Articles on Visual arts

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Artists Dianne Ungukalpi Golding, Eunice Yunurupa Porter, Nancy Jackson, Winnie Woods and Melva Davies at Tjanpi Desert Weavers workshop, Warakurna, April 2011. Photo Jo Foster, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women’s Council

The Tjanpi Desert Weavers show us that traditional craft is art

For over a thousand generations Aboriginal people made no distinction between art and craft. Art was, and still is, a way of life and as much about function as it is about beauty and form. Artistic forms…
A new exhibition at New Norcia in Western Australia sheds new life on the extraordinary life of the historic township’s founder. New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery

New images of New Norcia, a Spanish mission in the bush

Driving from Perth to New Norcia to see a new exhibition devoted to the township’s founder, Bishop Rosendo Salvado, takes about two hours. It’s an enjoyable trip, cutting through the wide expanse of countryside…
Narelle Autio, Nipper II 2013, type C photograph, 110 x 160 cm (sheet) edition 1 of 5. © Courtesy the artist, Stills Gallery, Sydney; and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide

The Basil Sellers prize gives artists a sporting chance at success

Tonight the winner of the fourth A$100,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize will be announced at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, chosen from a shortlist of 16 artists and decided by a panel of six judges…
Tim Maguire’s portrait of Cate Blanchett is one of the finalists for this year’s Archibald Prize. AGNSW

Populist candy-floss or not, the Archibald Prize soldiers on

The real spectacle of the Archibald Portrait Prize emerges behind the scenes. Each year, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) loading dock turns into a frenzy of artwork arrivals and departures…
Major galleries are clamouring to acquire works by Aurukun artists – especially paintings by Mavis Ngallametta. Bush Fire at Ngak-Pungarichan, 2013. Natural ochres and charcoal with acrylic binder on linen, 200x271cm. Martin Browne Gallery

Mavis Ngallametta is causing a quiet stampede in the art market

Over the past three and a half years nearly every major public and private art collection in Australia has acquired large-scale paintings by a north Queensland artist from the Aboriginal community of Aurukun…
BP Portrait Award 2014 Shortlisted entries, L to R: Richard Twose, Jean Woods 2013; Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2013; David Jon Kassan, Letter to my Mom, 2013. National Portrait Gallery

Portraits are a fine art, so let’s embrace the selfie

The BP Portrait Award 2014, which opens at the National Portrait Gallery this week, might seem to some like the celebration of a dying art. In our digital age, portraiture might seem to be less and less…
Tracey Emin, Paul Smith, Alex James, Stephen Jones, Norman Cook, Vivienne Westwood, Nick Moran, Patrick Cox, Helena Christensen and Norman Reedus. British Vogue, London, 1999. © Mario Testino

Mario Testino: how photography breached the gates of high culture

Photographic exhibitions feed the celebrity industry, in the way they exalt the status of individual photographers as well as how they represent their subjects. As such, they have had a history of being…
Yearning for the past. Beamish, The Living Museum of the North Photo: Tate Photography

The Tate taps into nostalgia, but don’t forget the future of folk

Folk is fashionable. Its latest manifestation at Tate Britain is only the most recent of stirrings – it been on the up for a number of years. Perhaps most obviously is the resurgence of folk music, which…
Reconstruction of 26 rue du Depart, Paris. © 2014 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust c/oHCR InternationalUSA. Photo by Paul Delbo

Piet Mondrian’s homeless abstraction comes to Liverpool

Tate Liverpool’s latest exhibition, of which I am a co-curator, is of the work of Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter and pioneer of modern abstract art who is probably best known today for his iconic grids…
Corrado Giaquinto, Italian 1703–1766, worked in Spain 1753–62, Allegory of Justice and Peace (Allegoria della Giustizia e della Pace) c.1753–54 oil on canvas, 216.0 x 325.0 cm. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00104), Spanish Royal Collection

Italian masterpieces from Spain in Australia? They brush up nicely

Nationalism is not always a good thing where understanding art is concerned, but in the case of Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado on show at the National Gallery of Victoria…
Moss original and Moss copied. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

The internet is not going to sap originality from art

In the last few months I’ve noticed a groundswell of murmurs about the internet’s relationship with culture. Again. But this time it relates to visual art. The discussion in terms of publishing is well…
Ciara Phillips, Workshop (2010–ongoing), 2013, The Showroom, London. Courtesy the artist and The Showroom, London. © Ciara Phillips.

The 2014 Turner Prize shortlist is all about the viewer

In 1973, Marcel Duchamp said: “Art is not about itself, but the attention we bring to it.” This is something that this year’s Turner Prize shortlist brings to the fore. The shortlisted artists all have…
Researchers using the Design and Art Australia Online database no longer need to trek across the country to examine works such as Jean Goldberg’s “Wheels”. Powerhouse Museum

How the internet liberated Australia’s art history

In 2014 it is hard to remember how isolated research on art in Australia used to be. Before the web, when we were all in hard copy, it used to be almost impossible to find information on Australian art…
Henri Matisse, The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown 1943-4. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Claude Planchet © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2013

Matisse cut-outs stun with colour, scale and ambition

The Tate Modern’s incredible new exhibition brings together more than 130 works by the French artist from public and private collections worldwide. It is a once in a lifetime show that focuses on Matisse’s…
George W Bush has retired from politics and is now painting portraits of world leaders. But why? EPA/LARRY SMITH

The artist formerly known as President George W Bush

“George Bush’s paintings”? Three words, so unexpectedly and yet intimately and possessively arranged. This week the former US president unveiled an exhibition of 24 portraits of world leaders and spoke…
“We are the words, we are the music, we are the thing itself.” Wikimedia Commons

Virginia Woolf ballet should be a subtle and moving spectacle

Interest in all things Bloomsbury certainly seems to have taken an upturn. The National Portrait Gallery is planning an exhibition of the seminal modernist writer Virginia Woolf, to open later this year…

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