Review: Visual Arts/photography
This is my December 2014 overview on accessing Australia’s major visual art gallery exhibition programs though their websites. – and the status of photography.
Canberra, Paul Daley, 2012
This is small book is another in the city series published by Newsouth (University of NSW). I have previously reviewed Hobart (click here) and Adelaide (click here). Paul Daley has told a set of stories about Canberra, the National Capital. Sadly he seems to not have invested the time to gather local knowledge about the city, its people, its life style and its complexities as a 21st Century city of 380,000 people.
Photography: Things that puzzle
This small barrier was erected in the foyer of a mall we passed through most days to get to our apartment hotel in Singapore. The sign says – Work In Progress.
During the whole week that the installation sat there nothing happened around, above or anywhere near it. To this day I wonder whether someone put it there as a joke and as it looked official, it remained in place and undisturbed. It was still there the day we left Singapore. Or was it in fact an artwork – an artistic installation?
Review: The Spider on DVD
The Spider, 6 episodes on two DVD discs
For lovers of Nordic TV dramas, this is yet another one for you.
Comment on public art problems
Visiting London, we came across this piece of public art at The Angel, a centre located on the outskirts of central London, to the north-east.
my tourist photographs of London.
Comment: architectural eyesores and failures
Once when attending a conference on green roofs, an architect told the story of his first major green roof project. All sounded impressive, until he casually mentioned how it failed and that water penetrated the top floor of the office building.
Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age
25 Sept – 11 Jan 2015, Barbican Art Gallery, London
A few photos from a walk around London
YouTube videos that entertain and terrify
The first is a short video I saw at an exhibition at the British Library, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. The information panel explained that when this short film was originally released, it was banned by the censors. Too terrifying? or what? As I had trouble hearing it in the exhibition, I watched it later online.
Announcement: Bad News for Dreamers
Will we ever see the Jet Pack?
I read an article in The Guardian that set out in great detail the sad news for those of us who have been brought up with the promise that one day we would be able to fly using a Jet Pack. I think the original promise was in the same category as the promise that one day, with all the new technologies, we would have the paperless office.
Opinion Piece: The Case for the Dickson Parklands
The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands
The debate has commenced within the communities around the Dickson Parklands, previously referred to Section 72 Dickson, as to how the whole site could become a parklands with an integrated set of community cultural facilities that connect to the surrounding communities.
An Opinion Piece
The Future of Dickson Section 72 as a Community and Cultural Site
The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands.
I wrote a piece yesterday about the disappointment expressed by residents about the manner in which the ACT Government is dealing with the local communities over the future of the community site officially known as Section 72 Dickson. Click here.
Review: Visual Arts
at Canberra Grammar School Oct 2014
There’s been a couple of short-run sculpture festivals in recent years in Canberra. It is a great thing to see these events as they provide opportunities for our sculptors who otherwise have trouble getting into the usual exhibition venues.
First Listen: Lucinda Williams
Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
I have downloaded and listen to this album just the once. I have read quite a bit about this latest gem from Lucinda but was prevented from listening to it earlier due to some international travel and an online problem I was experiencing. But all this was solved at last this afternoon and I have been sitting here, with headphones on, making my way through this wonderful album. If you have not already gathered, this is a great album.
Comment on reviewing of the visual arts
There have been many occasions when I visited an exhibition of contemporary visual arts, particularly those of the conceptual installation art version, and I have left with little satisfaction or a memory of strong engagement. To be positive, there have been many great pieces I have seen in this genre.
Comment: Architects realise something is wrong with cities
Wow! Now there’s a revelation from the profession largely responsible for the problem.
New Album announcement
Jackson Browne – standing in the breach
It is great to see established singer/ songwriters being relaxed in his approach to music so that he brings together an album of new and original songs.
Please have a look (click on banner above) and then take out a subscription to the Anne Summers Reports – click here – and note that the subscription is free!.
Paul Costigan, 20 September 2014
Review: Photomedia / Photography
Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography
at Singapore Arts Science Museum till 2 Nov 2014
Review of a few places for coffee
in the arts district of Singapore
Review: Visual Arts and Photography
Still Moving at Singapore Art Museum (SAM) 8Q
till 8 February 2015
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is presently exhibiting three exhibitions in 8Q, its special annex located on Queens Street around the corner from SAM’s main building. The exhibition is a triple bill made up of three exhibitions that occupy the whole of the building’s exhibition spaces.
Comment: On the gender mix of this architecture jury
It is sad to see that world architecture has continued the trend to have a dominance of the boys in their decision-making – this picture says it all!
Announcement: Visual Arts Exhibition
Alex Seton, Refoulement at Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney till 11 October 2014
He was recently a major artist at the Adelaide Biennale and his earlier photographs are presently in an exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra.
Commentary: Architecture Basket Cases
I love the joy of good architecture, being both places and buildings. There is something really wonderful when you experience the enjoyment of good design. However there are other contributions that simply take your breath away for all the wrong reasons!
Here are a couple of gems.
Review: Visual Art, photography
THE ROAD: Photographers on the move 1970–85
Monash Gallery of Art, 21 June–31 August 2014
The Melbourne Botanic Gardens, August 2014
The National Museum of Australia in Canberra
2nd Notice: New Book
Hack Attack by Nick Davies
It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?
Notice: A project about Art and Landscape
As I have said before, I wonder why a country such as Australia with its amazing landscapes does not have a much stronger arts in the landscape profile, let alone many more robust public art programs.
Photography: a plinth to honour almost nothing
This is a photograph of the monument on the harbour side of Manly to honour the landing of Captain Arthur Phillip in Manly. One problem!
Review: TV series on DVD
Marie Wern, series on DVD – seven episodes
I have to admit that I had not heard of the Swedish island of Gotland. Having now watched four of the Swedish seven episodes of Marie Wern, I have had to get online and do research on this Swedish island, situated in the gulf to the east of Sweden. Want to know more about Gotland? – click here.
This is a good series. Recommended.
Commentary: Urban Design Fails at Ground Zero
There’s a very thorough article about the combined architectural and developer and government mishandling of the whole ground zero site in New York.
Photography: pollution in public places
In Manly (Sydney), the harbourside pool is closed after heavy rain because of pollution. One wonders where is the pollution coming from.
Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens
This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only those promoting it had been sensible and given an address.
Review: Visual Arts
The paintings of Andrew Sayers
Commentary: Arts Leadership and the Australia Council
Photography: art in public places
Notice: Local Visual Arts Gallery
Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery, Kingston, Canberra
We attended a crowded opening there tonight for the opening of Ruth Waller’s exhibition of recent paintings. Can I say that I would love to talk more about the art, but it was very difficult to see given the crowd. That’s why I often avoid openings and get along later.
Review (2nd): Visual Arts
Annette Messager: motion/emotion at the MCA Australia (Sydney) till 26 October 2014
We were fortunate to have a business reason to be in Sydney for the Monday, so allowed ample time on the weekend to get down to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on beautiful circular Quay to see this once in a lifetime exhibition of Annetta Messager’s artworks. It was definitely worth the trip. We loved it so much we went back the next day for a revisit.
Shaune Lakin, The New NGA Senior Curator of Photography
At the end of an exhibition seminar in August at the Monash Gallery of Art, we witnessed the NGA Senior Curator of Photography, Gael Newton (finishing September) , handing on the baton and all the challenges to her replacement, the new NGA Senior Curator of Photography (from October), Shaune Lakin (previously The MGA Director).
Review: Visual Arts
A visit to the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) Melbourne
Photography: art in public places
Commentary: Australian Gardens, Botanic Garden visit
Pondering a visit to the Melbourne Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne
Query: who was the architect?
Announcement: The Exhibition for SIPF 2014
Review: TV on DVD
The Eagle A Crime Odyssey, TV 2004 – 2006, now out on DVD
This is another nordic television series. This pre-dates The Bridge and several others now well-known. According to other online news the series has been shown a couple of times on SBS in Australia and was very popular. I actually chanced upon it and settled back to watch and became impressed very quickly. It is good. We liked this a lot.
Comment: Landscape Art
One of my many puzzles has been why within Australia, with all the diversity of natural landscapes, do we not see much landscape art.
What I mean by that are artworks that actually are designed in the landscape or at least using natural materials to be in the landscape. There’s an article online about an architect who works with nature. click here.
for more on architecture – click here
Paul Costigan, 20 August 2014
Commentary: Melbourne as liveable city?
Melbourne is a city I enjoy visiting. Most of the time my visits involve moving around the inner suburbs of Melbourne.
Photograph: Was Paul Keating correct?
Commentary: Civil & Political Rights in Queensland
An article by Harry Hobbs & Andrew Potter
The 2012 state election landslide for the Liberal National Party has had significant consequences for minority groups in Queensland.
Review: Embassy Architecture in Canberra
The Solomon Islands High CommissionI spotted this example of successful embassy architecture as I was driving past to have lunch at the Beaver Gallery Cafe in Deakin. From the available online information (and there’s not much) I think these new buildings for the High Commission for the Solomon Islands were completed around 2011/2012.
Reviewing City of Sydney’s public art commissions
I had previously posted about the City of Sydney’s announcements for three new works for Sydney’s public spaces. click here.
I have just read online the views of the Crikey urbanist, Alan Davies. There’s a lot more to say about this guy’s reviews and some of his strange views on urban issues . He has some serious problems! More on some of his comments later – watch this space. Continue reading Public Art City of Sydney 2
Notice: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life.
Andrew Leigh, 2014
My review will have to follow once I have a copy and have read it. Having received notice of the book, I have been checking several comments online, and knowing Andrew Leigh’s early writings and books, I feel very confident that this will be another good read.
Here is some text copied from the publisher’s site:
Comment: Wind Power aesthetics
Recently a colleague expressed doubts about how he viewed a new wind farm that appeared in a landscape that he and his son loved to escaped into when time allowed. While he is totally committed to alternative energy, the issue he was working through was that the wind farm challenged his aesthetics, or to be more accurate he was still having trouble accepting them in this landscape that had been part of his memory since childhood.
Photo-Essay: Chicago’s Millennium Park 2004
The park celebrated its tenth anniversary last June. This first image is from their own website.
The duopoly of supermarkets in Australia
There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers, are continuing to allow this to happen.
The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.
Comment on the Art of Trees
I have said it before and am happy to say so again, I live in a suburb in Canberra that has a fabulous amount of trees. The amount of trees in the public arena, streets and parks etc, combined with those throughout the residential properties delivers an ambience that is hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it.
Confronting art world sexism
From an article by Jori Finkel in the Art Newspaper:
In New York, Sperone Westwater comes in at 91 versus nine. Team Gallery at 85 versus 15; Matthew Marks at 84 versus 16, and Mary Boone at 83 versus 17. Some of the top galleries in Los Angeles tell a similar story: Blum & Poe is 89 versus 11; Prism is 88 versus 12; Thomas Solomon is 85 to 15, and Patrick Painter is 83 to 17.
Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part Two: The Urban Development Atrocities
The Queensland state government spent millions on the Roma Street Parklands. This parkland was set to add huge value to any apartments built around its edges. One would have thought that the City would have insisted on at least some higher levels of design for such buildings. Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two
Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part One: It is about creative Garden Design
I first visited these gardens and parklands back in 2004 and was very impressed then. This parkland project was a major commitment by the then state government to re-develop a former industrial site and to join it to the existing Albert Park to form one larger parkland, the Roma Street Parklands. I highly recommend anyone and everyone visiting Brisbane to allocate at least an hour to wander about these parklands ten minutes or more away from the Brisbane CBD. (click on any image to enlarge it)
Comment: Visual Arts
The debate about getting rid of previously loved artworks
The debate over what different people, institutions and township are doing with their formerly treasured artworks by Rolf Harris has been sad to watch. This style of artwork was always more of a populist marketing campaign. His art was and remains simplistic and very ordinary at best.
I was a little shocked when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Queen. Continue reading Unloved Art
Review: Visual Arts
Harvest: Art, Film + Food at the Queensland Art Gallery – GOMA
Our public galleries have wonderful collections. Collection exhibitions are often overlooked by the public as the marketing foolishly concentrates on the block busters and special exhibitions. This is a shame as the collection exhibitions are wonderful.
I welcomed the opportunity to visit Harvest: Art, Film + Food. To see this mix of art was indeed a welcomed experience. Continue reading Harvest at GOMA
Comment: World Architecture Festival Awards
The 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards shortlisted projects have been listed online. It makes for an interesting read.
I have provided two links below. One with categories only – which means you have click-through to see more. The other is the full list. A number of Australian projects have been listed, including The National Botanic Gardens – these I have reviewed (click here) , so I will say no more.
Comment: Awards for Architecture
It has been a long puzzle of mine as to just what makes an architecture project an award-winning project. I know that it cannot be just who sits on the award jury and who knows who, so it must be something else.
Tony Abbott offers his perspective on indigenous ownership
click on the image above (Courteous of Independent Australia)
The Prime Minister of Australia sees the original take over of the indigenous lands, which were then viewed being viewed as Terra Nullius, as being a British foreign investment!
Paul Costigan, 5th July 2014
100 Canberra Houses: A Century of Capital Architecture / by Tim Reeves and Alan Roberts
This book about housing in Canberra is welcomed by those amongst us who would love to see more good design in the provision of houses in Canberra. Much of Canberra, as with most places internationally, is presently being devastated with loads of new badly designed suburbs as well as very awful blocks of cheaply rendered apartments being foisted on the older inner suburbs. The authors of this book are to be congratulated for illustrating that the architecture for residential properties can be something to be enjoyed.
Canberra Architecture, Andrew Metcalf
Watermark Architectural Guides, 2003
I picked up this book quiet a while ago but it is only now that I have had time to look through it. I am glad I did, as after reading through quite a bit of it, I have become more aware that Canberra has a reasonable amount of good and notable architecture.
I have a quiet interest in good architecture and have spent some energies complaining about the current crop of badly designed houses and commercial buildings being thrust onto Canberra. Residents have despaired that good design in our civic areas and suburbs has become a thing of the past.
Review: TV on DVD
Francesco’s Shakespeare in Italy
The BBC has commissioned a number of series about Italy in various guises. For several of these they employed Francesco da Mosto. Shakespeare in Italy is the most recent of these with Francesco da Mosto in the presenters role. What you end up with an armchair traveller’s tour of parts of Italy, some good tales about the connections between Shakespeare and Italy, and to top it off we are entertained with performances by Francesco da Mosto.
Is architecture is failing contemporary Sydney? Part One
There is no doubt that the City of Sydney and its harbour are magnificent to behold. (click on the photo to enlarge). The mix of built structures really makes for a view that demands you take the time to stare, contemplate and to just enjoy it for as long as it takes. However…..
The problems with our new dog Shakey
Most of these animals are quiet. Full credit to their owners. But we have the honour of having a couple that do let their presence be known with some barking. I have posted before about not so nice dogs and their owners. (click here) Continue reading Our Dog Shakey
from the Conversation
Clive James on death, dragons and writing in the home stretch
One wonders how Clive James would react to the realities of attitudes within Australia today. His illnesses have restricted him to staying close to his hospital which has meant he will not be coming home for a last visit. Therefore he has to revisit Australia through his memories.
Eureka Henrich has provided a piece on Clive’s presentation at the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts at King’s College London. His appearance there surprised everyone simply as his illnesses are so restricting to his travel. Click here for the piece.
Cate Blanchett in conversation with Anne Summers
Click on image above – or click here
A few comments about the Art of Coffee
It was with great amusement that I read a recent story about how Starbucks has not been successful in Australia.
Anyone who understood the love of coffee here in Australia would not be surprised by this and would probably celebrate by heading for a cafe for a peaceful flat white coffee. Click here for that story.
Review: Architecture Exhibition
Architecture Marketing and
The Iconic Australian Houses at Museum of Sydney till 17 August 2014
Over the years I have ventured into many exhibitions on Australian architecture. Most have been so badly put together that to call them boring is an understatement. This is not to say that the architecture is the problem, it is clearly that bodies such as the Institute of Architects know how to talk themselves but have little idea of how to market to the wider general public.
Review: Inner city park/ Prince Alfred Park
The redevelopment of Prince Alfred Park Sydney
It should always be celebrated when a city council looks after its city parks. The property and development lobbies of this world see these public spaces as potential for profit-making development sites and would be always on hand to lobby for any reduction such public open spaces. Prince Alfred Park in Surrey Hills in Sydney has just benefited from a wise city council that has invested in some upgrades on this fabulous inner city parkland.
Comment: A memorial for Walter and Marion
Several months back there was an article by Christopher Vernon, of the University of Western Australia, putting forward the background and argument for a permanent memorial in Canberra for Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. Click here for that article.
There are various things scattered around Canberra that tell their story.
Opinion: Under the Oak Tree: Institutional Reform in the Deep North
An article by Andrew Trotter and Harry Hobbs
The independence of a legally qualified judiciary and the transparency and accountability of government are the cumulative result of many centuries of progress.
Review: Campus Design
A review of new architecture and spaces within the ANU (Australian National University) Part One
Across Australia there are stand out examples of campus design amongst many of our universities. In more recent years I have had reason to visit campuses in all the states and back here in Canberra and have been constantly impressed with some of the architectural and landscape work. In most cases I have been positively impressed with the work and in others I have been taken aback.
Comment: Cars and Design
A few comments about cars and people and design
In 2014, contemporary car design is fairly mundane. Most car designers are pumping out things that are not attractive. Cars today seem to be suffering from either a lack of design or have a combination of tricky features pretending to be some form of design. So many cars today are simply very boring.
Review: Visual Arts Book
Art as Therapy: Works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Alain de Botton and John Armstrong
As a first comment I have to say that I was disappointed and was in fact a little taken aback by the style and contents. I am not so sure about how this effort enhances the gallery visit within the NGV*.
Response to the Abbott & Hockey ripping apart of Australia
However there is another worry…
An Open Letter to the Honorable Mr Paul Keating
about the proposed redevelopments within The Sydney Botanic Gardens.
If I were to write to the former Prime Minister about the Sydney Botanic Gardens Master Plan consultations, I would most likely say:
Dear Mr Keating,
I am writing in response to news articles reporting on your comments to the proposals being canvassed as part of the Master Plan for Sydney’s Botanic Gardens.
Lox and Neon at Russ & Daughters’ New Café
This year, Russ & Daughters, the acclaimed appetizing institution on the Lower East Side, turns a hundred years old. To celebrate the occasion, the fourth-generation co-owners are giving customers a place to sit.
Opinion: Media and student protest
A few comments on the ‘events’ that occurred during the live broadcast of the ABC’s (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) program Q&A.
The Australian Women’s History Forum – Great Debate 2014
The proposition was that ‘Australia doesn’t need Women’s History Month’. Continue reading Australian Women’s History Forum
Politics Australia 2014 Style
The Monthly has published an excellent article of the Abbott crowd and how his old boys are in charge. The image on the cover is worrying simply because it is so factual. The artist has captured their collective personalities far too accurately.
Do not show this image to children. Click here.
Opinion: The Australia’s Treasurer’s anti climate statements
Even when you know you have one of the most stupid governments on earth, it is still amazing when the Australian Government’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says wind turbines ‘utterly offensive’!
Read the article: click here
But wait! we have the solution for Joe. Let’s get rid of those horrible things on the horizon.
Opinion: A comment on Moving Backwards in Queensland
An article by Harry Hobbs
Since taking office in 2012, the Attorney-General for Queensland and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie MP has made a conscious effort to reintroduce symbols of the monarchy.
Queensland’s own Glorious Revolution has seen Senior Counsels replaced with Queen’s Counsels, the new government logo replaced with the traditional Coat-of-Arms, the new law courts named the reigning British Monarch, and a political fight over the royal succession laws.
Urbanity: More on comments by Alain de Botton, Part Six of Six
That parts of Brisbane are ugly and the local government has allowed this to happen
Part Six of Six – some final words
Brisbane definitely would not win any ‘most attractive city award’.
Urbanity: Following up comments by Alain de Botton, Part five/six
That parts of Brisbane are ugly and the local government has allowed this to happen
Beauty in urban development is something we should insist on!
Part Five of Six – South Bank and West End.
There is no doubt that there are aspects of Brisbane that a far more interesting than the city centre. South Bank and the West End are such places. South Bank Parklands have been managed well for years up till now – but I am not so sure about the current management.
South Bank is a place for leisure, for the family, for picnics, for food and cafes and the cultural centres, for events, and especially for culture such as visits to the state gallery.
Dear Venice: It just keeps getting worse
Any major city or city district has ambitions to attract tourists. When it works well everyone prospers and the locals can be happy. Tourists arrive and spend money.