sculpture

Degas

July 28, 2016

Degas had a dread of publicity and an intense dislike of journalists. “Those people trap you in your bed,” he grumbled, “strip off your shirt, corner you in the street, and when you complain, they say: ‘You belong to the public.’” Almost a hundred years after his death, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917) has become public property … More


Tang

June 10, 2016

Mention the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) and I think of Robert Van Gulik’s character, Judge Dee – the Sherlock Holmes of ancient China. Di Renjie (c.630-c.700) was a real magistrate of the Tang period but became the fictionalised hero of a series of detective stories set in those times. The inspiration came from a story … More


William Yaxley & Edwin Wilson

April 14, 2016

This job entails constant requests to open exhibitions but most are politely declined. So it was rare for me, last week, to undertake openings on successive nights in two different parts of the country. The first was a survey by Edwin Wilson at that proudly unfashionable venue, the Royal Art Society, Lavender Bay. The second … More


Perth Festival Art Exhibitions

March 4, 2016

It’s often said that the Perth art scene suffers by its isolation, but nowadays the pain doesn’t seem too intense. In the arts the high point of every year is the Perth International Arts Festival. Of all the festivals that take place in cities around the country, Perth has the best and most dynamic visual … More


El Anatsui

February 4, 2016

El Anatsui makes one feel there might actually be some substance in the talk of a globalised art world. The idea that artists from places other than Europe and America can be players on the contemporary scene has been around ever since Jean-Hubert Martin’s landmark exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, held at the Centre Pompidou … More


Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015

August 22, 2015

In the courtyard of the Satoyama Museum, in Tokamachi City, a mountain has been born. Covered in dense forest, with clouds of mist and even a waterfall, the towering monolith sits in a shallow pool of water. The courtyard is surrounded by a ring of helicopters, battleships, submarines and patrol boats – 100 small models … More


Anzac Shows, New Zealand

May 2, 2015

Australia is allegedly spending $325 million on the commemoration of the First World War. This figure, we are told, is more than twice what the British have allocated, and 20 times the budget for events in New Zealand. Some will see this is a waste of money at a time when the government is preaching … More


Matthew Barney

December 6, 2014

For a man who has masterminded some of the largest, most outrageous artistic events of all time, Matthew Barney is strangely unassuming. Trim, casually dressed, with pale blue eyes that give nothing away, he pauses to reflect before answering every question. His replies are precise and thoughtful, but never exhaustive. Raised in rural Idaho, Barney … More


Matthew Barney

November 29, 2014

“If you read Ancient Evenings for the story,” wrote Harold Bloom, in an insightful review of Norman Mailer’s most notorious novel, “you will hang yourself.” Having ground my way through 150 pages of this flawed magnum opus I can see exactly what he means. Mailer spent ten years on a sprawling story of ancient Egypt … More


Joshua Yeldham

October 18, 2014

Artists are always happy to portray their work as a spiritual journey but Joshua Yeldham is more convincing than most. His mid-career survey at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum is a unique experience – less of an exhibition than a single work of art divided into different segments that unfold over time. This holistic … More