modernism

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

July 7, 2017
Margaret Preston, Implement blue (1927)

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


Manifesto

February 25, 2016
Cate Blanchett delivers 13 'convincing, almost effortless' performances in Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto. Photograph: Julian Rosefeldt/ACMI

If we accept its Latin origins, the word “manifesto” denotes something that is obvious or clearly seen. It is, therefore, an irony that most manifestos are poetic, elliptical, idealistic, and often downright absurd. The great age of the manifesto was the first half of the twentieth century, as Modernism overturned the stale conventions of western … More


Salon des Refusés 2015 & Stars + Stripes

August 8, 2015
Paul Trefry, 'Homeless still human', silicone, fiberglass, horse hair, and polyester resin

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


Robert Jacks

November 8, 2014
'Transitions', 1975, oil and wax on canvas, 175 x 256.8 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased through the C. H. and C. E. Waddell Trust, 1975

It’s hard to be objective about Robert Jacks who passed away in August at the untimely age of 71. Jacks once told me he couldn’t say whether his paintings were any good or not, but he always knew how to put together a good exhibition. It’s pleasing that the National Gallery of Victoria have done … More


J.W.Power Abstraction-Création Paris 1934

December 1, 2012
J.W.Power, Susannah and the Elders, 1931-32

Almost sixty years after his death, John Joseph Wardell Power is overdue for another look. Power is best known as the generous benefactor who provided funds for a department of art history at Sydney University and a collection that has since evolved into the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is not widely known that the … More


Picasso to Warhol

September 29, 2012
Joan Miró, Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird, 1926, Oil on canvas 29 x 36 1/4

Australia’s economy may be one of the most robust in the world, but our art markets, and attendances at public galleries, lag far behind Europe and the United States. It is a cultural problem: a general feeling that visual art is not an essential part of life, merely a sideline or a luxury. This is … More


Abstraction

September 17, 2011
Aida Tomescu, Welt II, 2005, mixed media and collage on paper

Among the unsolicited art emails that appear in my mail-box every week, one recent posting came from the Martos Gallery in New York, who were holding an exhibition called We Regret to Inform You There is Currently No Space or Place for Abstract Painting. The image that came with the email showed this sentence written … More


John Brack

June 6, 2009
John Brack, Self-portrait, 1955

Will Sydney ever see the best of John Brack? The National Gallery of Victoria held its first Brack retrospective in 1987. Following artist’s death in February 1999 there have been further surveys held in Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide. Exhibitions have looked at Brack’s portraits, his paintings of the nude, and his relationship with Fred Williams. … More