Ah, the Queens Birthday Long Weekend… That utterly pointless three day weekend when Australians can sit back and thank their lucky stars they don’t live in England. To mark this occasion we have the annual QBLW Honours Announcement. People from all walks of life, from all socio-economic brackets, rub shoulders as their lifetime achievements are recognised by a shiny bauble on the chest and a cluster of letters after the surname.
This lady likes you.
Each year we ask: how did the art world go? 2008 turns out to be much the same as previous years when people who make art [ie artists] are given short shrift in favour of those who facilitate its making [ie people who buy it]. Perhaps there were a lot of Liberal Party staffers lining up for their last chance to get a gong, but this year has been ever slimmer pickings for Birthday Honours than usual.
Perhaps the most prominent art-world-related personage to be honoured is Kerry Stokes who receives a Companion Order of Australia [AC] for “service to business, to corporate social responsibility, to the arts and the community.” He already has a regular, run-of-the-mill Order of Australia honour but he does also own a couple of Monets and assorted lesser Manets. You have to give him his due.
Also from Western Australia, Professor Edgar William “Ted” Snell picks up an AO for “service to the visual arts as an academic, artist, commentator and administrator, to professional organisations and as a mentor of young artists.” For those of you from the Eastern States who are asking “Ted who?”, he’s the guy who reviews PICA’s annual Hatched exhibition for The Australian.
In Sydney, Ms Kerry Anne Crowley has been awarded an Medal In The General Division [OAM] for “service to contemporary art in Australia, particularly through fostering the work of emerging artists in Australia and internationally.” All in a good cause and expect we weren’t the only one’s surprised by this accolade for the stalwart owner/proprietor of Yuill/Crowley.
The only other arts related award of note was to one John Winston Howard , a solicitor from Wollstonecraft who, with his mate Arthur, ran a shop. He’s been given top honours [an AC] for many things including “development of significant philanthropic links between the business sector, arts and charitable organisations.” We can’t remember seeing Mr. Howard at any arts functions over the years but also realise he and his wife have been very active in Rotary for yonks. Must have been an art raffle.