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Art After Hours

Art After Hours

On Wednesdays the Gallery stays open late for Art After Hours. This playlist features talks from those evenings.

65 Tracks
01 Jonathan Jones in conversation with Michael Brand

Artist talk: Jonathan Jones in conversation with Michael Brand

In association with Kaldor Public Art Project 32: Jonathan Jones

For the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones presents 'barrangal dyara (skin and bones)’, a vast sculptural installation stretching across 20,000 square-metres of the Royal Botanic Garden.

The project recalls the 19th-century Garden Palace building where it originally stood in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, before it devastatingly burnt to the ground along with countless Aboriginal objects collected along the colonial frontier.

Thousands of bleached white shields echo the masses of rubble – the only remnants of the building after the fire – raising the layered history and bones of the Garden Palace across the site. A native kangaroo grassland forms the heart of the installation which is activated and enlivened by presentations of Aboriginal language, performances, talks, special events and workshops each day.

In this Art After Hours artist talk, Jonathan Jones discusses the project with Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand.

For more information about the project, see the Kaldor Public Art Projects website.

Image: Jonathan Jones. Photo: Mark Stanley, Kaldor Public Art Projects

02 The spirit of art with Rachael Kohn & Rev Dr Douglas Purnell OAM

Conversations on art and spirituality

The spiritual genie has been loosed into our contemporary world. Individuals discern and seek to know the divine in ways that explore, challenge and transcend formal religion.

For the '20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’, the Art Gallery of NSW is transformed into the Embassy of Spirits.

The Biennale artists represent the world of meaning through their paintings, installations and multimedia works in ways that broaden our spiritual horizon. By introducing traditional symbols and artefacts in a contemporary environment, by re-imagining taken for granted values, and drawing us into new sensual experiences with materials used in novel rituals, they create a conversation about the world of spirituality.

In three separate conversations with guests who have a specific take on art and spirituality – including the curator of the Embassy of the Spirits, Dr Stephanie Rosenberg – Dr Rachael Kohn invites the public on a journey of inquiry, reflection and personal insight into the spirit of art.

Rev Dr Douglas Purnell OAM
'Revelations and rituals’

Rev Dr Douglas Purnell is a Uniting Church minister, an artist and curator, who has had three residencies at the Henry Luce III Centre for Arts and Religion in Washington. For 17 years he was the director of the Blake Prize for Religious Art.

03 Dr Clio Cresswell on mathematics and magic squares

Mathematician, writer, media presenter and educator Dr Clio Cresswell is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the evolution of mathematical thought and the role of mathematics in society. Clio is also known for her theories regarding sexual mathematics as illustrated in her book 'Mathematics and sex’ (2013) and her TEDxSydney 2014 talk.

A key artwork in the exhibition is Albrecht Dürer’s 'Melencolia I’ (1514) in which a magic square is depicted. This is believed to have been the first magic square seen in European art. Clio unlocks the mysteries and magic of this square and explains the evolution of mathematics at this time.

04 Dr Lisa Murray on the role of the library in our digital age

City historian at the City of Sydney Council, Lisa Murray is passionate about making history accessible to the public. She writes books, devises walking tours, curates exhibitions, develops websites, and fosters community engagement with and speaks regularly on Sydney’s history. She is the chair of the Dictionary of Sydney (an ambitious digital history project about Greater Sydney), a councillor of the History Council of NSW, and a member of the Professional Historians’ Association. In response to the issues raised by Meriç Algün Ringborg’s Biennale work The Library of Unborrowed Books, Section III: SMSA Library‚ Sydney (2014), Lisa joins us to reflect on the role of the library in our digital age, whether it is in fact facing extinction and how we might record our multitude of ephemeral online data for the future.

05 Professor Anthony Burke on megacities

Professor Anthony Burke is head of the School of Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney and a leading figure in Australian architecture. He is also an international curator, writer and architectural designer and a director of the architectural practice Offshore Studio. Anthony specialises in contemporary design and theory in relation to technology and its implications for the built environment. He joins us to consider some of the key issues raised by Hungarian artist Tamás Kaszás’ Biennale work titled Shanty-tower (2013-14) – namely, urban expansion, overdevelopment, overpopulation and the creation of so-called ‘megacities’. And bringing it slightly closer to home, we’ll find out what Anthony predicts for Sydney’s future in terms of city structures and the relationship between technology and architecture.

06 Lieven Bertels, director Sydney Festival

Lieven Bertels has been Sydney Festival director since 2013. Before moving to Australia, he was artistic coordinator at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. Lieven read musicology at the University of Leuven, Belgium and received an MA in composition at the University of Durham, UK. From 2001 until 2004, he was artistic director of the new Concertgebouw, an arts centre in Bruges. He was also guest curator for the 2008 Gaida festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, which hosted the ISCM World Music Days that year. He joined the board of directors of the International Society for the Performing Arts in NY in 2010.

Hear Lieven talk about his experience at the Holland Festival, where he included various Japanese performing art forms in the program, from gagaku court music and bunraku puppetry to nō, kyōgen and kabuki theatre.

07 Actor Luke Carroll with Fenella Kernebone celebrating NAIDOC Week

Indigenous actor Luke Carroll recently starred in the Sydney Festival and Queensland Theatre Company production of 'Black diggers’, a play that drew on new research to uncover the contribution of Australia’s first World War Aboriginal diggers. To echo the NAIDOC Week 2014 theme of 'serving country’, hear Luke speaking with arts journalist Fenella Kernebone about the importance of this production for Australia’s wartime legacy. Luke also speaks about his amazing career in film, television and theatre, and about his future acting aspirations.

08 From titillation to taboos: Richard Glover

Celebrity talks: From titillation to taboos
Exposing the human body

In association with Nude: art from the Tate collection, this celebrity speaker series dissects the ways in which the human form excites and confronts us. Celebrating different incarnations of the body, we explore the sensual, visceral and mortal.

Richard Glover

Richard Glover is well known as the popular host of the Drive show on ABC radio’s Sydney 702 and as the writer of a very funny 'Sydney Morning Herald’ column. He has never been shy about sharing the odd-ball sides of his life, but his new autobiography, 'Flesh wounds’, is unusually candid. He reveals that he is the survivor of a childhood in which his parents were weird and neglectful on a breathtaking scale. In this talk Richard ‘strips bare’ and tell us just how revealing it is possible to be.

09 Rex Dupain with Nell Schofield

Rex Dupain in conversation with Nell Schofield

Max Dupain is one of the leading figures of 20th-century Australian photography.

His son Rex Dupain joins us to share memories of his late father. Hear Rex reminisce about when Max left for the 1978 trip to Paris which resulted in the Paris ‘private’ series of photographs, on display in the exhibition Max Dupain: the Paris 'private’ series and other pictures.

Rex will also share how his early exposure to photography has led to his own photographic career. Rex’s work has been exhibited internationally and widely around Australia and is held in several collections, including at the Australian Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. In a recent exhibition Lovers and soldiers at Josef Lebovic Gallery, Rex drew inspiration from old photographs taken by Max that he had only just discovered.

Rex will be joined by presenter, actor and director Nell Schofield. As well as writing and presenting on television and radio, Nell was a board member for Object: Australian Design Centre. She sits on the board for the Sydney Festival and is the Sydney campaign coordinator at Lock the Gate Alliance.

10 Bob Connolly in conversation with Margaret Throsby

Film director and author Bob Connolly joins us to discuss his award-winning Highlands trilogy. Produced with Robin Anderson, these documentaries – First contact (1983), Joe Leahy’s neighbours (1988) and Black harvest (1992) – chronicle the Australian penetration of the populated New Guinea highlands in the 1930s and the extraordinary clash of tribal and Western culture that followed. ABC Classic FM presenter Margaret Throsby will join Bob to speak about his travels to the highlands and the production of the trilogy.

11 Julie Lynch, costume and set designer

Julie Lynch is one of Australia’s leading costume and set designers. She has won three Sydney Theatre Awards and two Helpmann Awards for Best Costume Design. Her most recent work includes designing costumes for Opera Australia’s Handa Opera production Carmen on Sydney Harbour and for Noises off at Sydney Theatre Company. Julie was head of costume at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) from 2000 to 2005 and is a regular guest lecturer in design at NIDA and UTS. She is also vice president of the Australian Production Design Guild. Hear Julie speak about the differences between nō and western theatre traditions and design practices.

12 The Honourable Michael Kirby on portraiture

The Honourable Michael Kirby was formerly Justice of the High Court of Australia, serving from 1996 to 2009. The judge, jurist and academic is a National Trust Australian Living Treasure and was awarded the Gruber Prize for Justice in 2010. Michael discusses what is it really like to be the subject of a portrait. He describes his encounters with artists Judy Cassab, Ralph Heimans, Jo Palaitis and Ross Watson.

13 Benjamin Law

Journalist and author Benjamin Law comments on a current trend – the rise of the 'selfie’ in digital photography. Particularly when placed on social media, is the selfie an accurate or valid form of self-portraiture? Hear why Benjamin thinks this trend is currently proving so popular. Is it because we are a society of narcissists? Benjamin’s witty social commentary can be found weekly in Good Weekend magazine. He has written for over 50 Australian and international publications and is a frequent contributor to frankie and The Monthly. His debut book 'The family law’ (2010) was shortlisted for Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. He has also released 'Gaysia: adventures in the Queer East’ (2012) and co-authored a comedy book 'Shit Asian mothers say’ (2014).

14 Richard Morecroft with Emma Ayres and Martin Tighe

Normally ABC Classic FM’s Emma Ayres is the interviewer. Here she is the subject. Broadcaster Richard Morecroft interviews Emma Ayres along with Martin Tighe, who painted her Archibald Prize 2014 portrait. Hear about Emma’s experience as a sitter and her background from classically trained musician to radio presenter as described in her recently released 'Cadence: travels with music – a memoir’. And hear about Martin’s artistic practice and his experience as a first-time Archibald finalist.

15 Wendy Whiteley with Jonathan Biggins

Wendy Whiteley’s former husband, the late Brett Whiteley, won the prestigious Archibald Prize in both 1976 and 1978. Wendy reflects on Brett’s achievements, what it meant to be a muse and on the ongoing importance of portrait painting. She also discusses her current role as curator and of her work at the Brett Whiteley Studio.

16 Justin Heazlewood on life as an artist

Justin Heazlewood is an award-winning author, musician and performer. He self-published his first book 'The Bedroom Philosopher’ diaries, earning praise from Neil Gaiman. As 'The Bedroom Philosopher’ he has released three albums including the ARIA-nominated Songs from the 86 tram. The single ‘Northcote (So hungover)’ was a Triple J hit with the award-winning video receiving half a million views online. Justin recently released an EP 'I don’t know what I’m doing with my life’ and his latest book 'Funemployed’. Justin takes a humorous look at contemporary art and the struggles of being an artist in Australia.

17 Erik Jensen with Richard Glover

Following the recent release of 'Acute misfortune: the life and death of Adam Cullen’, journalist Erik Jensen joins us to reflect on this undertaking. In 2008 the Archibald Prize-winning artist Adam Cullen invited Erik to stay in his spare room and write his biography. This four-year undertaking was to be fraught with difficulty and danger – at one point Cullen shot Jensen to see how committed he was to the book. Joined by fellow writer and broadcaster Richard Glover, Erik shares how he has portrayed the life and death of one of Australia’s most celebrated artists.

Image: Adam Cullen with Erik Jensen in 2008

18 Rafael Bonachela and Nick Wales with Tom Tilley

Sydney Dance Company’s artistic director Rafael Bonachela has taken inspiration from poetry and music to toy with the ambiguities of unrequited, sensuous and divine love in his latest collaboration 'Louder than words’. Specifically in his piece titled ‘Scattered rhymes’ Rafael drew on the words of 14th-century Italian scholar and poet Petrarch, as interpreted by Australian composer Nick Wales and British composer Tarik O’Regan.

Triple J’s Tom Tilley interviews Rafael and Nick and discovers how poetry inspired this production, just as it has provided the source of inspiration for countless visual artists. The panel also looks at the ongoing interest in contemporary adaptations of classic love stories.

19 Tara Moss on the depiction of women

Tara Moss is a novelist, TV presenter and journalist. Since 1999 she has written and published ten bestselling novels which have been published in 18 countries. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, and her writing has appeared in Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Hoopla, DailyLife and more. Her latest acclaimed publication 'The fictional woman’ (2014) is a fascinating mix of memoir and social comment and addresses the many labels that she and other women have been forced to wear.

Certainly a persistent theme throughout the exhibition is how the female subject has been portrayed, often by a male artist. In line with this Tara addresses the representation and often stereotypical depiction of women.

20 Adam Goodes with Hetti Perkins

Current Australian of the Year Adam Goodes is an AFL champion, Indigenous role model and community-focused leader. He holds an elite place in Australian rules history as a dual Brownlow medallist, dual premiership player, four-time All-Australian Team member and member of the Indigenous Team of the Century and he has represented Australia in the International Rules Series.

As well as his football successes, Adam was invited to join the National Indigenous Council, the advisory body to the Federal Government on Indigenous affairs, in 2004. At the end of 2009 he set up the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation with his Indigenous teammate Michael O’Loughlin. The foundation exists to enable a brighter future for Indigenous Australians by providing a conduit for philanthropic intent to corporations, organisations, families and individuals.

As part of the Corroboree Sydney 2014 festival celebrating Indigenous culture, country and community, Adam speaks with the festival’s artistic director Hetti Perkins.

21 From titillation to taboos: Kelli Jean Drinkwater

Celebrity talks: From titillation to taboos
Exposing the human body

In association with 'Nude: art from the Tate collection’, this celebrity speaker series dissects the ways in which the human form excites and confronts us. Celebrating different incarnations of the body, we explore the sensual, visceral and mortal.

Kelli Jean Drinkwater
Kelli Jean Drinkwater is an artist and activist recognised internationally for her creative practice and voice in radical body politics. Kelli Jean uses the body as a site to explore themes of identity, queer and feminist theory and society’s obsession with ‘perfection’. She takes the iconic and subverts it through the filter of her fatness. Often confrontational, her work aims to investigate the complex relationship we all have with our bodies.

Image: Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Photo: Toby Burrows

22 Panel discussion: Front Up

Panel discussion: Front Up
Hear from artists in the Emerge Program

In this special Art After Hours panel discussion, four emerging artists from the Front Up Emerge Program talk about the process of creating a collaborative art installation, 'I’m still here’, at the Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve in November 2016.

Earlier in the year, M Sunflower, William BIL Anderson Jr, Emily Dash and Rosalind Stanley were among a group of artists from the program who were invited by the Art Gallery of NSW to spend three days exploring the artworks in three exhibitions: 'Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection’, 'Manifesto’ and 'Eko Nugroho: Lot lost’. That experience became the creative impetus for the works in 'I’m still here’.

The Emerge Program is an engagement project between the Gallery and Front Up, a Western Sydney based arts and culture program and hub, founded by Ability Options, which connects professional artists and emerging artists with disability, and showcases their work in community-based projects in public spaces.

This event was part of the Gallery’s celebrations for International Day of People with Disability.

Image: Emily Dash 'The spinning room’, installations at Barangaroo from the Front Up Emerge Program 2016

23 Nude fictions: Linda Jaivin

Nude fictions

In this series, writers read a piece of their own fiction inspired by artworks in 'Nude: art from the Tate collection’. Settle in to enjoy these imaginative tales of some of art’s greatest nudes.

Linda Jaivin
Linda Jaivin first made her name on the literary scene with her comic erotic novel 'Eat me’. She has since published six more novels, including 'A most immoral woman’ and 'The empress lover’, along with short stories and four works of long-form non-fiction. She is currently working on, among other things, a three-part radio documentary on the subject of privacy, called 'Nothing to hide’, for ABC’s Radio National.

Image: Linda Jaivin

24 Tom Polo on 'Painting live' project for Spectrum Now

Over ten days in March, Sydney artist Tom Polo created a wall painting in the Gallery, which transformed daily, as he painted his experiences of being on site.

In this talk, just days from the end of his 'Painting live’ project, Tom discussed the work in progress.

This event was part of The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now presented by ANZ.

Image: Tom Polo.

25 'Point, click, chat' hosted by Fenella Kernebone

Digital dark age

What are the ramifications of a ‘digital dark age’ if decades of digital files are lost or unreadable, as was recently warned by internet pioneer Vint Cerf. Would it be a loss or a blessing? Benjamin Law (writer), Claire Reilly (tech editor, CNET) and Dr Lisa Murray (city historian at the City of Sydney Council) speak to Fenella Kernebone for a conversation about the global archive with a bit of the not-so-global as well.

26 Shigeyuki Kihara, artist

Artist Shigeyuki Kihara talks on her work in the 'Go east’ exhibition. In each image, Kihara performs the stereotypes imposed by European colonisers, whether a seductive female temptress or a ‘noble savage’. Each cliché reduces the complexity of Pacific cultures. A New Zealand-based artist of Japanese and Samoan descent, Kihara poses as both woman and man in these works. By playing on this traditional state, she sets up and then upsets conventional understandings of gender as an either/or state of being.

Image: Shigeyuki Kihara, Fa’afafine: In the Manner of a Woman 2005 (detail), triptych c-type prints mounted on aluminium, 60 × 60cm, The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney © the artist

27 'Point, click, chat' hosted by Fenella Kernebone

Truth, beauty and the way of things

A discussion on how photography has helped to create the idea of a nation and beyond. Myf Warhurst (TV presenter, broadcaster and writer), Casey Legler (performance artist and the world’s first female male model), David Hunt (historian and author) and Alison Page (interior designer and filmmaker) chat with Fennella Kernebone about place, identity and how we define ourselves through the image and through the things we collect.

28 Quiet riot 1: 'Fa'afafine towards decolonization' moderated by artist Shigeyuki Kihara

Fa’afafine is a Sāmoan word used to broadly describe those who are gifted in the spirit of more than one gender. The word is also used to broadly describe those in the Sāmoan community who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual and Intersexed persons in the Western context. Moderated by leading interdisciplinary artist Shigeyuki Kihara (whose work is displayed in the Go East exhibition), this panel brought together leading Australia-based Sāmoan Fa’afafine – human rights advocate Tuisina Ymania Brown, lawyer Phineas Hartson and curator Léuli Eshraghi – to discuss the Sāmoan Fa’afafine experience in the postcolonial era both in the Sāmoan Islands and the diaspora.

29 Quiet riot 2: Ben Quilty with Simon Marnie

Is art still political? What role has art played in social and political movements throughout history? How does an artist’s political life affect their art? Acclaimed artist Ben Quilty and ABC 702 presenter Simon Marnie discuss the issues that intertwine art and politics.

30 Quiet riot 3: Linda Jaivin

Are women loud enough in the art work?

The world of protest art is full of loud, proud, gutsy women – and that’s exactly what you’d expect. In every corner of the art world, great female artists have always existed alongside great male artists. Yet you wouldn’t always know it from exhibitions and reviews. In 1985 the Guerrilla Girls asked if a woman had to be naked to get into New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – at the time, 76 per cent of the nudes hanging in the Met were female, but less than four per cent of the artists shown there were women. Thirty years later, can we declare with confidence that the art world – overseas and in Australia – has changed?

Author and translator Linda Jaivin explores the issue for our 'Quiet riot’ talk series.

31 Quiet riot 4: Nahji Chu

What role does art play in the life of a refugee?

Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or Miss Chu and to those who get in her way as the Queen of Rice Paper Rolls, is the founder and creative director of misschu. The enterprise is the fusion of an entire life experience. Everything from the menu, to the interior design and decoration reflects the rich and complex history of Nahji’s life. Her early experiences at school, when she was struggling to learn a new language and culture, have become a central focus of the interior and service design of misschu venues. Born in Luang Prahbang, Laos, in 1970, Nahji and her family escaped the Pathet Laos Regime in 1975. They sustained themselves on the meagre living conditions afforded by the various Thai refugee camps they inhabited over a four-year period before the Chu family’s number came up and the Australian government made them one of the first Vietnamese/Laotian refugees to settle in Australia. The logo used for the Misschu business is her refugee visa photo from 1978, a powerful visual statement.

32 Quiet Riot 5: Professor Shane Houston talks with deputy director Suhanya Raffel

How has historical protest informed the present?

Professor Shane Houston is a Gangulu man from Central Queensland and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) at the University of Sydney. He is the first Aboriginal person to be appointed to such a senior role at any Australian university. Professor Houston will join Suhanya Raffel, Art Gallery of NSW deputy director, for a discussion on the 1965 Freedom Ride, which took place in regional NSW 50 years ago, and how it became a critical part of the awakening of the nation’s conscience on Aboriginal affairs.

33 Quiet Riot 7: Wendy Sharpe

Does art have the power to change attitudes?

Renowned Australian artist Wendy Sharpe has been an Archibald finalist 10 times (the last in 2014), winning the prize in 1996. Seeking Humanity is an art project that puts a human face to those who have fled situations of great danger in their home country in search of safety and freedom in Australia. For this project, Wendy has drawn portraits of 39 asylum seekers and refugees. Through her art, she shares their lives with us, and in this discussion she speaks about the effects she hopes this has had on the community.

34 Myf Warhurst with Kim Leutwyler and Ollie Henderson

Myf Warhurst uncovers the story of the relationship between artist and sitter from the 2015 Archibald Prize finalists. She spoke to artist Kim Leutwyler and her subject, Ollie Henderson, an activist, designer and one of Australia’s top models.

Image: Kim Leutwyler 'Start the riot’ (detail), Archibald Prize 2015 finalist © the artist.

35 'Long live the greats' with Simon Tedeschi

Simon Tedeschi is one of Australia’s most renowned and sought-after pianists. As a soloist, he regularly performs with orchestras around the country and worldwide. With the release of his new recording of Mussorgsky’s 'Pictures at an exhibition’, he is embarking on a national recital tour. This 10-movement suite is a musical description of a walk among paintings. Physically demanding, it has required him to undertake physical training to prepare for its rigours. Simon spoke to Lily Serna, mathematician and popular television host of 'Letters and numbers’ on SBS, about this incredible piece of music and the inspiration behind it.

36 Stan Grant

The greats of Koori culture

Journalist and writer Stan Grant is of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of New South Wales. Growing up he was surrounded and supported by a large extended family and raised on the stories of his people. His family was prominent in Indigenous political and community life and Stan developed an acute political awareness at a young age, going on to develop a distinguished career as a political correspondent both nationally and internationally. He recently described his new role as Indigenous editor for the Guardian Australia as being effectively a foreign correspondent in his own country.

Stan discussed his passion for telling the stories of his own people.

37 Jack Charles in conversation

The greats of Koori culture

Jack Charles is a veteran Indigenous actor, musician, respected elder and activist. He was co-founder of Nindethana, the nation’s first Indigenous theatre company, and has gone on to appear in numerous productions and films. Most recently he starred in Belvoir St Theatre’s production of Coranderrk, which told the fascinating story of Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve. Jack is joined by Professor Joy Murphy Wandin AO and curator Jonathan Jones to reflect on the extraordinary work of the great masters of the south-east, William Barak and Tommy McRae.

Image: Jack Charles. Photo by Gary Heery.

38 The spirit of art with Rachael Kohn & Ross Mellick

Conversations on art and spirituality

The spiritual genie has been loosed into our contemporary world. Individuals discern and seek to know the divine in ways that explore, challenge and transcend formal religion.

For the '20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’, the Art Gallery of NSW is transformed into the Embassy of Spirits.

The Biennale artists represent the world of meaning through their paintings, installations and multimedia works in ways that broaden our spiritual horizon. By introducing traditional symbols and artefacts in a contemporary environment, by re-imagining taken for granted values, and drawing us into new sensual experiences with materials used in novel rituals, they create a conversation about the world of spirituality.

In three separate conversations with guests who have a specific take on art and spirituality – including the curator of the Embassy of the Spirits, Dr Stephanie Rosenberg – Dr Rachael Kohn invites the public on a journey of inquiry, reflection and personal insight into the spirit of art.

Ross Mellick
'Presence, felt and divined’

Artist Ross Mellick co-curated’ Spirit and place: art in Australia’ with Nick Waterlow at the Museum of Contemporary Art and has contributed to the teaching programs at the Art Gallery of NSW for the exhibitions on Alberto Giacometti, Colin McCahon and Wolfgang Laib. He holds a PhD in experimental neurobiology from the University of London.

39 The spirit of art with Rachael Kohn & Dr Stephanie Rosenthal

Conversations on art and spirituality

The spiritual genie has been loosed into our contemporary world. Individuals discern and seek to know the divine in ways that explore, challenge and transcend formal religion.

For the '20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’, the Art Gallery of NSW is transformed into the Embassy of Spirits.

The Biennale artists represent the world of meaning through their paintings, installations and multimedia works in ways that broaden our spiritual horizon. By introducing traditional symbols and artefacts in a contemporary environment, by re-imagining taken for granted values, and drawing us into new sensual experiences with materials used in novel rituals, they create a conversation about the world of spirituality.

In three separate conversations with guests who have a specific take on art and spirituality – including the curator of the Embassy of the Spirits, Dr Stephanie Rosenberg – Dr Rachael Kohn invites the public on a journey of inquiry, reflection and personal insight into the spirit of art.

Dr Stephanie Rosenthal
'The inspiration, the vision, the mission of Embassy of the Spirits’

Internationally acclaimed curator and artistic director of the '20th Biennale of Sydney’ Dr Stephanie Rosenthal has held the position of chief curator at the Hayward Gallery in London since 2007. A key focus of her curatorial practice is the exploration of the relationship between visual art and performance.

Image: Dr Rachael Kohn

40 Buddhist art on China’s Silk Road with Venerable Dr Juewei

Buddhist art on China’s Silk Road
An exploration of Dunhuang cave temples with Venerable Dr Juewei

An enlightening talk Venerable Dr Juewei on the spectacular array of Buddhist cave temples, known as the Magao Grottoes or ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’, in Dunhuang, China.

The Gallery’s exhibition 'Tang 唐: treasures from the Silk Road capital’ includes the 'Pure Land’ augmented-reality installation, which transports visitors to a now-inaccessible ancient grotto within this UNESCO World Heritage site.

These caves, full of artistic and architectural treasures, bear testimony to the religious, cultural and commercial exchanges along the trade routes linking East and West, especially during the Tang Dynasty (618–907).

The Venerable Dr Juewei is associate lecturer of applied Buddhist studies and director of the Humanistic Buddhism Centre at the Nan Tien Institute – Australia’s first tertiary institution grounded in applied Buddhist wisdom.

41 Linda Jaivin on the Tang dynasty

Take a look inside the ‘open house’ that was the Tang dynasty

Author and Chinese specialist Linda Jaivin discusses the Tang dynasty – one of China’s greatest dynasties, and one of its most open and cosmopolitan.

Music, dance, poetry flourished in the Tang Empire (618-907). The streets of the capital Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) were full of foreigners and cultural influences flowed both ways. Chinese musicians took up instruments from as far away as Persia, the monk Xuanzang brought back the Buddhist scriptures from India, and China sent its tea and tea ceremonies, silk and Confucianism out into the world. The Japanese kimono, tea ceremony and use of kanji (Chinese characters) dates back to this time of frequent contact. Yet while later dynasties and post-dynastic governments have often celebrated the Tang as a golden age, few have had the courage to open their doors quite as wide.

Linda Jaivin is the author of 11 books, including the non-fiction China memoir 'The monkey and the dragon’, the travel companion 'Beijing’ and seven novels, two of which, 'The empress lover’ and 'A most immoral woman’ are set in China. Fluent in Chinese, she is also a literary translator with a specialty in film; 'Farewell my concubine’, 'Hero’ and 'Grandmaster’ are among the many films she has subtitled. She lived in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong from 1977 to 1986 and travels frequently to China today.

42 Tang in Cheek with Benjamin Law and Adam Liaw

Tang in cheek with Benjamin Law
Personal stories from Chinese Australians

Adam Liaw
Instantly recognisable with his warm smile and topknot, host of SBS’s 'Destination flavour’ and winner of 'MasterChef’ Adam Liaw is one of Australia’s favourite cooks, authors and commentators. Born in Malaysia to an English-Singaporean mother and a Hainanese Chinese father, Adam lived in several countries through his youth and his culinary influences are far-reaching. He was an active cook from the very beginning, regularly cooking for his parents and seven brothers and sisters since he was eight years old. He is also a qualified lawyer.

Image: Adam Liaw

43 Tang in cheek with Benjamin Law and Claudia Chan Shaw

Tang in cheek with Benjamin Law
Personal stories from Chinese Australians

Claudia Chan Shaw
Claudia Chan Shaw is perhaps most recognisable as co-host of the popular ABC TV series 'Collectors’ but her diverse career in the creative industries spans art and design, photography, curating, television and radio, arts commentary, collecting and lecturing. She has roots in the fashion industry as director and co-designer for the acclaimed fashion label Vivian Chan Shaw; her photography series Poster Boy is part of the 2016 Head On Photo Festival; and she is curator of Sydney Chinese New Year Festival.

Image: Claudia Chan Shaw

44 Tang in cheek with Benjamin Law and Debbie Lee

Tang in cheek with Benjamin Law
Personal stories from Chinese Australians

Debbie Lee
Debbie Lee is Matchbox Pictures’ director of scripted development and one of the executive producers of 'The Family Law’, a TV comedy series based on the best-selling book by Benjamin Law. Her other roles have included head of comedy at ABC TV and commissioning editor, drama and comedy at SBS Independent. Among the many shows she has commissioned are 'A Moody Christmas’,’ Laid’, 'Lowdown’,’ Please like me’, 'Angry Boys’, 'The circuit’, 'Kick’, 'Wilfred’ and 'John Safran vs God’.

Image: Debbie Lee

45 Amanda Keller talks to the Archibald 2016 winner Lousie Hearman

Amanda Keller talks to the Archibald 2016 winner

Amanda Keller co-hosts WSFM’s breakfast radio show 'Jonesy and Amanda in the morning’ and is the host of Network Ten’s Logie Award winning lifestyle show 'The living room’.

Here she talks to Louise Hearman, who was awarded the 2016 Archibald Prize for her portrait of Barry Humphries, to find out what it took to create her winning artwork.

Image: Amanda Keller. Photo courtesy Network Ten

46 Michael Brand in conversation with SANAA architects

Michael Brand in conversation with SANAA architects
Discover the ideas behind the Gallery’s new building

The director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Michael Brand, was joined by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa from the multiple award-winning Tokyo-based architectural firm SANAA to discuss the ideas and creative vision informing the design for the Gallery’s new building — the Sydney Modern Project. With ambitious art goals, the Gallery has been collaborating with SANAA over the past year to create this visionary new project for Sydney.

The talk was moderated by Ken Maher, national president of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Image (left to right): Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima

47 Hilary Davidson on Frida and fashion

Hilary Davidson on Frida and fashion

Drawing on her Mexican cultural heritage, with a dash of cross-dressing, Frida Kahlo used her clothing as much as her paintbrushes as artistic tools. Her distinctive dress, hairstyles and accessories are essential to her iconic visual presence.

Hilary Davidson is a fashion historian, curator and consultant working between Sydney and London, where she was curator of fashion and decorative arts at the Museum of London. She is currently an honorary associate at the University of Sydney, teaches fashion history at Sydney TAFE, and is completing a book on Regency fashion for Yale.

Image: Florence Arquin 'Untitled (Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, Mexico)’ early 1940s (detail). Courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc

48 Michael Brand in conversation with Dominic Smith

Michael Brand in conversation with Dominic Smith
The author discusses 'The last painting of Sara de Vos’

Dominic Smith’s latest novel – a gripping tale of a Dutch Golden Age painting and an art forgery that threatens to unravel the life of an Australian curator – is partly set at the Art Gallery of NSW.

In this Art After Hours special event, Dominic discusses his writing process and the thinking behind 'The last painting of Sara de Vos’ with the Gallery’s director Michael Brand.

Dominic grew up in Sydney and now lives in Austin, Texas. He holds a Master in Fine Arts in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship, Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize and Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, as well as a new works grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. 'The last painting of Sara de Vos’ is his fourth novel.

Image: Dominic Smith © Stacy Sodolak

49 Richard Bell on art and politics

Richard Bell on art and politics

Diego Rivera was a member of the Mexican Communist Party. His murals often dealt with Mexican society and reflected the country’s 1910 revolution. In conversation with the Gallery’s deputy director Suhanya Raffel, acclaimed artist Richard Bell discusses his own political activism expressed through art and his latest mural work 'Embassy’, a collaboration with artist Emory Douglas, the former Minister for Culture in the Black Panther Party.

Image: Florence Arquin 'Untitled (Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, Mexico)’ early 1940s (detail). Courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc

50 Archibald artists on Frida and portraiture

Archibald artists on Frida and portraiture

Hear Archibald Prize 2016 finalists Natasha Walsh, Mirra Whale and Zoe Young talk about the power of portraiture and reflect on the compelling self-portraits Frida Kahlo made throughout her career with exhibition curator Nicholas Chambers.

Image: Florence Arquin 'Untitled (Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, Mexico)’ early 1940s (detail). Courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc.

51 Maeve O’Meara and Rafael Nazario on Mexican cooking

Maeve O’Meara and Rafael Nazario on Mexican cooking

Explore the similarities between Mexican art and Mexican food and learn more about the vibrant cuisine that so few of us really know here in Australia, its palate of ingredients and colour across many regions.

Maeve O’Meara, the host of 'Food safari’ on SBS, talks with chef Rafael Nazario, who came to Australia in 2006 and was instrumental in the launch of the Guzman Y Gomez and Mad Mex restaurants.

Image: Florence Arquin 'Untitled (Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, Mexico)’ early 1940s (detail). Courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc.

52 Tom Tilley with Wendy Sharpe and Paul Mallam

Hear Triple J’s Tom Tilley in conversation with two very different 2014 Archibald Prize finalists – lawyer and first-time entrant Paul Mallam and seasoned finalist and 1996 Archibald winner Wendy Sharpe. They share the stories behind their paintings as Tom compares and contrasts their portraits, artistic approaches and careers.

53 Wesley Enoch on the Garden Palace

Celebrity talk: Wesley Enoch

In association with Kaldor Public Art Project 32: Jonathan Jones

For the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones presents 'barrangal dyara (skin and bones)’ in the Royal Botanic Garden near the Gallery.

His vast sculptural installation transforms the site of the magnificent Garden Palace which tragically burned down in 1882, destroying countless Aboriginal objects collected along the colonial frontier. The project is Jones’ response to the immense loss felt throughout Australia due to the destruction of these culturally significant items.

This Art After Hours talk was given by Wesley Enoch, Sydney Festival Director 2017-19. Wesley reflects on the history, future and cultural significance of the Botanic Gardens and the spectacle that was the Garden Palace.

For more information about the project, see the Kaldor Public Art Projects website

Image: Wesley Enoch

54 Helen Campbell on 'Art of parts'

Curator’s talk: Art of parts
Discover the stories behind the artworks

Helen Campbell is the Gallery’s assistant curator of Australian prints, drawings and watercolours and the curator of 'Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection’.

In this talk in the exhibition, she explores the beginnings of collage and assemblage in Australian art through to its resurgence today, and discusses her thinking behind the choice of artworks on display.

Image: Robert Klippel 'Philadelphia’ 1978-79 (detail) © Estate of Robert Klippel

55 Kian Forreal on Japanese tattoos: ukiyo-e for the body

Japanese tattoos: ukiyo-e for the body
Kian Forreal in conversation with Yumi Stynes

Canadian-born tattoo artist Kian Forreal specialises in traditional Japanese tattooing or irezumi. Currently living in Sydney, he has been tattooing worldwide for more than two decades and in the Japanese style for the last 15 years. In 2013, he was given the name ‘Horisumi’ by Japanese tattoo master Horiyoshi III.

In this conversation Kian talks to television and radio presenter Yumi Stynes about how his practice has been influenced by the traditional form of Japanese printmaking known as ukiyo-e.

This talk was part of a program co-presented by the Japan Foundation, Sydney.

Image: Kian Forreal. Photo: Logan Frost

56 Tae Gessner on Kitsuke: the art of wearing the kimono

Kitsuke: the art of wearing the kimono
Tae Gessner in conversation with Fenella Kernebone

Born in Aichi, Japan, Tae Gessner was raised in the world of kimonos.

From the age of seven, she helped her mother run the family’s kimono business, learning kitsuke, the art of wearing the kimono, by observing the lessons her mother held in their family home. She graduated from Tokiwa Jogakuin (Tokiwa Women’s College) with a major in kimono and, with many years of experience mastering kitsuke, currently runs the International Kimono Club Sydney where she shares her passion and expertise through kimono demonstrations, displays, workshops and talks.

In this talk, Tae is joined by arts journalist Fenella Kernebone to reflect on styles, motifs and patterns portrayed in the seasonal kimonos illustrated in the works of Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Image: Tae Gessner

57 Matt Cox on 'Beyond words'

Exhibition talk: Beyond words

Matt Cox, curator of Asian art at the Gallery, guides you through the exhibition, highlighting key works and comparing shared aspects of ritual practice in Islamic calligraphy and in Buddhist texts from Southeast Asia.

Image: 'Phra Malai’ (The Poem about the Venerable Monk Malai) 19th century (detail)

58 From titillation to taboos: Kathy Lette

Celebrity talks: From titillation to taboos
Exposing the human body

In association with Nude: art from the Tate collection, this celebrity speaker series dissects the ways in which the human form excites and confronts us. Celebrating different incarnations of the body, we explore the sensual, visceral and mortal.

Kathy Lette

Kathy Lette first achieved succès de scandale as a teenager with the novel 'Puberty blues’, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series. After several years as a newspaper columnist and TV sitcom writer for Columbia Pictures in the US, she wrote numerous international bestsellers including 'Mad cows’, 'How to kill your husband and other handy household hints’, 'To love, honour and betray’ and 'The boy who fell to Earth’. Her novels have been published in 17 languages around the world. Kathy appears regularly as a guest on the BBC and Sky News.

59 Artist talk: Catherine O’Donnell

Artist talks: Close to home
Hear from artists in the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2016

Catherine O’Donnell

Catherine O’Donnell’s 'Inhabited space’ is a generic fibro house at almost 1:1 scale. Drawn with charcoal directly onto the Gallery wall, its rendering in the space dissolves the familiar structural form into a geometric abstraction. Catherine’s love affair with suburban housing estate architecture was sparked by an expedition to rediscover her family home, since demolished, in Busby, Western Sydney. Beyond the painstakingly rendered formalist aesthetics of the architecture, she also makes reference to the complex history of public housing in Australia and what it means to call a place home.

Image: Catherine O’Donnell 'Inhabited space’ 2015-16 (detail)

60 From titillation to taboos: Rafael Bonachela & Justin Paton

Celebrity talks: From titillation to taboos
Exposing the human body
In association with 'Nude: art from the Tate collection’, this celebrity speaker series dissects the ways in which the human form excites and confronts us. Celebrating different incarnations of the body, we explore the sensual, visceral and mortal.

Rafael Bonachela
Hear the artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company, Rafael Bonachela, talk with the Gallery’s head of international art, Justin Paton, about an exciting collaboration between the Gallery and Sydney Dance that will be performed as part of the Sydney Festival in January. 'Nude live’ features six dancers moving and breathing, their bodies and souls bared as they explore and respond to the imagery and themes of 'Nude: art from the Tate collection’.

61 Eileen Kramer and Jean-Paul Bell in conversation

Eileen Kramer and Jean-Paul Bell in conversation
Hear about the power of the body and mind

Inspirational centenarian Eileen Kramer has been performing since 1939 and is most likely the longest living dancer and choreographer in Australia. Born in 1914, and still dancing to this day, she embodies the true spirit of a bohemian artist and uses her body to express her creativity through dance and movement.

Jean-Paul Bell, the creative director of the Arts Health Institute and co-founder of the Humour Foundation and Clown Doctor Program, has taken his physical comedy to Afghanistan and East Timor.

Listen to this dynamic pair to hear about how the mind and body can be enlivened through performance, movement and creativity.

Image: Eileen Kramer. Photo: Cybele Malinowski

62 Directors in conversation: Neal Benezra and Michael Brand
63 Celebrity talk: Deborah Cheetham AO - Giving voice to 'The lady and the unicorn'
64 Celebrity talk: Charlotte Wood - Beauty and the beastly
65 Artists in conversation with Fenella Kernebone