Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

Greg Semu

November 24, 2016
Collection+: Greg Semu, Earning My Stripes series, 2015, Pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Baryta, 100 x 133.4 cm, 
Editions 1/10, Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney. Installation view, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 2016
Photo: silversalt photography

Adolf Loos, famous Viennese designer and arbiter of taste, said that only criminals and savages adorned themselves with tattoos. Writing in 1928, he singled out the Papuans as representative “savages”, but he might just as easily have chosen the Samoans. In the very same year, Margaret Mead published Coming of Age in Samoa, perhaps the … More

Jompet Kuswidananto & Katthy Cavaliere

August 25, 2016
Jompet Kuswidananto's 'After Voices' at SCAF Sydney.

“Within the crowd there is equality,” wrote Elias Canetti, in his compelling, eccentric book, Crowds and Power (1960). “All demands for justice and all theories of equality ultimately derive their energy from the actual experience of equality familiar to anyone who has been part of a crowd.” Yet within that feeling of equality generated by … More

Ink Remix & Mikhael Subotzky

April 22, 2016
YAO Jui-chung, Yao's Journey to Australia. 2015, biro, blue ink with gold leaf on India handmade paper, 195 x 539 cm.

Mention Chinese art and most people think of brush-and-ink painting, a medium that has been around for at least 2,000 years. The image that springs to mind is of a craggy mountain with a sprinkling of equally contorted trees. The scene may be wreathed in mist, with a tiny sage perched on a ledge. In … More

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Art Collection

July 11, 2015
Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2000, c-type prints, suite of 9 images, edition 2/3, 227 x 183 cm (framed). Image courtesy: The Gene and Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney. Photo: the artist.

Public galleries have always cultivated good relations with private collectors, but lately those ties have taken on a new importance. This is partly a result of governments wanting to palm off the responsibility for arts funding onto private sources. The logic is perfectly cynical: when spending cuts are required the arts are seen as a … More

Shaun Gladwell

March 14, 2015
Shaun Gladwell, Untitled (Wanderer above the sea of fog) (Detail), 2014

Watching the inexorable rise of Shaun Gladwell over the past decade makes me feel like the only teetotaler at a drunken party. After absorbing many hours of video, I still don’t get it. When everyone was gasping about Storm Sequence (2000) – a slow-motion film of Gladwell on a skateboard, I thought it was stupefying. … More


July 5, 2014
Chien-chi Chang. The Chain, 1993-99; installation view from the exhibition HOME; 45 works; silver gelatin photographs; each 157.8 x 107.3 cm. Photo: Brett Boardman.

Taiwanese artist, Chien-Chi Chang, introduces his photo sequence, The Chain, with a quotation from Dostoyevsky’s Diary of a Writer: “It is not by confining one’s neighbour that one is convinced of one’s own sanity.” He almost certainly found the line in the preface to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation (1964), where it is paired with … More

Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture

October 13, 2012
Yu Youhan, ‘Untitled (Mao Marilyn)’, Oil on canvas, 2005. 150 x 149 cm

There is a simple explanation as to why Chinese contemporary art is so relentlessly satirical: 27 years of ideological rectitude, including that final decade of Mao-induced madness known as the Cultural Revolution. From the time the Communist Party took over in 1949 there was nothing much to laugh about. The workers paradise had been achieved, … More

Janet Laurence

May 5, 2012
Cellular Gardens (Where Breathing Begins),stainless steel, mild steel, acrylic, blown glass, rainforest plants, dimensions variable

There is a certain moral cachet that comes with the label “environmental artist”. Janet Laurence seems to be simultaneously attracted to the description and slightly embarrassed. She realises that any form of categorisation is a potential trap, but if one simply must wear a label, well “environmental artist” is among the more attractive options. It … More

Din Q. Lê: Erasure, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2011

August 27, 2011
Dinh Q. Lê Erasure, 2011 digital video (still) Courtesy the artist and Sàn Art Independent Artist Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It was astonishing to learn that in a recent opinion poll Australians rated border protection as a more important issue than health, education, transport or housing. This is one of those statistical miracles that testify to our growing sense of social paranoia and the power of political scare campaigns. The facts are well known but … More

Yang Fudong

April 23, 2011
Yang Fudong, No Snow on the Broken Bridge, 2006, 35mm film transferred to DVD,

Q: When is a film not a film? A: When it’s a work of contemporary art. Of all the current crop of Chinese artists who have become stars of the Biennale circuit, Yang Fudong (b.1971) is one of the most difficult to categorise. Having studied painting at the Academy of Art in Hangzhou, he has … More