contemporary art

Fiona Tan, Jon Lewis & Kate Geraghty

May 1, 2010
Fiona Tan, Disorient (still), 2009.

Fiona Tan is almost the perfect multicultural artist. Born in Indonesia of Australian and Chinese parents, brought up in Melbourne, she now resides in the Netherlands. Last year she was the Dutch representative at the Venice Biennale, where her video, Disorient, was one of the best received exhibits in a largely disappointing show. Would it … More


Hats and James Fardoulys

April 24, 2010
James Fardoulys, The start of Burke and Wills 1860, 1972, Oil on board, 77 x 93cm; 88 x 101.5cm

Lewis Carroll cannot take complete credit for the expression: “as mad as a hatter”. Even before he created the most famous tea party in world literature, hatters had quite a reputation. The mercury compounds used in 19th century hat making induced a range of symptoms including trembling fits and mood swings. It is unlikely that … More


Ron Mueck

February 27, 2010
Ron Mueck, ‘Old Woman in bed’, (detail) 2002

There is no place in the upper echelons of contemporary art for a reasonable person: to be a success one has to be an extremist. There are artists whose work is so sloppy it might have been thrown together the day before an opening, and those with an obsessive eye for detail. Many curators and … More


Olafur Eliasson

February 13, 2010
Olafur Eliasson, 360° room for all colours, 2002, Stainless steel, projection foil, fluorescent lights, wood, control unit 320 cm, 815 cm, Installation view at Musée d’ Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2002

When a show is called Take Your Time, and runs for four full months, there seems to be no great urgency in visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art. So little urgency that I’m always talking to people who missed an MCA exhibition because they thought they might go next week, or perhaps the week after, … More


Lynette Wallworth & Circa 1979: Signal to Noise

January 23, 2010
Lynette Wallworth, Evolution of Fearlessness, 2006

This year’s Sydney Festival follows the familiar pattern of being chiefly concerned with theatre and music. This comes as no great surprise, but it is important that the visual arts events are not treated merely as an afterthought. Olafur Eliasson at the Museum of Contemporary Art is the headline act, while the Campbelltown Arts Centre … More


Fiona Foley

January 9, 2010
Fiona Foley, Annihilation of the Blacks, 1986, wood, synthetic polymer paint, feathers, string 278 x 300 x 60 cm

Fiona Foley is an artist who has benefited from being in the right place at the right time. Having begun exhibiting in the mid-1980s, she is young enough to have missed the great ideological battles that took place in the art of the sixties and seventies. She never had to worry about edges and picture … More


6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

December 12, 2009
Gonkar Gyatso, Buddha Sakyamuni Dissected, 2010, mixed media, pencil and Indian ink over silkscreen,  280 x 230 cm

Has it been fifteen years already? In its sixth installment the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery shows no signs of settling into a predictable pattern. On the contrary: the APT is the most dynamic contemporary art exhibition in Australia and quite possibly the world. It may not be the biggest of shows, … More


Rebecca Horn and Medicine & Art

December 5, 2009
Patricia Piccinini, Game Boys Advanced, 2002-2003, Silicone, acrylic, human hair, clothing, hand-held video games, edition of 3, 140 cm × 36 cm × 75 cm

It’s appropriate that the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art is staging Japan’s first-ever Rebecca Horn retrospective at the same time the Mori Art Museum is hosting the show, Medicine and Art. Of all those who dwell in the upper echelons of international contemporary art, no-one has been more dedicated than Horn when it comes to … More


Sculpture by the Sea & The Miniature Show

November 14, 2009
Jan King, Abyssinia, slate, steel, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2009

Sculpture by the Sea is thirteen years old and – judging by its current incarnation – still in the throes of puberty. Aside from long-running institutions such as the Archibald, or the Mosman Art Prize, most annual competitions and group exhibitions never last for a decade. The most dramatic example must be the one-and-only Melbourne … More


40 Years: Kaldor Public Art Projects

October 31, 2009
Tatzu Nishi: War and peace and in between, Art Gallery of NSW, 2009

Ever since Christo and Jeanne-Claude put Little Bay under wraps in October 1969, John Kaldor has enjoyed a reputation as one of Australia’s most innovative art patrons. The current exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW is both a survey and a celebration of the projects that Kaldor has initiated over the past four decades. … More