Australian art

Australian Symbolism

May 19, 2012

There are moments in art history that are fascinating to contemplate but irredeemably minor. This pretty much sums up Australian Symbolism, which plays a supporting role to Impressionist landscape and those paintings of a broadly nationalist persuasion that dominated art in this country in the decades leading up to the First World War. Symbolism in … More


The Clock, Marking Time

May 12, 2012

Switzerland gave us the cuckoo clock, and Swiss-American artist, Christian Marclay, has created the most preposterous time-piece in the history of art. The Clock is such a unique artifact it defies all but the most impressionistic responses. This is obvious from Zadie Smith’s essay in the brochure published for the work’s showing at the Museum … More


Janet Laurence

May 5, 2012

There is a certain moral cachet that comes with the label “environmental artist”. Janet Laurence seems to be simultaneously attracted to the description and slightly embarrassed. She realises that any form of categorisation is a potential trap, but if one simply must wear a label, well “environmental artist” is among the more attractive options. It … More


Salon des Refusés

April 28, 2012

In the brochure that accompanies this year’s Salon des Refusés at the S.H.Ervin Gallery, one reads that the show is “in the tradition of the renegade French Impressionists of the 1860s, who held a breakaway exhibition from the reactionary French Academy.” Leaving aside the fact that the term ‘Impressionism’ wasn’t used until the 1870s, this … More


Thomas Demand, Gonkar Gyatso

April 14, 2012

There have been 24 previous Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, but never anything so cool and oblique as Thomas Demand’s The Dailies 2012. The work is not installed in a gallery, but in the Commercial Travellers’ Association Club, in the MLC Centre, just off Martin Place. The unconventional venue is an essential part of … More


New MCA

April 7, 2012

A new Museum of Contemporary Art has been a long time coming. This weekend the public can take a first look and see if the wait has been worthwhile. My own verdict, after an intensive preview, is that it is a qualified success. Some would argue we have been waiting ever since John Wardell Power’s … More


Archibald Prize 2012

March 31, 2012

At that dreaded time of year when the Archibald Prize rolls around, the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW strap on their armour and prepare to be criticised, condemned, lampooned and humiliated. Admittedly they often bring this fate on themselves by their choice of a show or a winner. The only difference this time … More


Mike Parr, Denise Green, Art Month

March 24, 2012

Three weeks in, Art Month keeps rolling. The wine is still being sipped, the eager crowds scramble from one gallery to the next; the chatter is relentless. There’s always something else to say about Art, even if each new pronouncement tends to contradict the previous one. The unresolved issue hanging over this collective love-in for … More


Sunset over Cottesloe

March 13, 2012

As half of the Sydney art world celebrated the launch of Art Month, and the other half clinked glasses at a valedictory show of Margaret Olley’s work, I was on Cottesloe Beach watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. It was the eighth incarnation of Sculpture by the Sea in Western Australia, and I … More


Parallel Collisions: The 2012 Adelaide Biennial

March 10, 2012

“We love language,” confessed the curators of Parallel Collisions: the 12th Adelaide Biennial. This may not sound controversial – for the purposes of communication it’s very useful. It was only as I read through the boxed, brick-heavy catalogue for this exhibition that I began to feel Natasha Bullock and Alexie Glass-Kantor may love language not … More