What an exciting time – can’t you feel it in the air? It’s Archibald, Wynne and Sulman and Photographic Prize time again, we’re just so excited and we just can’t hide it. Get ready for an avalanche of bad art coverage in the media. We’ve already had a “works arriving early” stories in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald and on NineMSN:
“He finds the portrait of federal opposition leader Kim Beazley striking, and the flood of paintings amazing. It’s a time of excitement for Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon, as entries pour in for this year’s Archibald Prize, one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art prizes.
“Entrants began unloading their works at the Sydney gallery, allowing Mr. Capon and his staff an early look at this year’s potential portrait prize favourites. Mr. Capon said it had been a busy day, with about 400 works delivered. “As you can see we’re submerged with paintings, it’s amazing,” said Mr. Capon, who expects more than 500 entries for the 2005 prize. “Every year the Archibald galvanises all of the imaginations of the country.”
We can now look forward to a few “last minute entry” and “paint still wet” stories plus a few personality pieces on artists and their portrait stories and if we’re very lucky, someone might pick up the tradition started by Michael Hutak of laying odds on who is gonna win this sucker.
If you are an artist who is thinking of entering, you might also like to avail yourself of the actual rules of the competitions this year to save yourself expensive legal bills further down the track. For example, you might to check out the rules regarding the possible medium of the works which stipulate that the work is a portrait in done in “oil, acrylic, watercolour and mixed media” noting the particular use of the word ‘and’.
You might also like take note of the definition of what it means to paint a portrait from “life”:
“Portraits submitted for the Archibald Prize must be painted from life. This means that the subject is known to the artist, is aware of the artist’s intention and that there has been at least one sitting by the subject for the artist, for the portrait in question. Artists must provide a written statement signed by the subject stating that they had at least one sitting with the artist.”
At the end of the day the bottom line is up for grabs – which is to say it is the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW who judge the Archibald. (We have been told that Mike Parr will be judging the Sulman which will make a for a very interesting selection. We don’t know who is doing the honours for the Wynne – it’s either Mister Squiggle, some wino from the Domain or maybe someone who once took a photo or something).
So who are the Trustees anyway? The President of the Trustees is David Gonski, a man with a vast array of appointments and honours including Chairmanship of Investec Wentworth Pty Limited, the Australia Council, Coca-Cola Amatil, NIDA and Sydney Grammar School and the directorship of John Fairfax Holdings Limited. Vice Chair is Dr. John Yu, who aside from being Australian of the Year in 1996, is Chancellor of University of New South Wales, Chairman of Australia China Council, the Advisory Committee NSW Commission for Children and Young People and Board of VisAsia, Board of St Vincent’s Hospital. Of the 11 members, two are artists – Janet Laurence and Imants Tillers, artists who need no introduction to the readers of The Art Life.
By some quirk or oversight, it is unclear as to whether TV news identity Anne Fulwood is still on the board. According to the Art Gallery of NSW web site, her term ended in December 04, but her name and qualifications are still posted on the page. Her credentials as someone who likes art are beyond reproach, to wit:
Ms Anne Fulwood. Television Journalist and Presenter. Former Member of Council for the Australian Honours, Film and Literature Board of Review, Interim Board of the National Film and Sound Archive and Luna Park Reserve Trust. Former Channel 7 Host 11 am, Melbourne 6pm News, Late News, Anchor/producer. Former Channel 10 Sydney Late News Anchor/producer, Reporter/Presenter on news and sports programs including 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1994 Commonwealth Games.
You see, Mister Squiggle doesn’t seem so far fetched now, does it?