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Summer in the you beaut country, John Olsen, 1962. Courtesy National Gallery Victoria, © John Olsen

Here’s looking at: John Olsen, Summer in the You Beaut Country, 1962

A yellow line becomes a blistering ray of sunlight in Summer in the You Beaut Country. John Olsen's paintings, often described as 'quintessentially Australian', teem with life.
Mike Parr’s performance work ‘Jackson Pollock the female’ is part homage and part sabotage. National Gallery of Australia

Here’s looking at: Mike Parr’s Jackson Pollock the Female

Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles is one of Australia's most famous cultural acquisitions. When Mike Parr lay supine before it, streaked with his own blood, he offered a new way of looking at the act of painting.
‘Everything is sharply defined; we can even count his freckles.’ Detail of Diane Arbus, Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C., 1967. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia

Here’s looking at: ‘Boy with a straw hat …’ by Diane Arbus

In 1967, as flower children across America marched against the Vietnam war, Diane Arbus chose to photograph a young man wearing a 'Bomb Hanoi' badge. What did she capture, about the boy and the time?
Detail of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country – Topway 2016. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Collection Image courtesy Alcaston Gallery © The Estate of the Artist and Viscopy Australia

Here’s looking at: Dibirdibi Country – Topway by Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori began painting in her 80s, and over ten years created an extraordinary body of work. Her paintings are more like music and dance – depicting the stories of the Kaiadilt people for the first time.
Cindy Sherman was the subject, costume designer, make-up artist and photographer for the large-scale images showcased in a new retrospective. Detail: Untitled #466. Image courtesy of Cindy Sherman and Metro Pictures, New York

Here’s looking at: Cindy Sherman ‘Head Shots’

Cindy Sherman understands how people perform for the camera. Her art is a portrait of human vulnerability.
Why is Whistler’s mother one of the most persistently famous images in the world? James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in grey and black no. 1 (Portrait of the artist's mother) 1871. Image courtesy of the NGV.

Here’s looking at: ‘Whistler’s Mother’

Whistler's Mother, which arrives in Melbourne on March 25, is one of the most famous portraits in the world. But James Whistler never wanted the sitter's identity known.
Casuarina trees were the perfect metaphor for Blumann’s life and the state of the world. Detail from Elise Blumann, On the Swan, Nedlands, 1942, Oil on composition board, 55.6x66.4cm. University of Western Australia.

Here’s looking at: On the Swan by Elise Blumann

Casuarina trees and the tortured forms of the Melaleucas on the foreshore of the Swan River were the perfect metaphor for Blumann's life and the world before and during the second world war.
Guy Grey-Smith’s Rottnest connects strongly to the land. Detail from Guy Grey-Smith, Rottnest, 1954-57, oil on canvas, 61.2x76.5 cm (h,w), The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Tom Collins Bequest Fund, 1957, © The University of Western Australia

Here’s looking at: Rottnest by Guy Grey-Smith

Guy Grey-Smith's painting showcases the insistent rhythms of the indigenous vegetation and the rolling, flowing movements that take our eye meandering across the landscape and back towards the horizon.
Why is this seemingly unintelligible mess of house paint revered as a masterpiece? Detail: Jackson Pollock. Blue poles. 1952. © Pollock-Krasner Foundation/ARS

Here’s looking at: Blue poles by Jackson Pollock

Gough Whitlam’s government paid $A1.3 million for Jackson Pollock's Blue poles in 1973. But why exactly is this 'seemingly unintelligible mess of house paint' revered as a masterpiece?

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