Queensland Art Gallery

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Goodbye Margaret, hello Brisbane

July 31, 2011

There are a number of phone calls that I dread, although they are inevitable. One arrived last Wednesday when the SMH Arts Editor, Clare Morgan, rang to tell me that Margaret Olley had died. Margaret has been a fixture on the Australian art scene since the 1940s, and it would be difficult to think of … More


Ethel Carrick & E. Phillips Fox

April 30, 2011

Words such as “delightful” do not play much of a role in this column, but if ever there were an occasion for such a lapse, it would be Art, Love & Life: Ethel Carrick & E. Phillips Fox, at the Queensland Art Gallery. The Foxes were a successful partnership, both as man and wife, and … More


21st Century

January 8, 2011

In 1942 Peggy Guggenheim opened her Art of this Century gallery in New York, designed by the Austrian architect, Frederick Kiesler. The gallery’s Abstract Room featured paintings suspended in mid-air. A Surrealist Room had concave walls, from which pictures were cantilevered on wooden joints made from sawn-off baseball bats. In a Kinetic Room the viewer … More


Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future

September 18, 2010

Philosophers should make a comprehensive study of  Valentino Garavani, because if he isn’t a genuinely happy man this proves human happiness is an unobtainable ideal. The great couturier retired in 2008 at the peak of his fame, adored by the world’s most glamorous and influential people. His life-style, as revealed in Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary, Valentino: … More


Hats and James Fardoulys

April 24, 2010

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


6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

December 12, 2009

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


American Impressionism and Realism

July 25, 2009

“Balzac had described many cities,” wrote Henry James in his late novel, The Ambassadors, “but he had not described Woollett, Massachusetts.” Neither did Balzac get around to describing Brisbane, although to be fair, there was not much to describe in his day. “Woollett”, for James, was a bastion of New World earnestness, industry and ambition. … More


Tim Johnson

May 2, 2009

Tim Johnson once had a vision of the Buddha in his kitchen in Newtown. “The moment after I saw it,” he told an interviewer in 1991, “it somehow took over my thoughts, said ‘Don’t be afraid’, and floated towards me very quickly, merged into my body, and then said ‘I’ll always be here.’” Neither is … More


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