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Articles on Sydney Biennale boycott

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AAP/Quentin Jones

The Biennale boycott blues

The Sydney Biennale has commenced after weeks of controversy over the severing of its relationship with Transfield, the company that runs the detention centre in Nauru and which will take over the one…
Imagine a scenario whereby all artists undertake a month-long retraction of their labour. rytc/ Banksy in Boston

What would a national artists strike look like?

Over the last six months, I have been thinking, writing and talking about the artist’s role, value and agency in society. I’ve been speaking to the idea that an artist’s contribution to society is, in…
Large media coverage and biennales tend to go hand in hand. AAP Image/Quentin Jones

Biennales are politics by other means – don’t dismiss them

Although some doubted the 19th Biennale of Sydney would proceed after the split from founding sponsor Transfield, the country’s biggest contemporary art event opens this week in Sydney. Debate continues…
The history of arts funding in Australia suggests the “arm’s length” principle is worth preserving. wallyg/ Artist: OverUnder, Brooklyn

The Australia Council must hold firm on ‘arm’s length’ funding

Things to remember if you are a federal minister for the arts: In arts policy, as in the arts, how you do things matters as much as what you do. Good ideas become bad ideas if your tone is wrong or you…

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis should just buy a yacht

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis’s family contributed A$600,000 toward the A$10 million budget of this year’s Sydney Biennale (Australia’s largest outdoor arts festival), continuing a long family tradition of generous…
Politicians and artists often join together in an uncomfortable game. Alan Porritt/AAP Image

The art of being awkward: Brandis is wrong about the Biennale

As anyone who works in the arts business well knows, when art and politics meet (and certainly when art and politicians meet …) the result is more often than not awkward. Many of us will remember the fuss…
The Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has proposed a way to to deal with grant applicants who refuse corporate funding. Alan Porritt/AAP Image

We should value the Biennale protest, not threaten arts funding

Today it was reported that the Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has requested that the Australia Council draft a new policy to deal with grant applicants who refuse funding offered by corporate…
The Sydney Biennale boycott campaign has raised important – and difficult – questions about how we fund the arts. Wexner Centre

Is there any clean money left to fund the arts?

In the wake of the Sydney Biennale’s split from its major sponsor Transfield in recent days, certain uncomfortable questions are again floating very close to the surface. In the late 1990s, I had a successful…
The Biennale’s severing of ties with Transfield won’t change anything for those suffering on Manus Island right now. But gestures matter. Department of Immigration and Citizenship/AAP

The Biennale, Transfield, and the value of boycott

In July 1846, the American writer Henry David Thoreau went to prison for refusing to pay his poll tax. He couldn’t abide the thought that his money would be used, however indirectly, to perpetuate the…
It is infantile to pick on one holding company while ignoring the central role of the Australian government. Eoin Blackwell/AAP Image

Artists’ victory over Transfield misses the bigger picture

The Biennale of Sydney, which begins on March 21, has announced it will sever ties with its founding partner Transfield, following weeks of pressure from artists angered by the company’s links to Australia’s…
Should artists refuse to work with the Sydney Biennale – whose major sponsor has contracts to operate offshore detention centres? AAP Image/Caris Bizzaca

Should artists boycott the Sydney Biennale over Transfield links?

Sydney will host its 19th biennale from March 21. It’s one of the most significant international art events on the local calendar. But questions have arisen over its connection to Australia’s policy of…

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