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Socrates: not going gently.

Why I teach poetry and opera to medical students

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I usually begin my end of life ethics lecture with one of Dylan Thomas' best-loved…
Does the movement of art diminish its cult status? Laurence OP/Flickr

Get it while you can: art that moves, art that stays still

Among the millions of works of art that are being transported around the world, one that is currently doing its promotional tour is Jack Kerouac’s famous manuscript for On the Road, written entirely on…
This Vietnamese school girl is growing up in a new era: by the time she is middle-aged, 60% of the world’s children will be living in a tropical region. UN Photo/Mark Garten

How the world is turning tropical before our eyes

Our Tropical Future: A new report on the State of the Tropics has revealed rapid changes in human and environmental health in the Earth’s tropical regions. This is the first in a four-part series about…
Outside of perfume-makers, there are few artists trained in the art of smell. Image: Jessica Eucalyptus Quinnell

Olfactory art makes scents – and who nose where it might lead us?

Roses and rotten eggs, teen spirit or napalm in the morning: smells can both delight and horrify. Some scents are so bewitching that humans have gone to great lengths to obtain them. Take ambergris, essentially…
Cupid Complaining To Venus by Lucas Cranach The Elder once belonged to Hitler. Ian West/PA

Monuments men are all the rage, but we’re still afraid of Nazi art

“I’m to put a team together and do our best to protect buildings, bridges and art, before the Nazis destroy everything,” George Clooney tells Matt Damon in a dimly lit bar. The Monuments Men is one of…
Jon Tjhia in front of Lachlan Conn’s imagery for Disorient Express at Radio With Pictures 2012. Miles Martignoni

Radio With Pictures: bringing comics back to the stage

We’re calling it a blind date between radio and comics. Radio With Pictures, to be performed this Sunday at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Graphic 2013 festival of comics, animation and music, is…
Damien Hirst has always made ripples with his work, but now he’s in too deep. PA

Damien Hirst insults the dignity of the dead

Is it right to use the severed head of a newly dead man as a humourous prop for a photograph? And if such a snap exists is it right to display it in art galleries? A photograph of artist Damien Hirst at…
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is at the heart of Hobart’s cultural transformation. Christopher Neugebauer

David Walsh’s MONA and the cultural regeneration of Hobart

A column of light shines from Hobart’s Queen’s Domain, where Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s Spectra reaches up to the looming clouds, visible across the city. The normally empty streets are crowded, the…
Famous for his urban landscape paintings, Australian artist Jeffrey Smart has passed away at the age of 91. AAP/Supplied

Vale Jeffrey Smart: a friendly painter of alien space

Death has a special significance in the history of art. Whenever artists die, a kind of art dies with them. Painting will survive Jeffrey Smart (1921–2013) but the kind of picture that he produced is impossible…
Modern Australian exhibitions, like the recent “Turner from the Tate” exhibition, shows just how spoilt Australian audiences are. J.M.W. Turner's Regulus, 1828, reworked 1837. AAP Image/Supplied by the Art Gallery of South Australia

Art out of the wilderness: Turner exhibition shows how far we’ve come

When visitors come to the Turner from the Tate exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, the experience is to travel through time and space to early 19th century Britain. It was a time of social…
SANAA YEMEN– MAY 2011: A blind protester attends the demonstration at the Change Square. Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR

Our duty to look: why censoring press photos is wrong

When Destination NSW censored an outdoor photography exhibition meant to appear as part of the Vivid Sydney festival, they offended more than just the photographers who risk life and limb to take these…
Monet’s Garden has already proved popular but why does it take so long for “new art” to be accepted and understood? AAP Image/David Crosling

Making an Impression: why does art take so long to be accepted?

As the curtains rise on the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) latest blockbuster, Monet’s Garden, it is a good time to reflect on a connection between this acclaimed modernist painter and the art world…
Women need to play a greater role at the top of Australia’s art institutions. Man in gallery image from www.shutterstock.com

Why are so many arts organisations run by blokes?

One of my favourite paintings in the Art Gallery of New South Wales is Emanuel Phillips Fox’s Art Students. It’s particularly notable because all the Melbourne Art School students pictured are women. In…
Embryos matter because of what they mean to those for whom they were generated. UTS

Frozen in time: clarifying laws on IVF embryo use and destruction

Over the past two decades, the frozen preservation of embryos has become routine practice in IVF. What currently happens to embryos next is controlled by overlapping and complicated rules that confuse…
The idea of a machine being creative goes back to the earliest days of computing. Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Pablo eCasso? In search of the first computer masterpiece

For much of his adult life, painter and scholar Harold Cohen has been working in collaboration with a computer to make visual art. Cohen has worked almost continuously on this creative artificial intelligence…
Artworks by Mic Eales from the Inspired Lives exhibition at The Dax Centre. ‘End of statistics’ in the foreground. Mic Eales

The art of healing suicide: re-creating original narratives to embrace life

My doctoral studies in visual arts entails working with people who are not necessarily visual artists, but see the value in artistically expressing their story to expand our understanding of suicide. Suicide…
The lesser marked weaver’s nest must not only be functional, but also beautiful in order to catch the attention of a female. Fotosearch Stock Photos

Nests: the art of birds

Can the nests of some birds be regarded as works of art, as aesthetic creations worthy of our admiration? Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man that some birds have “fine powers of discrimination…

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