Crikey Says

Mar 13, 2014

Crikey says: a government strong-arming our cultural institutions

Have the Chinese found flight MH370? Threats and intimidation -- by artists and the government. And a history of political protest. New jobs data and why "consumers" don't know what they're talking about. Paddy Manning on a big morning for Leighton Holdings. Plus should the ABC be privatised? The case for and against.

Federal Arts Minister George Brandis has entered the debate over Transfield’s aborted sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale. The Australian reports he has written to the head of national arts funding body the Australia Council over the “insult”, saying:

“Artists, like everybody else, are entitled to voice their political opinions, but I view with deep concern the effective blackballing of a benefactor, implicit in this decision, merely because of its commercial arrangements.

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4 thoughts on “Crikey says: a government strong-arming our cultural institutions

  1. klewso

    His idea of “culture”? Didn’t Beetle attend that Tea Party festival of light on the lawn in Canberra – the one with “barbecued bitch(?)” for afters?
    Maybe this snubbed mob could fund his personal appearances at those weddings? Or buy him some more books, to burn?
    What’s he going to do for a hide when the elephant wants it back?

  2. David Hand

    I think it is absolutely correct for Bienniale, having rejected Transfield Holding’s sponsorship due to supposed connections to Manus Island, should reject government sponsorship due to connections to Manus Island.

  3. AR

    “why should they be asking for ours?” For the benefit of the ignoramus currently occupying the A/G office –
    1) it ain’t YOUR money, it came >65% from individual taxpayers and only a fraction of the remainder from corporate tax – perhaps something to put on your “To DO” list? yeh, dreamin’ I know.
    2) although personally i have no time for the wankers of the yartz brigade, I’d still rather their fripperies were funded than miners’ deisel rebates, Direct Inaction & wotever the next brainfart malodourously issuing from the current regime.

  4. scott redford

    I just read about the previews of the Biennale. It’s so weird the way the Belgiorno-Nettis brothers think somehow they own the event. And the way the mainstream media such a Fairfax and News Ltd now want us to just forget about any politics and ‘just enjoy the art’ its so hollow and sad. It’s as if art western art since Courbet or Adorno just never happened! I now quite a few people here in Berlin are just shaking their heads. No seriously they are. Yet again the lack of any real intellectual savvy from our arts decision makers is glaring, it would be funny if it weren’t true. Luca Belgiorno-Nettis is a spoilt brat, instead of thinking through the recent problems he just runs away and sulks. It’s all about him! Well as an artist I agree, it’s all about me 🙂 But seriously Australia had a chance to really do something truly radical with art and politics but it seems the status quo must be upheld at all costs. Why not open the biennale up to conservative artists who agree with Manus or right wing issues, for and against weighted 50/ 50? Invite artists and curators that may or may not make art that looks suspiciously like contemporary art in, good or bad, I mean if you’ve seen one Youtubish video projected large or some arty looking sprawling installation you might as well show the many Australian citizens and tax payers who also have a right to be heard. Why not stage an actual ideas ‘conflict zone’ within the Biennale. Luca likes Direct Democracy so why not ask the public to choose instead of telling them what to should like. Really take crazy risks instead of the standard art pap we see everywhere. Art today lives off a once very radical avant garde past and yet somehow thinks it can sidestep a world just as ugly as the one Courbet lived in. Courbet pulled down the Vendome Column for goodness sake. There were riots at Dada events. The Futurists called for the “demolition of Museums and Libraries”! The Futurists were linked to Fascism but we still revere and teach their work and their ideas if only as historically important. Contemporary art as it has become is over. But will this Biennale reflect this? Yes but not in the art, the high point of this Biennale will be the protest of Biennale 9. Everything else is business as usual…same old, same old…on and on and on….

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