Art

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White painter William Gilbert Gaul’s To the End (1907-1909) uses the loyal slave trope. Wikimedia Commons

Exploring how black and white artists depict race

Black Like Us? – a new exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art – looks at how blackness has been portrayed in American art through the years.
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), by James McNeill Whistler (1871). Wikimedia Commons

The extraordinary life of Whistler’s mother

The famous portrait, usually resident in France, is on a rare tour in the US. From looking at it, one might assume its subject had a tranquil, even monotonous, life. But one would be wrong.
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…

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