ABR Arts Visual Arts

Hugh Ramsay

Keren Rosa Hammerschlag
Tuesday, 03 December 2019

It is with the artist John Longstaff’s words of condolence, quoted above, that the Hugh Ramsay exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra draws to a close. Ramsay (1877–1906) was a promising Australian Edwardian painter who lived and worked for a time in Europe at the start of the twentieth century. His works constitute some of the most innovative and visually arresting examples of early-twentieth-century painting in Australian collections, while his sketches and illustrated letters tell of the experiences of youth and travel in the exuberant period that preceded the Great War.

... (read more)

Story Time: Australian Children’s Literature

Margaret Robson Kett
Tuesday, 03 December 2019

Like a party where you hope to see famous faces, this exhibition offers the familiar – the Green Sheep, the wombats, the Magic Pudding – but also the chance to meet half-remembered friends and to make new ones. Story Time: Australian Children’s Literature, the result of three years’ work by curator Grace Blakeley-Carroll, features works from NLA’s collection and beyond. In the exhibition’s companion book, Story Time Stars, Blakeley-Carroll writes that, ‘regardless of whether we have children in our lives, we were all once young and many of us hold dear the stories of our childhood’.

... (read more)

Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

Sophie Knezic
Tuesday, 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.

... (read more)

Manet and Modern Beauty

Patrick McCaughey
Monday, 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 ...

... (read more)

Civilization: The Way We Live Now

Alison Stieven-Taylor
Monday, 16 September 2019

In the age of the image, photography being omnipresent, what can pictures tell us about ourselves as individuals and about the human race? What does an image of the constructed world reveal about our relationship to one another? Does our pursuit of tomorrow render the present expendable ...

... (read more)

Monet: Impression Sunrise

Keren Rosa Hammerschlag
Wednesday, 12 June 2019

What makes this Monet exhibition different from any other Monet exhibition? This was the question at the forefront of my mind as I approached the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition Monet: Impressionism Sunrise. As one would expect, it is an exhibition about painting – colour, brushstroke, the rendering of light and dark by artists who ...

... (read more)

The Golden Age on St Kilda Road

Patrick McCaughey
Thursday, 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 ...

... (read more)

Juno Gemes: The Quiet Activist, A Survey Exhibition 1979–2019

Alison Stieven-Taylor
Wednesday, 15 May 2019

In some ways, the title of this forty-year survey is at odds with Juno Gemes herself. There is nothing quiet about Gemes’s vision or her passion for telling stories that challenge preconceptions and cultural norms. Perhaps where the notion of ‘quiet’ comes from is in her subtle narratives, which are wrapped in concepts of the ordinary ...

... (read more)

Māori markings: Tā moko

David Hansen
Monday, 25 March 2019

The traditional Western art museum is struggling a bit. Its former role as a repository of national values, as reified and aestheticised in paintings, sculpture, and the decorative arts, is today challenged if not assaulted on multiple fronts: ranging from economic, political, and social globalisation, to digital technology ...

... (read more)

Roger Ballen’s art is not for the faint hearted; it is confronting, haunting, and at times repellent. It is also fascinating, brilliant, and jaw-dropping. These images seethe with malodorous discontent, menace, and psychosis. The best way to experience his photographs is to surrender and resist the desire to read the images literally ...

... (read more)