December 2016, issue no. 387

Sujatha Fernandes reviews 'Known and Strange Things' by Teju Cole

Sujatha Fernandes

In the opening piece of his book of collected essays, the novelist and photography critic Teju Cole feels briefly possessed by the spirit of James Baldwin who, like him, travelled outside More

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Rattling Spears: A history of indigenous Australian' art by Ian McLean

Billy Griffiths

This beautifully illustrated book explores the ways in which Indigenous Australians have responded to invasion through art. ‘Where colonists saw a gulf,’ writes art historian Ian ...More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Inside the Art Market: Australia’s galleries: A history 1956–1976' by Christopher Heathcote

Francesca Sasnaitis

Like any good storyteller, Christopher Heathcote begins by setting the scene: ‘one of those scruffy unpaved streets on the outer fringe’ of Melbourne on a wintry day in 1956 ...

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Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Art of Rivalry: Four friendships, betrayals, and breakthroughs in modern art' by Sebastian Smee

Miriam Cosic

It seems a particularly masculine take on the processes of art to examine the way rivalry spurs on creativity and conceptual development. Yet this is not the book the Boston Globe More

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Art in Britain 1660–1815' by David H. Solkin

Patrick McCaughey

A major revolution swept through British art history in the 1980s. It shook up its genteel ways and turned it resolutely, even militantly, towards the social history of art ...

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Simon Caterson reviews 'Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing' by Ashleigh Wilson

Simon Caterson

Notwithstanding the fact that he died alone in a hotel room following a heroin overdose at the age of fifty-three, Brett Whiteley led what for an Australian artist ...

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Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'The Singing Bones' by Shaun Tan

Margaret Robson Kett

In 2012, Shaun Tan was commissioned to make pictures for a German publisher's edition of fifty of the Brothers Grimms' fairy tales, retold by Philip (His Dark Materials) Pullman. Pullman's challenge is that the tales do not necessarily benefit from illustration – he dismisses most as 'art school exquisiteness'. Tan's response was to return to his boyhood ... More

Jane Grant reviews 'Modern Love' by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan

Jane Grant
In December, John decided there was nothing to lose and that he would write to Picasso asking him to view Nolan's work in storage. Sunday translated the letter into French, but even in draft form in English it read as sycophantic and sentimental ... They went to Picasso's apartment to hand deliver the letter and were met at the door by the artist's factotum. One wonders what Picasso ma ... More

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Rendez-vous with Art' by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford

Patrick McCaughey

Philippe de Montebello was Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty-one years. The astonishing length of his tenure is matched by the brilliance of his reign. Every part of the museum's forty-plus acres of exhibition space was renewed or transformed during those years, from classical antiquity to twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. Not a tatty corn ... More

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: the Legacy of Catherine the Great (NGV International)

Grazia Gunn

Eight galleries of NGV International have been radically reshaped to host Masterpieces from the Hermitage, invoking the world of unbounded opulence of Russia’s Catherine the Great (1729–96). The installation, designed by the NGV’s Ingrid Ruhle, is dazzling, mimicking as it does the grand style of the State Hermitage Museum and incorporating some ... More

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