People looking at art

How to look at a painting

I have just been re-reading an excellent book by Justin Paton (curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of NSW), “How to look at a painting”. Near the end of the book, he gives some very useful advice in ten points, which I would like to share with you. 1. Respect the thing. 2. […]

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On art appreciation

Today, as I was remembering my dear friend, the artist Robin Norling, who died in January this year, I rediscovered the text of a wall panel that he and Jocelyn Maughan had prepared for their gallery a few years ago. I liked it so much I decided to post an edited version of it here. […]

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The desire to connect

I’ve been re-reading a book, “What Makes Us Tick?” by Hugh Mackay (Hachette, 2010). Here are a few favourite quotes from chapter 4, “The desire to connect”: “The Russian literary critic, Viktor Shklovsky, wrote that ‘art exists that one might recover the sensations of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the […]

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Art appreciation at the World Esperanto Congress

The program for the World Esperanto Congress in Lille has been published but, unfortunately, the “Congress Theme” sessions lack details. So, I want to announce that “Congress Theme 2” (Monday, 11:15–13:45) will include two lectures by Franz-Georg Rössler – about architecture (towers) and music – and a lecture by me. Mine will be “Art-appreciation for […]

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The dangers of assumption

Many years ago, when I worked for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, I ran a travelling art service called “Onsight”*. I took art exhibitions to people for whom a visit to the Gallery would be difficult or impossible, for example, to prisons, hospitals and nursing homes. One day, I visited a nursing home […]

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Three short talks for “Art on screen”

Over the next few months I will be introducing three art-related films at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre with three different 20-minute talks on art appreciation: Monday, 2 March, 11.30am: A girl with a pearl earring and other treasures from the Mauritshuis Museum Netherlands My talk will focus on the paintings of Vermeer and other artists […]

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The ink-painter: a story

Narrator: Once upon a time in China there was a skilful painter in ink, especially famous for his depictions of flowers, which were sold for very high prices. He had a friend. One day the artist and his friend were talking. Painter: You’ve been a great friend to me for many years. I‘m going to […]

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Space: a virtual exhibition

I just remembered an exhibition I created on the My Gallery section of the Christchurch Art Gallery website a few years back: Space Here’s the introduction: Artists use various techniques to describe, or give the illusion of, three-dimensional space. Artists also sometimes deliberately try to deny the illusion of space. This set of artworks gives […]

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The importance of “emptiness” in art (and music)

I just listened to Lang Lang playing Robert Schumann, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15: No. 7, Träumerei (Daydream) (listen to an excerpt) and I was amazed of the expressive power of the pauses in the score, extended beautifully and sensitively by Lang Lang. It made me think of the art of Vermeer. Why is […]

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