political art

The last days of the Caponian empire

August 9, 2011
Locust Jones, News of the world

What a deathly year it has been for artists! In quick succession we have lost Cy Twombly, Lucian Freud, and now John Hoyland. The latter was especially disturbing, as I had just contributed a catalogue essay to his exhibition with Charles Nodrum in Melbourne. Logically there is nothing surprising about someone dying at a ripe … More


Surrealism at GoMA

July 30, 2011
Rene Magritte, Les marches de l'ete ( The summer steps) (detail) 1938

“This life is a hospital in which every patient is tormented by the yearning to move to another bed. – André Breton It’s probably been said many times, but Queensland is a highly appropriate setting for a Surrealism show. Not only does one meet the most surreal personalities north of the border, only a few … More


Jim Anderson / Phillip Juster

February 26, 2011
Screen shot 2012-06-30 at 10.59.34 PM

“I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher,” said Dr. Johnson to his biographer, Boswell, “but I don’t know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.” Seeing the exhibition, Lampoon: An Art Historical Trajectory 1970-2010, I thought these lines were oddly appropriate for Jim Anderson. In a retrospective at Sydney University’s Tin Sheds … More


Shen Jiawei: the Art of Politics

August 1, 2010

Shen Jiawei became an artist during the Cultural Revolution, making his first major works in the service of the state, embodied in the figure of the Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong. For roughly a decade, from 1966 onwards, every aspect of daily life in China was politicised in a way that seems to defy logic. It … More


Art & Politics

January 15, 2003
Mike Parr, Malevich (A Political Arm), performance for as long as possible

There was a period of about a decade, starting from the early-to-mid 1980s, when every major art event had to be accompanied by an extensive series of forums. These talk-fests were often boring, and always inconclusive. Some participants gave the impression of having done no preparation whatsoever, others had written papers of impenetrable, theoretical complexity. … More