Sebastian Smee is an Australian Pulitzer Prize-winning arts critic for The Boston Globe, and also an alumnus of our very own Department of Art History. Smee will be in Sydney for a Power lecture, and during his stay will also be presenting an open lunchtime seminar. The seminar will focus on writing about art, and in particular writing intended for a public audience.



In his seminar, Smee will give an overview of his own career before turning his discussion to art writing. In particular, Smee will give attention to the tension between experience and interpretation; between viewing art as an informed spectator and as one who has little idea about what they are viewing. Through this framework, Smee will posit whether too much emphasis is placed on education, edification and enlightenment in some of our public museums, and whether we are not sometimes in a more receptive, susceptible state when we are, so to speak, ‘in the dark’. If that is the case, how might it affect our idea of what constitutes ‘good writing’ about art? Following Smee’s insights, the seminar will be opened up for discussion with attendees.



Sebastian Smee has written extensively on Lucian Freud, and most recently is the author of The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals and Breakthroughs in Modern Art (2016). Smee is art critic for the Boston Globe. He has also written for The Atlantic, The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Guardian, Prospect, The Spectator, The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2011 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Smee teaches non-fiction writing at Wellesley College.




Tuesday 6 June
RC Mills lecture room 209
The University of Sydney
Camperdown, NSW 2006