Art

Placeholder Content Image

LEGO recreates Van Gogh’s iconic Starry Night

<p dir="ltr">Art enthusiasts are now one step closer to owning a genuine Vincent Van Gogh artwork (which generally go for over $20 million at auction), with the next best thing soon to be available. </p> <p dir="ltr">Teaming up with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), LEGO is set to release an official The Starry Night set, which lets customers replicate the Dutch artist’s famous 1889 artwork.  </p> <p dir="ltr">The artistic concept was initially pitched by Hong Kong-based PhD candidate Truman Cheng on the LEGO Ideas platform, which garnered considerable online attention. </p> <p dir="ltr">One year later, it's hitting the shelves. </p> <p dir="ltr">“What makes The Starry Night so irresistible is the expressive brushwork and vibrant colours used throughout, which tell the story of humanity’s everlasting dream for better things,” explains Federico Begher, Head of Global Marketing at LEGO. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdqQkqhMdWl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdqQkqhMdWl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by LEGO (@lego)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Truman’s design was a masterpiece in itself – showing how many different LEGO elements and techniques could be used to replicate van Gogh’s iconic painting.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was a good brain tease to come up with tricks and techniques to capture the look of the original painting,” adds Truman Cheng. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The brushwork goes into many directions in the moon and the swirling cloud, so there was some creative use of bracket and clip elements involved.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Starry Night was originally painted by Van Gogh in 1889, and was inspired by the view from Vincent van Gogh’s window at the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole Asylum in Saint-Rémy, France.</p> <p dir="ltr">The LEGO Starry Night set will be exclusively available to purchase for both LEGO VIP and MoMA members starting from May 25th, while the global release is scheduled a little later on June 1st. The price? $260.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: LEGO</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-91017a6a-7fff-b6f2-3dc2-fb7393ae3f19"></span></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

How an Aussie artist captured the attention of A-list celebrities

<p dir="ltr">An Australian artist who specialises in vivid contemporary pieces of art has captured the attention of celebrity A-listers, including pop singer Miley Cyrus. </p> <p dir="ltr">Nick Thomm left his native Melbourne in 2014 to move to New York in order to pursue his passion for art. </p> <p dir="ltr">Just two years later, he received a message on Instagram from Miley Cyrus, who commissioned the up and coming artist to paint a mural in her Los Angeles home. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Miley's awesome. She just followed me on Instagram and we started talking,” he told <a href="http://linda-kovacs-kokw.squarespace.com/nick-thomm">Westwood</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Literally, two weeks later I was at her house putting up a mural for her. She's a really inspiring person to be around - a full genius. She kind of inspired me to get over to the United States permanently. She's been awesome to me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">​​The hyper-coloured mural is saturated with radiant shades of purple, blue and orange on a pink backdrop.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BBjVubar1Rh/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BBjVubar1Rh/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by NICK THOMM (@nickthomm)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">His abstract street-style artworks explore a modern colour scheme through a deep hallucinatory style that draws you into the art.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mural serves as the backdrop for Miley Cyrus’s disco ball-esque grand piano, giving her music room a futuristic feel. </p> <p dir="ltr">Nick owes a lot of his international success to Instagram, which he used to promote his works and his small exhibits he hosted during his first years in New York. </p> <p dir="ltr">This self-exposure led to working with numerous celebrities, as well as international brands such as Nike, Maybelline and Adidas. </p> <p dir="ltr">He's also made paintings for museums around the world including the Moco Museum in Barcelona.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram @nickthomm</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Meet the experts working to preserve Ukraine’s cultural history

<p dir="ltr">As the war in Ukraine wages on, officials are growing increasingly concerned about the preservation of the country’s art history and cultural heritage. </p> <p dir="ltr">As historic museums and buildings are being bombed by the Russian offensive, while precious artefacts are being stolen and looted. </p> <p dir="ltr">"We have museum buildings destroyed, with all collections turned into ashes — it's quite a barbaric situation," curator and art historian Konstantin Akinsha tells <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-roundtable/13821526">ABC RN's Sunday Extra.</a></p> <p dir="ltr">"[The] other side of the problem is that in little towns which are occupied by Russians, we have the first cases of random looting of museums."</p> <p dir="ltr">Recently, Scythian gold artefacts dating back to the fourth century BC were stolen from a museum in the southern Ukraine town of Melitopol.</p> <p dir="ltr">Officials in Ukraine said Russian soldiers were accompanied by an unknown expert "in a white coat", who carefully extracted the ancient gold artefacts from cardboard boxes hidden in the museum's cellar.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is one of the largest and most expensive collections in Ukraine, and today we don't know where they took it," Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov said at the time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Akinsha, who is an expert on the cultural destruction of World War II, says he is now “reliving” what he learned during his studies “in real time”. </p> <p dir="ltr">He has been in contact with many curators and artists throughout the conflict, and reports that many museums have been unable to evacuate their collections in time. </p> <p dir="ltr">Moving them outside of Ukraine would be highly political and would require permission from national authorities. This has meant some of those looking after art have been forced to pack up the collections and live in the museums' cellars.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Ukraine officials, more than 250 cultural institutions have been damaged or destroyed since the conflict began in February. </p> <p dir="ltr">Since the start of the war, members of the ALIPH Foundation, an international alliance that works to protect cultural heritage both during and post conflict, has been helping cultural heritage professionals and museum directors in the Ukraine.</p> <p dir="ltr"> They have sent crates, packing material and fireproof blankets to institutions to help protect collections and respond to their needs.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The storage facilities themselves need to be up to standard … [they] need to have proper humidity control, be away from the elements and the packing boxes need to be of a certain calibre in order to protect the artefacts because these artefacts are, of course, precious and fragile," said Sandra Bialystok, the communications and partnerships officer for ALIPH Foundation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the huge challenge of protecting these cultural works, Konstantin Akinsha said their preservation is uniting the people of Ukraine. </p> <p dir="ltr">"In individual towns and villages attacked by Russians and occupied by Russians, people are trying to save objects from the local museums, hiding them in their houses," he says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Because for them, this heritage is extremely important – it's part of their life.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

New Frida Kahlo TV series explores her extraordinary life

<p dir="ltr">The extraordinary life and career of Frida Kahlo is set to be immortalised in a new scripted television series, according to reports from <a href="https://variety.com/2022/tv/global/frida-kahlo-btf-media-tv-series-1235265022/">Variety</a>.  </p> <p dir="ltr">The artist’s estate is teaming up with Miami-based BTF Media to produce a drama series about the life and influential work of the Mexican artist. </p> <p dir="ltr">The goal is “to present a unique perspective based on what her family knows about her and show how she really lived her life,” the painter’s grandniece, Mara Romeo Kahlo, said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The self-taught painter was plagued by physical and psychological pain throughout her life, which she channelled into her self-searing portraits. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Frida was known for her colourful self-portraits. Her self-portraits had different themes, such as her identity, her human body, and death. She was considered a hero to many because she did not allow society to get to her,” BTF Media cofounder Ricardo Coeto said in a statement. “Instead, she used her struggles as her strength.” </p> <p dir="ltr">The artist’s life has been the inspiration for many multiple creative depictions in the past, ncluding the films <em>Frida, naturaleza viva</em> (1983), <em>Frida Kahlo: A Ribbon Around a Bomb</em> (1992), a slew of documentaries, and the Oscar-winning biopic <em>Frida</em> (2002), starring Salma Hayek, which was based on the 1983 biography by Hayden Herrera.</p> <p dir="ltr">No further details have been made available on the upcoming series from BTF, with no word about when filming will commence or if the production has been cast. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Record-busting quilt convention heads Down Under

<p dir="ltr">For the first time, the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest quilt convention will be heading to Brisbane in a three-day event showcasing the best quilts from around the country and the world.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Australasian Quilt Convention runs from May 26 to May 29 and features exhibitions of quilts that are award-winning, never-before-seen and even some made especially for the convention’s yearly challenge.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a83866f9-7fff-ea0a-66f9-f06262c4d46d"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Thirty finalists from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa from this year’s challenge, themed ‘Going Green’, will be on display at the convention, with the winners announced during Wednesday night’s cocktail party.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/quilt-show1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A variety of quilts will be exhibited at the convention’s Quilt Show. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">There will also be daily classes, where top quilters will take you through how to make everything from tote bags and cushions to framed quilts and adorable animals, and free seminars where you can pick up tips to improve your patchwork, sewing and other crafty skills.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a4f17f5a-7fff-02ac-f10b-2a529d161bbb"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Along with plenty of things to see and do, you can also take something home with you from the Expo floor, with patterns, kits, and even quilting machines available to purchase.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/quilt-show2.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Daily classes, run by top quilters, will take you through how to make all sorts of pieces. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">To book your tickets to the event, hosted at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, head <a href="https://aqc.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b1c436f-7fff-189a-710a-28476493efa0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Blak Douglas becomes second ever Indigenous Archibald Prize winner

<p dir="ltr">Western Sydney artist Blak Douglas has won the 2022 Archibald Prize, taking home $100,000 along with the coveted title. </p> <p dir="ltr">The self-taught 52-year-old artist has become the second Indigenous artist to win the prize in its 101 years for his portrait of Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 2022 competition was Douglas' fifth time as an Archibald finalist, and accepting the prize at the Art Gallery of NSW ceremony, he said: "This painting represents 20 years of taking the risk of pursuing a dream [and] surrendering normalised employment. And I'm sure many of my artist colleagues can relate to that."</p> <p dir="ltr">His winning portrait depicts Karla Dickens, who he describes as a “legendary practitioner”, knee-deep in the muddy floodwaters of her hometown in Lismore, Bundjalung Country — holding a leaking pail of water in each hand, and looking grumpy.</p> <p dir="ltr">His painting reflects on the damage and after-effects of the devastating February and March floods in the Northern Rivers.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I've been up there [to Bundjalung Country] several times; it's a war zone," Douglas told <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-13/archibald-prize-2022-winner-blak-douglas-karla-dickens/101060204">ABC News</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And so to be able to further aid some of my dearest, closest friends up there, through this win — not only metaphorically, but also financially — it's a big plus."</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking via live video link from her home during the ceremony, Karla Dickens said she was "over the moon", and thanked her friend for "acknowledging everybody up here on Bundjalung Country that has gone through so much".</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm so proud of you, Adam. Such a killer painting," she added.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Madonna’s bizarre foray into the world of NFTs

<p dir="ltr">Madonna has made a foray into the digital art world, ruffling a few feathers with the nature of her NFT artworks. </p> <p dir="ltr">The pop superstar has collaborated with digital artist Beeple (whose real name is Mike Winkelmann) to produce three NFTs that depict Madonna as the mother of all creation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The NFTs — entitled <em>Mother of Nature</em>, <em>Mother of Evolution</em>, and <em>Mother of Technology</em> — are all quite graphic, 3D-rendered videos of Madonna.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the first, she is seen giving birth to a tree in a lab, before she is seen birthing various bugs and animals in the second and third images. </p> <p dir="ltr">Artist Winkelmann shot to international fame after his Everydays series, a collection of digital drawings he made each day from May 2007, sold for $69.3 million at a Christie’s auction in 2021. </p> <p dir="ltr">Proceeds from the auction of these Madonna NFTs will go to three different charities: The Voices of Children Foundation, a charity for women and children in Ukraine, The City of Joy, a leadership program for women of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and Black Mama’s Bail Out, which uses funds to bail out Black women and caregivers from the carceral system.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When Mike and I decided to collaborate on this project a year ago, I was excited to have the opportunity to share my vision of the world as a mother and an artist with Mike’s own unique point of view,” said Madonna in a press release. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I wanted to investigate the concept of creation, not only the way a child enters the world through a woman’s vagina, but also the way an artist gives birth to creativity.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Superare Auction House</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Warhol’s bullet-riddled Marilyn Monroe sets new record

<p dir="ltr">Andy Warhol’s iconic 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold at a New York auction house for a record-setting $195 million. </p> <p dir="ltr">The sale of the painting, called <em>Shot Sage Blue Marilyn</em>, is now the most expensive work by a 20th-century artist ever to be sold at auction.</p> <p dir="ltr">The image depicts a press photo from Monroe’s 1953 film <em>Niagara</em> in Warhol’s signature “pop-art” style, with the image being repeatedly used by the artist in his work until his death in 1987. </p> <p dir="ltr">It derives from his <em>Shot Marilyn</em> portrait series, which Warhol produced after an incident at his downtown studio when he prompted a collaborator, Dorothy Podber, to shoot into a stack of canvases.</p> <p dir="ltr">The result for this 1964 work almost doubled the artist's previous auction record of $105.4 million, which was set in 2013 when his 1963 canvas <em>Silver Car Crash</em> (<em>Double Disaster</em>) sold at Sotheby’s.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the sale, Christie’s auction house also rode a double-pronged pop culture wave of renewed interest in both Warhol and Monroe.</p> <p dir="ltr">Streaming giant Netflix has released separate documentary series on both the actress and the artist, with both icons making a resurgence in the pop culture zeitgeist. </p> <p dir="ltr">Not only did <em>Shot Sage Blue Marilyn</em> bring a new artist record for Warhol, it has also become one of the most expensive works of art ever to sold at auction, surpassing Pablo Picasso’s <em>Les Femmes d’Alger </em>(“<em>Version O</em>”) as the second high-selling work to hit the auction block. </p> <p dir="ltr">That painting sold at Christie’s for $179 million in 2015, with the most expensive work to ever sell at auction being Leonardo da Vinci’s <em>Salvator Mundi</em> which sold for $450 million.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Woman steals artwork then WEARS it back to the museum

<p dir="ltr">A 72-year-old French woman has been arrested after stealing an art installation from a museum. </p> <p dir="ltr">Catalan artist Oriol Vilanova exhibited a blue jacket filled with postcards visitors could remove and examine at the Musée Picasso in Paris.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the elderly woman took the interactive exhibit one step further by taking the entire jacket and walking out with the garment. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman returned to the museum a few days later wearing the jacket, which she had tailored to fit her properly. </p> <p dir="ltr">She was arrested by the police upon her return, who happened to be at the museum collecting evidence at the time. </p> <p dir="ltr">While in custody, the retiree – who was reportedly “passionate” about art – confessed immediately to taking the jacket, according to local news outlet Le Parisien, but claimed she did not know it was an artwork.</p> <p dir="ltr">After hours of interrogation, the public prosecutor’s office let the woman off with a warning and dropped the case. According to Le Parisien, the woman had been placed under guardianship.</p> <p dir="ltr">The artwork, titled Old Masters, involved filling the pockets of a blue jacket with postcards depicting artworks by major figures in art history. </p> <p dir="ltr">At the Musée Picasso, the jacket was filled with postcards purchased at flea markets and museum shops, all with images of Picasso’s work.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When the museum told me the work had been stolen, I was surprised, but it was impossible to envisage the story that followed,” Vilanova told Artnet News.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Le Parisien</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Still counting: why the visual arts must do better on gender equality

<p>You have to get more than a bit mad to single-handedly launch a campaign against inequality. At a recent forum, visual artist Elvis Richardson wryly <a href="http://www.womensartregister.org/">described</a> how anger was the catalyst that sparked her to start <a href="http://countesses.blogspot.com.au/">CoUNTess</a>, a blog that assembles and reviews data on gender representation in Australia’s contemporary art scene.</p> <p>Since 2008, Richardson has analysed the gender breakdown of who gets exhibited, collected, reviewed and rewarded. Converting indignation into statistics and emotion into hard facts, her blog provides irrefutable evidence that gender bias is an ongoing problem besetting the visual arts.</p> <p>The most current snapshot illustrates that only 34% of the artists shown in <a href="http://thecountessreport.com.au/thecountessreport-museums2014.html">state museums</a> are women. In <a href="http://thecountessreport.com.au/thecountessreport-commercial-galleries2014.html">commercial galleries</a>, the proportion is 40%. In the <a href="http://thecountessreport.com.au/thecountessreport-art-media2014.html">art media</a>, 34% of feature articles and reviews are about women, but 80% of magazine covers are dedicated to male artists. </p> <p>Change needs to be embraced at every level, not least in developing art curriculum in secondary schools. Victorian students who sat their final Studio Art exam last week were given 14 images to write about, of which only one was produced by a woman. A cursory survey of exams in previous years and other states suggests such bias is entrenched.</p> <p>Over the past decade, the gatekeepers of the Australian art scene have started responding to the unconscious bias Richardson documents. When comparing the graphs and charts in her old posts with the 2016 <a href="http://thecountessreport.com.au/thecountessreport-art-media2014.html">CoUNTess Report</a>, it is possible to identify small improvements. Still, as Richardson says in her <a href="http://thecountessreport.com.au/">report introduction, "</a>The closer an artist gets to money, prestige and power the more likely they are to be male."</p> <p>A recent <a href="http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/research/making-art-work/">study</a> by David Throsby and Katya Petetskaya also shows the gender pay gap is substantial in the Australian art scene.</p> <p>The 2016 CoUNTess Report was made possible with support from the <a href="http://cruthersartfoundation.com/about/">Cruthers Art Foundation</a>. This organisation is making a substantial contribution towards rebalancing the statistics via the <a href="http://cruthersartfoundation.com/collections/">Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art</a>, the only dedicated public collection of art by Australian women. </p> <p>Begun in 1974 as a private family collection acquiring women’s art, the collection consists primarily of portraiture, self portraiture and art that is focused on still life, abstraction, early postmodernism and second wave feminism.</p> <p>The collection was gifted to the University of Western Australia in 2007 and is housed at <a href="http://www.lwgallery.uwa.edu.au/">Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery</a>. Cruthers curator Gemma Weston believes the collection plays a role in valuing and making visible the work of women artists, which in turn can provide a pathway to its acceptance in the institutional domain. Individual works are often loaned to other art museums around Australia.</p> <p>Weston identifies visibility as a key factor in determining what gets collected and how an artist gets traction in her career. She says institutional recognition is a long and complicated process of gathering momentum, which often begins with the private collector rather than the art museum. </p> <p>There is no doubt that all-women collections and exhibitions can help to change the depressing statistics assembled by Richardson. There is concern, however, that this strategy can cause ghettoisation. </p> <p>Weston is conscious of this conundrum. Cruthers’ current show <a href="http://artguide.com.au/exhibition/country-and-colony">Country and Colony</a> moves beyond the concerns of previous exhibitions to document “women’s art” and “women’s issues” through biography, autobiography and portraiture. </p> <p>While gender and feminist politics are a subtext, Colony and Country profiles new acquisitions that deal with the fraught history of colonialism. The paintings, prints and objects by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists tell stories about land, landscape, the body, industry and culture.</p> <h2>Building momentum for change</h2> <p>While the speed of change appears glacial, the momentum to overcome structural inequality for female artists appears to be building. In September, 11 top gallery directors, curators and arts organisation chiefs in the UK united in a <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/arts/art-worlds-most-powerful-women-unite-to-call-for-better-representation-for-female-artists-a3646586.html">call</a> for greater representation of female artists. </p> <p>A month later, possibly encouraged by the fall of the American movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the call-out of sexist and abusive behaviour in cultural industries spread to the visual arts. Numerous <a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/allegations-against-former-artforum-publisher-knight-landesman-1128926">sexual harassment allegations</a> were made against powerful and prominent gatekeeper, Artforum co-publisher Knight Landesman.</p> <p>Landesman’s resignation from the international art publication has prompted many more women to come forward with stories about his alleged behaviour. An open letter written by women in the art world, “<a href="http://www.not-surprised.org/home/">We are not surprised</a>”, has morphed into a larger campaign linking abuse of power with structural inequality. </p> <p>By providing a graphic illustration of inequality, Richardson’s CoUNTess project has done much to bring the issue into view in Australia. Together with Weston’s thoughtful management and curation, the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art is another important step in changing the status quo. Many arts organisations and individuals who have the capacity to bring about change have started counting and making an effort to <a href="http://visual.artshub.com.au/news-article/opinions-and-analysis/visual-arts/gina-fairley/are-we-finally-counting-right-254469">rectify</a> the imbalance. </p> <p>Yet when part of the cost of overlooking structural inequality is sexual harassment it is time for more decisive action. While extreme examples of sexual misconduct have not (yet) been exposed in Australia, demeaning behaviour is regularly meted out by the art scene gatekeepers. There are also anecdotal stories of grooming and sexual advances by powerful male gatekeepers. At present, few speak up because they fear damaging their career prospects. </p> <p>The CoUNTess Report <a href="http://www.thecountessreport.com.au/thecountessreport-recommendations.html">recommends</a> that “stakeholders in the Australian visual art sector routinely collect, analyse and publish gender representation data and use it to inform their policy decisions”.</p> <p>A rebalance of gender representation will only occur if all institutions that have a role in shaping the value of artists’ work start counting. </p> <p>As in the tertiary sector, many more girls than boys study art at school. In Victoria, for example, 73% of the cohort who completed <a href="http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/statistics/2016/section3/vce_studio_arts_ga16.pdf">Studio Art</a> in 2016 were girls. Unless there is significant improvement, why would future generations of women pursue a career in the visual arts? </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/still-counting-why-the-visual-arts-must-do-better-on-gender-equality-87079" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Australia should have a universal basic income for artists. Here’s what that could look like

<p>While artists struggle to get noticed in the Australian political arena, particularly in the lead up to an election, other nations take their artists more seriously – even seeing them as critical to a successful and vibrant community.</p> <p>When I talked to artists during the pandemic, it became evident they needed <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/24/13561">four conditions</a> in place to be able to practice successfully as artists: a regular income, a place to do their work, capacity to do their work and validation of their work. </p> <p>Without these conditions, productivity and mental health suffer. </p> <p>The Republic of Ireland has recently instituted <a href="https://mymodernmet.com/ireland-basic-income-program/">a new scheme</a> to provide three-year support for up to 2,000 individual artists, piloting a form of universal basic income.</p> <p>Artists will be expected to meet at least two out of three qualifying terms to apply for the scheme: have earned an income from the arts, have an existing body of work and/or be members of a recognised arts body, such as a trade union. </p> <p>Successful artists and creative workers will be given a weekly income of €325 (A$479), and be able to earn additional money without this basic income being affected.</p> <p>The Irish Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin hopes this first model <a href="https://www.thesun.ie/news/8609980/basic-income-support-scheme-artists-ireland-catherine-martin/">can be broadened</a> to include all practising Irish artists in the future. </p> <p>She sees it as a simple and economic method to protect artists from precarious existences while benefiting the community as whole.</p> <h2>International support for artists</h2> <p>The Irish scheme for a universal basic income for artists isn’t the only model.</p> <p>In the US, several states and private foundations have developed schemes to provide direct support to artists as an outcome of the pandemic. </p> <p>In May 2021, the City of New York paid <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dcla/cultural-funding/cityartistcorp.page">3,000 artists</a> no-strings-attached grants of US$5,000 (A$7,080). Additional grants were provided for public art works, exhibitions, workshops and showcase events.</p> <p>In June 2021, the philanthropic Mellon Foundation announced a new program called <a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/mellon-foundation-creatives-rebuild-new-york-1976068">Creatives Rebuild New York</a> to provide 2,400 New York artists with a guaranteed monthly income of US$1,000 (A$1,415) for 18 months.</p> <p>The program employed another 300 artists and creative workers on an annual salary of US$65,000 (A$92,000) to work in collaboration with community organisations and local authorities for two years. They will <a href="https://www.creativesrebuildny.org/">also receive</a> other benefits and dedicated time to work on their artistic practice. Both these programs were designed by artists. </p> <p>The city of San Francisco provided US$1,000 per month for 130 local artists for six months from mid-2021. Thanks to philanthropic support from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, the <a href="https://sfist.com/2021/05/24/guaranteed-income-program-for-sf-artists-gets-expanded-thanks-to-3-5m-gift-from-twitter-square-ceo-jack-dorsey/">scheme expanded</a> to support 180 artists for 18 months.</p> <p>The city of St Paul in Minnesota, with a population of just over 300,000, has <a href="https://www.twincities.com/2021/04/05/st-paul-springboard-for-the-arts-launches-program-to-grant-500-a-month-to-frogtown-and-rondo-artists/">initiated a program</a> to give 25 artists a guaranteed unrestricted income of US$500 (A$708) per month for a period of 18 months.</p> <p>Closer to home, the House of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast recognised the economic dilemma of local artists during the pandemic.</p> <p>In 2021, they <a href="https://www.artshub.com.au/news/news/artkeeper-program-puts-artists-on-payroll-2515622">employed four artists</a> to work three days a week for six months on their own creative projects at HOTA. They were given a regular salary, a studio to work in, and were invited to participate in the organisational planning of HOTA.</p> <h2>Could we recreate this in Australia?</h2> <p>In Australia, some artists were eligible for schemes like JobKeeper and JobSeeker during 2020 and into early 2021, which could provide a model for how to support artists with a basic income going forward. </p> <p>But in 2020-21 the Australia Council only funded <a href="https://www.transparency.gov.au/annual-reports/australia-council/reporting-year/2020-21">584 individual artists</a>, a drop of nearly 50% <a href="https://australiacouncil.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/australia_council_annual_report_2012-13.pdf">since 2012-13</a>.</p> <p>Ireland’s three-year pilot program for artists will cost the government around €25 million (A$37 million). With a population about a fifth of Australia’s, a similar scheme applied here using the same ratio could provide funding to 10,000 individual artists at a cost of A$185 million over three years. </p> <p>This would be a drop in the ocean for the <a href="https://theconversation.com/budget-2022-frydenberg-has-spent-big-but-on-the-whole-responsibly-180122">Australian federal budget</a>, but it could be a game changer for the community, the arts and artists. </p> <p>A universal basic income provides a regular amount of money that allows the individual to live above the breadline. It can transform an individual’s life while having a <a href="https://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/161361">positive impact</a> on the whole of society. </p> <p>Schemes that provide an ongoing income to individual artists – such as royalty schemes, lending rights and long-term leasing of artwork by government bodies and corporations – are all important, but the amounts received from them for the majority of artists are usually quite limited.</p> <p>Just imagine if every Australian arts centre, library, school, university, hospital, local council and government department employed an artist in residence. The artist gets an income while the institution gets an extraordinary input of ideas and imagination that can transform their environment. </p> <p>We need to stop patronising our artists by giving them tiny grants and making them go through endless hoops and form filling to gratefully receive them. </p> <p>Artists are essential to our community. It is time to demonstrate – like Ireland and New York – the success of our artists reflects our healthy and vibrant nation, and pay them accordingly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-should-have-a-universal-basic-income-for-artists-heres-what-that-could-look-like-182128" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Jessica Mauboy’s exciting new Top End venture

<p dir="ltr">Aussie singer-songwriter Jessica Mauboy has returned to her home in the Northern Territory for an exciting new venture. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 32-year-old has headed back to Larrakia country near Darwin to take on a new role supporting remote community artists, who are set to share their works and textiles at the <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;q=Darwin+Aboriginal+Art+Fair&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8">Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair</a> (DAAF) and related fashion shows later this year. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It's a huge responsibility and I want to be able to share that message and be that role model that encourages mob to come out and to continue to share their story because it's important," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Their story is important."</p> <p dir="ltr">As an ambassador for DAAF, Jessica has spent time touring remote art centres, but said she is happy to take a back seat and let the art speak for itself. </p> <p dir="ltr">"From my point of view, from my lens, I'm being taught, I'm the listener," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">After two years off due to the pandemic, Indigneous artists from remote communities in Northern territory, as well as elsewhere in Australia, will be able to travel to share their art for the DAAF events in August. </p> <p dir="ltr">This comes with a promise from the event's organisers to return all the profits to artists and their communities via local art centres, with the event taking no commission.</p> <p dir="ltr">With her new role with the DAAF, Jessica Mauboy said she hopes to serve as a role model for young Indigenous Australians. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm sure youth are facing a lot of challenges," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Just trust yourself and believe in yourself more, and that takes great courage and great bravery but once you do that, I think all else just falls into place."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm still that Darwin bush kid who can be barefoot and just be."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie artists launch global movement to help Ukraine

<p dir="ltr">A group of Australian artists have banded together to help Ukrainian refugees through a global art auction. </p> <p dir="ltr">For one artist, the cause hits close to home. </p> <p dir="ltr">Olena Vigovska, who immigrated to Australia 26 years ago, has witnessed the devastation facing her home country from afar as the war has unfolded. </p> <p dir="ltr">Her brother, reserve officer Andrei Vigovsky, has been fighting for his country in the city of Kharkiv since the war began, spending each night taking shelter in a subway station underground.</p> <p dir="ltr">For Olena, she wanted to find a way to help those facing brutality at the hands of the Russian invasion. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It's a feeling like, 'What are you going to do?'" she told <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-20/sydney-based-ukrainian-australian-artists-auction-for-refugees/101001584">ABC’s 7.30</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's unbelievable. I'm still pinching myself every morning."</p> <p dir="ltr">In the second week of the war, Olena and three other Ukrainian Australian artists began putting together an auction to raise money for refugees in their home country. </p> <p dir="ltr">"We jumped on that project with pleasure," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I feel much better now. I can use my skills to raise money and show the world how art can be so important and helpful in wartime."</p> <p dir="ltr">The proceeds from the auction will go to <a href="https://habitat.org.au/">Habitat for Humanity</a>, who help house refugees and give them a second chance at life without the threat of danger. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It will be a lot of work to rebuild Ukraine," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's just awful to see. I hope we will be able to make a difference."</p> <p dir="ltr">The project's organiser, Tetiana Koldunenko, told the current affairs program that the stress of the war had taken a huge toll on her and her family: many of whom live in Ukraine.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said focusing her energy on creating art for the auction revived her and gave her some hope for the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm absolutely sure that Ukraine will be beautiful. It will have a beautiful future."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: ABC News - 7.30 footage</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Chloé: how a 19th-century French nude ended up in a Melbourne pub – and became an icon for Australian soldiers

<p>Chloé, the French nude by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Joseph_Lefebvre">Jules Joseph Lefebvre</a>, is an Australian cultural icon. </p> <p>Chloé made its debut at the 1875 Paris Salon and won medals at the 1879 Sydney and 1880 Melbourne international exhibitions. In December 1880, Thomas Fitzgerald, a Melbourne surgeon, bought Chloé for his private collection. </p> <p>Two years later, when Fitzgerald loaned Chloé to the National Gallery of Victoria, a furious debate erupted in the press. Public opinion was <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/224814361">sharply divided</a> over the propriety of displaying a French nude painting on the Sabbath.</p> <p>Chloé spent the next three years at the Adelaide Picture Gallery, before Fitzgerald <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/94392855">removed her</a> from the public gaze.</p> <p>After the surgeon’s death in 1908, Henry Figsby Young bought Chloé for £800 and hung the famous nude in the saloon bar of Young and Jackson Hotel, opposite Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. </p> <p>Enjoying a drink with Chloé at the hotel has been a good luck ritual for Australian soldiers since the first world war. </p> <h2>Longing for her lover</h2> <p>According to the 1875 Paris Salon catalogue, Chloé depicts the water nymph in “Mnasyle et Chloé” by 18th century poet martyr <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Ch%C3%A9nier">André Chénier</a>. Toes dipped in a puddling stream, longing and heartache etched on her lovely features, she listens for the voice of her lover. </p> <p>Chloé was created in the winter of 1874-75. France was still rebuilding after its defeat in the <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/the-franco-prussian-war-150-years-on">Franco Prussian War</a> and the Versailles government’s brutal repression of the revolutionary <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWrnGZ_975I">Paris Commune</a>. </p> <p>Newspapers in France and around the world described women who supported the Commune as lethal <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A9troleuses">pétroleuses</a>, or petrol carriers. The women were often blamed for destructive acts of arson carried out by Versailles troops during <a href="https://www.historytoday.com/miscellanies/paris-communes-bloody-week">The Bloody Week</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://index-journal.org/issues/identity/evanescence-of-an-artist-s-model-by-katrina-kell">Jules Lefebvre claimed</a> his working class model for Chloé was involved with former Communards. She may have fought alongside other girls and women, and witnessed the widespread bloodshed that stained the streets of Paris red in 1871. </p> <p>This volatile chapter in French history has been absent from <a href="https://index-journal.org/issues/identity/evanescence-of-an-artist-s-model-by-katrina-kell">Chloé mythologies</a>. But Chloé was painted in the wake of war and revolution and of women’s inspiring activism, as women challenged the class and gender barriers that had limited their opportunities.</p> <h2>Chloé and the Australian soldier</h2> <p>The ritual of having a drink with Chloé at Young and Jackson Hotel, opposite <a href="https://heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/get-involved/tours/melbourne-at-war-hidden-histories-1914-18-audio-tour/melbourne-at-war-stop-2a/">Melbourne’s busiest railway station</a>, began after <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article89096318">Private A. P. Hill</a>, who was killed in action, put a message in a bottle and tossed it overboard. </p> <p>When the bottle was found in New Zealand in January 1918, his message read, "To the finder of this bottle. Take it to Young and Jackson’s, fill it, and keep it till we return from the war."</p> <p>The <a href="http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148561880">hotel and Chloé</a> proved irresistible for returning soldiers.</p> <p>By the start of the second world war, Chloé and Young and Jackson’s were so enmeshed in military mythology they were included in the 2/21st Australian Infantry Battalion’s <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11305333">official march song</a>: "Good-by Young and Jackson’s, Farewell Chloé too, It’s a long way to Bonegilla, But we’ll get there on stew."</p> <p>Tragically, on February 2 1942, the B and C Companies of the 2/21st Australian Infantry Battalion were massacred by Japanese forces at Laha Airfield on the Indonesian island of Ambon. Those who weren’t killed became prisoners of war. </p> <p>After Japan’s surrender in 1945, the Australian prisoners’ hopes for liberation were frustrated when Japanese officers refused to give them radio access. </p> <p>When they finally got a radio transmitter their SOS message was received on the neighbouring island of Morotai. The men were asked questions to prove they were “dinki-di Aussies”. </p> <p>One of the first questions Melbourne soldier John Van Nooten <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23494802-ambon">was asked was</a> “how would you like to see Chloé again?” </p> <p>When Van Nooten replied “Lead me to her”, the operator asked “where is she?” </p> <p>Van Nooten responded with Young and Jackson’s, finally convincing the operator he was Australian.</p> <h2>A soldier’s consolation</h2> <p>In his 1945 article <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/38559150">Seein’ Chloé</a>, West Australian journalist Peter Graeme claimed, "Chloé is to Melbourne what the Bridge is to Sydney. From the soldier’s point of view of course. All over Australia you meet men who have seen her […] Chloé belongs to the Australian soldier."</p> <p>Graeme recalled meeting a soldier at Young and Jackson’s who drained three drinks in front of Chloé. When he asked the soldier why he drank the beers in quick succession, the soldier said he was honouring a promise he and two mates had made to Chloé. </p> <p>The three of them had pledged to have a drink with her when they returned to Melbourne. His two friends never returned, buried at Scarlet Beach in New Guinea.</p> <p>As Graeme concluded in his poignant tale, Chloé may have been, "the symbol of the feminine side of his life. That part which he puts away from him, except in his inarticulate dreams."</p> <p>The soldier’s grief for the mates he lost, and the comfort drinking with the painting gave him, seems to resonate with the longing in Chloé’s melancholy expression, and the war-torn history behind this celebrated Melbourne icon.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared in <a href="https://theconversation.com/chloe-how-a-19th-century-french-nude-ended-up-in-a-melbourne-pub-and-became-an-icon-for-australian-soldiers-180032" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation. </a></em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe portraits expose the darker side of the 60s

<p>“If you remember the ‘60s, you weren’t really there”. This <a href="https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/07/remember-1960s/">famous quip</a> says much about our rose-tinted nostalgia for the decade. The fun-loving hedonism of Woodstock and Beatlemania may be etched into cultural memory, but Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe portraits reveal a darker side to the swinging 60s that turns our nostalgia on its head.</p> <p>Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe portrait <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/21/arts/design/christies-andy-warhol-marilyn-monroe.html">Shot Sage Blue Marilyn</a>, due to go on sale at Christie’s in May, is expected to fetch record-breaking bids of $200 million (£153 million), making it the most expensive 20th century artwork ever auctioned. Nearly 60 years after they were first created, Warhol’s portraits of the ill-fated Hollywood star continue to fascinate us.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/21/arts/design/christies-andy-warhol-marilyn-monroe.html">Alex Rotter</a>, Christie’s chairman for 20th and 21st century art, Warhol’s Marilyn is “the absolute pinnacle of American Pop and the promise of the American dream, encapsulating optimism, fragility, celebrity and iconography all at once”. </p> <p>Hollywood stars were great sources of inspiration for the <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/pop-art">Pop art</a> movement. Monroe was a recurring motif, not only in the work of Warhol but in the work of his contemporaries, including James Rosenquist’s <a href="https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/james-rosenquist-marilyn-monroe-i-1962/">Marilyn Monroe, I</a> and Pauline Boty’s <a href="https://www.artfund.org/supporting-museums/art-weve-helped-buy/artwork/11953/colour-her-gone">Colour Her Gone</a> and <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/boty-the-only-blonde-in-the-world-t07496">The Only Blonde in the World</a>.</p> <h2>Mourning Marilyn</h2> <p>Born Norma Jeane Mortenson but renamed Marilyn Monroe by 20th Century Fox, the actress went on to become one of the most illustrious stars of Hollywood history, famed for her roles in classic films like <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045810/">Gentlemen Prefer Blondes</a> and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053291/">Some Like It Hot</a>. She epitomised the glitzy world of consumerism and celebrity that Pop artists thought was emblematic of 1950s and 1960s American culture.</p> <p>While Rotter’s statement may be true to some extent, there is also a sinister edge to the Marilyns because many were produced in the months following her unexpected death in 1962.</p> <p>On the surface, the works may look like a tribute to a much-loved icon, but themes of death, decay and even violence lurk within these canvases. Clues can often be found in the production techniques. One of the collection’s most famous pieces, <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093">Marilyn Diptych</a>, uses flaws from the silkscreen process to create the effect of a decaying portrait. Warhol’s <a href="https://news.masterworksfineart.com/2019/11/26/andy-warhols-shot-marilyns">The Shot Marilyns</a> consists of four canvases shot through the forehead with a single bullet. In this, the creation of Warhol’s art is as important as the artwork itself.</p> <h2>Death and Disaster</h2> <p>At a glance, the surface level glamour of Warhol’s Marilyn immortalises the actress as a blonde bombshell of Hollywood’s bygone era. It is easy to forget the tragedy behind the image, yet part of our enduring fascination with Marilyn Monroe is her tragedy. </p> <p>Her mental health struggles, her tempestuous personal life and the mystery surrounding her death have been well documented in countless biographies, films and television shows, including Netflix’s documentary <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt19034332/">The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes</a> and upcoming biopic <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655389/">Blonde</a>. She epitomises the familiar narrative of the tragic icon that is doomed to keep repeating itself – something that Warhol understood all too well after surviving a shooting by <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/who-was-valerie-solanas-andy-warhol-1202689740/">Valerie Solanas</a> in 1968. </p> <p>The death at the heart of Warhol’s Marilyns is not just rooted in grief but is also a reflection of the wider cultural landscape. The 1960s was a remarkably dark period in 20th century American history. A brief look at the context in which Warhol was producing these images reveals a decade plagued by a series of traumatic events.</p> <p><a href="https://www.life.com/">Life Magazine</a> published violent photographs of the Vietnam War. Television broadcasts exposed shocking police brutality during civil rights marches. America was shaken by the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Footage of JFK’s death captured by bystander Abraham Zapruder was repeatedly broadcast on television. Celebrated Hollywood stars were dying young and in tragic circumstances, from Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland to Jayne Mansfield and Sharon Tate.</p> <p>This image of the 1960s is echoed by the postmodern theorist <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/466541">Fredric Jameson</a>, who describes the decade as a “virtual nightmare” and a “historical and countercultural bad trip”. Stars like Monroe were not as flawless as they may appear in Warhol’s portraits, but were “notorious cases of burnout and self-destruction”.</p> <p>Warhol understood this more than anyone. His <a href="https://publicdelivery.org/andy-warhol-death-disaster/#:%7E:text=Andy%20Warhol%20created%20a%20series,repetition%20to%20communicate%20his%20ideas.">Death and Disaster</a> series explores the spectacle of death in America and affirms the 1960s as a time of anxiety, terror and crisis. The series consists of a vast collection of silkscreened photographs of real-life disasters including car crashes, suicides and executions taken from newspapers and police archives. Famous deaths are also a central theme of the series, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy – all of whom are associated with significant deaths or near-death experiences.</p> <p>Death and Disaster came about in 1962 when Warhol’s collaborator <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Andy_Warhol/-sotEAAAQBAJ?hl=en&amp;gbpv=1&amp;dq=Maybe+everything+isn%27t+always+so+fabulous+in+America.+It%E2%80%99s+time+for+some+death.+This+is+what%E2%80%99s+really+happening.&amp;pg=PT32&amp;printsec=frontcover">Henry Geldzahler</a> suggested that the artist should stop producing “affirmation of life” and instead explore the dark side of American culture, "Maybe everything isn’t always so fabulous in America. It’s time for some death. This is what’s really happening."</p> <p>He handed Warhol a copy of the New York Daily News, which led to the first disaster painting <a href="https://artimage.org.uk/6123/andy-warhol/129-die-in-jet--plane-crash---1962">129 Die in Jet!</a>.</p> <p>The recent hype around the auctioning of the Marilyn portrait reveals as much about our time as it does about our nostalgia for the 1960s. We choose to remember the decade in all its glorious technicolour, but uncovering its darker moments provides room for reconsideration. Perhaps Warhol’s Marilyn is not just a symbol of the swinging 60s, but an artefact from a time that was as turbulent and uncertain as our own.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/andy-warhols-marilyn-monroe-portraits-expose-the-darker-side-of-the-60s-181213" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Art gallery investigates links to Holocaust

<p dir="ltr">The Wollongong Art Gallery in New South Wales is grappling with shocking new revelations that a major donor with a gallery named after him may have been a Nazi collaborator before emigrating to Australia from Lithuania. </p> <p dir="ltr">Bronius "Bob" Sredersas donated approximately 100 works by revered Australian artists to the gallery in 1976, just six years before he died. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite working as a steelworker at Port Kembla, he saved his money to meticulously collect valuable paintings. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, after the gallery’s 40th birthday celebrations in 2018, which also celebrated the central role Sredersas played in its establishment, former councillor Michael Samaras noticed he was described as a policeman for the Lithuanian government's Department of Security.</p> <p dir="ltr">The councillor found the findings suspicious and decided to investigate further. </p> <p dir="ltr">"When all the publicity happened for the 40th anniversary of the gallery there was media, including on the ABC Illawarra webpage, about the fact that he was a policeman in Lithuania before the war," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And I just knew from general knowledge that a lot of the police from Lithuania ended up in what was called the Auxiliary Police Battalion, which actually did much of the killing in the Holocaust.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"The Wollongong City Library local studies section has a whole three boxes of material on him so I got his birth certificate."</p> <p dir="ltr">In uncovering these devastating claims, the Wollongong council, who owns the gallery, has been put on the back foot, with Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery receiving letters from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies who have offered to help work with the council to investigate. </p> <p dir="ltr">"That has to be dealt with in a way that does not hide the past, recognises the allegations if they are proven and how we deal with the Sredersas Collection and how that's represented or interpreted," Mr Bradbery said.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the investigation is ongoing, Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jewish human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has suggested council remove the name of Bob Sredersas from the gallery in the meantime. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said, "I think it's important that a decision is made to remove his name as it's basically a statement that we do not want to honour people who participate in the crimes of the Holocaust."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Wollongong City Council </em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Take a trip through an ancient home in Pompeii

<p dir="ltr">Archeologists have recreated a Pompeiian villa that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E.</p> <p dir="ltr">Through the use of VR (virtual reality), researchers have carefully created a digital model of the ancient residence to better understand how visitors would have seen the home, according to <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/reviewing-pompeian-domestic-space-through-combined-virtual-realitybased-eye-tracking-and-3d-gis/E82035C72C580D9602CCF00D625BC65D">the recently published paper in the </a><a href="https://www.artnews.com/t/archaeology/">archaeology</a> journal Antiquity.</p> <p dir="ltr">The villa, known as the House of the Epigrams, was excavated in the 1870s and so named because it contains mythical paintings accompanied by Greek epigrams.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the identity of the owner is impossible to determine, researchers have suggested it may have belonged to a Lucius Valerius Flaccus due to a signet ring bearing his sigil being discovered there.</p> <p dir="ltr">The paper, titled “Re-viewing Pompeian domestic space through combined virtual reality-based eye tracking and 3D GIS,” was written by PhD. candidate Danilo M. Campanaro and Professor Giacomo Landeschi, who are both affiliated with the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University, Sweden.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9t39at8xgLw" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">Through extensive research, the authors of the paper have been able to determine what decorations to use in the recreation, as well as uncovering how the opulent villa would be viewed by residents of Pompeii of various social and economic classes. </p> <p dir="ltr">This recreation is the first of its kind in the studies of ancient Pompeii, with the research findings showcasing a different quality of life for locals before their city was destroyed. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: YouTube</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Australians’ favourites show Aboriginal art can transcend social divisions and art boundaries

<p>New analysis shows landscape art is the most popular visual art genre among Australians, with Aboriginal art coming in second place, followed by portraits and modern art. </p> <p>But Aboriginal art is more likely to bridge social divides and can dissolve personal prejudices between different kinds of art. </p> <p>Many Australians are sharply divided as to whether they prefer more traditional genres like landscapes or more contemporary and abstract visual forms. And these divisions relate to differences in age, class and education. But Aboriginal art bucks this trend because it is seen as “telling a story”. </p> <p>The research is discussed in a new book called <em><a href="https://www.routledge.com/Fields-Capitals-Habitus-Australian-Culture-Inequalities-and-Social/Bennett-Carter-Gayo-Kelly-Noble/p/book/9781138392304">Fields, Capitals, Habitus: Australian Culture, Social Divisions and Inequalities</a>.</em></p> <h2>We know what (and who) we like</h2> <p>Researchers conducted a <a href="https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/newscentre/news_centre/story_archive/2018/research_shows_social_class_has_a_strong_influence_on_cultural_tastes">national survey of Australians’ cultural tastes</a>, administering surveys to 1,202 Australians. Extra samples to ensure representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Italian, Lebanese, Chinese, and Indian Australians, brought the overall survey total to 1,461. </p> <p>Researchers subsequently <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/what-your-habits-reveal-about-your-social-class/9610658?nw=0">partnered with the ABC</a> to conduct online surveys on cultural tastes that were compared with research findings.</p> <p>Aboriginal art was the second most popular genre, liked by 26% of the main sample, behind landscapes (52%) but ahead of portraits (24%) and modern art (17%). </p> <p>Impressionism and Renaissance art came in at around 15% each, while abstract art, colonial art, Pop art and still lifes ranged, in order, from 13% down to 7%.</p> <p>Survey respondents were <a href="https://theconversation.com/tom-roberts-anyone-a-national-survey-finds-the-line-in-art-appreciation-51301">given a selection of artists</a>and asked to say whether they had heard of and liked them. Indigenous landscape painter <a href="https://manyhandsart.com.au/about/albert-namatjira/">Albert Namatjira</a>was the third most familiar but, at 63%, he was only narrowly pipped by painter <a href="http://www.sidneynolantrust.org/about/sidney-nolan">Sidney Nolan</a> (67%) and the colourful <a href="https://kendone.com.au/">Ken Done</a> (68%). Indigenous multi-media artist Tracey Moffatt was less well known (14%). But Namatjira was the most popular of all, liked by 49% ahead of both Nolan (42%) and Done (40%).</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were much more enthusiastic about Aboriginal art (67%) and Namatjira (liked by 70%) than the main sample, but not notably so for Moffatt. Indian and Lebanese Australians also showed a marked liking for Aboriginal art at 38% and 36% respectively.</p> <p>Aboriginal art had a broader cross-class appeal than most genres. It did, however, appeal more strongly to those in intermediate (such self-employed and clerical workers) and professional and managerial occupational classes than to those in skilled or unskilled working-class occupations. </p> <p>Namatjira was most popular with the older members of Australia’s intermediate classes. Moffatt, by contrast, appealed most to the younger, tertiary educated Australians in professional and managerial occupations.</p> <p>There were clear correlations between these preferences for particular Indigenous artists and genre tastes. Those who liked Namatjira preferred traditional and largely figurative genres – landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Those who liked Moffatt favoured genres tending towards abstraction or critical engagements with figurative conventions – modern art, Pop art and abstract art.</p> <h2>The great divide … and a bridge</h2> <p>A key finding of the research was how much those who liked traditional and figurative genres disliked contemporary and abstract genres. The reverse was even more true: those who liked contemporary and abstract art often had a strong aversion to traditional and figurative art. </p> <p>Yet the category of Aboriginal art often crossed the boundaries between these two groups of genres. </p> <p>This is not entirely surprising. Aboriginal art has expanded beyond its traditional forms to include acrylic dot art, contemporary urban Aboriginal art practices, rock art, or the kitsch forms of “Aboriginalia” like that collected by Tony Albert.</p> <p>But what is surprising is how frequently, when discussing their art tastes in follow-up interviews, our survey respondents treated Aboriginal art as an exceptional art form. </p> <p>While most viewed it as a form of abstraction, it was seen as a purposeful abstraction with a story to tell, crossing the boundaries between the abstract and the figurative.</p> <p>It was on these grounds that Aboriginal art was let off the hook by those who usually disliked non-figurative art. This was pithily summarised by one respondent who, dismissing modern and abstract art as “equivalent to what my daughters would do in kindergarten”, praised the “uniqueness of Aboriginal art and the dots” because “there’s stories behind it – there is the story they are trying to tell”.</p> <p>This was a recurring theme in appreciations of Namatjira. In a follow up interview, one survey respondent – a professional in a high-level executive role – liked Namatjira’s work for not being “too abstract” in its depiction of “the beauty of the bush and the country”. </p> <p>For another, a part-time accountant and labourer, Namatjira served as a counter to his dislike of modern and abstract art because his paintings are “real … they just feel like he’s telling a story in his pictures and they’re real”.</p> <p>And a third, a woman in her 30s from a Sri Lankan background, expressed her appreciation of Namatjira and Moffatt in similar terms. She loved “Tracey’s storytelling” with its “strong style and voice”, emphasising its appeal to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, while singling out the “cultural connections” that Namatjira’s work makes.</p> <p>While, then, different kinds of Aboriginal art appeal to different publics, the category of Aboriginal art is one that recruits a broader interest. We got a strong sense that it is something that non-Indigenous Australians felt they ought to like and know more about because of what it has to say about Indigenous culture, its relations to Country, and its significance for Australian culture and identity. </p> <p>This registers a significant shift from the terms in which Namatjira was initially appreciated, in the 1950s, as <a href="https://journals.openedition.org/ces/386">an imitative adaptation</a> of pastoral modernism.</p> <p>It is a shift that registers the work of Indigenous artists, curators and critics in stressing the role that Aboriginal art can play in transforming the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-favourites-show-aboriginal-art-can-transcend-social-divisions-and-art-boundaries-143827" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Finland returns $46 million of detained artwork to Russia

<p dir="ltr">The Finnish foreign ministry has announced that Finland will return three shipments of art bound for Russia that had been confiscated by customs officials. </p> <p dir="ltr">The sculptures and paints, which are worth a collective $46 million, were seized at the Vaalimaa border crossing on suspicion of violating European sanctions on Russia, according to Customs Enforcement Director Hannu Sinkkonen. </p> <p dir="ltr">The works, which originated in Italy and Japan, were destined for various museums in Russia when they were confiscated. </p> <p dir="ltr">Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that the European Union amended its existing rules to exempt certain cultural artefacts from its list of sanctions. </p> <p dir="ltr">The rule change extends only to “cultural goods which are on loan in the context of formal cultural cooperation,” the statement said, without further elaboration on its motivation for the exemption.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of the confiscated works were on loan from Russia’s State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Museum of Oriental Art for temporary exhibits at two Italian galleries. </p> <p dir="ltr">Other artworks were returned to Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts from Chiba City Museum in Tokyo.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been hit with severe sanctions from the European Union, which originally included “luxury items” such as art. </p> <p dir="ltr">France has also been halted by the sanctions, with several French art galleries and museums showcasing on-loan Russian works. </p> <p dir="ltr">France’s Ministry of Culture announced that at least two paintings on display at Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton in a blockbuster exhibition of works from the collection of Ivan Morozov, a deceased Russian businessman and collector of avant-garde French art, will remain in France.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ministry said that paintings will not return to Russia “so long as their owner remain targeted by an asset freeze.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

Placeholder Content Image

Why arts and culture appear to be the big losers in this budget

<p>While one more <a href="https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/rise-comes-back-20-million-encore">A$20 million round</a> of the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund was announced as part of the 2022-23 budget to support reactivating the arts and entertainment sector post-Covid-19 lockdowns, this scheme is coming to an end. </p> <p>With funding cuts forecast out to as far as 2025-26, the arts and culture appear to be big losers in this budget. </p> <p>In addition to the $20.0 million in 2022-23 to phase down the RISE Fund, <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-23_infra_pbs_00_itrdc.pdf">the budget includes</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>$9.3 million over two years for the National Museum of Australia to support its services impacted by COVID 19</p> </li> <li> <p>$9 million in 2021-22 for a second round of the Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund to support independent cinemas affected by COVID 19</p> </li> <li> <p>an extension of the <a href="https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding-and-support/covid-19-support/temporary-interruption-fund">Temporary Interruption Fund</a>, which provides insurance to screen projects shut down due to COVID-related issues, for a further six months to 30 June 2022, and</p> </li> <li> <p>$316.5 million over five years to build an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander <a href="https://www.niaa.gov.au/news-centre/indigenous-affairs/ngurra-national-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-cultural-precinct">cultural precinct, Ngurra</a>, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Triangle, on Ngunnawal country (Canberra).</p> </li> </ul> <p>With the loss of COVID stimulus measures, the big losers under arts and culture in the budget are: </p> <ul> <li> <p>the end of the RISE fund, represented in the cut to “arts and cultural development”, receiving $2.4 million in 2023-24, down from $159 million in 2021-22 </p> </li> <li> <p>the loss of $6.4 million in contemporary music related COVID measures, and</p> </li> <li> <p>Screen Australia: its funding will be reduced from a high of $39.5 million in 2021-22 to $11.6 million in 2023-24, reducing funding to <a href="https://twitter.com/ScreenAustralia/status/1509026946579337220">the pre-COVID baseline</a>. </p> </li> </ul> <p>The decline in arts funding fits Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s big picture narrative that the time for “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/mar/17/josh-frydenberg-announces-targeted-cost-of-living-measures-ahead-of-federal-budget">crisis level</a>” spending is now over, and the budget forecasts such as those for arts and culture only “appear” to be bleak due to the tapering down from the crisis level funding.</p> <h2>The end of RISE funding</h2> <p>The government’s biggest arts and culture investment during the pandemic was the RISE fund, which saw <a href="https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mckenzie/media-release/connecting-communities-stronger-future">$200 million</a> go towards 541 projects.</p> <p>The RISE fund represented a move away from the “arms-length” independent funding decisions made by the Australia Council <a href="https://australiacouncil.gov.au/investment-and-development/peer-assessment/">peer assessors</a>. Instead, the arts minister had the ultimate authority regarding RISE. </p> <p>This aspect of RISE was reminiscent of George Brandis’ 2015 <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-brandis-plans-to-insulate-the-arts-sector-from-the-artists-42305">shock annexation</a> of Australia Council funding to the then National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (which then became Catalyst). But the baseline Australia Council funding has remained steady in this year’s budget, rising only in line with inflation.</p> <p>While RISE was a short-term crisis level funding initiative using the arts as an instrument to stimulate the economy, support for the Australia Council in the budget is for the support of “excellent art” for “audiences in Australia and abroad”. </p> <p>The difference in these programs meant RISE funding went not only to not-for-profit arts organisations and individual artists, as the Australia Council primarily supports, but <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/nov/23/victorias-performing-arts-win-20m-funding-as-melbourne-readies-for-re-opening">also</a> to commercial creative activity.</p> <h2>A loss of over-all funding</h2> <p>According to the government, the expected decrease in overall cultural funding from 2021-22 to 2022-23 is predominantly driven by the loss of temporary arts funding for economic stimulus. </p> <p>Expenses under the arts and cultural heritage are estimated to decrease by 10.6% in real terms from 2021-22 to 2022-23, and decrease by 13.1% in real terms from 2022-23 to 2025-26. </p> <p>It is not clear why this scaling down of crisis level funding appears to be uneven. </p> <p>In particular, many of Australia’s cultural institutions – who are already <a href="https://theconversation.com/historic-collections-could-be-lost-to-digital-dinosaurs-31524">under pressure</a> when it comes to preserving cultural heritage – are facing significant cuts.</p> <p>The National Museum of Australia is projected to receive $51 million in 2023-24, losing its $9.3 million in COVID support. The National Gallery of Australia’s funding will drop from $49.6 million in 2021-22 to $45.7 million in 2022-23. Funding for the National Library Australia will fall from $61 million in 2022-23 to $47.1 million in the following year. </p> <h2>A commercially driven future?</h2> <p>Over the last two years, the arts were valued by the federal government to the extent that they were able to be used to stimulate the economy. </p> <p>The assumption appears to be that, now that the creative and cultural industries have received a $200 million shot in the arm, they will now be able to stand back up and walk on their own two feet – and help those businesses around them do likewise. </p> <p>It doesn’t appear the RISE Fund, and its ultimate decision making power by the minister, is a template for the future of arts funding in any literal sense because it is due to disappear. </p> <p>But it may have changed the culture of arts funding in this country, explicitly focusing funding on cultural activities and initiatives informed by an overtly commercial mindset. </p> <p>With many artists and organisations still struggling in this “COVID normal” landscape, this budgetary pendulum swing away from funding artistic projects and events paints a bleak picture.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-arts-and-culture-appear-to-be-the-big-losers-in-this-budget-180127" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

Our Partners