Sophie Knezic

The allegory of the cave in Plato’s Republic represents Western metaphysics’ defining narrative on the nature of light. In this famous fable of shackled prisoners, humankind is confined to a realm of falsity and shadow from which they can only escape by breaking free into the light of day, where the power of illumination reveals the truth of the world.

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Queer

by
29 March 2022

We all know that emancipatory drives in the late twentieth century dislodged the hegemonic politics of social normativity through the movements of second wave feminism, civil rights, and gay activism, but it’s worth remembering that some rights took longer than others. Homosexuality was only fully decriminalised in Australia in 1997 (Tasmania being the last state to do so); same-sex marriages were not legalised until 2017.

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‘Wasn’t sexual expression a principal motivation of gay and queer dancefloors … Isn’t that the freedom we were fighting for? To be kinky dirty fuckers, without shame; to not sanitise ourselves in the bid for equality?’ So exhorts DJ Lanny K in 2013, reflecting on his time spinning discs at down-and-out pubs in ungentrified Surry Hills in the mid-1990s as part of Sydney’s fomenting queer subculture. Lanny K, Sydney-based Canadian immigrant, is one of a handful of artists – performance artists, dancers, even a tattooist – interviewed by Fiona McGregor in her collection of essays Buried Not Dead. Mostly written between 2013 and 2020, each essay is based on a rolling interview with an artist and draws out their recollections of early practices and careers, several united by reference to a specific time and place – Sydney’s emergent gay scene in the mid-1990s.

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NGV Triennial 2020

National Gallery of Victoria
by
04 January 2021

In Giambattista Battista Tiepolo’s The Banquet of Cleopatra (1743–44) – a jewel in the NGV’s collection of eighteenth-century art – a dining table shows the Egyptian queen Cleopatra facing the Roman consul Mark Antony, her hand elegantly clasping a pearl earring that she is about to drop into a flute glass filled with vinegar, which she will subsequently drink. In doing so, the sheer value of the pearl will make Cleopatra the winner of a wager as to which of the two could stage the most extravagant feast.

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Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

National Gallery of Victoria
by
03 December 2019

In Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, the National Gallery of Victoria presents a double portrait of the late, iconic, New York-based artists Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–88) and Keith Haring (1958–90), becoming the first public museum to place their careers in direct dialogue. The retrospective presents many of both artists’ signature works. The vibrant juxtaposition creates a narrative of two ambitious rebels as rising stars in 1980s New York as well as a compelling snapshot of the heyday of the city’s bohemian Lower East Side.

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To celebrate the year’s memorable plays, films, television, music, operas, dance, and exhibitions, we invited a number of arts professionals and critics to nominate their favourites. 

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When invited by Morry Schwartz, Anna’s husband and proprietor of Schwartz Publishing, which owns Black Inc., to write an account of the Anna Schwartz Gallery (ASG), Doug Hall initially declined but changed his mind after realising that it would enable him to write with a fresh perspective, having returned to Melbourne after twenty years as director of Queensland Art Gallery. The result, Present Tense: Anna Schwartz Gallery and thirty-five years of contemporary Australian art – which takes its title from the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense, curated by Robert Storr – is a periphrastic straddling of art history, social history, and biography, inclined to reminiscence over analysis.

Featuring eighty-nine chapters of varying length, the text mostly provides overviews of the artists represented by ASG, set within a chronicle of Anna Schwartz’s evolution as a gallerist. This broad narration is interspersed with chapters on a few key late-twentieth-century art dealers – sometimes to narrate artist defections to ASG – as well as state museum redesigns, biennales, and even a chapter on Anna’s wardrobe.

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The Dutch printmaker M.C. Escher is one of the few twentieth-century artists who became almost universally known by the general public from the 1960s on. Constructed as visual paradoxes with impossible architectures, vaulting perspectives, and dramatic metamorphoses of form, his images startled ... ... (read more)

Curated by Emily Cormack, the 2018 TarraWarra Biennial positions itself as a paean to the liveliness of artistic gesture. The exhibition’s curatorial frame invokes the notion of ‘will’, derived from Friedrich Nietzsche’s infamous notion of the will to power ...

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In a seminal essay titled ‘Grids’ (1978), the American art theorist Rosalind Krauss argued that, as a structure, the grid was emblematic of modernist ambition, encapsulating modernism’s streamlining project through the expunging of forms and conventions extraneous to it. The grid embodied a kind of will to silence ...

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