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Articles on Biennale of Sydney

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‘Bang’ composed of 886-three legged wooden by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the German during the 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, 2013. EPA/ Andrea Merola

Explainer: what is a biennale?

Chances are you’ve heard of an art biennale, even if you haven’t visited one. This year’s Biennale of Sydney hit the headlines with a controversy over sponsor Transfield’s links to off-shore refugee detention…
Yingmei Duan is performing Happy Yingmei at this year’s Sydney Biennale. It’s a sign feminist performance art is thriving. AGNSW

Yingmei Duan and the feminists giving contemporary art a makeover

Until the end of the 2014 Biennale of Sydney in June, Chinese performance artist Yingmei Duan will live in a small forest built inside the Art Gallery of NSW. Visitors – as they have since the start of…
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, one of many collaborators in Deborah Kelly’s most recent creation. N.E. Skinner

Glory be! Inside Deborah Kelly’s No Human Being Is Illegal

You may have heard of Deborah Kelly, the well-known Sydney-based artist with a work in the 2014 Biennale of Sydney entitled No Human Being Is Illegal (In All Our Glory). The work features a suite of life-size…
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…
Audiences are invited to hop aboard Callum Morton’s Google Ghost Train as part of this year’s Biennale of Sydney. AAP Image/Quentin Jones

A first look at the 19th Biennale of Sydney

Over its 41-year history the recipe for a successful Biennale of Sydney has remained remarkably consistent. There are three ingredients and all three need to work in harmony for the exhibition to properly…
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 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…
The Sydney Opera House is not the only cultural institution celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013. AAP Image/Quentin Jones

40 years on: how Gough Whitlam gave Indigenous art a boost

As you’ve no doubt noticed, celebrations are underway to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House – and that’s as it should be. But this year marks a few other “40ths” that have had a tremendous…

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