The network of connections behind Australia’s Venice Biennale choices

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News & Commentary, Visual Arts |

In the past two years, artist and writer John Kelly has chronicled the small group of wealthy collectors and commercial gallery dealers who collectively determine who is chosen as the artist to represent Australia at each Venice Biennale. The event is the most important and prestigious contemporary art show in the world, which is why millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ dollars are spent on the

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OzCo opens entry to Venice Biennale to everybody – but what strings are attached?

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In the recent Palme d’Or winning film The Square, Ruben Östlund satirises the very notion of contemporary art by exploring its contradictions outside the boundaries of the insular art world. The film’s title derives from an artwork that is a simple square within which, “we all share equal rights and obligations”. Upon entering “…you have

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Where does Gareth Sansom sit in the batting order?

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Artist John Kelly visits the National Gallery of Victoria’s Transformer, a retrospective of Melbourne artist Gareth Sansom, an influential teacher — and once a handy leg spinner for Essendon — whose work has frequently alluded to the game of cricket.  *** I was a student when Gareth Sansom opened an exhibition at RMIT University in the early

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Redux: Roslyn Oxley9 gallery and its 33 year winning streak of artists at the Venice Biennale

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News & Commentary, Visual Arts |

On Wednesday night in Sydney the Australian journalism Walkley Foundation Awards were held and included two new categories – Best Arts Journalism and Best Arts Criticism. The irony is that these awards have finally arrived as arts journalism is disappearing in Australia. While the internet is awash with ticket information and promotion of events, the forums

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Tracey Moffatt at the Venice Biennale: memories are made of this

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“In Photography, as everyone knows, content is 90 percent of the ball game. To get good subject matter, you find it. This makes photography the only art form in which shopping is considered a talent” – Peter Plagen, ‘Fretting About Photos: Four Views’, Art in America, November, 1979 The lens and screen are omnipresent in Venice. Not only in

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The Venice Biennale and the Australian Pavilion’s history of repetition

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News & Commentary, Visual Arts |

Artist John Kelly is in Venice – painting – in a visit that coincides with next month’s Venice Biennale. Kelly is a regular visitor to the Biennale and a commentator on the Australia Council sponsored Australian Pavilion in which (usually) one artist is chosen to represent the country’s art. In 2015 he wrote in Daily Review of the coterie of powerful commercial galleries behind Australia’s

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Do artists deserve their own tax regime?

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News & Commentary, Visual Arts |

Artist John Kelly thinks so. The Australian painter and sculptor, best known for his cow images, lives most of the time in Ireland where artists are treated separately to other taxpayers. Kelly argues that a similar scheme should apply in Australia. He says this isn’t because artists are more “special” than other taxpayers but because the work they produce — their

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