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Ben Quilty, Australia, born 1973. Margaret Olley 2011. Oil on linen / 170.0 x 150.0 cm. Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Mim Stirling

‘Are you one of us or one of them?’ Margaret Olley, Ben Quilty and a portrait of a generous friendship

Margaret Olley was known not only for her paintings, but her generosity. An exhibition of her work is currently on in Brisbane, alongside a survey of the work of Ben Quilty, her mentee and friend.
Leigh Melrose as Brett Whiteley in Opera Australia’s 2019 production of Whiteley at the Sydney Opera House. The opera focuses on the artist’s addictions and his relationship with his wife. Prudence Upton

Opera Australia’s Whiteley brings together 3 icons to tell the artist’s complicated story

A new opera focuses more on the personal life of artist Brett Whiteley than his artistic creations. As the opera reveals, a life like Whiteley’s does not offer a clear moral message.
Mella Jaarsma, The landscaper 2013, costume: wood, paint, iron and leather, single-channel video: 3:40 minutes, colour, sound. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 2018. Photo by Mie Cornoedus

Indonesian art is fresh, energetic and lively. Why do we not see more of it?

The exhibition Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia has many wonderful works. But it is an exception - despite our close proximity, there are few opportunities for Australians to engage with Indonesian art.
Zahra Newman in Wake in Fright. A new adaptation of Kenneth Cook’s novel retells the story of a man’s descent into violent masculinity with a female voice, accompanied by visual and aural spectacle. Pia Johnson

A radical new adaptation eviscerates the dominance of male voices in Wake in Fright

In a new adaptation of the classic Australian novel, the story of masculinity and despair in the outback is told through a female voice.
Dallas Dellaforce, Queer Central, Imperial Hotel, Erskineville, 2018. ‘Queerdom’ presents an archive of queer and trans life in Sydney. Queerdom/James Eades

An intimate, arresting exhibition highlights the hard work of living queer

Queerdom, an exhibition of photography and poetry, presents a history of queer and trans performance in Sydney that challenges recent narratives about queer life in Australia.
Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang’s Murmuration (Landscape) 2019 (detail) Realised in Dehua, Fujian. province and Melbourne, commissioned by the NGV. Proposed acquisition supported by Ying Zhang in association with the Asian Australian Foundation, 2019 NGV Foundation Annual Dinner and 2019 NGV Annual Appeal, on display at NGV International. © Cai Guo- Qiang. Photo © Tobias Titz

A scope as big as humanity can conjure: the Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang

A new exhibition pairs China's famed Terracotta Warriors with contemporary works of inspiring ethereality. The contrasts here are many: life and death, harmony and chaos, energy and control, art and politics.
Juan de Dios Mateos as Cavalier Belfiore and Ruth Iniesta as Corinna in Opera Australia’s 2019 production of Il Viaggio a Reims at Arts Centre Melbourne. Jeff Busby

A night at the opera: art comes alive in a modern twist on Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims

Gioachino Rossini's opera was originally meant as a satire of royalist France. A new production updates the work for a modern audience, setting the drama in a museum where the paintings come to life.
One of the most powerful images at this year’s Venice Biennale is Christoph Büchel’s. Barca Nostra, 2018-2019, Shipwreck 18th of April 2015. La Biennale di Venezia

As we face pressing global issues, the pavilions of Venice Biennale are a 21st century anomaly

Often called the 'Olympic Games of art', the Venice Biennale's national pavilions are an outlier in a globalised world. This year's strongest works explore global issues like refugees and climate change.
Scott Sheridan and Natasha Herbert in Cloudstreet, a new production of the stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s literary epic. Pia Johnson

In Cloudstreet, nostalgia all too easily redeems Australia’s colonial past

A new production of Cloudstreet - the play adapted from Tim Winton's literary epic - is visually arresting. But despite a diverse cast, Indigenous characters remain spectral and peripheral.
Garry Sibosado, Aalingoon (Rainbow Serpent), 2018, ochre pigment on engraved pearl shell, detail. Courtesy the artist

Desert River Sea is a vibrant, compelling tour of the Kimberley

Indigenous artists and arts centres from the Kimberley region were invited to help curate this new exhibition, presented as part of the Perth Festival 2019.
Cherish Violet Blood as Lila in Deer Woman, playing at this year’s Sydney Festival. Prudence Upton

Deer Woman is a work of immense power and artistry

Deer Woman, written, directed, designed, composed, stage managed and performed by First Nations artists from Canada, is anchored by a solo performance of fierce skill, focus and precision.
Tony Albert Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji peoples. Australia Qld/NSW b.1981. Mid Century Modern (series) 2016 Pigment prints | 24 works: 100 x 100cm (each) Collection: The artist. Courtesy: Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Tony Albert’s politically charged kitsch collection confronts our racist past

Tony Albert reassembles items of 'Aboriginalia', featuring kitsch caricatures of Indigenous people, with wit, playfulness and serious intent.

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