Homage to Tatlin

Usually when you hear the name Vladimir Tatlin you think of his proposed 400 metre tall Monument to the Third International, a project that was never built but if it had been would now be regarded as one of the wonders of the world.

But there was far more to Tatlin than that. In fact, […]

Shoot for the head!

June 2012 was the 250th issue of Art Monthly Australia and I was one of a number of writers commissioned to celebrate the occasion by writing about “critical art writing”. My article, which became the lead, was not exactly reverential in tone, in fact I took a fair amount of delight in rubbing in […]

Why Stuff Doesn’t Matter

This is a lecture I gave in 2010 at the University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts. Joanna Mendelssohn, the lecturer who asked me to give the talk , is one the very few academics in Sydney who has both been aware of my work from almost the beginning and is politically […]

Victoria Street Squat

I had the Victoria Street Resident Action Group and the squatting there in 1973 on my list of future posts. It was a critical experience for me and I have already talked about it before but I thought the whole event needed a bit more detailed discussion. Before I could get the time to […]

The Arcadia Tables 1 & 2

The Arcadia Tables are an ongoing series of tables that I have been building over the last few years, furniture that is also memento mori based on the Latin phrase “et in Arcadia ego”, the knowledge that even in the happiness of Arcadia there is still always mortality.

The first two were exhibited in my […]

Art & Working Life Newsletter

In the mid 1970s I was thinking hard about the relationship between art and other forms of work while reading the great American journalist  and oral historian Studs Terkel – his 1974 book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do remains a classic and […]

Chinese Whispers

My friend Guo Jian texted me from Beijing a few months back just saying “New York Times today”. A quick Google showed up this New York Times article about his latest work, a rather brave thing to do in the current difficult climate facing artists in China. Guo and I have been friends since […]

Synthetics

Stephen Jones’ book Synthetics : Aspects of Art and Technology in Australia 1956 – 1975 was launched last week at the AGNSW.

For someone like me who has complained for decades now about the way Australian art history of that period was being written this book is a real breath of fresh air. So I’ll […]

Darwin and the art of evolution

The Darwin and the Art of Evolution Conference was held at the Art Gallery of NSW in September 2010. It was convened by Fay Brauer of the University of NSW  and Tony Bond of AGNSW. Speakers at the two day conference covered a range of material both popular and scientific that developed around  Charles […]

The Shame File

I’ve been thinking a lot about memorials recently partly because of other things I have been working on like Lithgow’s proposed Inch Street memorials and also the bicentenaries of the the first crossing of the Blue Mountains by English toffs (Blaxland, Lawson, Wentworth) and the building of Cox’s Road shortly after.

But I’ve also been […]