October 2016, issue no. 385

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 ...


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 ...


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

Peter Hill reviews 'Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum' by Jennifer Barrett and Jacqueline Millner

Peter Hill

I like a book jacket that tells you clearly, in words and images, what it is about. Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum does just that: ‘The authors’ central argument is that artists’ engagement with the museum has shifted from politically motivated critique taking place in museums of fine art, towards interventions taking place in non-art mus ... More

Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'Awakening' by Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller

Ann-Marie Priest

One of the few Australian-born female sculptors of the early twentieth century was a Ballarat girl, Dora Ohlfsen, who went to Berlin in 1892, at the age of twenty-three, to study music and found herself three years later in St Petersburg studying the art of the medallion. She was in Russia because she had fallen in love with the Russian-born, German-speaking Elena v ... More

Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence

Patrick McCaughey

Every student of Australian art knows that when Arthur Boyd went to London in 1959 and paid his first visit to the National Gallery, two paintings laid siege to his imagination. Titian’s More

Christopher Menz reviews 'Mid-Century Modern Complete' by Dominic Bradbury

Christopher Menz

The reconstruction of the built environment that followed World War II was central to the development of international design in the third quarter of the twentieth century. This is the background and context for Mid-Century Modern Complete, a large volume which covers design and architecture (mostly European and North American) from the 1940s to the early 197 ... More

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