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Analysis and Comment (37)

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…
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…
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…
No war was photographed like Vietnam and many of these images still speak to us today. Photographer: Michael Coleridge. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial EKN/67/0130/VN.

The photographer’s war: Vietnam through a lens

An unprecedented level of media coverage made the Vietnam war a watershed moment in the discipline of photography. The images by official military photographers, photojournalists, and individual soldiers…
Provocative artworks, such as Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca, have drawn a steady stream of tourists to multi-billionaire David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. AAP

Sex, death and taxes: how should the tax system treat MONA founder David Walsh?

It was March last year when I sat down in the chaotic New York office of a leading international tax attorney to conduct an interview for a book I was writing on the campaign against tax havens. But rather…
Media commentators have been eager to paint Neandertals as artists – but why? Federico Gambarini/AAP

The art of loving Neandertals – they’re like us, but different

An article published recently in Science sheds new light on paintings found in 11 cave sites in Spain. At 40,800 years old, some of these paintings could be among the oldest anywhere in the world. But…
The ghost-like image of Tupac captured the imagination of concert-goers … imagine if they’d seen a real hologram.

Beyond Tupac – the future of hologram technology

Last week the world watched on as a supposed hologram of the late rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella music festival in California. But was it a hologram? The term “hologram”, (“holos” meaning…
The collision of art and science is producing some impressive results. CSIRO, Australian Synchrotron and National Gallery of Victoria

Streeton, Da Vinci and the science of seeing art’s secrets

The ability to see through walls and other objects Superman-style is surely high on the wish-list for many children. Sadly, with the purchase of a child’s first pair of novelty X-ray glasses, such dreams…
Vernon Ah Kee - I see Deadly people, Lex Wotton.

Judging the Archibald: the rules of the game

UPDATE: Tim Storrier has won the 2012 Archibald prize for his self-portrait, The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch). Shortly after noon today, Steven Lowy, president of the trustees of the Art Gallery of…
Art reflects back the crisis we’ve created. Simon Hennessey: Sunset over Metropolis

Can art change minds where science can’t?

“Artists are shape-shifters and in this there is a perennial, ferocious hope; the hope which transforms, which whispers of possibility, of vision, of change and radical healing. Existing art about climate…
Infamous street artist Banksy’s precursors have been found in South Africa. Lord Jim

Birth of bling: world’s first art studio found in South Africa

Could we have found the first artist’s studio in human history? We may well have. We all recognise the material signs of wealth. Fast cars, large yachts and sparkling bling all tell us who has more. Crowns…
Art galleries need to measure visitors' engagement with modern works, like this one by Tomas Saraceno at the Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin. EPA/Maurizio Gambarini

A radical rethink: Redesigning art for the contemporary world

There seems little doubt that the rise of widespread international interest and investment in contemporary art and contemporary art museums has stimulated a demand for diverse and compelling programs that…
Copied From Nature by Victor Brauner (1903) AAP

The art of conversation

Conversation is civilized speech. It is more purposeful than chatter; more humane than gossip; more intimate than debate. But it is an elusive ideal. In our verbal exchanges we often flip from one topic…
Could artists and scientists be enjoying a more fruitful union? Ben Stansall/AFP

Art and science: make love, not war

When art and science come together, the relationship tends to be uneven, and too often art becomes the unintended junior partner. As researchers working at the interface between art and science, we have…
Ben Quilty’s “Margaret Olley” has divided the critics. Art Gallery of New South Wales: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Archibald argy bargy as Ben Quilty wins populist prize

This year’s Archibald prize has gone to Ben Quilty’s portrait of Australian artist Margaret Olley. It’s an award often criticised for being populist or irrelevant, and there’s no reason to think that this…
Many superannuation investors have been stung by investing in artworks. AAP

The arts end of superannuation

Interested in art? Think it may be a good investment for your super? Think again - or at least be very very careful. More than 10 months since Jeremy Cooper’s independent superannuation review recommended…
Governments have a paradoxical approach to street art. costa cobosta/flickr

Do governments know what to do with street art?

Australia prides itself on its attractiveness to tourists, but for many, to the eternal frustration of Melbourne, visiting Australia is synonymous with the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Opera House. It…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (1)

A canopy view of climate change

A touring art installation has used real-time data collected from the canopies of trees to raise awareness about the environmental…