ceramics

The Journey of Time

August 2, 2018

When James Abbott McNeill Whistler defended himself in court by saying that a dashed-off oil sketch represented the knowledge he had “gained in the work of a lifetime” he gave every lazy artist an excuse to feel important, and unwittingly established battle lines between art and craft. Nowadays it’s broadly accepted that one may create … More


Tang

June 10, 2016

Mention the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) and I think of Robert Van Gulik’s character, Judge Dee – the Sherlock Holmes of ancient China. Di Renjie (c.630-c.700) was a real magistrate of the Tang period but became the fictionalised hero of a series of detective stories set in those times. The inspiration came from a story … More


Adelaide Biennial 2016

March 10, 2016

Adelaide has thrown down the gauntlet for this year’s Sydney Biennale with a show that sparkles like a revolving disco ball. I can’t recall an exhibition of contemporary Australian art which has opened with more positive energy than the 2016 Adelaide Biennial: Magic Object. It’s a tour-de-force for the undervalued Australian art scene, and a … More


Grayson Perry

December 17, 2015

“On the whole I make very common categories of cultural product,” says Grayson Perry, “clay vessels, textile wall hangings, framed prints, figurines.” There is, however, nothing ‘common’ about the subject matter of Perry’s work or about his public persona – unless we take the word in a pejorative sense: “Oh my God, Grayson is so … More


A Golden Age of China

May 30, 2015

Imagine a painting titled: Tony Abbott admiring lotus while playing a zither, and you have glimpsed the cultural chasm that separates our world from that of the Qianlong Emperor. While the rulers of the Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911) were careful to surround themselves with symbols of conquest and martial prowess, they were equally assiduous in … 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


Peter Rushforth

August 3, 2013

Pottery today is in a paradoxical position. Alongside the wraparound videos, sculptural installations and performance works favoured by the contemporary art museums it seems decidedly unsexy. Yet stand in a gallery in front of a great pot and it is hard to think of anything more sensual, more engaging, more reflective of the human hand … More


Geoff Dyer, Stephen Bird, Etsuko Fukaya, Joanna Braithwaite

February 11, 2012

When Thoreau wrote: “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”, he probably wasn’t thinking about art dealers. Yet the phrase springs to mind when one considers the sluggishness of the commercial art scene over the past couple of years. While the art market weathered the GFC better than was generally expected, an extended … More


Ildiko Kovacs / Simone Fraser

May 19, 2011
Ildiko Kovacs, Serpentine 1999, Oil on plywood, 155 x 275 cm

May is becoming a crowded month, with works for the Head On Photo Festival being shown in more than 80 venues across the city. In addition there is a new round of exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW, and also a touch of musical chairs. Sullivan and Stumpf relocated to a spacious new venue … More