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Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey

Patrick McCaughey is former Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut, and the Yale Center for British Art. His most recent book is Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters (2014). His other works include Voyage and Landfall: The Art of Jan Senbergs (2006). He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and Australian Book Review. He lives and works on the banks of the Quinnipiac River in New Haven, and has recently finished editing Fred Williams: Diaries 1963–1970 for the Miegunyah Press.

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Centre of the Periphery: Three European art historians in Melbourne' by Sheridan Palmer

October 2008, no. 305 01 October 2008
Jaynie Anderson, the third Herald Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne, initiated the study of Australian art historiography with fine accounts of the three scholars – Ursula Hoff, Franz Philipp and Joseph Burke – who form the focus of this book. Surprisingly, Professor Anderson’s contributions are barely mentioned, and she is not listed among the fifty-five people Sheridan ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews ‘What’s wrong with contemporary art?’ by Peter Timms

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
Peter Timms is ‘dismayed’ by the state of contemporary art and by the hype that surrounds it and the reality of the experience. He has written a book mired in exasperation and frustration. It is not hard to share Timms’s sentiments. Visit any sizeable biennale-type exhibition and you are engulfed in flickering videos in shrouded rooms, installations of more or less hermetic appeal, large-sca ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Crossing Cultures: Conflict, migration and convergence. The proceedings of the 32nd International congress of the History of Art' edited by Jaynie Anderson

October 2009, no. 315 01 October 2009
The discipline of art history in Australia has passed through four stages. The foundations were laid in the 1940s with the arrival of three eminent émigrés. Ursula Hoff, schooled in the rigours and erudition of the Warburg Institute, came first. Franz Philipp, a Dunera survivor, well educated in the Viennese School, under Julius von Schlosser and others, came next. Then came Joseph Burke, first ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'I Blame Duchamp: My Life’s adventures in art' by Edmund Capon

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
Over the past three decades, Edmund Capon has transformed the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Before he arrived, you could have swapped the contents of the Sydney gallery with Ballarat’s and nobody would have noticed the difference. How a city of that size, wealth and international ambition could have wound up with such a provincial collection puzzled the mind. No more. Capon has thrown out new ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Charles Blackman - The lost domains' by Nadine Amadio

March 1981, no. 28 02 March 1981
This book must win the prize for the most lavish and the most amateurish book on an Australian artist. Not one of the 200 odd colour plates is dated; not even in the portentously titled Opus Index (a list of plates without page numbers!) do we get a single date or indication of present ownership. Where dates are given in the text, they are often vague and careless ‘... in the 1950s...’etc. Ea ... (read more)

'Gallery notes' by Patrick McCaughey

November 2001, no. 236 16 September 2022
We heard the news in the Giardino. Our party had agreed to meet at the American pavilion. James Rondeau of the Art Institute of Chicago, co-curator of the Robert Gober exhibit, was going to take us through the show. As the various members made their way through the 49th Venice Biennale to the rendezvous, we learned that the World Trade Centre towers had been hit and that the Pentagon was on fire. ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Peter Booth: Human/Nature' by Jason Smith, John Embling and Robert Lindsay

March 2004, no. 259 09 September 2022
Last summer, Peter Booth became the first living artist to have a full-scale retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square. With eighty-one paintings and 150 drawings, it ranked as one of the largest surveys ever accorded a contemporary painter. It was a bold move on the gallery’s part and made a claim for Booth’s pre-eminence within hi ... (read more)

Gallery Notes by Patrick McCaughey

September 2001, no. 234 01 September 2001
Ten days in Australia in July brought a remarkable round of studio visits plus an exhibition of new Australian painting, Phenomena, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Painting has had a hard time of it lately. Michael Wardell, curator of Phenomena, goes further: ‘throughout the twentieth century, painting has been under threat,’ claims the slightly melodramatic opening sentence of his othe ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews ‘A Life of Picasso: The minotaur years, 1933–1943’ by John Richardson

May 2022, no. 442 29 April 2022
Sir John Richardson published the first volume of his monumental A Life of Picasso: The prodigy, 1881–1906, in 1991. The second volume, The painter of modern life, 1907–1917 illuminating the Cubist years, followed in 1996. The next volume, The triumphant years, 1917–1932, appeared eleven years later and gave rise to speculation as to how Richardson, then seventy-three, could complete his amb ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Cy Twombly: Making past present' edited by Christine Kondoleon with Kate Nesin

April 2021, no. 430 29 March 2021
If you were fortunate enough to take Franz Philipp’s course in Medieval and Renaissance Art at the University of Melbourne in the 1960s – the old Fine Arts B – you would have quickly encountered Erwin Panofsky’s masterpiece, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1960). It set forth authoritatively the argument that from the Carolingian revival in the eighth century through the Ottoni ... (read more)
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