The world of William Kentridge

Lisa Gorton
Monday, 23 April 2012

In 1981, William Kentridge journeyed from apartheid South Africa to the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, renowned for its work in improvisation and physical theatre – theatre that creates itself in play. Though Kentridge would become an artist – working in drawing, printing, animation, film, opera, and sculpture – physical theatre and improvisation come closest ...

Richard Haese: Permanent Revolution

Peter Hill
Monday, 27 February 2012

‘Bumper on the go-go’

Peter Hill


Permanent Revolution: Mike Brown and the Australian Avant-Garde 1953–97
by Richard Haese
Miegunyah Press, $49.99 hb, 304 pp, 9780522860801


In August 1999 the Melbourne art collective DAMP staged an argument th ...

David Rothenberg: Survival of the Beautiful

Ian Gibbins
Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Elephant art

Ian Gibbins


Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution
by David Rothenberg
Bloomsbury Press, $32.99 pb, 320 pp, 9781408828823


David Rothenberg’s formal appellation at the New Jersey Institute of Technology is Professor of ...

A new orthodoxy for Australian art

Andrew Sayers
Monday, 23 January 2012

Crossing cultures

Andrew Sayers


The Cambridge Companion to Australian Art
edited by Jaynie Anderson
Cambridge University Press, $120 pb, 390 pp, 9781107601581


Bernard Smith, who died in September 2011, was responsible for creating the first orthodo ...

Simon Leys is the pen name of the distinguished academic Pierre Ryckmans, who came to notice, first as a sinologist, then as a critic and author. The essays in this collection, composed over more than three decades during which Ryckmans held appointments at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, cover a wide range of subjects ...

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Christopher Reed: Art and Homosexuality

Robert Aldrich
Friday, 20 January 2012

Who's afraid of Gilbert and George?

Robert Aldrich


Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas
by Christopher Reed
Oxford University Press, $64.95 hb, 295 pp, 9780195399073


‘One would have to be extremely naïve not to know immediately upon enterin ...

Alan Krell: Burning Issues

Peter Hill
Thursday, 24 November 2011

Fire as a strong painter

Peter Hill


Burning Issues: Fire in Art and the Social Imagination
by Alan Krell
Reaktion Books (UNSW Press), $54.95 hb, 224 pp, 9781861898562


On the evening of 24 May 2004, fire destroyed hundreds of works of art stored in ...

Lightness and clarity

by Christopher Menz


The initial idea was for a new front door at the National Gallery of Australia. At least that is how Ron Radford, director of the Gallery, presented it to the one thousand or so guests in his remarks at the official opening of Andrew Andersons’ and PTW Architects’ Stage One ‘New Look ...

The Mondrians in Paths to Abstraction 1867–1917, Terence Maloon’s beautiful, refined exhibition held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from June to September this year, and the Gauguins in Ron Radford’s more spectacular Masterpieces from Paris that closed at the National Gallery in April, were drawcards. We last saw a group of Mondrians in 1961; Gauguin had never been properly seen in Australia. The exhibitions and the related books together amounted to a superb and very up-to-date two-part lesson in the history of modernism.

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What to do with Whiteley? Forget the gutsy audacity and visual energy; in Bernard Smith’s estimation he was ‘egocentric, pseudo-profound and self-pitying’ (Australian Painting 1788–2000). Smith could not abide Whiteley’s ‘incapacity for detachment’; his cult of personality, poured into every last crevice of his work. With the hegemony of the social and theoretical construction of art, the actual person of the artist has been an increasing problem for art critics. Whiteley’s work, driven by personality and fuelled by sensation, is easily viewed as a romantic indulgence.

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