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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…
Kevin Draper’s Tree and Grid is part of the Regional Arts Showcase on display at Parliament House. What makes a regional artist in 2014? Regional Arts Australia

Regional Arts Australia takes root – but what is ‘regional’?

Currently on display at Parliament House is an exhibition that we are told is the first of its kind. Entitled Place and Practice, it’s a showcase of works by artists based in regional and remote areas…
Torbay (1957) is on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in the first major retrospective of the neglected artist for 35 years. © Susanna Grey-Smith and Mark Grey-Smith Art Gallery of Western Australia

Why are Western Australian art and artists invisible?

The recent television series The Art of Australia presented by Edmund Capon, and its counterpart Hannah Gadsby’s OZ, offered a blinkered view of Australian art practice that ended at the 129th meridian…
Artist Ash Keating, like others, relinquishes final control to the laws of physics and nature. David Crosling/AAP

Nature makes abstract visual art more captivating

There’s a two-storey warehouse wall in Melbourne’s western suburbs where man-made concrete uniformity has been transformed. On this enormous vertical surface is a complex, apparently natural scene that…
Christ and the Centurion, Paolo Veronese, c. 1570. © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado (P00492)

First major exhibition of Veronese in the UK dazzles

A review of the National Gallery’s latest exhibition, Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice can be short. Why? There’s no umming and ahhing here, it simply must be seen. This is the first ever exhibition…
Imagine a scenario whereby all artists undertake a month-long retraction of their labour. rytc/ Banksy in Boston

What would a national artists strike look like?

Over the last six months, I have been thinking, writing and talking about the artist’s role, value and agency in society. I’ve been speaking to the idea that an artist’s contribution to society is, in…
The Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has proposed a way to to deal with grant applicants who refuse corporate funding. Alan Porritt/AAP Image

We should value the Biennale protest, not threaten arts funding

Today it was reported that the Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has requested that the Australia Council draft a new policy to deal with grant applicants who refuse funding offered by corporate…
Stills from Steve McQueen’s student film work. Goldsmiths, University of London

The film industry finally wakes up to what artists have to offer

Steve McQueen’s success at the Oscars has prompted much talk of the connection between art and film, and his ability to “straddle these two worlds”. But why is it so surprising that these worlds must be…
‘Nope, definitely not a Caravaggio.’ International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

What Cold War nuclear weapons can tell us about art fraud

The identification of fakes and forgeries is a basic issue that has always raised controversy. This is unsurprising, of course – the enormous sums garnered by top paintings would turn to dust as soon as…

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