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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 'Australian Art' by Andrew Sayers

May 2001, no. 230 01 May 2001
Andrew Sayers has one large and important idea that distinguishes his account of Australian art from all others: the story must include equal attention to Aboriginal art and to the art of white European settlement. However commanding and commendatory the idea, it will not, I suspect, be a popular one. There will be lamentation heard from Balmain to Port Melbourne when Sayers’s book is scanned a ... (read more)

Assembled: The Art of Robert Klippel (TarraWarra Museum of Art)

ABR Arts 10 March 2020
TarraWarra Museum of Art’s (TWMA) summer exhibition Assembled: The Art of Robert Klippel can only reinforce his reputation as Australia’s foremost modern sculptor. Yet he lacks the public reputation of his contemporary painters – John Olsen, Fred Williams, John Brack, and so on. Klippel (1920–2001) is known largely, if not exclusively, to the world of art. This exhibition may right that hi ... (read more)

Manet and Modern Beauty (Getty Center)

ABR Arts 23 September 2019
Five years ago, the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired Édouard Manet’s Jeanne (Spring), 1882, for US$61 million – a record for the artist. It was a bold acquisition, for later Manet – he died in 1883 – has never enjoyed the critical esteem of the earlier. Absurdly so, if you recall that the incomparable Bar at the Folies Bergère was the Salon companion to Jeanne. According to Scott Allan, Jea ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, architect of the modern century' by Mark Lamster

September 2019, no. 414 27 August 2019
Philip Johnson – lagging well behind the founding fathers – may not be the most profound architect of the twentieth century. Nor does he have the resonance of Louis Kahn or the form-changing genius of Frank Gehry, among his contemporaries. Yet the pattern of twentieth-century architecture cannot be fully understood without him. Mark Lamster’s biography lodges him vividly in that pattern. A c ... (read more)

The Golden Age on St Kilda Road

ABR Arts 16 May 2019
A shift in the European mind is taking hold. The stable democracies of Germany and the Netherlands contrast sharply with an unstable France and a demagogic Italy. The northern tier has an increasing authority, politically and culturally. Art historically, the Amsterdam–Berlin axis challenges the hegemony of the Paris–Rome accord. The reopening of the Rijksmuseum in 2013 after ten years of clos ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters' by Martin Gayford

October 2018, no. 405 26 September 2018
The geography of art post 1945 has a boringly settled look and needs disturbing. This engaging and readable book makes a useful starting point. The standard view begins with the switch of the centre from Paris to New York, and so it remained for the next fifty years or so until the shoals of post-minimalism washed up on the stony beach of postmodernism. ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Reason and Lovelessness: Essays, encounters, reviews 1980–2017' by Barry Hill

May 2018, no. 401 24 April 2018
Barry Hill’s collection of essays from the last four decades is commanding and impressive. Few could match his range of subjects: from Tagore to John Berger, Lucian Freud to Christina Stead – all, for the most part, carried off with aplomb. He catches the ‘raw’ edge of Freud’s studio – ‘worksite’ as Hill calls it – ‘the sea of bare boards that rise into so many paintings, the t ... (read more)

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney

April 2018, no. 400 26 March 2018
Elizabeth Hardwick is, unfairly, better known outside of New York as Robert Lowell’s second wife, who heroically endured twenty-three years of tumultuous and tortuous marriage. She inspired his finest love poetry: All night I’ve held your hand,as if you hada fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad –its hackneyed speech, its homicidal eye –and dragged me home alive … Sleepless, you hol ... (read more)

Giacometti (Tate Modern)

ABR Arts 08 June 2017
Tate Modern excelled itself with its Giacometti retrospective. It’s not easy to take a familiar modern master and return a new and compelling view of his work. Many years ago, MoMA in New York failed the challenge abysmally. They had nothing new to say about the artist and went through the motions of a retrospective. Worst of all: you came away thinking that Alberto Giacometti (1901–66) was ti ... (read more)
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