contemporary art

Gareth Sansom: Transformer

December 30, 2017
Gareth Sansom, 'The Seventh Seal (i) (2007)

Invited to nominate a masterpiece for a Radio National interview, Gareth Sansom decided to talk about Ingmar Bergman’s movie, The Seventh Seal (1957), which he first saw when he was 18 years old. Decades later he was still thinking about the film, making it the subject of large-scale paintings in 2007 and 2013. The Grim … More

NGV Triennial 2017

December 23, 2017
Ron Mueck's 'Mass' takes up an entire gallery

Melbourne has long been envious of the Sydney Biennale, which has just announced the artist list for its 21st iteration in 2018. At the opening of the inaugural NGV Triennial this week there was much talk of the one-and-only Melbourne International Biennial, held in 1999, under a title that in retrospect sounds a little tragic: … More

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow

December 15, 2017
Yayoi Kusama in front of her painting 'Life is the Heart of a Rainbow'

Yayoi Kusama has been the most hyperproductive of artists, but old age seems to have inspired even more prodigious feats. At 88-years-old her annual output of retrospectives, surveys, commercial exhibitions, public art projects and self-penned publications is mind-boggling. Most artists would feel pleased if they achieved as much during an entire lifetime. It helps, of … More

Xu Zhen

December 8, 2017
Xu Zhen's 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana' gets installed at the National Gallery of Victoria

In 2009 Xu Zhen decided he would “set aside his identity as an individual artist” and become a corporate entity. For the next four years, MadeIn Company (as in “Made in China”) would produce a dazzling variety of work for international museums and galleries. In 2013, its booming success encouraged the Company to release its … More

Pipilotti Rist: Sip My Ocean

December 8, 2017
Pipilotti Rist, tripping without drugs

“I will always be grateful to popular culture,” Pipilotti Rist told an interviewer in 2001. As a recent video clip by Beyoncé shows, popular culture should also be grateful to her. Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean, at the Museum of Contemporary Art reveals the many and various ways this remarkable Swiss multi-media artist embraces popular … More

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

November 17, 2017
Robert Mapplethorpe, 'Self-Portrait' (1985)

It may be the acid test of political correctness but it should be possible to dislike Robert Mapplethorpe’s work without being viewed as homophobic. Mapplethorpe often said he didn’t wish to be known as a “gay artist”, but he is such an icon for the LGBT community it’s virtually impossible to dissociate his work from … More

Gerhard Richter

November 10, 2017
Gerhard Richter, Ema (nude on a staircase) the 1992 photoprint

For decades Gerhard Richter has been one of the world’s most successful living artists, with work in museums and leading private collections all over the planet. The current record price for one of his paintings stands at US$46 million. Now comes the the biggest test of a long and distinguished career: Can he make it … More

Cressida Campbell: Who wants the world?

October 20, 2017
Cressida Campbell

Berlin in January was cold, with snow falling in light drifts. Inside the CFA Gallery on Am Kupfergraben, just across the River Spree from the Museum Island, everything was bright, white and climate-controlled. In a large central gallery on the first floor were massive oil paintings by Australia’s most commercially successful painter, Tim Storrier – … More

Anri Sala: The Last Resort

October 20, 2017
Anri Sala, drum beats over Sydney Harbour

Historians can never agree about the so-called “Age of Enlightenment”. The narrow definition has it beginning with the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and ending with the French Revolution in 1789. The long version begins somewhere in the late 1600s and fizzles out in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. As the dates are … More

Istanbul – The Art of Optimism

October 6, 2017
Sukran Moral, 'Hit-and-Run My Heart!' (2016)

“We are a thin-skinned country,” admitted Selim Yenel, “We are intolerant.” There was no argument from the international journalists assembled around the table. In the face of successive questions about government censorship and repression, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs Ambassador provided answers no-one could dispute. Asked about the political persecution of … More