At around the same time as the National Gallery of Victoria was announcing the suspension of Geoffrey Smith over the conflict-of-interest allegations, Crikey’s arts reporter was also receiving some bad news directly related to the Smith saga. Late on Friday afternoon, I opened my inbox to discover not only the NGV’s media statement but also a note from Sunday Age editor Peter Fray.
Fray was writing to tell me that he was sacking me from my Arts About column, which I had been writing since April 2005 for the paper’s Preview section. Fray told me he was letting me go because I had twice criticised TheSunday Age in reports for Crikey.
The first time was a couple of months back when I dared to question the paper’s bold assertion that Charles Blackman was Australia’s greatest living artist. The second time was last Tuesday when I pointed out that TheSunday Age had claimed credit for breaking a story that I had already reported for Crikey.
I enjoyed doing the Arts About column and much appreciated the great liberties granted to me by my section editors to call things as I saw them.