A conversation is an interactive exchange usually of a spontaneous nature. Janet Hawley’s essays are a mix of journalistic intention, conversational ruminations, observations, enquiries, and a gentle goading of her subjects about the ‘twin crucibles’ of creativity – the personality of the artist and what occurs in his or her sanctum, the studio. Assumi ...

Christopher Menz reviews 'Government House Sydney'

Christopher Menz
Thursday, 07 March 2013

Not that many Australian houses lend themselves to being the subject of a 240-page monograph. Whatever their architectural or historical merit, usually there is not enough material to warrant more than a chapter in a larger volume. Our government houses are different: not only do numerous documents and photographs survive in public records, but furnishings sur ...

In the art world, the question of who shapes public taste is a perennial favourite. Magazines like to rank the heavyweights. Last year’s ArtReview’s Power 100 included an assortment of global dealers and collectors; Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot made it too. While such ladders of influence invariably include museum staff and art historians, it is clear that Je ...

Steven Miller reviews 'Sydney Long: The Spirit of the Land'

Steven Miller
Monday, 26 November 2012

Symbolist art has received an unusual amount of attention recently. First there was Denise Mimmocchi’s Australian Symbolism: The Art of Dreams at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (which Jane Clark reviewed in the September 2012 issue of ABR). Now Sydney Long: The Spirit of the Land celebra ...

Robin Wallace-Crabbe on 'Vassilieff and His Art'

Robin Wallace-Crabbe
Monday, 26 November 2012

Having attempted to connect with the art of painting by submitting to instruction on how to represent ‘apples and bananas and pumpkins and plaster casts’, Danila Vassilieff realised ‘it was all a waste of time, it was meaningless to me … That was dead life and I wanted to paint living life, life and nature and people in action and movement.’


Alisa Bunbury reviews 'A Steady Hand'

Alisa Bunbury
Thursday, 25 October 2012

In 1959, as part of the Rex Nan Kivell collection, the National Library of Australia received a remarkable volume of First Fleet paintings. Inscribed Birds & Flowers of New South Wales, Drawn on the Spot in 1788, ’89 & ’90, it comprises 100 watercolours of birds, flowers, fish, animals, and a small number of Indigenous portraits, and was owned by ...

Architectural distinction was conferred upon most Australian towns and cities in the nineteenth century. This was achieved largely through the construction of public buildings designed by architects employed within colonial works departments – a practice that regrettably does not exist anymore. Town halls, post offices, courthouses, hospitals, lunatic asylums, and ...

Scott McCulloch reviews 'Lost Art'

Scott McCulloch
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lost Art: Two Essays on Cultural Dysfunction is an absorbing and lyrical journey through the contemporary art world. Combining a sensibility that is both highly critical and deeply personal, Julian Davies and Phil Day analyse what is celebrated and what is forgotten in an increasingly ruthless and commercial industry.


Ann Stephen reviews the catalogue of artwork by Bea Maddock

Ann Stephen
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Long before the era of digital media, the catalogue raisonné evolved as a virtual art museum to house the oeuvre of a single artist. Such scholarly tomes are known by the French adjective meaning a ‘reasoned’ catalogue, implying a tool for making sense. Thus by assembling each work with precise details on medium, dating, and provenance, an artist’s career can ...

Felicity Fenner


All Our Relations: 18th Biennale of Sydney 2012
edited by Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster
Biennale of Sydney, $45 pb, 399 pp, 9780646571997


The eighteenth Biennale of Sydney was premised on the establishment of a new paradig ...