Articles on Art

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Ben Quilty, Life vest, Lesbos. 2016, oil on polyester, 60 x 50cm. Australian War Memorial

Essays On Air: can art really make a difference?

Essays on Air: can art really make a difference? The Conversation26.8 MB (download)
Art has always depicted the crimes of our times throughout centuries of wars and humanitarian crises. Can we really expect it to truly make a difference in the real world?
‘The shape of things to come’, installation view at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne, March 2018. Photograph by Christian Capurro.

Private collectors are saving Australian art, but they can’t do it on their own

Philanthropists are creating new galleries to share their private collections with the Australian public. But these gifts do not ameliorate the deficit left by declining government arts fundings.
Still from Human Flow, directed by Ai Weiwei. IMDB/Amazon Studios

Friday essay: can art really make a difference?

Artists have long tackled global issues, from war to human rights. While Picasso's celebrated Guernica may not have stopped the Spanish Civil War (or any war), art still holds value, as witness and as truth teller.
Long Island City’s 5Pointz, a mecca for graffiti artists, was demolished in 2014. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

What the 5Pointz ruling means for street artists

A judge in New York City just awarded graffiti artists US$6.7 million after a developer whitewashed their murals. On the surface, it seems like a huge victory for street artists. But could it backfire?
Tommy Wiseau clutches a football in ‘The Room,’ the 2003 film he wrote, produced and starred in. Wiseau Films

What makes some art so bad that it’s good?

Sometimes a work of art is characterized by a string of failures, but nonetheless ends up being a gorgeous freak accident of nature.
A painting by Sakubei Yamamoto. Yamamoto Family/Collection Yamamoto Sakubee

The “Pitmen painters” of England and Japan

Throughout the centuries, a number of coal miners have documented their lives with paintings. Some of their works are now in museums and bring the stories of the "pitmen" back to life.
A still image from Pipilotti Rist’s Ever Is Over All, 1997, single channprojectors, players, sound system, paint, carpet, courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine. © the artist

Here’s looking at: Pipilotti Rist, Ever Is Over All

In 1997 Pippilotti Rist walked down a street of cars and smashed their windows in a vivaciously feminist call to arms. You might recognise the homage to Risk's work in Beyoncé's Lemonade.
Thomas Hart Benton’s murals at the Indiana University Auditorium depict the social history of the state. Joseph

The misguided campaign to remove a Thomas Hart Benton mural

A controversial panel on Indiana University's campus depicts Ku Klux Klan members, but Benton had a reason for including them. Is avoidance really the best way to deal with dark episodes of the past?
Family time. Pawel Kuczynski

Imagining a better world: the art of degrowth

To fix the world's ecological crises we'll have to make some tough choices, particularly living with less stuff. Art can play an essential role in imagining and communicating a more sustainable future.

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