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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Unwrapping art: the basics

Enjoy art, but not sure how to approach it? Like an artwork but not sure why, or if there’s more to it? Come along to my short introductory course at the Art Gallery of NSW, Unwrapping art: the basics, over 4 Saturdays, 16 May – 6 June 2015. While art from many different times and […]

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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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What makes art, ‘art’: a family tour

I create a work of ‘art’ by tipping a box of junk upside-down in an art museum. If I left it there and came back a day later, do you think it’d still be there? Why not? Who would have taken it away? No, not the director, nor the curators… but the cleaners! The cleaners […]

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Why museums are worth visiting

On 21 August 2014, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article in its Traveller section: ‘Boring, pricey and crowded: 17 reasons why I hate museums’. (It was based on a slightly longer article from the Telegraph, London.) This response is in the form of an open letter to its author, Oliver Smith: Dear Mr Smith, […]

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A still from the AT&T ad

Does social media have a place in an art museum?

Dana Allen-Greil posted an article recently, “Everything that’s wrong with society”? Facebook Home in museums. The post was triggered by a TV ad from AT&T in the US, for a mobile phone running Facebook Home (an app that fills the home screen with a steady stream of Facebook posts). In the ad, a woman in an art museum is […]

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