Treasure Ships

July 6, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume |

4 frigates capturing Spanish Treasure Ships (Francis Sartorius, 1804) Not in this collection

(Art in the Age of Spices, Art Gallery of SA July 2015) P, liking ‘boaty’ paintings, was prompted to see this exhibition collecting some of the good things to come of the spice age and the tender mercies of the Dutch East Indies Company.  Our favourite pieces:  the sumptuous Scholar in his Studio c 1655 by Abraham Van Den Hecken;a glowing St Cecilia:an allegory of music, c. 1650 by Francesco Fieravino, some 15th C ‘pop-up’ books showing the world as known before they closed the circle on Terra Australis, a reliquary from Goa containing a thorn from the Crown of…

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American Visions

June 30, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, USA History |

Copley could paint a nice lady; couldn't paint a shark

(Robert Hughes) (1997) Hughes was one of those big, bold, Jesuitical, learned men of the arts whom we sorely need and miss.  This book, and the series on which it is based, is crammed with Hughes’ invariably wise, precise and yet loving take on American Art. He took up a role as Time’s art critic in 1970 and those who are old enough to have actually read Time recall his brilliant and generally fair opinions on the world of contemporary art. This wonderful review is as good as his seminal The Shock of the New but wiser and less hurried.  If you…

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Thomas Gleghorn OAM

May 10, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

Tom was born in England in 1925 and came to Australia in 1928, his family settling on Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. He started painting at the age of 24, inspired by the works of William Dobell, who gave him early encouragement. A stint in retail display design constituted his only ‘formal’ art training, but exhibiting in Sydney from 1954, he built a strong following and by the late 1950s, he was perhaps the most prominent visual artist in the country. He took out the Muswellbrook Prize, Blake Christus Prize, and Mosman Art Prizes in 1958 (and a score…

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Avida Dollars

April 20, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

"I disanthropise chance." (photo by Roger Higgins) Dali (1904-1989)

Salvador, Feliz cumpleaños!  (Born, 1904, 11 May) We had to write out the phrase Avida Dollars, to ensure that it was what we thought: the best anagram ever.  Devised by Andre Breton for Salvador Dali, it nicely encapsulated the leftish surrealists’ resentment of Dali’s over-developed commercial sense, and most of all, his success.  Since Hitler’s rise occurred about the same time, they tried to smear him as a fascist as well.  As Clive James so justly wrote, Marxism will always be popular among artists without talent, since it allows them to blame society for the fact no one wants to hear what they have to…

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Chuck Close

April 1, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

Museum of Contemporary Art (Circular Quay, Sydney) (March 2015) Whilst this is more one from the lab than one from the heart, Close’s close work with photography, a computer loom, tinting and printing techniques, application of a slurry of paper and fibre, and some minor pointillism, creates a satisfying realism that seems warmer and more true than a mere photograph. MOCA had 77,727 visitors for this exhibition.  Star spotting and the ‘I could of dun that (sic)’ syndrome may be clues. The precision of the process can be seen by reference to:

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