“Who Owns the Past?”

April 16, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS |

John Bray Oration by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Adelaide University, April 2, 2019 In a very interesting, and only slightly windy, lecture, Robertson QC gave us a very entertaining and erudite exegesis on both South Australia’s Periclean Chief Justice of the 1970s, Dr John Jefferson Bray QC, and the vexed and more immediate question of title to ancient artefacts, a subject close to TVC‘s heart. This is a topic that evokes much chest-beating and arm-waving.  But take the Elgin (or Parthenon) Marbles, one of the more contentious works of art subject to a claim by the Government of Greece (it now…

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Guilty

April 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

After Dali...but then, Salvador knew how to draw.

Ben Quilty retrospective, Art Gallery of SA, 5 April 2019 When Mr Quilty surveyed the exhibition of his oeuvre at AGSA, he said: “I bawled my eyes out when I first walked in.” We know how he feels. We felt we had been too rude, discussing Quilty’s qualifications to judge the Archibald Prize: we had described his work thus: “Ben specialises in lurid smudges involving lashings of impasto.” Alas, one brief viewing of the works on display here more than confirmed our initial opinion: sloppy daubs full of empty emotion but bereft of technique.            …

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At Eternity’s Gate

February 24, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Julian Schnabel) (2018) It takes some men a long time to grow up. Julian Schnabel began his career as an artist, allegedly; his notorious ‘plate paintings’ moved Robert Hughes to say of him: “Schnabel’s work is to painting what Stallone’s is to acting: a lurching display of oily pectorals.”*  Then he produced a memoir, when only aged in his mid-thirties, without having achieved anything of note – if you want a nasty laugh, read Hughes’ review of it in The New Republic.**  Then he found the medium of film, where his talents and sensibilities obviously lie: after Basquiat (1996) a…

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Face It, Western Civilisation: You Lost

November 25, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Ulalume |

“It’s Time”, to borrow an old political phrase, Last Orders for Western Civilisation and its running dogs, time even for soldiers in the cause to lay down their easels, quills, violins, compasses and chisels. You got beat – not by folks who were smarter (quelle idée!) or had a worthier plan. They had simply worked-out O’Brien’s dictum that hate was not more exhausting than love. In fact, it could be spread more evenly, calibrated and cadenced, and thus more effective over time. They understood that destruction is an essential part of the human condition and that righteous destruction is virtually…

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Leonardo da Vinci

(by Walter Isaacson) (2017) We picked up this heavy tome in Washington DC and carried it all the way home. It’s well put-together, beautifully illustrated, and fairly well organised. Whilst Leonardo the Man remains opaque, this book manages to avoid drowning in the sea of speculation, as a disastrous recent work on Beethoven does not. Leonardo da Vinci lived and died 500 years ago, and left behind a tantalising body of mostly incomplete work, in particular, some startlingly radical and luminous paintings, fanatically detailed drawings, and thousands of pages from inspired commonplace books.  Although his siege engines and tanks and…

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