talking about “business art” in the 1970s – a decade in … More