Charles Green

  • Albert Falzon, Fitzy Surfing Clouds, ca. 1971.
    picks January 17, 2006

    “Magicians of the Sea”

    Curator Pierre Chevalier (formerly of Galerie du Jour, Paris) has assembled surfing photographs and films from the ’60s and ’70s, juxtaposing portraits of famous surfers such as Nat Young and Owl Chapman with pioneering footage shot inside waves off beaches from Surfers Paradise to Bells Beach. Often, both films and photographs were made by the same obsessed artists, documenting the then-emerging scene in a frantic bid to record, participate, and innovate: Albert Falzon shot both the black-and-white portrait photograph, Fitzy Surfing Clouds, ca. 1971, and the great early surfing movie, Morning

  • Geoff Kleem

    Geoff Kleem’s large color photographs are as antiheroic as contemporary art gets. His two-decade-long commitment to images and objects that avoid almost any decipherable intention, whatever the cost, has yielded a series of exquisitely refined exhibitions and earned widespread respect from other photographers. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the most underrated artist in Australia. This low profile goes with his chosen territory: camouflage, subtle visual conundrums, skewed conceptualism. In the early ’90s, he made large, indeterminate objects on wheels, later placing them on sleds or wrapping them

  • Exhibition view.
    picks August 08, 2005

    Emily Floyd

    Emily Floyd makes cute sculptures of smart words. In this ambitious show, the young artist's shiny, black-painted wooden letters sit like obedient pets on the concrete floor, spelling out the words of the exhibition title, “A strategy to infiltrate the homes of the bourgeoisie.” The result looks like a Saul Steinberg map of New York made three-dimensional, a model world. This could be too tricky by half, a one-line, sculpturally elongated institutional-critique gag, were it not for the evocative pathos of almost any text—especially a title as resonant of self-reflexive art theory as

  • Lee Bul

    Art is conditioned by other visual phenomena, and Lee Bul’s creepy sculptures owe debts that this, her first solo exhibition in Australia, can’t acknowledge. The ideal Lee survey would own up to the vertiginous array of fashion, painting, cinema, and architecture that underlies her intensely memorable sculptures rather than repeating lazy, dead words like “subversion” and “cyborg.” For even if avatar presences started out as Lee’s basic modus operandi in works with titles like Cyborg W4, 1998, the most interesting aspect of her practice has long since been its genuine affinity with cinema: her

  • Bill Henson, Untitled #10, 2000-03.

    Bill Henson

    Although Bill Henson's photographs transform fragile teenagers and fraying landscapes into fever-pitch museum art, they've never been seen in any depth outside Australia. A pity, then, that this retrospective of 350 photographs from the past thirty years won't travel to the US or Europe, though the sumptuous publication certainly will.

    Although Bill Henson's photographs transform fragile teenagers and fraying landscapes into fever-pitch museum art, they've never been seen in any depth outside Australia. Solo shows at the Denver Art Museum in 1990, the 1995 Venice Biennale, and LA's Karyn Lovegrove Gallery in 1999 haven't compensated for this art-museum inattention, especially since Henson, a viruoso technician, sometimes masses his photographs in vast installations that require museum-size spaces. A pity, then, that this retrospective of 350 photographs from the past thirty years won't travel to the US

  • Tracey Moffatt

    Back in 1992, in a note to an overly earnest museum curator, Tracey Moffatt wrote: “As an artist, I have never been on a mission to educate. If people are racist, sexist, homophobic or out of step with issues I say bad luck. Let them stay dumb. Art exhibitions do not aid in correcting prejudice, not a bit.” Moffatt’s best works—the unforgettable twenty-five photographs that compose the series “Up in the Sky,” 1997, first shown at her Dia Center for the Arts survey that year, and her earlier, breakthrough “Something More,” 1989—are clear-sighted, bleak, and luminously global in conception. They

  • “The Labyrinthine Effect”

    In “The Labyrinthine Effect,” curator Juliana Engberg tracks a genealogy of artists who make mazes, from Bruce Nauman to Francis Alÿs. From time to time, the exhibition implies, certain symbols become important in culture. As Engberg notes in the show’s catalogue, the labyrinth is both a sculptural form and a synecdoche for the walk-in environment. (It’s also the dominating trope in interactive iCinema and games culture.) Almost all of the show’s labyrinths are installations that are at the same time historically self-conscious to the nth degree and irony free. Despite the literariness of her

  • Hatchback, 2003.
    picks August 17, 2003

    Stephen Honegger and Anthony Hunt

    Squeezed into this tiny upstairs gallery—one of the most dynamic alternative spaces in a city blessed with many—Stephen Honegger and Anthony Hunt’s Hatchback, 2003, is a full-size model of a 1980s Honda Civic that looks like it just escaped from a cartoon. The sole work on view in this show, it's a deliberately dull, fastidiously generic object, down to the cursory wheels, which lack tires altogether. It’s also surprisingly low-tech, coming as it does from two artists whose video game recently attracted howls of outrage. (In Escape from Woomera, players took the roles of political-asylum

  • Patricia Piccinini

    Patricia Piccinini’s recent exhibition “One Night Love” included a group of the furniture-sized, biomorphic fiberglass objects she calls Car Nuggets and five modular bas-relief wall panels made of plastic and embalmed in layers of glossy, quasi-holographic automotive paint. This year’s line, “Car Nuggets GL” (all works 2001), are almost interchangeable but are distinguished from each other by embossed linear designs and iridescent colors much like the variations offered by car manufacturers from model to model and further individualized by a range of familiar flamelike biker motifs. In the same

  • Sung Neung-Kyung

    Sung Neung-kyung has made deliberately marginal, semiprivate photo installations and performances since the late '60s. The thread that links his works of that time to those of the present-from the land- mark, frequently reconstructed installation Newspapers: From June I, 1974, On, 1974, to Shadows of Distraction 2001—is his consistent memorialization of minute experience in the very process of dismantling his own, always increasing artistic authority. In other words, Sung has deflected attention onto anything and everything, accumulating vast archives of newspaper clippings,bad photographs,

  • Euan Heng

    Unlike other painters who came into vogue in the ’80s. Scottish-Chinese artist Euan Heng made works that, even then, were neither wild nor spectral. For a start, they were self-consciously Mediterranean, in the tradition of Matisse and Léger—but gray. His bewildered but purposeful gentle giants and world-weary office workers, depicted through a synthesis of Christian and Classical heroic models. seemed half-human, half-animal. Though he was loosely associated with the dramatic but now docked expressionist efflorescence in Scottish painting, Heng had been resident in Australia since 1977. Here,

  • “Papunya Tula”

    “Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius” was the first major museum survey to systematically trace the history of Western Desert Painting beginning with its unlikely emergence in 1971 at a hellish, dysfunctional settlement forcibly created by racist government policies. The exhibition focused on a core group of Aboriginal painters who organized themselves into a cooperative called Papunya Tula Artists. Along with artists from other Desert communities, and encouraged by Geoffrey Bardon, a young white artist turned schoolteacher, they rapidly created paintings of enormous ambition on a scale that was