Chris Reid

As an undergraduate in South Australia, I studied Political Science and History and have made a 30-year career in educational administration — “herding cats”. More recently I completed a masters degree in art history and had a brief taste of teaching in that field. After 5.00pm, I’ve always been an arts addict. I write about both art and music but I’m neither an artist nor a musician. My life is split between three worlds — art, music and education. Every interstate or overseas trip is a cultural (as well as socio-political) excursion.


I began writing about art in 1992 for Adelaide-based visual art magazine Broadsheet, published by the now defunct Contemporary Art Centre of SA, and regularly wrote exhibition reviews and artists’ profiles for their magazine, Broadsheet, for many years. From the outset, I always tried to write from the position of the engaged viewer, rather than the expert, and to re-present the spectacle to the reader. I also regularly write catalogue essays for artists and in the 1990s contributed to other art magazines such as Art Monthly Australia.

I was first invited to write for RealTime in 1995—a piece on an Adelaide contemporary music ensemble— and since I have written much more about music than art. In covering musical performances or in writing CD reviews, I try to write as an engaged listener.

The arts are essential to our society. They are not luxury items, or ‘nice to have.’ The arts are our way of evaluating and understanding the world around us and interrogating beliefs and value systems and critiquing moral and political positions. The role of the arts writer is to elucidate and bring to a wide audience the issues raised by artists and the devices they use for presenting them. In a world beset by climate change, political instability and jingoistic nationalism, the arts are more important than ever.

Recent articles for realtime

Other writing