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James Turrell, Raemar pink white 1969, Shallow space construction: fluorescent light, 440 x 1070 x 300 cm, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles, California. National Gallery of Australia

Experiments with light: James Turrell dazzles at the NGA

James Turrell is a veteran Californian artist who throughout a career spanning almost half a century has employed light as a vehicle through which to manipulate the viewer’s perception of space. The Turrell…
In The Gambler, Mark Wahlberg portrays Jim Bennet, a bored literature professor whose gambling debts spiral out of control. POPSUGAR

In The Gambler, an anti-hero story is retold

“Life is a losing proposition,” explains Mark Wahlberg’s literature professor/compulsive gambler Jim Bennett. “You might as well get it over with.” Intent on doing just that, Bennett runs up massive debts…
Is it ever okay to depict the assassination of living person? KCNA/Reuters

The Interview, Hollywood and the politics of ridicule

Sony’s decision to cancel the Christmas Day release of its film The Interview is drawing harsh criticism from Hollywood’s elite. George Clooney is asking everyone to stand up against the cancellation…
In Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments, Charlton Heston’s Moses is presented straightforwardly as a man certain of his mission. Wikimedia Commons

Rebooting the history of the world

The term “reboot” means something particular in the movies. The metaphor is drawn from computers: a “reboot” restarts a machine whose software has malfunctioned. But in cinematic terms a reboot refers…
James Cromwell as an older Rupert Murdoch in David Williamson’s show Rupert. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Staging power: David Williamson’s portrait of Citizen Murdoch

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s (MTC) production of David Williamson’s 2013 play Rupert has finally made it to Sydney, via Melbourne and Washington, in late 2014. Along the way, the MTC has acquired the…
Close has pushed the limits of the humble print. Pace Gallery, New York © Museum of Contemporary Art, photo: Jess Maurer

Getting up close to the work of Chuck Close at Sydney’s MCA

With more than 200 prints on display, Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration is one of the biggest printmaking exhibitions to be held in Australia. The whole top floor of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary…
The Guardians of the Galaxy – whose protagonists are a morally-gray motley crew – could be seen as a satire of the classic hero tradition. BagoGames/Flickr

Guardians of the Galaxy and the fall of the classic hero

A beautiful assassin. A superstrong thug. A star-lost child of the ‘80s. A sentient tree. A gun-toting raccoon. Meet the morally gray protagonists of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the film that raked…
You float on a causeway in ‘The Light Inside’ through a field of illumination that gradually shifts from blue to crimson to magenta. James Turrell, 1999. Ed Schipul/Flickr

James Turrell, a mythic artist in the contemporary constellation

James Turrell: A Retrospective opens at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra on December 13. The show documents the Californian-born artist’s practice over almost 50 years, including his…
Pop to Popism at AGNSW gives audiences a lesson in 20th century art history. Erró, Pop's history (1967) Oil on canvas, 145 x 205.2 cm, Reykjavík Art Museum/ AGNSW

How did mass media shift visual culture? Find out at Pop to Popism

In the Art Gallery of NSW’s Pop to Popism, curator Wayne Tunncliffe has revealed himself as a master of illusion. With a sparkling magic wand he has created the impression of a big expensive summer blockbuster…
Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride is a milestone in opera history – and Pinchgut’s production is marvellous. Photo: Keith Saunders. Pinchgut Opera

Pinchgut’s Iphigénie en Tauride: a work of pure theatrical magic

In any Opera History 101 course, Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) is cited as one of the most influential figures in the development of opera. And, of course, this is true. Gluck’s operas, and his…
The winner of this year’s McLelland Prize, Matthew Harding’s Void (2014). Stainless steel, 650.0 x 800.0 x 260.0 McLelland Prize

Sculpture in the bush: a strong year for the McLelland Prize

In Australia’s somewhat subdued public sculpture scene, the McClelland Sculpture Survey – which runs until July 19, 2015 – provides a rare opportunity for witnessing contemporary public sculpture. This…
Timothy Spall plays the British painter Joseph Turner in Mike Leigh’s latest film, Mr Turner. Transmission Films

Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner is no oil painting

The work of art is that mysterious process that transforms pigment and canvas into an object of great beauty. Depicting that moment of creative inspiration has been a challenge for filmmakers since the…
Like its prequel The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Look of Silence holds a mirror to its subjects and viewers who are forced to face a horrifying truth. Lars Skree/Final Cut for Real

The Look of Silence and Indonesia’s dark mirror

With eyes fixed on his television screen, Adi Rukun, the main character followed by documentary maker Joshua Oppenheimer in his new film, The Look Of Silence, seems to face a mirror that resurrects a nightmarish…
Unlocking the secrets of the chastity belt. Science Museum / Science and Society Picture Library

Hunt to discover the ‘secret’ of sexuality is far from over

“Undress your mind” shouts the promotional material for the Wellcome Trust’s latest exhibition, The Institute of Sexology. It’s an apt tagline, encapsulating how sexology – or the science of sex – has…
A new America? Warner Bros. Pictures

Interstellar is a dangerous fantasy of US colonialism

Interstellar has been praised for its attempt to make the “hard science” of astrophysics both accessible and exciting to a popular audience. Through cutting-edge special effects, it takes audiences on…
A view of the atrium from the Calderwood Courtyard. Zak Jensen

A preview of Harvard’s $350 million art museum renovation

After ten years of planning and six years of construction the Harvard Art Museums opens its doors to the public on November 16. The $350 million renovation combines the collections of three distinct museums…
Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher in the pursuit of peak performance, in Whiplash. Photo by Daniel McFadden, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

No pain, no gain? The abuse of power in Whiplash is unacceptable

Whiplash, the new film written and directed by American Damien Chazelle, is billed as a drama about an ambitious young drummer and his terrifying teacher. The older teacher is said to “discover” the 19…
Matthew McConaughey embodies the heroic scientist in Interstellar. Paramount

Scientists as Hollywood heroes

Interstellar’s protagonists spend a significant portion of the movie’s 169-minute running time giving mini-lectures – sometimes with props and a little whiteboard – on theoretical physics. The characters…

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