In 1999, the National Gallery of Australia cancelled a planned exhibition of Sir Charles Saatchi’s Sensation, a collection of art focused on the work of the Young British Artists of the 1990s, on the grounds of the possible offensiveness of many of the works included in the show. Several of those works and artists are now on display in the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) recently opened in Hobart, a small city on the island of Tasmania in the south of Australia. Where the National Gallery quailed at the idea of exhibiting work by Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and the Chapman brothers, MONA has no such qualms today. Works by these artists feature alongside 400 other pieces from the private collection of David Walsh, a Tasmanian millionaire gambler, art collector and founder of MONA.
Lotus Johnson left this illuminating comment on Alison Young’s post “Art, Value & Banksy’s Rats in Melbourne,” which included an illustration of a stencil depicting a native Australian flower stabbing a Banksy signature animal, the rat. Turns out there’s more than meets the eye.
It seems that Melbourne City Council just can’t get it right when it comes to street art, and especially when it comes to the work of Banksy: two weeks ago, they “accidentally” ordered a cleaning crew to remove one of Banksy’s iconic rats from a wall in Hosier Lane, in the centre of the city. The news of this rodent’s demise was greeted by a storm of media criticism.
Who knew the Australian landscape painting world could be a hot bed of scandal. Earlier this month, the Wynne Prize was awarded to Australian painter Sam Leach. Normally bestowed on “the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours … ” this year it was revealed that the painting wasn’t exactly based on an Australian scene but an image the artist found on the Internet. The horror! Veteran feminist and public intellectual Germaine Greer has jumped to Leach’s defense.
According to The Australian, the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia has rejected a $400,000 bequest because it came with strings attached. The Murdoch-owned newspaper also used the opportunity to point out that the donors are communists.