It’s a Date

July 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE |

History and the Everlasting Present History is infinite, Culture diffuse. To aid our sense of perspective, however, to use the past to process the everlasting present, we have to start somewhere; a sketch, in linear fashion, with what we think are key (often approximate) dates, including taking ‘B.C.’ (sorry, we still prefer ‘BC’ and ‘AD’) as modern year zero, rather than 4 years before. Needless to say, this is a work in progress. Too long ago to tell – Fire. The first cave art. Harvest of wheat and grains. The Wheel.     7000 years ago Egypt develops its line of…

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Fake or Fortune: Artists’ Techniques

June 30, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |

A talk by Andrew Durham, The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide, 20 June 2019 In a wide-ranging and rather disordered lecture, Art Conservator Andrew Durham (from Artlab) covered topics as diverse as art forgery, preservation, techniques and use of materials, as well as the problems posed to conservation and preservation by the anarchic and chaotic predilections of artists. Durham moved at speed from one vignette to another, but the Big Theme was the overarching and critical need for care: in use of materials, in execution, and in knowing when to down tools. In the Good Old Days, of course, the first 2…

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We’re Over the Archibald

May 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, Ulalume |

Comparisons are odious to the worthless - contrast Raphael's Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione with...

May 10, 2019 The Archibald prize, handed out by the Sydney-based Art Gallery of NSW, this year goes to Tony Costa, of Sydney (how convenient), for his portrait of Lindy Lee pretending to meditate. It has a vague similarity to a cartoon image from South Park. We’ve already weighed-in to this so-called competition and even given you the names of those responsible. TheVarnished Culture had hoped our pleas for decent fine art might be heeded, but in vain.  We expect to have had our last words on the subject.

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“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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